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Western India

This region contains the states of Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Havel and the Union Territory of Daman and Diu.

Western India is bounded by Pakistan in the north and the Arabian Sea in the west. The largest rivers in this region are the Narmada, Tapi, Godavari, Zuari, Mandovi, Krishna, Ghaggar, Chambal.

Western India is known for pristine beaches of Goa, the Thar Desert, sand-dunes, forests, national parks, wildlife and bird sanctuaries.

The region is home to twelve UNESCO World Heritage sites: Hill Forts of Rajasthan, Jantar Mantar at Jaipur, Keoladeo Ghana National Park, Rani ki vav (stepwell) in Gujarat, Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park in Gujarat, Ajanta Caves, Ellora Caves, Elephanta Caves, Churches and Convents of Goa, Group of Monuments at Pattadakal, Group of Monuments at Hampi, and the Western Ghats.

It is one of the most heterogeneous regions in India in terms of culture, language as well as economic development. Majority of people follow Hinduism though there are minorities who follow Islam, Jainism and Christianity.

The states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa and Rajasthan are culturally varied and distinct.

Maharashtra is renowned for its vibrant capital Mumbai, multibillion film industry of Bollywood, cosmopolitan town of Pune, pilgrimage tourism (Shirdi), Yoga and meditation centers (Pune, Lonavla, Nagpur) and extraordinary caves of Ellora and Ajanta. Maharashtra has several hill stations and a long Konkan Coast extending from Mumbai to Goa.

Gujarat state is the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi and Vallabhbhai Patel, the worldwide figures for peaceful struggle. The state is known for Jain, Hindu and Muslim pilgrimage sites, Rani ki vav stepwels and Indo-Sarsenic architecture. The region payed an important part in history. It is home to major sites of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization. Geographically the region is known for the longest coastline in India, the Great Rann of Kutch salt desert, Gir National Park which is the only home to Asiatic lions outside Africa. The Kutch region in Gujarat is famous for its exquisite embroidery.

Goa is the most popular beach destination in India. The state is renowned for its pristine white sand beaches, Portuguese colonial heritage, historical churches, Yoga centers, numerous festivals, parties and fresh seafood.

Rajasthan is worldwide famous for its historical forts (Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Bundi, Bikaner), magnificent palaces (Udaipir, Jaipur), havelis, desert dunes, gardens, lakes (Ajmer, Pushkar Udaipur), National Parks and Tiger Reserves (Ranthambore National Park, Sarisk Tiger Reserve). The state is home to colorful cities including Pink City Jaipur, Golden City Jaisalmer, White City Udaipur, Blue City Jodhpur.

The cuisine of Western India is diverse. Goan cuisine is known for its use of seafood, coconut milk, rice and paste. It is distinguished into Goan Catholic and Goan Hindu cuisines. Maharashtrian cuisine varies from mild to very spicy. Popular dishes include Puranpoli (sweet flat bread), Batatawada (potato fritters). Gujarati cuisine is primarily vegetarian. Dhokla (vegeterian food made from rice and chickpeas) is a popular snack in this region. Gujarati Thali (plate) consists of Roti (flat bread), Daal (dried pulse) or Kadhi (a spicy thick gravy), rice, and Sabzi/shaa (vegetable cooked in gravy). Rajasthan cuisine is known for its snacks like Bikaneri Bhujia (crispy snack prepared by using gram flour and spices), Mirchi Bada (spicy snack consisting of chili and potato stuffing) and Pyaaj Kachori (a fried pastry filled with a spicy onion filling). Other famous dishes include Bajre ki Roti (millet bread) and Lashun ki Chutney (hot garlic paste), Mawa Kachori (a sweet pastry filled with aromatic mixture and nuts), etc.

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