Surat is brimming with history - since time long gone, it's been famed for its cottons, muslins, silks and brocades and as a trading centre for textiles and spices. Its strategic position on the west coast of India, its relative proximity to Europe and its prosperity made it a pawn in the game of one up man ship between the various colonial powers in India. The Portuguese, French, Dutch and the English controlled the city and so the lucrative sea trade at one time or another. Despite its turbulent past, Surat grew in eminence to become one of the major ports and amongst the most prosperous cities of western India in the 17th and 18th centuries. Modern Surat has a flourishing textile industry and is the centre of diamond processing, cutting and polishing for the global diamond and gemstone industry.
On the whole, the climate of Surat can be categorised as mild to warm with little variations in the temperatures through the different seasons. Surat's proximity to the Arabian Sea ensures that summer temperatures never get intolerable though average temperatures do climb as high as 38°C. It's the humidity that is really enervating at 100%. Winters are mild while the region receives a fair bit of rain during the rainy season from June to September. From October onwards till March are really the most pleasant months of the whole year.
Gold thread embroidery, brocades, gold and silver ?zari', and silk saris are the specialities of Surat that can be bought for very reasonable sums in the city's markets.
Ubharat: It is situated 42 kms from Surat. Ubharat is known for a fine, sandy beach with a backdrop of shady palm groves.
Tithal: It is situated 108 kms from Surat and 5 kms from Valsad on the Bombay Vadodara Western Railway. A beautiful sandy beach palm sheltered cottages is what you would get to see there.
Ukai thermal power station - Surat
Surat Castle - Surat
Bardoli: It is situated 34 kms from Surat. Gandhiji had launched a farmers' movement known as the 'Bardoli Satyagrah' in 1921-22 under the leadership of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Swaraj Ashram at Bardoli has become a place of pilgrimage in India.
Ukai: It is situated 94 kms from Surat. A major multipurpose irrigation project of Gujarat, the storage of water at the dam site is almost as large as that of Bhakra Nangal Dam in Punjab.
Bulsar: The Vansda National Park is situated in Bulsar District. Wild animals such as leopards, tigers, panthers and wild boars are found here.
Attractions and Places to Visit in Surat
Surat isn't really a travel destination for the sightseeing, museum-visiting tourist and has few such attractions. The Old Fort at Surat was built by Mohammed bin Tughlaq in the 14 th century as defence against attacks from the sea. The single most interesting place in modern Surat is Surat Castle built in the 16th century by an Albanian Christian who embraced Islam and was given the title Khudawan Khan. The castle has 12m high battlements, 4m thick walls and a majestic gate on the eastern side. The English, Dutch and Armenian Cemeteries , now in a state of neglect, stand as a memorial to the city's chequered history.
How to Reach Surat
By Air The nearest airport for Surat is Vadodara (Baroda), some 140 km away. Buses and taxis that are easily available outside the Vadodara Airport can cover the distance between the two cities. You could rent a car from a travel agent or car rental company as well.
By Train Surat is one of the main stations in the Western railways network. It is connected to almost all Indian cities via Mumbai in Maharashtra (256 km) and Ahmedabad in Gujarat (230 km).
By Road Surat is just off National Highway - 8 that connects Ahmedabad to Surat and Mumbai. The distances to the major cities are Ahmedabad 267 km; Vadodara 140 km; Mumbai 326 km; Bhavnagar 326 km, Junagadh 531 km and Bhuj 619 km. The highway is an excellent 8-lane road in top condition. The traffic is fairly heavy as it is one of the main links between west and southwest India but is well provided with gas and service stations, highway restaurants and motels at regular intervals.