West India is a charming potpourri of diverse geographical terrain, languages, culture and economic development. Wedged between the deserts on the North-West, the Vindhya range on the North, Gangetic Plain to the East and the Arabian Sea on the West, the region spans over a humongous area of 508,052 sq km comprising the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa and the union territories of Daman & Diu and Dadar & Nagar Haveli. The diverse topography makes it one of the most unique corners of the country; half divided by beaches and half occupied by the desert. Boasting of a vivid and vivacious culture of the Sunburn Festival, the Rafting excursions, Rann Utsav and other water expeditions, the region follows customs and traditions inspired by both North and South India. Replete with meandering rivers, lengthy coastline, world class monuments, emerald green forests and the magnificent mountain ranges, West india has got sundry aspects to call its own including the cosmopolitan jazz of Mumbai, idyllic beaches of Goa and the ruins of Lothal in Gujarat.
The miscellany and contrast of each state makes for a unique and memorable experience. With a marked distinction in the topography, West India takes pride in housing some of the most beautiful vantage points in Maharashtra, the paradisal beaches of Goa, the mesmerising bountiful nature of Dadar & Nagar Haveli and the revered temples of Gujarat. Varying between bland and fiery hot food, liquor free states to free flowing alcohol, here you can taste the popular vada pao, the famous Gujarati cuisine i.e. thepla, khandvi, fafda etc. and can literally bathe in beer and wine in Goa and Daman & Diu. So you can choose to be a witness to the glitz of Bombay, or warm your soul under the palm fringes of Goa or better still, explore the vibrant land of Gujarat. All in all, West India is a dazzling kaleidoscope where distinct religions, cultures, lifestyles and traditions merge to reflect a charming facet of incredible India.
West India - History at a Glance
West India boasts of a rich history. Parts of Gujarat belong to the Indus Valley Civilization. Numerous sites like Lothal, Surkotada and the area around Ghaggar river has been excavated to reveal the same. Besides, Gujarat was also the origin spot for the famous Dandi March movement undertaken by Gandhiji. After being ruled by several dynasties including the Rashtrakutas, Mauryas, Gurjars, Rajputs, Indo-Greeks, Vaghelas, the Delhi Sultanate, and the very powerful Maratha Empire, it came under the rule of the British. Later after the Indian Independence, present state boundaries were drawn.
West India - The Diverse Geography
Flaunting of a varied topography and diverse terrain, western India has arid and semi arid soil in the Saurashtra, Kutch and Southern Gujarat. South Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa have the Western Ghats to own. Central and Eastern Maharashtra, particularly the Vidarbha and Marathwada boast of the Deccan Plains. Several river flow in the region including Narmada, Tapi, Godavari, Zuari etc. and the vegetation ranges between the tropical rainforests to thorns and bushy plantations. The region mostly experiences a hot summer and mildly cool winter season. Pune (other than the high peaks) in Maharashtra gets the lowest temperature in winters which can fall down to as low as 6-7 degrees celsius.
West India- Culture and Tradition
All the three states of Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat and the two union territories of Daman & Diu and Dadar & Nagar Haveli are distinctly varied and culturally individualistic. Maharashtra essentially follows the Marathi culture driven from the long gone days of Shivaji which is basically Hindu Vedic culture. It is also famous for its folk dances like Pavri Nach, Dindi and Kala Dance, Povadas, Koli etc. Mumbai - the city of dreams, or better known as Bombay, again has a separate metro culture of its own influenced by Hollywood, the Indian film industry, the fashion vistas and page 3 model brigade. On the other hand, Goan culture, and also Daman & Diu for that matter, is spewed with the leftover relics from of the Portuguese heritage. Over the years, it has blended with the Indian customs, however, the place still reminds one of the Portugal era in India with its Goan cuisine, pearly white churches, striking architecture and the hippie like lifestyle.
Gujarat is again a fair blend of domestic and international customs. It is inspired by the Persian merchants and other foreign traders who visited India for trade and commerce. It also saw Turk and Mughal invasions which manipulated its lifestyle over the years. Even today it observes a lot of international cultural festivals including Rann Utsav, International Kite Festival and Global Garba etc. Besides, it is home to a plethora of folk-dances performed during important festivals and fairs which include Garba, Padhar Dance, Siddhi Dhamal etc.
West India - Wildlife and Tourism
Western India boasts of a rich wildlife comprising of the desert land of Kutch- Gujarat and the coastal plains of Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat. The Western Ghats are home to some of the oldest forests and grasslands; it, therefore, flaunts a variety of flora and fauna which has led to the establishment of several wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, thus, escalating the tourism rate. Gir National Park in Gujarat is the only place where you can find Asiatic lions. Some of the other prominent parks include Blackbuck National Park, Nalsarovar National Park, Wild Ass National Park in Kutch and Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary etc.
Besides, the region is also home to several museums and repositories. Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Pune house a number of great museums; Prince of Wales Museum and National War Museum are probably the best ones of the lot.