Gujarat is a State in northwestern India, on the border with Pakistan and Rajasthan in the north east, Madhya Pradesh in the east, and Maharashtra and the Union territories of Diu, Daman, Dadra and Nagar Haveli in the south. The Arabian Sea borders the state both to the west and the south west.
Gujarat : The State took it’s name from the Gujara, the land of the Gujjars, who ruled the area during the 700’s and 800’s.
The first settlers in the State of Gujarat were Gujjars who happened to be an ethnic group of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Although their originis remain uncertain, the clan appeared in northern India and in Saurashtra about the time of the Huna invasion. The name of the tribe was ‘sanskritized’ to ‘Gurjara’ who followed the main religions of Hinduism, Islam, Sikkism and Christianity.
However, the earliest Archeological traces indicate the Indus Valley Civilization as historical relics with the stone age settlements are found in Gujarat around Sabarmati and Mahi rivers. Its roots are also in the Harappan traces found at Lothal, Rampur, Amri and other places.
Ancient Gujarat was ruled by the Maurya Dynasty. Emperor Chandragupta Maurya conquered a number of states in Gujarat while his grandson, King Ashoka extended his domain in Gujarat. The reigns of the first three Mauryas were significant but with Ashoka’s death in 232 B C the Mauryan empire began to crumble,leading to political defragmentation. The Shungas who succeeded the Mauryas tried, unsuccessfully, to uphold the semblance of political unity.
After the fall of the Maurya Empire, the Sakas or Scynthians controlled the region from A.D. 130 to 390. Under Rudra-daman, their empire contained Malwa (in Madhya Pradesh), Saurashtra, Kutchh and Rajasthan. During the 300s and 400s, the area formed a part of the Gupta Empire which in turn was succeeded by the Maitraka Dynasty. It was during the rule of Dhruvasena Maitrak that the great Chinese traveler and philosopher Huien Tsang visited India in 640AD.
Between the decline of the Mauryan power and the coming of Saurashtra under the sway of the Samprati Mauryas of Ujjain, there was a Greek incursion into Gujarat led by Demetrius.
Three royal races of Hindus successively ruled over, namely, the Chawura, Solanki', and Baghilah races. The total number of individuals belonging to the tribes who held power amounted to twenty-three, and they retained possession of the country for five hundred and seventy-five years - previous to the period when Gujarat became subject to the Mohammedans. The Chawura tribe ruled one hundred and ninety-six years after which the power passed into the hands of the Solankhi tribe in the manner described.
It was during the 900s that the Solanki Dynasty came to power. Under the Solanki Dynasty, Gujarat reached to its greatest extent. It is believed that the Gujjars belonged to this Solanki Dynasty because Pratiharas, the Paramaras and the Solankis were imperial Gujjars. Ancient Gujarat’s last Hindu rulers were the Solanki clan of Rajputs from 960 AD to 1243 AD. It is also learnt, Karandev of the Vaghela dynasty was the last Hindu ruler of Gujarat and he was overthrown by the superior forces of Allauddin Khilji from Delhi in 1297.