All About Surat


Surat is the busiest commercial center located in the Indian state of Gujarat. It is the eighth most populous city and third cleanest city in India with a population of 4.6 million people. It is also called as the City of Textiles and the Diamond Capital of the World. It is situated on the banks of the River Tapti. 92% of the world’s diamond cutting and polishing is done here and it is famous for its zari and embroidery. It is the 36th largest city in the world.


History of Surat


Surat was ruled over by the Western Chalukyas and then it was captured by Qutbuddin Aibak. The Parsi settlement in this place started in 12th Century and this place served as a gateway to Mecca for the Haj pilgrims in ancient times. From 1512 to 1530, the Portuguese Empire was established here and they plundered the city. They were conducting their sea trade through this city. After the Battle of Swally, the British Captain Best and Captain Downton established their supremacy here defeating the Portuguese. Chhatrapati Shivaji the king of Martha attacked Surat in 1664 and captured the city after three weeks struggle.


When Catherine of Braganza was wedded to Charles II in 1662, this place was given as dowry. Again Shivaji captured it in 1670. The wealthiest Bawamia family worked to improve the businesses and the economy of the place in 19th century. Many factories like cotton mills, rice mills and paper mills were established in the early 20th century and this place became one of the busiest commercial hubs of India. The plague epidemic in 1994 took its toll and Surat had a bad time for a couple of years. It rose from its ashes and is thriving well in recent times.


Geography and Climate


Surat is the port city of Gujarat situated at an average elevation of 13 meters. It has the Gulf of Cambay to its west. The city enjoys abundant rainfall all through the year. The average rainfall is 2500 mm. It has tropical savanna climate and the summer season lasts from March till June. During the hot summer the average temperature is 40 degree centigrade and during the monsoon season of June to September, the temperature falls to 32 degree centigrade. In the winter season the average temperature is 23 degree centigrade. Due to heavy rains floods are caused in Tapti basin. It suffered the worst flood in August 2006.


People and Culture


The population of Surat is 5 million. The literacy rate of Surat is 83% with male literacy rate of 81% and female literacy rate of 70%. Some of the main languages spoken here are Gujarati, Sindhi, hindi, Marvadi, Marathi, Telugu and Oriya.


Surti cuisine is famous for its favorites such as Ghari, Locho, Rasawala Kaman, Surti Undhiyu, Laaris, Rekdis, Ponk, etc. The non-vegetarian items like Tapela, Fish, lemon chicken, ghotala, kheema, half fry, etc are also eaten.


Together with the popular Indian festivals like Diwali, Eid ul alha, Eid ul Fitr and Christmas, other festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi, Navrathiri and Makar Sankranthi are also celebrated here. Chandi Padvo is celebrated in October after Sharad Purnima and this is a region specific celebration. Kite Flying Festival is famous here.


The newspapers and magazines published from this place are Gujarat Mitra, Gujarat Samachar, Sandesh, Divya Bhaskar, Commodity World, Loktej, Rajasthan Patrika, Savera, DNA-Daily News and Analysis, The Times of India, Indian Express, Mid Day, Loksatta, Lokmat, Sakal, etc.


The cricket matches are conducted in the Lalbhai Contractor Stadium and Pithawala Cricket Stadium here and it also has an indoor stadium for badminton and table tennis. Boat race is conducted in the Tapti River every year.


The songs and dances form an integral part of culture of Surat and their various forms are Ras, Garba, Tippani Nritya, Siddi Dance, Padhar Nritya and Dangi Nritya. There are tribal dances and folk dramas also performed here. The city is famous for its handicrafts and artifacts and embroidery.


Economy and Education of Surat


The GDP of the city is 10 billion USD in 2010. The major businesses here are diamonds, textiles and real estate. It accounts for the 18% of the total manmade fibre export and 40% of the total diamond export from India. Most of the diamonds polishing companies are located in the Varachha area. The city has the highest per capita income with the average annual household income of Rs. 457,000. There are about 80,000 embroidery units in the city and zari is the oldest business here.


Some of the biggest companies located here are Reliance petrochemical plant, Essar steel plant, L&T heavy engineering unit, GSEG, ONGC gas processing plant, Gas Authority of India Limited, Vimal, Larsen and Toubro, Torrent Power, Shell, GIPCL, NTPC – KGPP power plant, etc.


There are GSEB schools, CBSE schools and NIOS schools located here. The medium of instruction is either English or Gujarati. The schools are run by both government and private institutions. Some of the schools of Surat are J. H. Ambani Saraswati Vidhyamandir, Essar International School, Ryan International School, St. Xavier’s, Metas of Seventhday Adventist, Divine Child High School and G. D. Goenka International School. 10+2+3/4 education system is followed.


Some of the colleges of Surat are Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology, Sardar Vallabhbhai Regional Engineering College, Government Engineering College, Dr. S. & S. S. Ghandhy College of Engineering & Technology, Sarvajanik College of Engineering and Technology, C K Pthawala College of Engineering and Technology, Bhagwan Mahavir College of Engineering and Technology, Government Medical College and New Civil Hospital, SMIMER, Shri O. H. Nazar Ayurvedic College and Hospital, C. D. Pachchigar Homeopathic Medical College, The Sarvajanik College of Physiotherapy, Al Jamea Tus Saifiyah Islamic Arabic Academy, etc.


Infrastructure of Surat


Surat has a metropolitan area of 4207 square kilometers and this comprises many towns namely Hazira, Kadodara, Bardoli, Bilimora, Bamroli, Navsari, Sayan, Kim, Olpad, Kosamba – Tarasadi, Dindoli and Sachin-Kanakpur-Kansad.


Some of the hospitals located here are K P Sanghvi Hospital, Esis Hospital, Mahadev Orthopaedic Hospital, Maskati Hospital, Jivani Ortho Hospital, Mahavir General Hospital, Gabani Kidney Hospital, Navin Orthopaedic Hospital, Lokhat Hospital, Seventh Day Adventist Hospital, etc.


Some of the hotels and lodges in Surat are Hotel Holiday Inn, Budget Inn, ginger Hotel, Lords Plaza, Budget Inn Belleuve, Hotel Oasis, Hotel Central Excellency, Hotel Yuvraj, Hotel Ashish International, Hotel Sheetal Plaza, Hotel Ashirwad, Hotel Lords Park, Hotel Tex Palazzo, Hotel Apex, The Grand Bhagwati, Hotel Taj Gateway Inn, etc.


Some of the libraries here are Kavi Narmad Central Library, Gandhi Smruti Library, Nagindas Kazi Free Library, Ganpatram A. Travadi Free Library and Public Library. If you are staying in Surat, you can visit number of beaches here located at a short distance from the main city such as Dumas, Hajira, Umbharat, Navsari, Udvada and Sanjan.


Surat sarees are very popular. If you are staying there then you can buy the saris with beautiful embroidery works and jari works. Also the place is well known for its handicrafts. The decorative items carved out of wood are available here. The place is also famous for its dazzling jewelry. Some of the shopping complexes and departmental stores in Surat are Shree Janki Shofting Complex, Surendra Stores, Kachchhi Store Patel Haresh Jethabhai and Binayak Departmental Store.


The banks in Surat are Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India, State Bank of India, Central Bank of India, Canara Bank, Surat District Coop Bank, Punjab National Bank, Indian Bank, Punjab and Sindh Bank, Bank of India, Bank of Rajasthan, Syndicate Bank, Diamond Jubilee Coop Bank, Surat Mahila Nagar Sahkar, Bank of Maharashtra, Indian Bank, Dena Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Laxmi Vilas Bank, Rajkot Nagrik Sahakari Bank, Sanghli Bank Ltd, etc.


Transport Facilities in Surat


The Surat Airport was closed in 2001 and the new airport was opened on 6th May 2007. One flight flies from Surat to Delhi every day. An international airport is under construction in Magdalla Dumas area.


Surat railway station is a part of Western Railways and it was erected by the British Government in 1860. The city is well connected by train to all the major cities of India namely Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Bhopal, Indore, Jalgaon, Nagpur, etc. The Surat railway station has its railway platform built on the first floor and the train reaches there through an inclined ramp.


The city has the port and this is used for shipping goods. There is a plan to connect Surat with Bhavnagar, Mumbai, Doa and Dubai through ferry service. The port of Surat served as the gateway for the Muslim pilgrims going to Mecca to perform their Haj before a century.


Surat has well laid roads and NH 8, NH 6 and NH 228 passes near the city connecting it with major places. Surat city New expressways are to be built soon. One can see many elevated roads and flyovers and multi-layer flyovers in the city. Varachcha Flyway is one of the longest four lane flyover in India. The SMSS bus service was started on 22nd August 2008 and these buses operate by CNG fuel. Bus Rapid Transit System is soon to be completed.


Places of Interest in Surat


The Old Fort: This fort was built in 14th century A.D by the then king Muhammad Tughlak and fortified by the British in 1616. It is now used as municipal office.


Dumas: It is an attractive place with pleasant weather and scenic beauty. The cottages on the seafront are rejuvenating.


Hajira Beach: It is situated 28 Kms from the city and is popular for its palm trees and casurina trees.


Gopipura: It is supposed that the Brahmin Gopi founded this village and it has many Jain temples and houses Agama Mandir. The large mansions with rich woodcarvings are seen here.


Winchester Museum: Mr. Winchester was a British Collector and he worked to improve the city through his constructive works and it houses many valuable articles of historical importance. It is now called as Sardar Patel Museum.


Dandi: It is where the famous Dandi March of Salt Satyagraha was conducted in 1930 to show the protest of Indian people against the British rule in India.


The Textile Market: It has countless shops selling variety of saris and other clothes.


Sunrise Point: One can get the best view of Saputara and Malegoan from here. You can get a glimpse of panoramic view from here. This is also called as Valley View Point.


Tribal Museum: It has collections that showcase the lifestyle and culture of the different ethnicities like Bhils, Kunbis, Gamits, Kothewalis and Warlis.


Vansda National Park: It spreads over 24 square kilometers and has many animals like tiger, leopard, python, giant squirrel, antelope with four horns, etc. To visit this, the permission from the Chief Wildlife Warden of Gandhi Nagar is mandatory.


Gandharvapura Artists Village: If you visit here you can find lots of handicrafts, pottery, handmade jewelry, paintings, bamboo products, etc.


The Chintamani Jain Temple: This has beautiful wooden carvings and is built in 15th century and contains the paintings of Acharya Hemachandra. This is a holy place for Jains.


Dutch Garden: This is where the ships sailed to many parts of the world in ancient India.


Jawaharlal Nehru Garden: This is also called as Chowpaty and is one of the oldest gardens in Surat. The garden has a musical fountain and eat-spots serving various cuisines.


Saputara: This hill station is located 170 kilometers from Surat and is located at an elevation of 1140 meters above mean sea level. This is referred to as the abode of serpents. This place has scenic beauty with its waterfalls, lakes, streams and woodlands. Boating facility is available here and you can enjoy the panoramic view by traveling in the Chimney roapway.


The Dutch Cemetery: It is the mausoleum of Baron Hendrik Adriaan Van Rheede tot Drakenstein who died in the year 1691. It has huge gallery with beautiful dome and pillars.


Science City: It is established by the Surat Municipal Corporation and considered to be one of the best of its kind in India.


All these details about Surat will help a lot for the first time traveler going to the city.

Article Posted By : SumazlalView All Articles

Suhaina Mazhar is a freelance content writer and blogger with five years experience in content writing. is her blog.

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