One of the state's oldest cities, Surat, has been India's ancient trading center. Since long, traders from across the seven seas had links with this city. Known for silks, textiles, spices and exquisite diamond cutting and polishing, Surat was described as "a storehouse of the most precious production of Hindustan" by a Portuguese traveler Barbosa in 1514. The city's industrialization began nearly a century later when the Britishers set up the first factory in 1612. Surat has been one of the most prosperous of India's cities in the 17th and 18th century. In Mughal times, Surat was the main port from which pilgrims sailed to Mecca.

Textiles for ceremonial and utility purposes, wood lacquer and ivory handicrafts, embroidery and jewelry had demand in the world market then. Fine silver and gold jewelry crafted in Surat is still a rage here, but this southern most city of the state is today more known for diamond cutting  and polishing industry besides the jari and art silk produced there.

Places Of Interest

  • The Old Fort was built by Muhammad Tughlak in the 14th century to fortify the defense against the Bhils.
  • 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.
  • The nearly 100 years old Sardar Patel Museum has over 10,000 specimens of arts and crafts.
  • Rangupavan, an open air theatre with 18 meters by 10.5 meters stage and a capacity of around 4000 spectators is one of the biggest in the country.
  • Surat's vast and active textile market testifies its importance in the textile trade even today.
Dumas :
Dumas, an excellent health resort which overlooks the Arabian sea is about 16 kms from Surat. There are a number of cottages available for visitors to stay and relax.
Hajira :
Another well  known health resort is Hajira, south west of Surat on the creek of the Arabian sea. Hajira has two wells with water rich in iron and sulfur. The pleasant Hajira beach is fringed by feathery casurina trees. Hajira is situated 28 kms from Surat.
Unai :
Another important landmark which gives antiquity to Surat is Unai with its hot spring some 64 kms from Surat. They find reference in the puranic literature and are believed to have been created by Lord Ram, the hero of the epic Ramayana, by shooting an arrow in the ground.
Ubharat :
This is another fine, sandy beach with a backdrop of shady palm groves, situated about 42 kms from Surat.
Tithal :
Situated about 108 kms from Surat and 5 kms from Valsad on the Mumbai-Baroda Western Railway route, Tithal, is a beautiful sandy beach fringed with palm-sheltered cottages.
Bardoli :
Swaraj Ashram at Bardoli, about 34 kms from Surat has become a place of pilgrimage in India. Gandhiji had launched a farmer' satyagraha in 1921-22 under the leadership of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
Dandi :
Along the coastline of Gujarat and about 50-55 kms from Surat, lies Dandi where the story of salt was scripted with the famous Dandi March Satyagraha proved to be the beginning of the end of the British Empire in India.
Ukai :
A major multipurpose irrigation project of Gujarat is situated at ukai, about 94 kms from Surat.
Vansada National Park :
The Vansada National Park, situated in Valsad district is a home to leopards, tigers, panthers and wild boars. The best time to visit is between October and March.
Saputara :
Gujarat's best known hill resort, Saputara-literally, the Abode of Serpents, is situated atop the second highest plateau in the Shayadri range and in the midst of thick forests. Saputara has all the necessary amenities like hotels, parks, swimming pools, boat club, theatres and a museum to ensure an enjoyable holiday. Saputara is 164 kms from Surat.

How To Get There :

Air : Various domestic airlines connect Mumbai & Bhavnagar to Surat.
Rail : It is on the western railway line of Mumbai - Delhi & Mumbai - Ahmedabad.
Road : State Transport buses and private luxury coaches from Surat connects various centers of Gujarat. Surat is approximately 297 kms from mumbai, 155 from Baroda and 275 kms from Ahmedabad.

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