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Bharuch

Bharuch

Bharuch, city (1991 pop. 139,029), Gujarat state, W India, on the Gulf of Khambat. A port at the mouth of the Narmada River, Bharuch ships cotton, wheat, and timber and manufactures textiles, ink, and glass. Bharuch was an important Buddhist center in the 7th cent. Under the Rajput dynasty (750-1300), it was the chief port of W India.

Bharuch today is a large seaport city of more than a million inhabitants and a municipality in Bharuch district in the state of Gujarat, India. As a trading depot, the limitations of coastal shipping made it a regular terminus via several mixed trade routes of the fabled spice and silk trading between East and West, so that it became known to history by various names such as Bharakuccha, Bhrigu Kaksha (the domain of Bhrigu, an ancient Indian sage), Bhroach, as well as Bhrauch.

History

Bharuch was once but a small village on the banks of the Narmada River but that rivers inland access to central and northern India and with a location in the sheltered Gulf of Khambat in the era of coastal sea travel grew and prospered as a trading transshipment center and ship building port. Until very modern times the only effective way to move goods was by water transport, and Baruch had sheltered waters in a era without weather forecasting, compasses, and when shipping was necessarily limited to coastal navigation, and the general East-West course of the Narmada gave access to the rich inland empires at the upper reaches of the Narmada, including easy caravan access to the Ganges valley and Delhi plain.

Certainly by the 500s BC, the city was known (at least by reputation, via land-sea routes reaching the Levant) to the Arab and Ethiopian traders feeding goods westwards to the Egyptians, Greeks, Persians, Western Romans, Carthaginians, and eventually, the Eastern Roman Empires, and the Republic of Venice. It is likely even the Phonecians knew of it and so it has acted since antiquity as a link port to the luxury goods trade from the Far East and the interior of the Indian sub-continent to the civilizations of South-west Asia, the Middle-East, the Mediterranean basin including Northern Africa and Europe.

Mythological history

It was considered to be sacred among sages, and they would come to Bharuch and pray. In Bharuch, the celebrated Asura king Mahabali, conducted a great sacrifice. In this sacrifice, came a Bhrahmin boy named Vamana, who interfered with the king's sacrifice and put an end to his reign. A sage named Guru Shukracharya, in the lineage of Bhrigu, was the priest of king Mahabali.

There is also a story which indicates that Brighu along with his kins asked for temporary access to Bharuch which then belonged to Lakshmi since Bharuch is located on the banks of river Narmada also known as Rudra Deha. Chanra Mauli Mahadev is the Kul Devata of Bhargavs of Bharuch Brighu never left the place and the hermitage/Ashram of Brighu Rishi is located on the Banks of Narmada.

Archeological history

Excavations near the banks of the river Narmada in Bharuch have revealed many archeological and architectural wonders, mostly temples. Later Bharuch was part of the Mauryas (322–185 BC), the Western Satraps and the Guptas. As part of the Sultanate of Gujarat, it was subsequently annexed by the Mughals, and finally by the British. It is also situated near a small village called Halderva where two Islamic priests were found performing miracles.

It was known to Europeans as Barigaza (Greek) and probably had a settlement of Greek traders. It is mentioned extensively as a major trading partner of the Roman world, in the 1st century Periplus of the Erythraean Sea. The Periplus describes numerous Greek buildings and fortifications in Bharuch, although mistakenly attributing them to Alexander the Great (who never went this far south), as well as the circulation of Indo-Greek coinage in the region:

"The metropolis of this country is Minnagara, from which much cotton cloth is brought down to Barygaza. In these places there remain even to the present time signs of the expedition of Alexander, such as ancient shrines, walls of forts and great wells." Periplus, Chap. 41
"To the present day ancient drachmae are current in Barygaza, coming from this country, bearing inscriptions in Greek letters, and the devices of those who reigned after Alexander, Apollodorus (sic) and Menander." Periplus Chap. 47

Geography

Bharuch is located at . It has an average elevation of 15 metres (49 feet).

Commerce

Bharuch has always been prosperous because of its location on the Narmada River. Although water tends to be scarce in Gujarat, one never finds difficulty in getting water in Bharuch. As a result of this, agriculture and other linked commercial activities have flourished in Bharuch. Bharuch is also a central stopping point for many villages spread around its boundaries such as Palej, Valan, Vareydiya, Kamboli, Segva, Kahaaan, Paryej, Dyaadraa, Nabipur, Ikher, Sasrod, Tankaria, Kantaria etc. People from these small villages come to Bharuch when they want to shop for new clothes, or make a major purchase. Lately a lot of retiring expatriates have been returning to Bharuch and building new houses giving the economy a boost.

Traditionally, Bharuch has been the center of the peanut processing and marketing industry with a well established brand name around the country. Notably, almost none of the peanuts are grown in Bharuch itself but the best of the crops from neighbouring regions are brought here for processing.

Bharuch is also the home of the Bandhni method of clothing design and is well known for this traditional art form.

Modern Bharuch is one of the most heavily industrialized areas, not only in Gujarat but in India as a whole, with many large chemical plants producing fertilizers, paints, dyes, cotton, textiles, and dairy products. Bharuch has also advantage of Gujarat's biggest Liquid cargo terminal A very large fertilizers, chemicals and IT Services company, GNFC Ltd. (Company website) is also located in Narmadanagar (a suburb of Bharuch) since 1976.

Large multinationals like Guardian corp, Videocon, China Light & Power, BASF, Johnson Mathey, Reliance, Tata Group, Aditya Birla group, Welspun Stahl, Aventis, Wockhardt, Rallis, Pfizer, Ciba, L&T, Bayer, Glenmark, UPL, Lupin, J B Chemicals, Gujarat Fluorochemicals,NTPC,ONGC,GAIL,GPEC etc. have set up manufacturing units in and around Bharuch and Ankleshwar. Preferrably the most dense district of india in industrial terms.

Petronet LNG Ltd, one of the fastest growing companies in the Indian energy sector, has set up the country's first LNG receiving and regasification terminal at Dahej. { company website}

Demographics

As of 2001 India census, Bharuch had a population of 148,391. Males constitute 52% of the population and females 48%. Bharuch has an average literacy rate of 78%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; with male literacy of 82% and female literacy of 73%. 10% of the population is under 6 years of age.

Culture

There are many religions being followed by the people of this town. Usually there is a sense of harmony and co-existence without incident. However, there have been situations in the past in which this delicate social fabric has broken down. Today the city is considered to be a great example of communal equality.

There are various avenues for leisure time activities in Bharuch, and there are a few very good parks maintained by the municipal commission. There are river banks where people go for walks and strolls, as well as a couple of libraries and a few auditoriums. The auditoriums along with movie halls make the theatrical entertainment available in the city.

Of late there has been a boom in the retail sector in the city and there are new shopping malls and multiplexes opening up all over the place.Recently future group opened its first shop ,i.e,BigBazaar.

Places of Interest

  • The 150-year-old Golden Bridge connects Bharuch to Ankleshwar across the Narmada River.
  • The crowded but fascinating bazaar of Bharuch
  • Swaminarayan Mandir lies on the NH-8 and is fast becoming a significant attraction for visitors to Bharuch.

Trivia

Bharuch is one of the Indian cities which has a Martian crater named after it. The crater is named Broach. The other cities/towns are Amet, Bhor, Kakori, Poona (Pune), Rayadurg, Sandila and Wer

References

See also

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