the capital of South Gujarat, was India's most prosperous port and
ancient trading centres in the 17th and 18th centuries. Located on the
southern bank of Tapti, Surat is renowned for its fine silk and
exquisite brocades like the Tanchoi, Gajee and Kinkhab styles
sometimes woven with gold and silver threads. It is also famous for
spices and its diamond market as well as ivory and wood artwork of
Surat has the distinction of being the first European settlement in
India besides being host to the Dutch and the Portuguese, a fact
reflected in its little streets, which are charmingly European. The
East India Company established its initial warehousing facility here
in 1612 A.D. Sir Thomas Roe landed at the port of Surat before
proceeding to the court of Emperor Jahangir to present his credentials
as the Ambassador of England.
It is popularly believed to have been founded by Gopi, a Nagar
Brahmin, who rose to be the Prime Minister in the Sultanate of Gujarat
under Mahmud I and Muzaffar II. On account of this belief, Gopi is
generally called the patron of Gujarat. In ancient days, Surat was the
main port for Muslim pilgrims travelling to Mecca for Haj. Vir Narmad
one of the great literary and social reformers hailed from Surat.
Historically Surat is intimately connected to the freedom struggle.
Situated on the coastline and well known as a salt centre, Dandi has
acquired a name in history after the famous Dandi March Salt
Satyagraha launched by Gandhiji in March, 1930 A.D.
While overtly the Dandi march purported to protest against the hateful
Salt Tax levied by the British, the underlying purpose was to kindle
the spark of Civil Disobedience and thereby attain independence.
On a warm April morning in 1930 Gandhi and his 78 Satyagrahis marched
241 miles to Dandi and formally breached the Salt Law an act that
would go down in the annals of history as the first salvo to be fired
against the British Empire.
Other places to see
Old Fort It was built by Mohammed Tughlak in the 14th
century as a defence fortification against the Bhils.
Dumas Its is a seaside resort, 16 kms from Surat.
The Textile Market Surat's vast and active textile market
testifies its importance in the textile trade even today.
Makaipul Surat's ancient original port from where
the ships sailed to other parts of the world.
Ukai It is situated 94 kms from Surat. A major multipurpose
irrigation project of the state of Gujarat. The storage of water at
the dam site is nearly as large as that of Bhakra Nangal dam in
Bardoli It is situated 34 kms from Surat. Gandhiji had
launched a farmers' satyagrah known as the Bardoli Satyagraha in
1921-22 under the leadership of Sardar Patel. Swaraj Ashram at Bardoli
has become a place of pilgrimage in India.
Gopipura It is named after Gopi, the patron saint of Surat.
It has many large mansions richly ornamented with woodcarvings. Its
chief features are Agama Mandir and many other Jain temples and Jain
This museum was named after Mr.Winchester the Assistant Collector of
that era, who took a keen interest in increasing the prosperity of
Hajira and Tithal
The industrial capital of South Gujarat, Hajira is situated 28 kms.
from Surat. The pleasant Hajira beach is fringed by feathery casurina
trees and has a comfortable holiday home for the visitors. This place
is home to the biggest industrial powerhouses in the nation. Tithal is
situated 108 kms. from Surat and 5 kms. from Valsad. It is a beautiful
sandy beach with palm-sheltered cottages. Ubharat is another fine
sandy beach situated 42 kms from Surat.