Today the #XploreBharat Blog Train has come to Surat (https://musingsite.wordpress.com) from (Goa) (https://saba-relishingrascal-scribbles.com/2019/03/22/hop-between-the-beaches-at-goa-xplorebharat/). The next stop of this #XploreBharat Blog Train is (Bhuj) (https://mommyaccountsays.wordpress.com/2019/03/24/exploring-beautiful-bhuj-and-the-white-desertgreat-rann/)
Hello friends, welcome to Surat, situated on the banks of the river Tapi. It is one of the four major cities in the western Indian state of Gujarat, with a vibrant mix of modernity and tradition about it, as the post heading says.
Fun fact no. 1 : Did you know that 95% of the rough diamonds in the world are cut in Surat? Or that 90% of the nation’s diamond exports come from the city?
Surat is well-connected by rail, road and air to all the major cities of the country. The nearest mega cities are Ahmedabad and Mumbai, both 4 hours via train, one to the north and the other to the south.
So let’s say you reached Surat late at night, booked a hotel and went to sleep, letting your body relax and rest.
You wake up the next morning.
Let’s start you off with a holy visit.
You have three choices.
The Swaminarayan temple (Image).
The Ambika Niketan temple.
The ISKCON temple.
You’ve satiated the pious, now what about the “paapi pet?” (Belly). Gujarati cuisine is famous as is, as travellers on our XploreBharat train who’ve been to Ahmedabad know well. Surat, though, is in a league of its own. I say this because you go to any eatery in the city, and your mind would be boggled by the sheer variety of “nastas” on offer. Locho, sev khamani, rassawala khaman, khandvi, dhoklo, surti bhusu, lili tuver ghugra, patraa are among the few. And that’s not even mentioning the ubiquitous dhokla, dabeli, fafda-jalebi, khaman et al. Spoilt for choices was never more apt.
Fun fact no. 2 : Surat was the fourth cleanest city in India in 2017 according to the Ministry of Urban Development.
Now, let’s get you acquainted with a bit of the history of the place. Visit the Surat Castle, a 16th-century structure. As Wikipedia will tell you, the Ahmedabad king Sultan Mahmood-III ordered its construction to defend the city from the frequent attacks that had devastated it. Details here.
You’ve seen all that water that surrounds the castle, and now you want to explore aquatic and marine life, don’t you? You might not, but never mind. Let’s go to the Jagdish Chandra Bose Municipal Aquarium. Here’s all the info you need about it.
Enough roaming around. You’ve come to the textile capital of the country, and you would go without shopping? No, no, not done. Enter one of the many textile markets in the city. There’s a huge variety of fabrics and apparel that you can buy in the city.
Fun fact no. 3 : There’s another Surat in the world. Surat Thani in Thailand. And, and, believe it or not, it is situated on the bank of river Tapi!
Okay. Shopping bags in tow, you now want to relax for a while. Try out the VR Mall on Dumas Road. You can watch a film too, in the Inox multiplex. Or go to the snow park at the Rahul Raj Mall. You can catch a movie at the PVR Cinema there. These, of course, are two of many malls in the city.
Dumas beach. Hazira can be faintly seen in the background. Image credit :Myself.
It’s late afternoon now, the Sun has lost some of its anger. Perfect time to hit the beach. Top choice? Dumas beach. Bonus fun fact : It was named after the French writer Alexandre Dumas (Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo among others). Goes to remind us of the centuries-old connections between East and West, doesn’t it? The beach also overlooks the Hazira SEZ, which houses many of the top technology and Engineering firms. Mind you, the beach is among the most haunted places in India.
Other choices, if you so wish, include Suvali beach and Ubharat beach.
The sun has long since gone down, and your tanned enough as well. Go for a leisurely walk on the Heritage Walkway on the Adajan bridge. Or go for a stroll around the Gopi Talav.
Gopi Talav. Image credit : justdial.com
Dinner time! Once again, there are many options to choose from, depending on what you want to eat. One suggestion is to check out the Revolving Restaurant that is the Tex Palazzo Hotel Kandeel, where you can have either vegetarian or non-vegetarian food.
Fun fact no. 4 : Surat was the first city in India to install CCTVs to monitor traffic.
This winds up your day. But this doesn’t cover all the attractions the city has. For example, you haven’t been to the
Sarthana National Park or the Sneh Rashmi Botanical Garden or the Jawaharlal Nehru Garden or Chintamani Jain Temple or the Dargah Hazrat Khwaja Dana or the Kavi Narmad Central Library. These, time-permitting, can be on your schedule for the second day.
Disclaimer: I’ve used some creative liberty with the timings for the visits. Distance and traffic might mean you’d not be able to make to the places in the time pointed out in the post, but you already knew that, didn’t you? 😉
Thanks for reading. 🙂