Gulf of Khambhat

Gulf of Khambhat

[kam-bey]
The Gulf of Khambhat (formerly known as the Gulf of Cambay) is an inlet of the Arabian Sea along the west coast of India, in the state of Gujarat. It is about 80 miles in length, and divides the Kathiawar peninsula to the west from the eastern part of Gujarat state on the east. The Narmada and Tapti rivers empty into the Gulf. The Gulf is shallow and abounds in shoals and sandbanks including the Mal Bank at the river mouths and the Malacca Banks at the gulf's entrance to the Arabian Sea. The Gulf is known for its extreme tides, which vary greatly in height and run into it with amazing speed. At low tide the bottom is left nearly dry for some distance below the town of Khambhat.

The Alang Ship Recycling Yard takes advantage of the extreme high tides of the gulf. Large ships are beached during the twice-monthly highest tides, and are dismantled when the tide recedes.

The Gulf of Khambhat has been an important centre of trade since ancient times; its ports connect central India to the maritime trade routes of the Indian Ocean. Bharuch (Broach), Surat, Khambhat, Bhavnagar, and Daman are historically important seaports. Bharuch has been important since ancient times; Khambhat was the gulf's chief port in the Middle Ages, but after the silting of its harbor, Surat rose to prominence as the most important harbor of the Mughal empire.

In 2000, India's science and technology minister Murli Manohar Joshi announced that evidence of an ancient civilisation exists in the form of a large complex of man-made structures underwater in the Gulf of Khambhat. India's archaeological community rejected the claims as baseless and politically motivated.

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