Famous for its production of silk and textiles the vibrant city of Surat is more than just that. Being one of the most important centres for trading and shipping, Surat has rightfully earned its nickname of ‘the silk city of India’. It has also been referred to as the ‘city of sun’ since it was named Suryapur by a Brahman named Gopi who is believed to have founded this place in the later years of the 15th century. However due to its location by a water body Surat has always been home to variety of settlers and agriculturists from the ancient ages. This has given rise to a huddle of beliefs, traditions and religions thriving under one roof and sharing the same land. In return, the festivals, fairs and the holy occasions in this part of Gujarat is celebrated with great joy, enthusiasm and brotherhood. The entire city is adorned with colourful lights and the preparations start a month prior which clearly depicts the excitement of the people here. Travelling during this time is truly a phenomenal experience and will be an experience of a lifetime.
Here are a few festivals in Surat which you should know about:
Kite Festival / Uttarayan:
This has to be undoubtedly one of the quirkiest festival in India. Celebrated during the auspicious days of Uttarayan which celebrates the holy day of Makar Sankranti. This is the day when the sun enters the northern hemisphere and the spring season commences according to the Hindu calendar. This celestial movement is celebrated with great joy and enthusiasm with the sky above the city of Surat being covered in innumerable and colourful kites of all sizes and variations. People hold kite competitions and it is participated by a large number of locals. A visit to Surat during this time is very much recommended.
Sharad Purnima / Chandani Padvo:
India’s backbone being farming, this occasion of harvest is celebrated with great zeal and gratitude. It takes place on a full moon night a day after the Sharad Purnima and local surtis mark this occasion by making special sweets and food items along with performing the traditional puja rituals. Special local dance and musical performances also take place at night which is attended by the residents here and they indulge in merrymaking and a celebration of successful harvest season. It generally takes place in the autumn month of October.
Celebrated in the entire state of Gujarat with amazing energy and enthusiasm Surat is one of the major hotspots for these 9 days of pure fun and entertainment. The 1 day marks the birth date of lord Rama while the 9th day marks the death of demon king Ravana which is acknowledged all over India by grand Dussehra celebrations, especially among the Hindu communities. Every day the goddess is worshipped with elaborate rituals, processions and of course unending Garba and Dandiya dancing. As a tradition some women decide to fast during the 9 days in order to get themselves an eligible bachelor. No matter what the reason for this festival is the bottom line remains that this is one of the best times of the year to visit not only Surat but Gujarat as well.
This holy occasion marks the birth date of lord Krishna (8th avatar of lord Vishnu) and Surat being located on the Devbhoomi Gujarat (the kingdom of Krishna) springs to life during this day. The day starts off with grand celebrations and preparation of traditional delicacies associated with the lord and the sing songs of the greatness of Krishna till midnight when he is said to have been born. People perform various plays as an ode to the lord and also get involved in various Dahi Handi playing activities which is and extremely fun activity to be a part of.
This internationally acclaimed dance festival takes place in the legendary temple of Modhera after which this unique festival is named. Professional dancers perform mesmerising traditional Guajarati’s dances which seems magical against the backdrop of the majestic temple. This festival goes on for 3 days and is attended by dance enthusiasts and off beat holiday goers from across the globe. Although this festival does not take place within Surat but being located in close proximity to the city it can be visited at least once. The festival is entirely organised by the tourism corporation of Gujarat limited and takes place generally after the Uttarayan festival in the later month of January.