Gujarat is a state in western India with an area of 196,024 square kilometers (75,685 sq mi) and a population of 60,383,628 (2011 census). It is bordered by Rajasthan to the north, Maharashtra to the south, Madhya Pradesh to the east, and the Arabian Sea and Pakistan to the west. The state capital is Gandhinagar, while the largest city is Ahmedabad. Gujarat is home to the Gujarati people, who speak Gujarati, a language of the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family.
The first mention of the name "Gujarat" is in a 9th-century inscription of a merchant named Jainal, who hailed from 8th-century Kannauj. The inscription refers to the region as Gurjaratra, which was ruled by the Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty. In this inscription, the region is referred to as a "thakuradhipati" (lord of the region).
The Gurjara-Pratiharas were a dynasty of Hindu kings who ruled much of northern and central India from the 6th to the 11th centuries. The Gurjara-Pratiharas were instrumental in resisting the Muslim incursions into India, and they ruled Gujarat as a virtually independent state.
Gujarat was also the site of the 10th-century Solanki dynasty, which controlled much of western and central India. The Solankis were a Hindu dynasty that ruled Gujarat from 960 to 1243. They were the first dynasty to build a temple to the sun god Surya in the city of Modhera.
Gujarat was also the home of the Maitraka dynasty, which ruled Gujarat from 475 to 767. The Maitrakas were a Buddhist dynasty, and the first to introduce the religion of Buddhism to Gujarat.