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Coordinates:  The city is situated on the left bank of the Tapti River, 14 miles from its mouth. A moat indicates the dividing-line between the old city, with its narrow streets and handsome houses, and the newer suburbs, but the city wall has almost disappeared. The city is largely recognized for its textile and diamond businesses. 92% of the world's diamonds are cut and polished in Surat. Surat (Gujarati: સુરત) is a port city in the Indian state of Gujarat and administrative headquarters of the Surat District. As of 2007, Surat and its metropolitan area had a population of approximately 4 million. It is the second largest city in Gujarat and ninth largest in India.
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Local traditions fix the establishment of the modern city in the last years of the fifteenth century, and in 1514 the Portuguese traveller Duarte Barbosa described it as an important seaport, frequented by many ships from Malabar and all parts of the world. There still is an irregular picturesque fortress on the banks of the river built in 1540. One particular village in the suburbs of Surat is Barbodhan Village, possibly named after the explorer Duarte Barbosa (it derives from "Bab-ul-Aden"—Doorway to Aden, Yemen—where it has strong cultural and trading links).
Surat eclipsed Cambay as the major port of western India, as Cambay's harbour had begun to silt up by the end of fifteenth century. Subsequently during the reigns of Mughal emperors Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan it rose to be the chief commercial city of India. An Imperial mint was established at Surat during that time. As the major port on the western seaboard of that time, Surat also served as the sailing port for the Hajj to Mecca. At the end of the 16th century the Portuguese were undisputed masters of the Surat sea trade. In 1608, ships from the British East India Company started docking in Surat, which was established as a trade transit point. In 1612, the British Captain Best, and after him Captain Downton, destroyed the Portuguese naval supremacy and obtained an imperial firman establishing a British factory at Surat following the Battle of Swally. The city was made the seat of a presidency under the British East India Company after the great success of the embassy of Sir Thomas Roe to the court of emperor Jehangir. The Dutch also founded a factory.
In those days Surat was known to be almost the city of Kubera, the God of Wealth. In 1664 the Maratha leader Shivaji sacked and looted Surat. When Shivaji arrived at Surat he demanded tribute from the Mughal commander and the small army stationed with him for port security. The tribute was refused and so after Shivaji took the city, he put it to sack. Surat was under sack for nearly 3 weeks, in which the army looted all possible wealth from Mughal & Portuguese trading centers. All this loot was successfully transported to Maharashtra before the Mughal Empire at Delhi was alerted. This wealth later was used for development & strengthening the Maratha Empire.
The only exception to the looting was the British factory, a fortified warehouse-counting house-hostel, which was successfully defended by Sir George Oxenden. But the prosperity of the factory at Surat received a fatal blow when Bombay was ceded to the British as part of the dowry for Catherine of Braganza's wedding to Charles II in 1662. Shortly afterwards in 1668 another factory was established in Bombay(Mumbai) by the British East India Company. From that date Surat began to decline with the rise of British interests in Bombay, and the city was sacked again by Shivaji in 1670. By 1689 the seat of presidency was moved to Bombay by the British East India Company. The Surat population had reached an estimated 800,000 in its heyday, but by the middle of the 19th century the number had fallen to 80,000. Surat was again taken by the British in 1759, and the conquerors assumed the undivided government of the city in 1800. Since the introduction of British rule, the city and the surrounding district remained comparatively tranquil; and even during the Revolt of 1857(also known as the first struggle for India's independence) peace was not disturbed, owing in great measure to the loyalty of the leading Muslim families to the British and to the largely mercantile interests of the local population.
A fire and a flood in 1837 destroyed a great number of buildings. Among the interesting monuments still surviving are the tombs of the English and Dutch merchants and their families, dating to the 17th century, especially those of the Oxenden brothers.
By the early 20th century, the population had slowly climbed to 119,306 and Surat remained a center of trade and manufacturing, although some of its former industries, such as shipbuilding, were extinct. There were cotton mills, factories for ginning and pressing cotton, rice-cleaning mills and paper mills. Fine cotton goods were woven on hand-looms, and there were special manufactures of silk brocade and gold embroidery (known as zari). The chief trades were organized in guilds. The manufacturing and trading brought an eclectic mix of ethnicities to the city, making Surat's culture unique even in modern times.
In 1992, violent riots took place between Hindus and Muslims, the first and worst of their kind in the modern history of Surat. In 1994, a combination of heavy rains and blocked drains led to water logging in the city. A number of dead street animals and public waste were not removed in time and a plague epidemic spread through the city. This brought the world's attention to the city as evinced by the sanctions on travel and goods exchange put up by a number of countries. The municipal commissioner during that time, S. R. Rao and the people of Surat worked hard in the late 1990s to clean the city up after which it was recognized in many circles as the 'second-cleanest city in India'.
In the second week of August, 2006, a massive flood caused severe damage to the city of Surat. In less than three days, at least 120 people died. More than 4,000 animal carcasses were later hauled out of the mud. Two weeks after the floods, Surat’s diamond-polishing factories were practically empty of workers, who had fled fearing disease. An industry group estimated the losses at $60 million. On April 29, 2007 Surat's domestic airport opened and it started operation on May 6, 2007.
Surat is a port city situated on the banks of the Tapti river (though the port has disappeared because of the damming of the river Tapti, the nearest port is now in Hazira which falls in the metropolitan area of Surat). The city is located at  It has an average elevation of 13 metres (42 feet). The Surat district is surrounded by Bharuch, Narmada (North), Navsari and Dang (South) districts. To the west is the Gulf of Cambay. The climate is tropical and the monsoon is abundant (about 2500 mm a year)..
Surat is famous for its diamond industry and textile industry, along with silk and chemicals. It is at the heart of India's thriving diamond-polishing industry, which in 2005 cut 92% of the world's diamond pieces and earned India $8 billion in exports. Gujarati diamond cutters emigrating from East Africa established the industry in 1901 and by the 70s Surat-based diamond cutters began exporting stones to the US for the first time. Though a majority of polishing work takes place on small weight stones, Surat's workshops have set their eyes on the lucrative market for finishing larger, pricier stones in the future. It is a major production centre for synthetic textiles in India.
Surat is an economic powerhouse in India. In spite of various natural disasters such as frequent floods the most recent being the floods of 2006, earth-quake and man-made disaster like plague, the city has shown tremendous fighting spirit to come out of it and achieved progress that has stunned everyone. Surat's progress has been acknowledged by various international organizations and that reflects in the U.N.SURVEY where Surat was ranked as "Worlds Fastest growing City". Surat was also ranked as no.1 city in India to Earn Money and for Investments in 2007.
Surat is also an industrial hub for the production of synthetic fibers and man-made fabrics, contributing almost 28% of India's total synthetic fiber output and 40% of the nation's total man-made fabric production and computrised embroidery work. In addition it is home to several major processing facilities/manufacturing centers for Reliance Petrochemicals, Essar Steel, Larsen & Toubro, KRIBHCO, ONGC, Shell, ABG Shipyard, Torrent Power,Gujarat Gas.
Surat is also famous for its saree. 1 out of every 5 sarees manufactured in India is from Surat. During festive season and during marriage season people throng to Surat to buy sarees as they get more varieties at cheaper rates.
Government and Politics
The Surat Municipal Corporation is responsible for the city's civic infrastructure as well as carrying out associated administrative duties.
Surat's infrastructure is tremendously improving. The city has recently seen the completion of a large number of road engineering projects, particularly the elevated roads, or flyovers in the diamond and textile zones of the city. This has significantly cut down on the commuting time for many commuters traveling to the diamond and textile districts. One of the very few "Multi - Layer Flyover's in India is under Construction in Surat, Its on the verge of completion. The Varachcha Flyover of Surat is India's longest flyover under city municipal limits in four lane category.
The Golden Quadrilateral highway system will pass through Surat at its expected completion in December of 2006. At present the city is connected to the National Highway 8 through a 16 k.m. connector highway. National Highway 8 corridor is one of the most industrially developed area in the country and Surat is one of the most industrially active cities that connect to it. National highway 6 starts from Hazira and connects the city to Dhule, Nagpur, Raipur, Sambalpur, Kharagpur and Kolkata.
Surat is connected to the national railway system through the Western Railways connecting it to Mumbai and beyond to the south as well as New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Vadodara and other cities to the north. The Surat Railway station is in the eastern-central part of the city and is very conveniently located near major hotels and businesses. There is also a connection to the Central Railways through the Udhana Junction and the Tapti line. There are numerous daily trains that travel to the north, south and east during all times of the day. The variety of passenger trains range from local trains that stop at all stations on the way, to super fast express trains (by Indian standards) like the August Kranti Rajdhani Express. In addition there are plenty of goods trains that move the goods produced by the city to the rest of the country and beyond, and bring supplies to the city.
Till May 2006 Surat was the only city in the world with a population of 4 million and without a functional airport. Construction of Surat Airport was stopped due to technical reasons in 2004. The New Airport became functional with Surat-Delhi IA flight on 6th May 2007.Currently FLights are also operated to Ahmedabad and Jaipur Daily from Surat. Future flights will connect Surat with other major cities in India like Kandla, Kolkata, Mumbai and Bangalore.
On the 22nd of August, SMSS bus service was opened by the city Mayor Dr. Kanubhai Mavani. It is considered one of the best city bus services in India. These Buses have an LCD screen in the front giving details about the journey. The conductor uses an electronic machine to print out the tickets. Even the bus stops are very modern and comfortable. Truly the bus service of Surat is very hi-tech and modern, which is a rare scene in Indian cities.
The population of Surat according to new city limits is 4,039,358. Males constitute 56% of the population and females 44%. Surat has an average literacy rate of 72%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 77%, and female literacy is 66%. In Surat, 13% of the population is under 6 years of age.Besides Gujurati another big comminity is Oriya here. Arround 30% of the total population are Oriya here.Many people come from orissa in search of job to here.
Because of presence of unauthorized residential buildings and shanty towns which bring difficulties in counting the residents of these areas, combined with the explosive growth in population (mostly through migration) it is generally believed that as of 2007 about 4.5 million people live within the Surat Urban Development Authority(SUDA) area. However, the SUDA also covers a 5k.m. surrounding area in addition to the official city limits and thus covers a lot of villages and towns that lie outside the Municipal area.
Culture and festivals
Surat is known throughout India for its unique Surti cuisine. Some special and unique dishes of Surat include Locho, Surti Undhiyu, Rasawala Khaman, Cold coco ,Surati Chinese and Surti Ghari. Many of the popular types of food of the state of Gujarat originated in this region. Contrary to popular belief, Surti cuisine is not as sweet as the stereotypical Gujarati food, but rather quite on the spicier side.
The most popular eating spots are roadside standalones, called "laaris" or "rekdis". Come winter and Suratis will emerge at river Tapi's banks to eat Ponk. Ponk is a Roasted Millet variety that is available only in this part of the world.
Every Festivals are Celebrated in Surat, but Surat is also well known for its celebrations of Chandi Padvo which usually comes around October. "Chandi Padvo" is the festival celebrated in Surat alone, and no where else in entire world. This is the biggest full moon day of the Hindu calendar year. On this day, Surtis buy almost 100 tons of Ghari and other Surati delicacies, then head to Dumas where they have dinner/late night snack under full moon. Most major Indian festivals such as Diwali and Ganesh Chaturthi are celebrated here with great enthusiasm. The kite-flying festival of Makar Sankranti is especially popular in the city.
Schools in Surat are either "municipal schools" (run by the SMC) or private schools (run by trusts or individuals), which in some cases receive financial aid from the government. The schools are affiliated either with the Gujarat State Board or the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) boards. Gujarati or English is the usual language of instruction. The government run public schools lack many facilities, but are the only option for poorer residents who cannot afford the more expensive private schools. A majority of residents prefer private schools because of better infrastructure and the use of English as a medium of instruction.
Under 10+2+3 format, student go through primary and secondary schooling in the first ten years and then two years of higher secondary education. That is followed by a three years college typically for commerce, arts and science degrees. Generally engineering degree course takes four years while medicine takes about five and half years or more. Most colleges in the city are affiliated with the Veer Narmad South Gujarat University.
It has a medical college and four engineering colleges, including the prestigious Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology, Surat(SVNIT formerly svrcet or svr, among the 17 NIT's of India),and others like Sarvajanik College of Engineering and Technology '(SCET)', the C K Pithawala College of Engineering and Technology (CKPCET) and The Gandhi Engineering College. The 'Sir K.P.College of commerce' and MTB Arts and PT Science colleges ,PT Science . V.T. Choksi Sarvajanik College of Education.SMIMER - Surat Municipal Institute of Medical Education & Research, Dr.S & S.S.Gandhi College of Polytechnic Engineering, Majuragate, Surat
See Schools and Colleges in Surat.
Gujaratmitra- one of the oldest and the most respected daily of the country is the most popular daily newspaper of Surat & South Gujarat. Besides Gujaratmitra, Gujarat Samachar, Sandesh, Divyabhaskar and Commodity World are the other Surat dailies. Local editions of these newspapers are published in Gujarati. Loktej was the first Hindi daily published from Surat. Rajasthan Patrika and Savera are now the top Hindi daily newspaper from Surat. The national dailies Indian Express and The Times of India, Mid Day are the most popular English newspapers.DNA is also going to come soon to surat. Most cable service providers have local television channels as well. Surat, well known for Synthetic fabric production is the biggest centre of Man Made textiles in India. Textile Graph an exclusive textile newspaper is published, since 1994, in Gujarati and Hindi languages from Surat.Textile Directory of Surat (5th. edition) comprising business information of textile trader and industry in & around surat is also published by Textile Graph.
Surat was likely selected by the Volvo automobile manufacturer in 2006 as the secret location for a buried Volvo XC90 Sport Utility Vehicle. This exclusive limited edition XC90 V8 was built with a "pirates" theme for a joint promotion with Disney's movie Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, released in the US on July 7, 2006. The corporation allegedly secured a 10.2 acre site on the outskirts of the city of Surat in order to bury the SUV. A massive commercial campaign resulted in a global multi-media treasure hunt as millions worldwide competed with one another to be the first to reach the treasure. Thousands of treasure seekers participating in the hunt discovered this secret location of the treasure, and Volvo selected from these people seven finalists; 3 winners from the US, and one each from Japan, Great Britain and Australia. These finalists competed in a man-on-the-ground search for the treasure at the location in August 2006. It is believed that Surat was chosen as the location for this treasure because of its historical significance as the primary hub of the influential British East India Company, established as early as 1608. The East India Company was an ardent foe of the pirate, as the company's merchant ships were often targeted in the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, and other oceans by zealous pirates and privateers in search of their own treasures. Volvo spokesperson Helen Gore stated that the corporation actually considered burying the SUV near the The Pirates of the Caribbean Ride at Disneyland. "It is just a few miles up the 405 from Volvo’s North American headquarters, but this one fell under the category of 'way too obvious'.
In the year of 2007, Surat got five FM Radio stations. They play Hindi as well as English music.
Radio City 91.1
Radio Mirchi 98.3
My FM 94.3
Big FM 92.7
Vividh Bharti 101.1
Surat has many sports facilities, the majority of them dedicated to cricket. The Lalbhai Contractor Stadium and the Pithawala Cricket stadiums have facilities for hosting cricket matches. In addition, Surat has an Indoor Stadium, used to host events like badminton & table tennis. Surat's Indoor Stadium is one of the best in the country. It has all modern facilities, and has the capacity of 7000 seats.
There are few clubs also... which provides many types of indoor games.. and few outdoor too. There is THE SURAT TENNIS CLUB near Classic complex, Athwalines, Lalbhai contractor and the last one is SURAT CITY GYMKHANA which is located at Piplod.
Places of Interest
Dutch Garden- The ancient Dutch gardens, the Dutch cemetery and Makaipul, the ancient original port from where the ships sailed to other parts of the world are other attractions.
Old Fort- The Old Fort was built by Muhammed Tughlak in the 14th century to fortify the defence against the Bhils. It is now used for Municipal Offices.
Sardar Patel Museum- About hundred years old this museum has a collection of over 10,000 specimens of arts and crafts.
Rangupavan- It is an open air theater with 18 meters by 10.5 meters stage and a capacity of around 4000 spectators. This is one of the biggest theater in the country. Rangupavan has been lately closed down by the owners.
Dumas & Hajira- Dumas 16 km from Surat and Hajira 28 km from Surat are well known health resorts on the creek of Arabian Sea. Hajira has two wells with water rich in iron and sulphur. The pleasant Hazira beach is fringed by feathery casurina trees.
Gaurav Path- One of the most happening places of Surat. Built by Surat Municipal Corporation.
Vansada National Park- It is situated in Valsad district is a home to leopards, tigers, panthers and wild boars. The best time to visit is between October to March.
JOY n JOY- It is Situated around 30km Away from surat towards Ahemadabad highway. It have Different types of Rides, Where every one can Enjoy. It is like essel world, but is not so big.
Water Fun Park- It is situated in Hazira Road 16 km away from Surat City, is a famous for weekend in Summer. It is also called છબ છબા છબ. *
Beaches- There are a number of beaches near Surat. Only 16 km away, Dumas is a popular resort with locals. Hajira is 28 km from the city and Ubhrat is 42 km out, while Tithal is 108kn away and only five km from Valsad on the Mumbai to Vadodara train line. Twenty-nine km south of Surat, Navsari has been a headquarters for the Parsi community since the earliest days of their settlement in India. Udvada, only 10 km north of Vapi, the station for Daman, has the oldest Parsi sacred fire in India. It is said that the fire was brought from Persia to Diu, on the opposite coast of the Gulf of Cambay, in 700 AD. Sanjan, in the extreme south of the state, is the small port where the Parsis first landed. A pillar marks the spot.
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