Saturday, April 10, 2010

How old is Surat?

" The city of Surat has glorious history that dates back to 300 BC. The origin of the city can be traced to the old Hindu town of Suryapur during 1500 – 1520 A.D., which was later colonised by the Brigus or the King from Sauvira on the banks of River Tapi. In 1759, The British rulers took its control from the Mughals till the beginning of the 20th century. The city is located on the River Tapi and has about 6 km long coastal belt along the Arabian Sea. Due to these reasons, the city emerged as an important trade centre and enjoyed prosperity through sea trade in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. Surat became the most important trade link between India and many other countries and was at the height of prosperity till the rise of Bombay port in the 17th and 18th centuries. Surat was also a flourishing centre for ship building activities. The whole coast of Tapi from Athwalines to Dumas was specially meant for ship builders who were usually Rassis. After the rise of the port at Bombay, Surat faced a severe blow and its ship building industry also declined. During the post-independence period, Surat has experienced considerable growth in industrial activities (especially textiles) along with trading activities. Concentration of these activities combined with residential developments has resulted in considerable expansion of the city limits. " (Surat Corporation)

The above brief is by no means complete. What I have read at few other places is, that Surat is mentioned during the period of Mahabharata about 3000 B.C. Now thats a pretty long time from then to 1500 A.D. which is mentioned above. What happened during these 1000's of years to Surat? Unfortunately it is extremely diffcult to dig into the ancient books and scriptures to find out what happened. Since they don't even exist. I think it is very important to find out where it started and what went on for thousands of years. The above paragraph refers to a period where Surat was a major business center and ship building industry was thriving for many many years. And as you know, for the economic development of any region, TRANSPORTATION is very important. It seems due to its location on the banks of river Tapti and close to the Arabian Sea, it must have been very favorable to sail boats and ships. I can't even imagine a picture where our river Tapti, flowing through the city (as we see now), full of pure water merging into the sea and with it moving major goods (like spices, clothes, jewelery etc) between the countries like, China, Persia, & other middle eastern countries.
If anyone has come across any interesting history books then please post it here.

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