The arts and architecture of Gujarat reflect its vantage point as an ancient gateway for trade, migration, faith and more. Take our quiz to get just a small glimpse into the creative world of the Gujaratis.
Congratulations on the high score! Cue happy dance, Gujarati style…
Sorry about the score—but as long as you had fun playing, it’s all good! Or as they say in Gujarat…
#1. Gujarat's famous Garba dance is performed to worship which Hindu deity?
Deriving its name from the Sanskrit word for womb ‘garbha’, the Gujarati dance synonymous with the festival of Navaratri is typically performed around an idol of Goddess Durga. The garba is a celebration of fertility and the divine feminine. Read more about Mother Goddess here. In 2023, UNESCO added garba dance to the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Image: From ‘Patang‘, Contemporary Candarvo by Sumit Chitara, Natural colours on textile, 2019 © Sarmaya Arts Foundation 2019.46.2
#2. Bandhani is a technique that refers to the way that fabric is:
Bandhani or bandhej is a tie-dye technique that is believed to date to the time of the Indus Valley Civilisation. It’s an intensive process in which precise patterns of knots are made on a fabric before it is resist-dyed. In Gujarat and Rajasthan, bandhani saris and turbans are worn on festive and auspicious occasions.
Image: From Women of India, by Otto Rothfeld and painted by MV Dhurandhar, 1928 © Sarmaya Arts Foundation 2017.73.10
#3. The name of which sacred Indian textile art translates to 'behind the Mother Goddess'?
When people of the Vaghri community of Gujarat were barred from entering temples due to their caste, they made their own shrines that could travel with them. Painting depictions of the Mother Goddess onto a piece of cloth, they created an art form called Mata-ni-Pachedi, Gujarati for ‘behind the Mother Goddess’. These painted textiles were used in nomadic shrines as wall-hangings and canopies, the latter known as Mata-no-Chandarvo.
Image: Canopy of Vishat Mata, Chandarvo by Sanjay Chitara, Block print on cotton cloth, early 21st century © Sarmaya Arts Foundation 2018.1.4
#4. Zari is the art of weaving gold or silver threads into fabric to create iridescent patterns. Which city in Gujarat is most closely associated with this textile art?
Zari, the practice of embroidering with gold threads, is believed to have originated in Persia (present-day Iran). During the Mughal era, Surat became a centre for Zari craftsmanship. Surat Zari has been granted Geographical Indication status as a distinctive and historic craft of the region.
‘Dancing Girl, Western India’, c.1870s © Sarmaya Arts Foundation 2018.54.6 (a)
#5. Shatrunjaya Pata is a devotional art form that depicts scenes from which holy town in Gujarat?
Painted on cotton cloths, Shatrunjaya Patas map the hills of Palitana, sacred to Jains. Mt Shatrunjaya is home to the principal temple of Adishvara, the first Jain Tirthankara or spiritual leader and the trek to its summit is the most important pilgrimage for Jains of the Shvetambara sect. The patas (cloth paintings) that commemorate this journey are intricate, large-scale renditions of this landscape.
Image: Detail of a Shatrunjaya Pata, 1967, unidentified artist, natural pigments and water-based colours on canvas © Sarmaya Arts Foundation 2019.20.1
#6. A textile company in Vapi, Gujarat makes the towels used by tennis stars at this legendary tournament:
Since 2010, towels used by the sportstars at the Wimbledon have been manufactured in the city of Vapi in Gujarat. The factory is owned by the Indian brand Welspun Living, which shifted the terry towel facility here from its original home in Manchester, UK—once known as the textile hub of the world.
Image: Roger Federer at Wimbledon Tennis Championships 2021. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) (AP) Source
#7. A 'vav' is an indigenous water-harvesting structure found in Gujarat. What is another word for 'vav'?
A stepwell is a communal space that gives people access to underground springs in arid regions of the Indian subcontinent. Most were built during the Medieval era, when rulers would commission ‘vavs’ or ‘baolis’ as part of urban planning and as architectural legacies. (Read more here.) This is a 150-year-old photograph of Adlaj ni Vav near Gandhinagar. Built by the 15th-century Vaghela rulers, the stepwell is five storeys tall and its walls and pillars are carved intricately with Hindu, Islamic and Jain iconography.
Image: Adlaj ni vav, 1874 ©️ Sarmaya Arts Foundation 2016.22.3(3)
#8. What is the name of Gujarat's tribal crocodile god?
Mogra Dev, who derives his name from the Hindi word ‘mugger’ for crocodile, is worshipped by Adivasi communities, including the Chodhri, Gamit and Vasava tribes. Gujarat is home to one of the largest crocodilian habitats in India, with most numbers concentrated in the Narmada and Vishwamitri rivers. Crocodiles are also regarded as divine by the Vaghri community, who believe the reptiles are the vahan or mount of the goddess Khodiyar Mata.
Image: Crocodile, Sanjay Chitara © Sarmaya Arts Foundation 2016.44.8
#9. The 10th-century Sun Temple of Kotai stands on the banks of this water-body:
The Sun Temple at Kotai stands on the shores of the salt marsh called the Great Rann of Kutch in the Thar desert. Built in the 10th Century, the temple is considered an important architectural relic of the Solanki era much like the Sun Temple at Modhera, also in Gujarat. This photograph dates to 1850-1880 and was taken by British archaeologist, James Burgess, who documented the historic sites of Kutch and Kathiawar.
Image: Sun Temple, Kotai, Gujarat, c. 1850-1880, James Burgess © Sarmaya Arts Foundation 2016.2.11
#10. Gujarat's Dwarkadish Temple is one of the stops on which important Hindu pilgrimage?
Dwarakadish, ‘the King of Dwarka’, is a temple to Lord Krishna and one of the four stops on the Char Dham pilgrimage; the other three are Badrinath in Uttar Pradesh, Rameswaram Temple in Tamil Nadu and Jagannath in Odisha. The present structure of the Dwarkadish Temple dates to the 16th Century and stands on the banks of the Gomti river in the coastal town of Dwarka, Gujarat.
Image: From Scenery, Costumes and Architecture, Chiefly on the Western Side of India, Robert Melville Grindlay, 1827 © Sarmaya Arts Foundation 2016.30.12 (2)
#11. In which city will you find this mosque built inside a fort?
The Jama Masjid in Junagadh is built inside the Uparkot Fort. It was commissioned by Mahmud Shah I in 1472 after he captured Junagadh from the Chudasama dynasty. The corkscrew shaped minarets are one of the Jama Masjid’s distinguishing features.
Image: Jama Masjid, Junagadh, 1901 © Sarmaya Arts Foundation 2018.28.1 (12)
#12. Which artist is credited with founding the influential art movement known as Baroda School?
The Baroda Group of Artists aka Baroda School was founded by NS Bendre in 1956-57, while he taught at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University. The Group, which comprised artists like Jyoti Bhatt, Bhupen Khakhar and Gulammohammed Sheikh, drew inspiration from indigenous living art traditions. Many of the original members of the Baroda Group were students of NS Bendre, who himself drew from a vast array of artistic influences from Western movements like cubism to Indian miniature paintings.
All images © Sarmaya Arts Foundation: Untitled (Temple with peacocks), 1989, Bhupen Khakhar, 2018.63.2; Untitled (Still Life), 1953, Jyoti Bhatt, 2015.1.73; Still Life, KH Ara, 2018.61.1; A Flower Vase, 1943, NS Bendre 2015.1.125
#13. In 1890, the Kala Bhavan in Baroda was built to train artisans. Today, this landmark is better known as:
Today, this stately Indo-Saracenic structure houses army offices and Barodians know it as Senapati Bhavan. The Kala Bhavan Technical Institute was founded here in 1890 to teach drawing, dyeing, calico printing and carpentry. With the establishment of the Maharaja Sayajirao University in 1949, the faculty was shifted out of this building.
Image: Kala Bhavan, Baroda, c. 1900-1920 © Sarmaya Arts Foundation 2020.4.1 (32)
#14. The Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIM-A) logo is inspired by a motif from this city landmark:
The Siddi Sayyed Masjid is also known as Siddi Sayyed ni Jaali for its famous latticework windows; the logo of IIM-A is inspired by its Tree of Life motif. The mosque was built in the late-16th century by the African-origin Shaikh Sayyed Al-Habshi Sultani, who was brought to India as a slave and rose within the military ranks to attain nobility. Siddi Sayyed’s mosque is one of the most recognised relics of architecture from the Gujarat Sultanate era.