Saurashtra, also known as the Kathiawar peninsula, is the poster child for Gujarati diversity. Never part of British India, it consisted of 200 separate princely states until Independence during which time the laid-back landowners had amassed considerable feudal wealth. Head to toe in white, with turbans, pleated jackets and jodhpurs, and huge, golden stud earrings, these men are marvels of modern India, while the rural women are as colourful as those of Rajasthan and wear embroidered backless cholis and heavy jewellery. City folk, meanwhile, continue to be hard-at-it and industrious.
Saurashtra has a reputation for being fond of its sleep, and siesta takes place from at least 1pm to 3pm. Traffic moves slower than the flowery fields grow, and the sea breeze is never far away.
The peninsula took its name from the Kathi tribespeople who used to roam the area at night stealing whatever was not locked into the many kots (forts). It consists of a central plateau – with some fabulously remote terrain – sloping down towards secluded coastal plains, with dense forests on its other side.