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SURAT                                                 General Information of Surat

Surat, 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 rare beauty. 

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.

Even today, Surat is a premier industrial city of India. It is a city of riches, of gems and diamonds. Times may have changed but Surat remains and continues to grow.

Surat was founded by Parsi refugees in the 12th century, and it emerged as a minor trading post during the 1500s when it was plundered and razed numerous times by the Portuguese. In 1592, after a protracted siege, the town fell to Akbar, under whose patronage, it became one of India's most prosperous mercantile capitals, as well as a key transit point for Muslims heading to Mecca.


The Old Fort: Built by Mohammad Tughlak in the 14th century, as a defence fortification against the Bhils.

The Textile Market: Surat's vast and active textile market testifies its importance in the textile trade even today.

Dumas: A seaside health resort 16 kms from Surat.

Hajira: It is situated 28 kms from Surat. The pleasant Hajira Beach is fringed by feathery 'Casurina' trees and has a comfortable holiday home for visitors.

Dandi: 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 AD.

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 followers 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.

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