Textile capital of India and Diamond capital of the world
Surat the commercial capital of the state of Gujarat, is one of the fastest growing cities in India with a population in 2010 nearly the double of that in 2001. By 2020 it is estimated that Surat will be the largest city in Gujarat state. The city has been ranked 36th in the list of world’s largest cities, and is the ninth largest city in India. Surat is the textile capital of India and the diamond capital of the world – 92% of the world’s diamonds are cut and polished in Surat.
Surat is home to a number of institutions of higher education in streams like engineering, science, medicine, arts and vocational fields. The famous Sardar Vallabhai Patel National Institute of Technology (ranked among the top five NIT’s in India) is located in Surat. Surat Metropolitan Region is widely regarded as one of the cleanest Metropolitan Regions in the country with the city proper being the third cleanest city in India.
Location: About 300 kilometers north of Mumbai and 273 km south of Ahmedabad; situated on the left bank of the Tapti River (Tapi).
Climate: A tropical monsoon climate, moderated strongly by the Arabian Sea. The summer begins in early March and lasts till June with average temperature of about 30°C. The monsoons last from end-June to end-September with the temperature averaging at 28°C. October and November see the retreat of the monsoon.
Hottest months: April and May
Coolest months: December to February (with average temperatures of around 22°C, and a little rain)
Cuisine: 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.
Festivals: 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.
Transport and Connectivity: The city is connected to the national railway system through the Western Railways connecting it to Mumbai and beyond to the south as well as New Delhi, Ahmedabad, Vadodara and other cities to the north. The Golden Quadrilateral highway system will pass through Surat at its expected completion. At present the city is connected to the National Highway 8 through a 16 km connector highway. National Highway 8 corridor is one of the most industrially developed area in the country and Surat is one of the most industrially active cities that connect to it.