the diamond capital
|Type of Tourism||: City and Heritage Tourism|
|Area||: 326.515 square kilometers|
|Population||: 4,462,003 (As per Indian census- 2011)|
|Altitude||: 13 meters|
|Best Tourist Season||: October to April|
|Telephone Code||: India (0261), International (+91)|
|Pin Codes||: 395003|
|Clothing recommended||: Light cotton in summer, woolen in winter|
|Languages spoken||: Gujarati, Hindi, English|
|What To Buy||: Saris, Bandhani, Dress Materials, Zari Work, Embroidered Fabrics, Lehenga Choli, Curtains, Bed Sheets, Other Textile, Diamond Jewellery, Imitation Jewellery, Handlooms, Handicrafts, Wood, Ivory And Tin Decorative Items, Silver Works, Electronics, etc.|
|Food Specialties||: Surti Ghari, Surti Khaman, Surti Locho, Surti Undhiyu, Muthia, Rasawala Khaman, Ponk, Fafda, Khaja, Handvo, Chevdo, Cold Coco, etc.|
|Local transportation||: Auto Rickshaw, SMSS City Buses|
Nestled on the left banks of the river Tapi approximately 306 kilometers to the south of the state capital Gandhinagar, Surat is a metropolitan of Southern Gujarat and the administrative headquarters of the district of the same name. Acknowledged as the third cleanest city of the country and the second largest city of the state of Gujarat, Surat is the 13th most populated city of India. Accredited to be one of the fastest economically growing cities of the country (with the highest GDP growth rates), Surat has also earned the credential of being the forth most rapidly developing city in the world. No wonder this port city has been bestowed upon the title; the ‘commercial capital’ of Gujarat. Furnishing as a major port during the Mughal Era from where pilgrims sailed to Mecca and a foremost trade harbor in 17th and 18th century during the British Colonization from where textile, diamonds and spices were exported abroad, the present day Surat is anointed to the status of ‘the diamond capital’ of the world. Over 92% of the world’s diamonds are cut and polished here.
Apart from its thriving gem industry, Surat is extensively recognized for its booming textile enterprises. Also known as ‘the textile capital’‘ and ‘ ‘the Manchester of Gujarat’‘, Surat has also acquired a moniker, the ‘Embroidery capital of India’. This city boasts of having the highest number of embroidery machines as compared to any other Indian civic. Surat is equally acclaimed for its Saris, fine silk and extraordinary brocades such as Tanchoi, Kinkhab and Gajri woven with gold and silver threads. Here you will see a wide range of dazzling varieties of Saris and other fabric, and that too at a comparatively lower rate. It won’t be an overstatement to declare that 1 out of every 5 saris is manufactured in Surat. But, it should be noted that there is much more in the casket of Surat than just textile looms and diamond industries. Surat Municipal Corporation has recently identified about 2,800 heritage structures in the city and has decided to promote Surat more as a tourism hub.
History Of Surat
Surat, the diamond capital of India has witnessed a prolonged series of an eventful history over the centuries. The earliest reference to the name of Surat has been found in the great Indian epic ‘Mahabharata’. Lord Krishna is said to have halted at this place on his way to Dwarka from Mathura. In 610 AD, Surat came under the dominance of the Western Ch?lukyas and was retained by Hindu Kings until a military general of Qu?budd?n Aibak captured it. From 12th century AD Parsi communities inhabited Surat and also contributed to its prosperity to a great extent. During the Mughal rule in India, Surat rose to the status of a chief commercial pivot and the Surat Port was used as a gateway from where pilgrims sailed to Mecca. The Makkai Pul and the Mughal Sarai still standing intact at Surat testify this statement. It is locally believed here that the city Surat was founded by a Brahmin named Gopi in the late fifteenth century who originally named it ‘Suryapur’ meaning ‘the sun city’.
A Portuguese traveler Duarte Barbosa has described Surat as a prominent seaport from where many ships to and from Malabar and other parts of the world plied. Between 1512 and 1530 Surat was smoldered and devastated by the Portuguese and by the end of 16th century Portuguese had gained an unchallenged sovereignty over Surat and its trade. In the year 1664 Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj conquered Surat and looted the city for 3 days. Later, Portuguese were overpowered by the British and at the end of the ‘Battle of Swally’, the absolute reigns of Surat were held by the British East India Company. They made Surat the seat of a presidency and also established a British Factory here. Shivaji Maharaj ransacked Surat again in 1670. By 1687 British shifted the presidency to Bombay but later in 1759 they regained the absolute control of Surat.
This city remained quite peaceful and undisturbed even during the ‘Revolt of 1857’ as the main focus was always aimed at trade and commerce. The fire and flood of 1837 proved to be pernicious for Surat and many buildings were destroyed. But soon Surat regained its position in merchandise and became the throbbing center of trade. Cotton mills, rice mills, paper mills, manufacturers of silk brocade and Zari embroidery and diamond industries were restored. Recently in 1992 Surat fell victim to the never before communal riots and in 1994 the city had to face deadly floods. Floods were followed by a fatal Plague and the people of Surat had to work real hard to clean the city. The latest catastrophe that visited Surat was the lethal flood of August 2006 when the entire city affronted a brutal damage.
Surat, widely acclaimed for its diamond industry and textile industry is also reckoned for its delectable cuisines such as Surti Ghari, Surti Khaman, Surti Locho, Surti Undhiyu, Muthia, Rasawala Khaman, Ponk, Fafda, Khaja, Handvo, Chevdo, etc Surti people are foodies and they enjoy making different food items and eating them up! Surat is a thriving center of textile industry where we can buy saris, dress materials and other clothes at considerable low rates. Other than the traditional Indian festivals like Navaratri, Diwali, Holi, Makar Sankranti, Ganesh Chaturthi and so on, Surat is particularly famous for its Chandi Padvo festival celebrated in the month of October. This day is followed as a public holiday only in Surat and on the day of Chandi Padvo, Surtis consume almost 100 tons of Ghari and other Surti delicacies.