Initially called Suryapur, Surat is a popular port city in India boasting great cultural and historical significance and as per the local Hindu traditions it is believed to be found during the last years of the fifteenth century by the Brahmin named Gopi. The unending history of this commercial city in Gujarat takes us back to the times of great holy Hindu epics i.e. Mahabharata and Ramayana. As per the interesting mythological tales, Surat is one of those places where Lord Krishna made a halt while moving towards Dwarka from Mathura.
Surat used to be a large seaport in the past and now has been emerged out as economic as well as cultural center established in South Gujarat and is reckoned for textile as well as diamond industries where you can go shopping out wonderful accessories and apparels. This eighth-largest city in the country is located close to the Arabian Sea and on the banks of River Tapti. As per the study of Economic Times, it is estimated that Surat is going to be the most emerging cities in the world between 2019 and 2035.
During the 16th century, the city reached the extreme prosperity level and this made Portuguese to declare Surat Port as the most important trading point of their kingdom. The high prosperity of Surat Port resulted in a battle between the Portuguese and the Britishers to gain control over this supreme trading city. Later Dutch and French also came here to establish their merchandise and trading port.
The historical shreds of evidence of the state prove that Surat was devastated by the Muslims during the 12th and 15th Centuries and then again got ravaged by the Portuguese emperor in the year 1512 and then in 1530 again. Duarte Barbosa, a Portuguese traveler visited Surat in 1513 and discovered it as one of the most important seaports in Gujarat and is frequented by several ships from Malabar and from the other parts of the world and by the year 1520 the city got its name.
In the year 1573, Mughals plundered this city and declared it as their most prosperous trading ports. Despite being a wealthy city, the infrastructure of Surat was not up to the mark and there were only crooked streets, houses of mud and bamboo, and only a few mansions were found during that time. There were some warehouses also established in the city that belonged to the local merchant princes. It also had some animal hospitals which were established and run by Jains. Some of the streets were pretty narrow and some were of enough width.
In 1612, the first Indian trading factory was set up by England and then in the year 1664, Shivaji the great Maratha King sacked the city for the first time and then again after a few years and such raids of Shivaji swiped away the trading business of the city and converted this lively city into a ruin and deserted region.
Other Historical Facts of Surat
- There was an epidemic witnessed in the city which resulted so fatal and took the lives of 1,00,000 natives. This proved a great loss to the city between the period 1790 and 1791.
- Soon after this devastating epidemic, Surat became a stagnant city with a population of approx. 80,000 inhabitants.
- After the discovery of the Indian Railway in Gujarat, the city again gained its popularity as a trading hub and started its business of producing silk, cotton, gold and silver objects, brocades, and there were some more products too. Surat is worldwide popular for its fine Muslin manufacturing.
- In 1730, Jew Joseph Semah from Baghdad visited Surat and discovered the cemetery and Surat Synagogue. However, the first discovery is demolished but the latter one is still existing there and can be discovered on the main road of Katargam – Amroli.
- In the year 1837, the city was attacked with fire and a flood that destroyed several buildings in the city but there were some structures that survived in this natural calamity and the tombs of Dutch and Portuguese were some of those lucky structures.
- Once again in the year 1994, the city was again hit by the devastating flood due to blocked drains and heavy rains. The blocked drains also resulted in a plague that killed many lives and due to this tourism and business of the city were immensely affected. There were several countries that put restrictions on the traveling of people from India and these restrictions were mostly found in the Gulf countries. To overcome this saddening situation the state government took drastic steps to clean the blocked drains and also maintained the drainage system properly and since then Surat is one of the cleanest cities in India and at present, it is on the third rank in the category of clean cities in the country.