Local traditions fix the establishment of the modern city in the last years of the fifteenth century. In 1514 the Portuguese traveller, Duarte Barbosa, described Surat as an important seaport, frequented by many ships from Malabar and various parts of the world. There still is a picturesque fortress on the banks of the river built in 1540. A village in the suburbs of Surat is Barbodhan Village, possibly named after the explorer Duarte Barbosa (it derives from "Bab-ul-Aden"—Doorway to Aden, Yemen—where it has strong cultural and trading links).
Surat eclipsed Khambhat as the major port of western India, when Khambhat's harbour began to silt up by the end of fifteenth century. During the reigns of the Mughal emperors Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan, Surat rose to become the chief commercial city of India and an imperial mint was established there. As the major port on the west coast of India, Surat also served as the port for the Hajj to Mecca. At the end of the 16th century, the Portuguese were undisputed masters of the Surat sea trade.
In 1608, ships from the British East India Company started docking in Surat, using it as a trade and transit point. In 1612, the British Captain Best, followed by Captain Downton, overcame Portuguese naval supremacy and obtained an imperial firman establishing a British factory at Surat following the Battle of Swally. The city was made the seat of a presidency under the British East India Company after the success of the embassy of Sir Thomas Roe to the court of emperor Jehangir. The Dutch also founded a factory.
At its zenith, Surat was popularly viewed as the city of Kubera, the God of Wealth. In 1664 the Maratha leader Shivaji sacked and looted Surat. When Shivaji arrived at Surat, he demanded tribute from the Mughal commander of the small army stationed with him for port security. The tribute was refused and so, after Shivaji conquered the city, forces under his command exacted their revenge. Shivaji's army sacked Surat for nearly 3 weeks, looting both the Mughal and Portuguese trading centers. The British factory, a fortified warehouse-counting house-hostel, however, was successfully defended by Sir George Oxenden.
The prosperity of Surat received a fatal blow when Bombay was ceded to the British as part of the dowry for Catherine of Braganza's wedding to Charles II in 1662. Shortly afterwards, in 1668, the British East India company established a factory in Bombay (Mumbai) and Surat began its relative decline concurrent with the rise of British interests in Bombay.
Surat was sacked again by Shivaji in 1670. By 1689, the British East India Company had moved the presidency to Bombay. At its height, Surat's population reached an estimated 800,000, but by the middle of the 19th century the number had fallen to 80,000. The British took control of Surat again in 1759, and assumed all government powers of the city in 1800.
The city and the surrounding district remained comparatively tranquil during British rule. Even during the Revolt of 1857 (also known as the first struggle for India's independence), peace was not disturbed, owing to the largely mercantile interests of the local population.
A fire and a flood in 1837 destroyed many of buildings of Surat. Among the interesting monuments that survive that destruction are the tombs of English and Dutch merchants and their families, dating to the 17th century, including those of the Oxenden brothers.
By the early 20th century, the population had slowly climbed to 119,306 and Surat was a center of trade and manufacturing, although some of its former industries, such as shipbuilding, were extinct. There were cotton mills, factories for ginning and pressing cotton, rice-cleaning mills and paper mills. Fine cotton goods were woven on hand-looms, and there were special manufactures of silk brocade and gold embroidery (known as Jari). The chief trades were organized in guilds. Manufacturing and trading brought an eclectic mix of ethnicities to the city, making Surat's culture unique.
In 1992, violent riots took place between Hindus and Muslims, the first and worst of their kind in the modern history of Surat. In 1994, a combination of heavy rains and blocked drains led to flooding of the city. A number of dead street animals and public waste were not removed in time and a plague epidemic spread through the city, which caused a number of countries to impose travel and trade sanctions. The municipal commissioner during that time, S. R. Rao and the people of Surat worked hard in the late 1990s to clean the city up, after which it was recognized in many circles as the 'second-cleanest city in India'.
In the second week of August, 2006, a massive flood caused severe damage to the city of Surat. In less than three days, at least 120 people died. More than 4,000 animal carcasses were later hauled out of the mud. Two weeks after the floods, Surat’s diamond-polishing factories were practically empty of workers, who had fled fearing disease. An industry group estimated the losses at $60 million.
On April 29, 2007, Surat's first domestic airport opened, and scheduled flights began on May 6, 2007.
Veer Narmad Nagar
Surat is a port city situated on the banks of the Tapti river (damming of the Tapti caused the original port facilities to close, the nearest port is now in Hazira which area of Surat). The city is located at . It has an average elevation of 13 meters. The Surat district is surrounded by Bharuch, Narmada (North), Navsari and Dang (South) districts. To the west is the Gulf of Cambay. The climate is tropical and monsoon rainfall is abundant (about 2500 mm a year).
Surat has grown in area since the early 1900s. The oldest part of the city developed in the area between the train station and the area known as Athwalines. Since the 1990s most of the new development including the most desirable location for the city's burgeoning middle and upper class is the area between the Athwalines and Indian Ocean
Surat's city area has many unique neighborhoods and associated names-
-> Industrial area is shifting to GIDC now. etc
The Surat Municipal Seva Sada is responsible for the city's civic infrastructure as well as carrying out associated administrative duties. SMC has highest budget-money in India.Surat Has many big politicians .His names are Bhagubhai G Patel(Vimal)[Ex-Minister of Gujarat Government] Dhanshukhbhai Patel [ex-MLA of Olpad - 1999 to 2007 ] By Viral Patel,Surat
Surat's infrastructure is improving steadily. The city has recently seen the completion of a large number of road projects, particularly elevated roads, or flyovers, in the diamond and textile zones of the city. This has significantly cut down the commuting time for many people traveling to the diamond and textile districts. One of the very few "Multi-Layer Flyovers" in India is now in Surat over Majura Gate. The Varachcha Flyover of Surat is India's longest flyover under city municipal limits in the four lane category.
The Golden Quadrilateral highway system pases through Surat. The city is connected to the National Highway 8 through a 16 k.m. connector highway. National highway 6, also known as Surat - Kolkata Highway, starts from Hazira and connects the city to Dhule, Nagpur, Raipur, Sambalpur, Kharagpur and Kolkata.
Surat is connected to the national railway system through the Western Railways. It is connected to Mumbai and beyond to south India. There are also links to New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Vadodara and other cities to the north. The Surat Railway Station is in the eastern-central part of the city near major hotels and business houses. There is also a connection to the Central Railways through Udhana Junction and the Tapti line. There are numerous daily trains that travel to the north, south and east throughout the day. Passenger trains range from local trains that stop at all stations on the way to express trains like the August Kranti Rajdhani Express. In addition, there are goods trains that move the goods produced by the city to the rest of the country and beyond, and bring supplies into the city.
Till May 2006 Surat was the only city in the world with a population of over 4 million people without a functioning airport. Construction of Surat Airport was suspended due to technical reasons in 2004. The new airport finally became functional with Surat-Delhi IA flight on 6th May 2007. Currently daily flights are also operated to Ahmedabad and Jaipur. Future flights will connect Surat with other major cities in India like Kandla, Kolkata, Mumbai and Bangalore.
On the 22nd of August, SMSS bus service was opened by the city Mayor Dr. Kanubhai Mavani. It is considered one of the best city bus services in India. These buses have an LCD screen in the front giving details about the journey. The conductor uses an electronic machine to print out the tickets. The bus stops are relatively modern and comfortable. The bus service is general is relatively hi-tech and modern, which is rare in Indian cities.
Surat is expected to get BRTS, Bus Rapid Transit System, by 2010.
Surat has its own port which is used for shipping freight. A plan to connect Surat with Mumbai, Goa, Dubai, Bhavnagar through ferry services is moving forward.
Surat-Bhavnagar ferry service is a much awaited service by the citizens. This would help Surat connect with the Saurashtra region of Gujarat state reducing commuting time by at least 6 hours.
The population of Surat according to new city limits is 4,539,358. Males constitute 56% of the population and females 44%. Surat has an average literacy rate of 77%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 81%, and female literacy is 70%. In Surat, 13% of the population is under 6 years of age. Besides Gujarati another big community is Oriya. Around 30% of the total population are Oriya. Many people come from Orissa in search of jobs. Surat also has a small number of Parsis, Armenians and Jews.
Because of presence of unauthorized residential buildings and shanty towns, which cause difficulties in counting the residents of these areas, combined with the explosive growth in population (mostly through migration), it is generally believed that as of 2007 about 4.8 million people live within the Surat Urban Development Authority (SUDA) area. SUDA extends beyond the city limits by about 5k.m. and thus encompasses additional villages and towns.
Roadside kiosks, called "laaris" or "rekdis", are popular. In the cooler winter months, Suratis converge at river Tapi's banks to eat Ponk, a roasted cereal that is available only in this part of the world.
All major Indian festivals are celebrated in Surat. Diwali and Ganesh Chaturthi are celebrated with great enthusiasm. The kite-flying festival of Utraan which falls on Makar Sankranti is very popular in the city. It is also well known for the celebration of Chandi Padvo which usually occurs around October and is a holiday unique to Surat. This day comes after one of the two biggest full moon days of the Hindu calendar year, "Sharad Purnima". On this day, Surtis buy almost 100 tons of Ghari and other Surti delicacies, then head to the city's seaside beach area, Dumas where they have dinner and a late night snack under the full moonlit sky.
Surties are FOND OF EATING AND TO CELEBRATE ALL FESTIVAL
Schools in Surat are either "municipal schools" (run by the SMC) or private schools (run by trusts or individuals), which in some cases receive financial aid from the government. The schools are affiliated either with the Gujarat State Board or the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE). Gujarati or English are the usual languages of instruction. The government-run public schools lack many facilities, but are the only option for poorer residents who cannot afford the more expensive private schools. A majority of residents prefer private schools because of better infrastructure and the use of English as a medium of instruction.
Under the 10+2+3 format, students attend primary and secondary schooling during the first ten years and then may complete two years of higher secondary education, followed by three years at college for commerce, arts or science degrees. Generally, engineering degree courses take four years, while medicine takes about five and half years or more. Most colleges in the city are affiliated with the Veer Narmad South Gujarat University.
Surat has a medical college and four engineering colleges including
Gujarat Mitra, one of the oldest and most respected dailies of the country, is the most popular daily newspaper of Surat and South Gujarat. Besides Gujarat Mitra, other dailies include Gujarat Samachar, Sandesh, Divyabhaskar and Commodity World. Local editions of these newspapers are published in Gujarati. Loktej was the first Hindi daily published in Surat. Rajasthan Patrika and Savera are now the top Hindi daily newspapers in Surat. The national dailies Indian Express, The Times of India and Mid Day are the most popular English-language newspapers.DNA-Daily News and Analysis is a new addition to the list of English dailies available in Surat.
Since the city has the largest synthetic textile manufacturing center in India, there is an exclusive textile newspaper called Textile Graph. It is published in Surat, since 1994, in Gujarati and Hindi versions. The Textile Directory of Surat (5th. edition) comprising business information of textile traders and industry in and around Surat is also published by Textile Graph.
Most cable service providers have local television channels. Satellite TV DTH services are provided by DISH TV and TATA SKY.
Surat has its own website MyCitySurat which gives people a platform to express their views on current events, views, grivences. It serves as a real time city directory which gets updated by the users directly. It permits users to interact directly on many topics.
Broadband internet connections are also available in the city. Broadband service providers include BSNL, TATA INDICOM, RELIANCE COMMUNICATIONS, YOU BROADBAND. Wi-Fi connectivity is available at many cafes.
In the year of 2007, Surat has four FM Radio stations that play Hindi and English music till late night:
National Radio, "Vividh Bharti", is also broadcast from Surat.
Surat has many sports facilities, the majority of them dedicated to cricket. The Lalbhai Contractor Stadium and the Pithawala Cricket stadiums have facilities for hosting cricket matches. In addition, Surat has an indoor stadium, used to host events like badminton and table tennis, with modern facilities and seating capacity for 7000. In August 2006, the 3rd Asian gymnastics championship was held in Surat. There are a few sports clubs which provide many types of indoor and outdoor games, including the Surat Tennis Club near Athwalines, and the Surat City Gymkhana.Surat has Rander Gymkhana which is situated at Rander and Surat has bigest diving pool at New Rander road, it's situated at Palanpur Patiya .It is Surat bigest diving pool .In Area of Palanpur Patiya,SMC 's cricket ground is a ground At New Rander Road.It's nick name is Royal Cricket Ground.It has a big crowd at sunday and in vacation... Where old and children all are played cricket there at royal .
Chintamani Jain Temple - The exquisite wooden carvings and paintings are the major attractions of the temple. The temple actively maintained and visited by the city's Jains is situated in the Shahpor area and dates back to 15 century and houses some of the most rare paintings of Jain monk Acharya Hemchandra, Solanki King and King Kumarapal. Any visit to the city would be incomplete without a visit here especially by Jains.
Dutch Garden - 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.
Old Fort - The Old Fort was built by Muhammed Tughlak in the 14th century to fortify the defence against the Bhils. It is now used for municipal offices. Sardar Patel Museum - About a hundred years old, this museum has a collection of over 10,000 specimens of arts and crafts.
Rangupavan- It is an open air theater with a 18 meters by 10.5 meters stage and a capacity of around 4000 spectators. This is one of the biggest theaters in the country. Rangupavan was recently closed. Dumas & Hajira - Dumas, 16 km from Surat, and Hajira, 28 km from Surat, are well known health resorts on a creek emptying into the Arabian Sea. Hajira has two wells with water rich in iron and sulphur. The pleasant Hazira beach is fringed by feathery casurina trees.
Gaurav Path - One of the most happening places of Surat. It was built by Surat Municipal Corporation.
Choppati - It's also a very popular place in the city. It has a large garden and provides Indian fastfood like Paav Bhajee and Paani puri. Vansada National Park - It is situated in Valsad district and is a home to leopards, tigers, panthers and wild boars. The best time to visit is between October and March.
JOY n JOY - It is situated around 30km from Surat, on the Ahemadabad highway. It has different types of rides.
Water Fun Park - It is situated in Hazira Road 16 km away from Surat City, is popular during summer weekends. It is also called છબ છબા છબ. *
Beaches - There are a number of beaches near Surat. Only 16 km away, Dumas is a popular resort with locals. Hajira is 28 km from the city and Ubhrat is 42 km out, while Tithal is 108kn away and only five km from Valsad on the Mumbai to Vadodara train line. Twenty-nine km south of Surat, Navsari has been a headquarters for the Parsi community since the earliest days of their settlement in India. Udvada, only 10 km north of Vapi, the station for Daman, has the oldest Parsi sacred fire in India. It is said that the fire was brought from Persia to Diu, on the opposite coast of the Gulf of Cambay, in 700 AD. Sanjan, in the extreme south of the state, is the small port where the Parsis first landed. A pillar marks the spot.
Dutch Cemetry - Located near Kataragam Gate, this impressive mausoleum is that of Baron Adrian Van Reede who passed away in 1691. A massive Dome, beautiful pillars and the huge gallery make it a very outstanding monument.
Science City - Located near to Citylight area. It is developing by SMC and it will be most attractive place for tourist in near future.
Surat has many big shoppin Mall .It has following shoppinmg mall......Bigbazzar,Isconmall ,Vijay Sales,Iris Mall, Croma Enterprize, Vishal Mega Mart