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Surat city is located towards the west of India in the state of Gujarat. It is considered to be one of the most dynamic cities of India. The growth rate of Surat is also very fast because of immigration from several parts of Gujarat and also from all over India. Surat is also called “The Diamond City”, “The Silk City” and “The Green City” and it is considered to be one of the most prosperous cities of India. Surat ranks twelfth among the most populous cities of India and second among the most populous cities of Gujarat. It is basically a port city that is divided by the Tapi River and this is the reason why Surat experiences floods almost every year.
Surat is where the Britishers first landed in India. The Portuguese and the Dutch also established their business centers in Surat. The unemployment rate of Surat is also found to be zero because of the fact that there are a large number of industries located in and around the city and people from all over India move to this city in search of employment.
History of Surat
As for history of Surat, the city has its mention in Mahabharata, when Lord Krishna on his way to Dwarka from Mathura stopped at Surat. Parsis started settling in Surat in the 8th century. According to the local Hindu belief, the city of Surat was established in the late 15th century by Gopi who was a Brahman and he called the city Suryapur meaning the City of Sun. The great Gujarati poet Narmad also took birth in Surat. The Portuguese Empire ravaged Surat in 1512 and 1530 and the city got its name “Surat” in 1520. Until the 16th century, the Portuguese settled themselves as the undisputed masters of sea trade in Surat and they built a picaresque fortress on the banks of Tapi River in 1540 which is still found in the city.
The decline of Surat began in 1668 when East India Company came up with the establishment of a factory in Bombay. Surat was re-taken over by the English East India Company in 1759 and all the government powers of the city were assumed in 1800. The Surat synagogue and cemetery was founded by Joseph Semah, a Baghdadi Jewish who arrived in the city of Surat in 1730. At present Surat serves to be a very important center for manufacturing and trade. The city has experienced a number of disasters in the past and it is only because of this reason that the large scale development of the city has always followed a drawback.
Festivals Celebrated in Surat
Surat is considered to be a land of festivity and culture. Ganesh Chaturthi, Diwali and Navratri are the main festivals of this city. The people living in Surat also enjoy kite flying festival known as Uttarayan that falls on 14th or 15th January and this day is called Makar Sankranti. It is also called Vaasi Uttarayan and people fly kites by shouting ‘Kai PO Che’ meaning ‘I have cut.’
January stays a very eventful month in Surat. Surat is also known for the festival called Chandi Padvo that is celebrated in the month of October. It is observed as a holiday in the city. During Chandi Padvo, people in Surat eat Ghari and Bhusu which is a snack typical of Surat. Dang Darbar is also an important festival and traditional event of Surat. During this festival, the people dress themselves up in traditional attire and perform garba and ras. Skilled craftsmen also arrive from different parts of India to exhibit their products. Janmashtami is also an important festival celebrated in Surat. The rich culture and tradition of this city is found coming alive during the festivities.
Tourist Attractions in Surat
The tourist attractions ofSurathave always been drawing the attention of travelers. The months from October to March are considered to be the best months to visit Surat. People should make it a point to visit all the tourist attractions ranging from parks, beaches, museums and historical locations in Surat in order to come face to face with the rich tradition, culture and past of the city. The markets of Surat also form a major tourist attraction in the city because of their unique and antique displays. Some of the tourist spots of Surat have been elaborated below:
Blues Adventures Blues Adventures is one of the most exciting adventure and recreational projects of Surat which is aimed towards providing water sports fun and activities to the people.
The Chintamani Jain Temple This is a Jain temple located in Shahpor area of Surat and it is famous for its unique paintings and wooden carvings.
Dutch Garden Dutch garden also serves to be an important tourist attraction in Surat accompanied with Dutch Cemetery and the ancient original port named Makaipul.
Surat Fort Surat Fort is a very old fort that was built in 1616 by the Britishers.
Sardar Patel Museum This museum came into being in 1998 and it was previously called the Winchester Museum possessing a collection of more than 10,000 specimens of crafts and arts.
Jawaharlal Nehru Garden This garden is also called Chowpati and it is one of the oldest and the largest gardens in Surat.
Dumas Dumas is a beach that is located at a distance of 16 kilometers from Surat.
Other Important Places in Surat
There are many other important places in Surat which hold lots of importance as tourist attractions. Here they are:
According to census report of 2011, the population of Surat city was 4,462,002. The average literacy rate of the city is 89% which is the higher than the national average of 79.5%. Male literacy rate in Surat is 93% and female literacy rate is 84%. Females constitute 47% of the total population while males constitute 53% of the entire population of Surat. 13% of the entire population of Surat is below six years of age. Surat also possesses a sizeable Jewish and Parsi population.
Geography of Surat
As for the geography of Surat, it is basically a port city that is located on the edge of the Tapi River. It was the damming of Tapi that brought about a total close of the porting facilities in Surat. The Hazira and the Magadalla areas of the Surat Metropolitan Region at present serve as the closest ports to the city. The average elevation of Surat is 13 meters and the entire district is surrounded by Navsari, Narmada and Bharuch, Gulf of Cambay in the west and other districts. The total area of Surat has grown since the 17th century and the entire city is divided by Tapi River into the old and the new city.
Climate of Surat
The climate of Surat is mainly tropical savanna type and monsoon rainfall is also abundant in the city. The Bureau of Indian Standards has also come forth with the point that the city falls under seismic zone- III in a scale of I to V and is more vulnerable to earthquakes. Summer in Surat begins from early March and lasts until April. The hottest months in Surat are April and May.
Monsoon in Surat begins in late June when the city experiences 1200 millimeters of rain till the September end. Monsoon retreats in the months of October and November and high temperature are measured until late November. December marks the beginning of winter and it ends in February.
Eat Outs in Surat
Surat cuisine is very famous all over the world. It includes some perennial favorites like Ghari which is special sweet, Petis, Locho, Rasaawala Khaman and Undhiyu. The cuisine of Surat is very spicy. The roadside food stalls called rekdis or laaris are also very popular. Ponk which is roasted millet is immensely popular in Surat. Many popular dishes of Gujarat owe their origin to Surat.
Surat is called as Kashi of Gujarat, in terms of food. There are a large number of eateries like Klassic, India Curry, Deewan-e-Khaas which are restaurants excelling in the field of giving the flavor of traditional food. South Indian food can be best relished at Mysore Café, Mallu Restaurant and Vishnu’s.
Surat has remained a great shopping destination for people in India since ancient times. The city serves to be the most important shopping center of Gujarat and it is also an important trading center in the state. Surat is very popular for its diamonds and textiles. Most of the diamonds in the world are polished and cut in Surat. The textile market of Surat is also very huge and it deals in exquisite brocades and fine silks. The silk sarees that are found in Surat are very popular throughout the world and Surat also possesses a very huge market for silk sarees. Pure silk sarees and sarees with Salma and Kinari work are majorly found in the city.
Shopping in Surat is even more exciting and fun because most of the markets sell traditional handicrafts and handloom items. Gold, silver and thread embroidery is very famous in Surat. Surat is also one of the major Zari manufacturing centers in India.
Accommodation in Surat
Accommodation options are great in Surat. There are a lot of luxury and budget-friendly hotels in the city that people can use in order to have a good stay in the city. Some of the best hotels located in Surat are Budget Inn Bellevue, Hotel Park, Tex Palazzo Hotel and Best western Yuvraj. The Grand Bhgwati is also a purely vegetarian hotel located in Surat and is immensely popular among the tourists. Another great hotel in Surat is Hotel Taj gateway that lies very close to Ambika Niketan Temple at Parle Point in Surat.
Facts and Figures about Surat
Surat ranks second among the largest cities of Gujarat and ninth among the largest cities of India. It is very popular for diamonds, textiles and delicious food. Surat is also very popular for its sarees.
Languages spoken: Hindi, Guajarati and English
STD code / IST Code: 0261 / +91-261
Population: 4.9 Million / 49 Lakhs
Location : Latitude / Longitude: 21°15' N 72°52' E
Climate: Mostly Mild
Summer temperature ranges from 22 °C to 40 °C
Winter temperature ranges from 12 °C to 31 °C
Area: 112.27 Sq.Kms
Population: 2,433,787 (2001 cen.)
Season: October to March
Rain Fall: 931.9 mm
Literacy Percent: 72%
How to Reach Surat
Reaching Surat is not a difficult thing to do as the city is found to be very well-connected to some of the most important cities and states of India.
There is an airport located in Suratwhich has direct connectivity with cities like Mumbai and Delhi. Airline companies like Air India and SpiceJet operate flights from the city of Surat.
Mumbai Division which is the Western railway Zone of Indian Railways possesses the administrative control of Surat Railway Station and its erection started in the year 1860.
The most important highways that pass throughSuratare Surat-Ahmedabad Highway popularly called Varachha Main Road and Udhana-Mumbai Highway called Udhana-Navsari Highway. Outer Ring Road and Middle Ring Road in Surat are also under construction in order to meet up with the traffic problem faced by the city due to rapid urbanization. New expressways are also being planned in Surat in order to get rid of heavy traffic in the city. The Golden Quadrilateral Highway System is also found passing through Surat city and there is even a 16 kilometers connector highway that connects the city to National Highway 8. In this way Surat is found to be very well-connected to different cities of India by road.
Local Transport in Sura: CNG fuelled auto-rickshaws and buses serve as the main mode of local transport in Surat.
Surat is the most popular city in Gujarat and it is also considered to be a great tourist place in Gujarat.