Surat also known as Suryapur or Diamond City or Silk City, It is the administrative capital of Surat district and one of the fastest growing cities in India with a population in 2010 nearly the double of that in 2001. The city has been ranked 36th in the list of world's largest cities. Surat fourth fastest growing city in world .
Surat Metropolitan Region is widely regarded as one of the cleanest Metropolitan fourth fastest growing city in world
Surat is one of District among 25 Districts of Gujarat State. Total 15 Taluk , 846 Villages are in this District. The city is located 306 km south of state capital Gandhinagar, and is situated on the left bank of the Tapti River (Tapi). Total Population of Surat is 4,9s06,429, 53% Males , 47% Females, Surat is in 4 th position in the state By Population.
Inclusion of Surat as the third cleanest city came as quite a surprise to many, since the city was ravaged by severe Plague Epidemic in 1994. Caused by a combination of heavy rains and blocked drains leading to flooding, while a number of dead street animals and public waste were not removed in time, it led to many countries imposing travel and trade sanctions on India. Since then, the city’s municipal corporation and people have worked hard to clean the city. Surat now has a computerized water distribution system, and computerized drainage system is under implementation. It also has one of the best water treatment plants in India.
Surat - the modern port city of today boasts of a great historical and cultural heritage.
The history of Surat takes us back to the epic age of Mahabharata and Ramayana. According to mythological beliefs, Lord Krishna stopped in the city while his journey from Mathura to Dwarka and the cow's foot prints are still visible to the devotees at a place popularly called "Gai Pagli".
In the history of Surat, the city was known to be the city of Kubera, the God of Wealth. In 1664 the Maratha King Shivaji attacked Surat. Shivaji's army sacked Surat for nearly 3 weeks, looting both the Mughal and Portuguese trading centers. This looted wealth later was used for development and strengthening of the Maratha Empire. From that date Surat began to decline with the rise of British interests in Bombay. Surat was sacked again by Shivaji in 1670. This depressed era in the history of Surat was changed by 1689. The British East India Company moved the seat of presidency to Bombay. The British again took Surat in 1759, and the conquerors took control of the entire government of the city in the year 1800.
Surat was the primary port of India during the Mughal period, a distinction it lost to Bombay during the British Raj.
In 1992, violent riots took place between Hindus and Muslims in Surat. In 1994, heavy rains led to intense flooding of the city. Acute contamination of environment led to plague epidemic that spread through the city. The municipal commissioner during that time worked hard in the late 1990s to clean the city up, after which it was attributed in many circles as the `second-cleanest city in India` .
In the second week of August 2006, a destructive 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 taken out of the mud. Two weeks after the floods, Surat`s diamond-polishing factories were practically empty of workers, however the history of Surat has left many evidences to say that the city has grown from severe sufferings. On April 29, 2007, Surat`s first domestic airport was inaugurated and scheduled flights began on May 6, 2007
Surat reached the highest point of prosperity during the sixteenth century. The Surat Port was considered important by the European traders. The British and the Portuguese waged battles against each other to gain supreme control over the trading route. The French and the Dutch also arrived in the city with merchandising objectives.
(General View of Surat India in 1900)
Surat the second capital of Gujarat is growing much as its neighboring metro Bombay and by 2020 it is estimated that Surat will be the largest city in Gujarat state and its urbanization will stretch from Kosamba in north to Billimora in south. 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 the Hazira area of Surat Metropolitan Region).
The city is located at 21°10?N 72°50?E. 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 2,500 mm a year).
Surat has grown in area since the early 1700s. The oldest part of the city developed in the area between the train station and the area known as Athwalines. Since the 1970s most of the new development including the most desirable location for the city's burgeoning middle and upper class is the area between Athwalines and the coast at Dumas.
Surat has a Tropical monsoon climate, moderated strongly by the Arabian Sea. The summer begins in early March and lasts till June. April and May are the hottest months, the average temperature being 30 °C. Monsoon begins in late June and the city receives about 800 mm of rain by the end of September, with the average temperature being around 28 °C during those months. October and November see the retreat of the monsoon and a return of high temperatures till late November. Winter starts in December and ends in late February, with average temperatures of around 22 °C, and little rain.
Very often heavy monsoon rain brings floods in the Tapi basin area. In last two decades, the city has witnessed major floods every four years, the worst being the flood of August 2006, perhaps the costliest in the city's history. In the second week of August 2006, a massive flood caused severe damage to the city of Surat. According to a report released by Indian Institute of Management - Ahmedabad (IIM-A), massive flood after release of water from Ukai Dam had caused major human tragedy and property damage estimated at Rs 22,000 cr on that day. In less than three days, at least 150 people died directly due to flood and many other due to water-borne diseases that followed. More than 1500 animal carcasses were later hauled out of the mud.
Surat is known for diamonds, textiles and recently for diamond-studded gold jewellery manufacturing. Real Estate is a new emerging business in Surat.
Diamond polishing - Surat is Commercial Capital of Gujarat and also one of the economic hubs of India. Surat is famous for its diamond industry and textile industry, along with silk and chemicals. It is at the heart of the world's diamond-polishing industry, which in 2005 cut 95% of the world's diamond pieces and earned India $15 billion in exports . Gujarati diamond cutters emigrating from East Africa established the industry in 1901 and by the 1970s Surat-based diamond cutters began exporting stones to the US for the first time. Though much of the polishing work takes place on small weight stones, Surat's workshops have set their eyes on the lucrative market for finishing larger, pricier stones in the future.
The November 18, 2008 issue of the Wall Street Journal had an article about the diamond industry in Surat. It claims that 80% of the world's finished diamonds are cut and polished in this city. However the wages of the industry's workers remained flat for years and 250,000 workers, or one-third of the city's diamond industry workforce, has left between 2005?2008, leaving about 500,000. Only after a July 2008 strike did the workers obtain a 20% salary raise, their first in a decade.
Textiles - Surat is known for producing world-class synthetic textiles.
Industrial - Surat also has many large industrial Giants such as KRIBHCO fertilizer plant, Reliance petrochemical plant, Essar's 10 million tonne steel plant, L&T Engineering unit, gas processing plant of ONGC, NTPC gas power plant. All at Hazira and ABG Shipyard (Shipbuilding Yard) and Ambuja Cement (grinding Unit) at Magdalla port where as Torrent mega power plant and GIPCL are located at Kamrej.
Real Estate - Surat real estate is at its best with builders taking keen interest in developing property in the peripheries of the ?Silk City'.
The population of Surat according to new city limits is 4,706,429. Males constitute 53% of the population and females 47%. Surat has an average literacy rate of 83%, higher than the national average of 79.5%: male literacy is 81%, and female literacy is 70%. Gujarati, Sindhi, Hindi, Marathi, Telugu, and Oriya are the main languages spoken in Surat. Telugu speaking are mostly hailing from Telangana, because of poverty and misery there. In Surat, 13% of the population is under 6 years of age. Over 0.6 million people or about 11% hail from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Surat also has sizeable Parsi and Jewish populations.
Surat is known for its Surti cuisine, which includes perennial favorites such as "Ghari" (a type of sweet), Locho, Undhiyu, Rasaawala Khaman, and Surti Chinese . Unlike cuisines in other parts of Gujarat, Surti cuisine is quite spicy. Roadside kiosks, called "laaris" or "rekdis", are quite popular in Surat. In the cooler winter months, Surtis 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. Navratri, Diwali and Ganesh Chaturthi are celebrated with great enthusiasm. The kite-flying festival of Uttarayan which falls on Makar Sankranti ? 14 January ? 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.