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Saurashtra (also Soruth and Sorath) is a region of western Indiamarker, located on the Arabian Seamarker coast of Gujaratmarker state. It is a peninsula also called Kathiawar after the Kathi Darbar rulers who ruled part of the region once. The Peninsula is shared with the Kachchh region which occupies the north, Saurashtra or Sorath forming the southern portion.

History

Surastrene, or Saraostus is mentioned in the 1st century CE Periplus of the Erythraean Sea:
Map of ancient Indian kingdoms.
Sorath was the former name of the Muslim-ruled Princely State of Junagadhmarker ("Junagarh" or the "Old City"). During British rule, Junagadh and its neighboring princely states were supervised by the Western India States Agency (WISA). In 1947, Junagadh's Muslim ruler desired to accede his territory to Pakistan, but the predominantly Hindu population rebelled, and while he fled to Pakistan, a plebiscite was conducted as a result of which the kingdom was merged into the Indian Union.

Saurashtra state

After India's independence in 1947, 217 princely states of Kathiawar and Saurashtra, including the former kingdom of Junagadh, were grouped together to form the state of Saurashtra in 1948. The capital of Saurashtra was Rajkotmarker. Uchharangray Navalshankar Dhebar (1905-1977) became the first Chief Minister. He was succeeded by Rasiklal Umedchand Parikh (born 1910) on 19 December, 1954.

On November 1, 1956, Saurashtra was merged into Bombay state. In 1960 Bombay state was divided along linguistic lines into the new states of Gujaratmarker and Maharashtramarker. The territory of Saurashtra, including that of the former kingdom of Sorath or Junagadh is now part of the state of Gujaratmarker.

Language

Saurashtra (alternate names and spellings: Sourashtra, Sowrashtra, Palkar, Saurashtri) is also the name of an Indo-Aryan language of Kathiawar-Saurashtra.

Postage stamps

The first postage stamps of the state were issued for Junagadh in 1864. They consisted of three lines of Hindi script in colorless letters on black, and were produced by handstamping with watercolor ink. A second issue, in 1868 used colored letters, printed in black or red on several colors of paper.

The issue of 1877 was the first to include Latin letters; the circular design included the inscription "SORUTH POSTAGE" at the top, and "ONE ANNA OF A RUPEE" (or "FOUR ANNAS...") at the bottom. Some of these were surcharged in 1913-14, followed by redesigned stamps in 1914.

The next issue came in 1923, and featured a portrait of Nawab Mahabat Khan III, along with the inscription "SAURASHTRA POSTAGE". A set of eight stamps in 1929 including pictures of Junagadh, the Gir Lion, and the Kathi Horse in addition to the Nawab. In 1937 the one anna value was reissued reading "POSTAGE AND REVENUE".

The Indian province of Saurashtra did not design any of its own stamps, but before adopting the stamps of India, Saurashtra issued a court fee stamp overprinted for postal use, then created more one anna stamps by surcharging three stamps of the 1929 issue.

Kathiavadi version of gujarati

See also



Notes

References

  • Ron Wood, Soruth (Handbook of Indian Philately, Series 2, Hampshire, UK: The India Study Circle for Philately, 1999)

Further reading

Further information regarding the culture and people of saurashtra can be found in the works of Harilal Upadhyay, well known Gujarati author.



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