Kathiawar ([kɑʈʰijɑʋɑɽ]; also written Kathiawad or Kattywar) is a peninsula in western India and part of the Saurashtra region.[1][2][3][4][5] Its coastline borders the Gulf of Kutch to the west, the Arabian Sea to the south and the Gulf of Khambhat to the southeast and east. Jigat Point is located at its western apex and Diu Head at its southern.

Etymology and history

Kathiawar map
Kathiawar 1855 with its four prant districts: Halar, Jhalavad, Sorath and Gohelwad.
Arrow Pillar or Baan-Stambh at Somnath

The word Kathiawad means the land of the Kathis, a Rajput tribe of Scythian or Indo-Getic origin who migrated to the region in the 8th century and controlled the southwestern peninsula of contemporary Gujarat.[6][7] Kathis were widespread in the region and dominated central Saurashtra in particular for some centuries. Although the Kathis are believed to have migrated to the area as late as the 16th century, they have played an important part in the documented history of the region. During the reign of India Pratihar ruler Mihir Bhoj, the Gurjar empire stetched from Kathiawad to the Bay of Bengal.[8] A Haddola inscription confirms that Gurjar Pratihars continued to rule in this region during the reign of Mahipala I too.[9] The peninsula is dotted with antiquities and has a continuous history from prehistoric times to the early periods of the Mahabharata through the Indus civilization. It was influenced by Kathi people in particular between the 16th century to the mid 20th century and therefore the emergent name of Kathiawar became a favourite alternative to the region of Saurashtra.

In a geopolitical context, the area of Kathiawar forms the core of Saurashtra. In feudal times, there were certain principle divisions of Saurashtra falling under princely states, namely Kathiawad, Sorath, Gohilwad, Halar, Panchal & Zalawad, Nagher, Okha Mandal, etc. However, the main area of Kathiawar covered 10 districts : Rajkot, Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Surendranagar, Porbandar, Amreli, Junagadh, Botad, Morvi, Gir-somnath. Some historians suggest that the Kathi people are basically Scythians who migrated to Saurashtra (referred to as Saraostus as well, by contemporary Greeks) around the second century BC.

For a long period, the name Sorath remained limited to the region when the Chudasama Rajput (Raa' dynasty) ruled from 875 to 1473. Concurrently, major Rajput clans that held a sway over this region included the Walas (Kathis), Jethwas, Raijadas, Chudasamas, Gohils, Jhalas, Jadejas, Chavdas, Parmars, Patgirs or Pargirss, Sarvaiyas, Solankis and Khachars. Most of the princely states of Kathiawar were brought under the British protectorate by 1820, but from Kathiawad first treaty with the British was made by Vira Wala (Kathi Ruler) of Jetpur with Colonel Walker at Baroda on 26 October 1803.

Literary Comment

The state of the region in the early nineteenth century is illustrated in Letitia Elizabeth Landon's poem, Scene in Kattiawar, based on the print shown below (Travellers and Escort, 1830).

Political history

Before Indian independence in 1947, most of Kathiawar was divided into numerous princely states, ruled by local potentates who acknowledged British suzerainty in return for local sovereignty. These states comprised the Kathiawar Agency. The rest of the peninsula, chiefly in the east along the Gulf of Cambay, were districts ruled directly by the British as part of British India's Bombay Presidency, which included part of the peninsula.

United Saurashtra (Kathiawar) State 1947-56

After Indian independence, the states of Kathiawar acceded to India. In 1947, Junagadh's Muslim ruler acceded his territory to Pakistan. The predominantly Hindu population rebelled, and while the prince fled to Pakistan, a plebiscite was conducted, after which the kingdom was merged into the Indian Union. The former princely states of Kathiawar were grouped into the new province of Saurashtra, which became Saurashtra State in 1950. In 1956, Saurashtra was merged into Bombay State, and in 1960, Bombay state was divided along linguistic lines into the new states of Gujarat (including Kathiawar) and Maharashtra. Diu remained in Portuguese hands until 1961, when it was occupied by Indian troops, then became integrated into India as part of the union territory of Goa, Daman and Diu in 1962.

Major cities

Map GujDist Saurastra
Presents Districts of old Kathiawar, Gujarat. (Note: Diu is not politically a part of Gujarat, currently it belongs to the Union Territory of Daman & Diu.)

The major cities of Kathiawar are Rajkot in the center of the peninsula, Jamnagar on the Gulf of Kutch, Bhavnagar on the Gulf of Khambhat, Surendranagar and the historic city Wadhwan in the central portion of Gujarat, Porbandar on the west coast, historic city of Junagadh on the South. Diu, an island town formerly part of Portuguese India and now part of the Indian union territory of Daman and Diu, lies off the south coast of Kathiawar. The city of Somnath and its famous temple are also located on the south coast.

Districts in Kathiawar Region

Geography and ecosystem

Scene in Kattiawar, Travellers and Escort
Scene in Kattiawar, Travellers and Escort, 1830.

The natural vegetation on most of the peninsula is xeric scrub, part of the Northwestern thorn scrub forests ecoregion. A range of low hills, known as the Gir Hills, occupies the south-central portion of the peninsula. The highest of these is Girnar. The hills are home to an enclave of tropical dry broadleaf forest, part of the Kathiawar-Gir dry deciduous forests ecoregion. Gir National Park, which includes the forested hills around Girnar, and areas in the region that neighbor it, are home to the last remaining Asiatic lions in the wilderness of the Earth.[2][3][4][5] Other national parks on Kathiawar are Blackbuck National Park (Velavadar) on the Gulf of Cambay, and Marine National Park on the Gulf of Kutch, near Jamnagar.

Antiquity (places: history, archaeology, nature, religion)

KITLV 88174 - Unknown - Temple at Kathiawad in British India - 1897
Temple in Kathiawad, 1897.
Mer Dandiya
People of Mer Community (primarily found in Saurashtra) in one of the Sword dance forms
Bhil women of Kathiawar Gujarat 1890
Bhil women of Kathiawar, 1890

Notable characters and figures

The list of some divine, notable figures, characters and events related to Kathiawar-Saurashtra can be very exhaustive. Covering different sections, fields and class of society, a few of them are as following:

Religion, pre-history, spirituality

Society, ideology, politics, leadership

Governance, nobility, reforms, politics

Art, literature, poetry, journalism, socialism

Sports, adventure

Cinema, entertainment, music, folklore

Business, industry, innovation, entrepreneurship, philanthropy

History, culture, bravery, events

See also


  1. ^ "Gujarat Map". mapsofindia.com. Retrieved 2016-03-21.
  2. ^ a b Geptner, V. G., Sludskij, A. A. (1972). Mlekopitajuščie Sovetskogo Soiuza. Vysšaia Škola, Moskva. (In Russian; English translation: Heptner, V.G., Sludskii, A. A., Komarov, A., Komorov, N.; Hoffmann, R. S. (1992). Mammals of the Soviet Union. Vol III: Carnivores (Feloidea). Smithsonian Institution and the National Science Foundation, Washington DC).
  3. ^ a b Pocock, R. I. (1939). The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Mammalia. – Volume 1. Taylor and Francis Ltd., London. Pp. 199–222.
  4. ^ a b Nowell, Kristin; Jackson, Peter (1996). "Panthera Leo". Wild Cats: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan (PDF). Gland, Switzerland: IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group. pp. 17–21. ISBN 2-8317-0045-0.
  5. ^ a b "Asiatic Lion population up from 411 to 523 in five years". Desh Gujarat. 2015-05-10. Retrieved 2016-11-26.
  6. ^ Chandrani, Yogesh. "Legacies of Colonial History: Region, Religion, and Violence in Postcolonial Gujarat" (PDF) (1): 2.
  7. ^ Edward Balfour (1885). The Cyclopædia of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia: Commercial, Industrial and Scientific, Products of the Mineral, Vegetable, and Animal Kingdoms, Useful Arts and Manufactures. B. Quaritch. pp. 521–.
  8. ^ Baij Nath Puri (1986). The history of the Gurjara-Pratihāras. Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers. p. xvii.
  9. ^ Narendra Singh (2001). Encyclopaedia of Jainism. Anmol Publications PVT. LTD.
  10. ^ "A Few Words about Shri Harilal Upadhyay"

Coordinates: 21°48′N 70°45′E / 21.8°N 70.75°E

Alampur, Gujarat

Alampur is a town and former Rajput petty princely state on Saurashtra peninsula, in Gujarat, western India.

Baroda, Western India and Gujarat States Agency

The Baroda, Western India and Gujarat States Agency was a political agency of British India, managing the relations of the British government of the Bombay Presidency with a collection of princely states.The political agent in charge of the agency resided at Baroda (Vadodara).

Bhavnagar State

Bhavnagar State was one of the 13-gun salute princely states of British India. It was part of Kathiawar Agency.It was in Saurashtra during the British Raj.The Principality of Bhavnagar covered an area of 2,961 sq. miles and a population of 618,429 in 1941.

Its last ruler signed the accession to the Indian Union on 15 February 1948.

Dhrol State

Dhrol State was one of the 562 princely states of British India. It was a 9 gun salute state belonging to the Kathiawar Agency of the Bombay Presidency.

Its capital was in the town of Dhrol, located in the historical Halar region of Kathiawar.

Gondal State

Gondal State was one of the eight first class princely states of Kathiawar Agency, Bombay Presidency in British India. Ruled by a Hindu Rajput dynasty of the Jadeja clan, the capital of the state was Gondal town.

Jasdan State

Jasdan State was a princely state in Saurashtra during the British Raj. Its last ruler signed the accession to the Indian Union on 15 February 1948. The capital of the state was in Jasdan town.

Kathiawar-Gir dry deciduous forests

The Kathiawar-Gir dry deciduous forests is a mostly arid ecoregion in northwestern India that stretches over 103,100 sq mi (267,000 km2) across Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The dry deciduous forests in the region are dominated by teak, and thorny trees and scrub in drier areas.

Kathiawar Agency

The Kathiawar Agency, on the Kathiawar peninsula (Saurashtra lying between 20° 41′ and 23° 8′ N. and 68° 56′ and 72° 20′ E.; extreme length about 220 miles, greatest breadth about 165 miles, area about 23,445 square miles, and its 1001 population 2,645,805) in the western part of the Indian subcontinent, was a political unit of some 200 small princely states under the suzerainty of the Bombay Presidency of British India, now part of Gujarat state. About 1,245 square miles, with 173,436 persons, belonged to the Gaikwar; about 1,298 square miles, with 128,559 persons, to Ahmadabad District; about 20 square miles, with 14,614 persons, to the Portuguese possession of Diu; while the vast remainder (area 20,882 square miles and population 2,329,196) was the territory forming the Political Agency.The agency's headquarters were at Rajkot, the town where the British Political Agent used to reside. He reported to the Political Department office at Bombay, Bombay Presidency.

List of princely states of British India (by region)

Before the Partition of India in 1947, 584 Princely States, also called Native States, existed in India, which were not fully and formally part of British India, the parts of the Indian subcontinent which had not been conquered or annexed by the British but under indirect rule, subject to subsidiary alliances.

Things moved quickly after the partition of British India in 1947. By the end of 1949, all of the states had chosen to accede to one of the newly independent states of India or Pakistan or else had been conquered and annexed.

Memon people

The term Memon refers to a mostly Muslim community from the western part of South Asia, including Memons historically associated with Kathiawar. It can also refer to Kutchi Memons and Sindhi Memons. They are associated with the Memon language. Many Memons migrated to Pakistan after the Partition of India in 1947.

Morvi State

Morvi State, also spelt as Morvee State or Morbi State, was a princely salute state in the historical Halar prant (district) of Kathiawar during the British Raj.

The town of Morvi (Morbi), Gujarat, was its capital.

The state's last ruler signed the accession to the Indian Union on 15 February 1948.

Palitana State

Palitana was a princely state in India during the British Raj until 1948. The center was the city of Palitana. The last ruler of the state received a privy purse of 180,000 Rupees at the state's accession to independent India on 15 February 1948.

Rajpur (Kathiawar)

Rajpur is a town and former minor Rajput princely state on Saurashtra peninsula in Gujarat, western India.

Saurashtra (region)

Saurashtra, also known as Sorath or Kathiawar, is a peninsular region of Gujarat, India, located on the Arabian Sea coast. It covers about a third of Gujarat state, notably 11 districts of Gujarat, including Rajkot District.

Saurashtra (state)

Saurashtra, also known as United State of Kathiawar, was a separate, western State within the Union of India from 1948 until 1956, on Saurashtra alias Kathiawar peninsula, with Rajkot as its capital, on territory now part of Gujarat state.

Saurashtra cricket team

Saurashtra cricket team is one of three cricket teams based in Gujarat which competes in the Ranji Trophy (the others being Baroda and Gujarat).

Vadod, Kathiawar

For namesakes, see Vadod

Vadod is a village and former Rajput non-salute princely state on Saurashtra peninsula in Gujarat, western India.

Wadhwan State

Wadhwan was a princely state during the British Raj.

The town of Wadhwan in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat was its capital. Its last ruler signed the accession to the Indian Union on 15 February 1948.

Wankaner State

Wankaner State was one of the princely states of India in the historical Halar region of Kathiawar during the period of the British Raj. It was an eleven gun salute state belonging to the Kathiawar Agency of the Bombay Presidency.

Its capital was in Wankaner, located in Rajkot district, present-day Gujarat state. Most of the territory of the state was mountainous.

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