Cradled by the banks of Tapi River, lies the world’s largest diamond manufacturing hub and a gem of a city in itself called Surat. Situated on the Southern side of Gujarat and popular in the list of names where the most developed cities of India are mentioned, Surat, truly flies high like the Ray Starling bird that migrates from Europe to this city, marking the arrival of winter there.
Famous as the Silk City of India in the olden times now it has rightfully acquired the throne of textile capital of India. It is said that the region was discovered by a Brahman named ‘Gopi’ in 1516, who named it Suryapur. In 1520 it was finally renamed as Surat. The city is well connected through all types of transportation to major Indian cities and if you ever feel like visiting it, you surely do not have to stress it much.
Below are some recommendations of sites that you must visit on your visit to Surat.
Heritage Sites | For Some History Lessons
● Old Fort of Surat
Popularly known as the Surat Fort among the tourist, this humongous structure was built in the 16th century by then Ahmedabad King Sultan Mahmood-III, as dictated in Wikipedia. It is said that in those times Surat acted as a major port for trading at the international level, which also subjected it to being raided every now and then. Hence, in order to protect it from such attacks, this fort was built right alongside the coast which now acts as a wonder for many tourists as by standing at the top of it one can gaze at the vast ocean and all the happenings in it.
● Sardar Patel Museum
Established in the year 1890, which is 57 years before independence, in the British period, famously known as the Winchester Museum, this place was used for storing important documents. After independence, the name was changed to Sardar Patel Museum or as said by many Sardar Sangrahalya. By having a vast collection of planetariums, paintings, ancient relics, and other amazing things, this place is a dreamland for those who loved history in their school days.
The thing that makes this place a heritage site is the Banyan tree which is supposed to be 600 years old. Residing near the Narmada River, the tree has around 3000 trunks covering the whole area and is the perfect source of shade to be under in all sorts of weather. Rumor has it that this place use to be Saint Kabir’s residence several hundred years ago and thus presents a very enticing local folklore worth going through in your visit to Surat.
Religious Sites | Tap Into The Spiritual Self
● Ambika Niketan Temple
In the temple resides a gorgeous sculpture of Ashtabhuja Ambika- an avatar of Maha Shakti which makes up for most of the devotees being attracted to this place. This temple was built by a devotee of the goddess in 1969 and acts as a standing marvel for many. Besides the big ‘pratima’ of Shakti’s avatar, smaller shrines of other Lords like Shiva, Rama, etc, are also present. Once you visit this place you will surely feel blessed after looking at the magnificent smiling idol of Ambika Maa.
With an enormous Mahadev or Shiva’s idol waiting for you at its center is Galteswar, a site famous for the grandeur of this sculpture and the way it depicts the Mahadev sitting in a meditative position. If you are visiting Surat, a picture in front of this epic build-up is a must. They have also created a small cave-like structure in which replicas of all the twelve jyotirlingas reside.
Bonus Tip: make sure that you go to this place in the evening hours as the whole Lord Shiva’s sculpture gets lighted up which add-up to the vigor of this place.
● ISKCON Temple
ISKCON is a world-renowned institution that is devoted to working under Lord Krishna. Whether you are a Lord Krishna’s worshipper or not, the positive energy that this place emits has something to offer to everyone. Even though the structure of the temple might appear simplistic from the outside but is filled with spiritual blessings you need to have a happy and prosperous life.
● Swaminarayan Temple
With cravings for some artful carvings of ancient times then this temple will be the perfect treat for you. Built in honor of Swaminarayan Samprday, who is said to be an incarnation of Narayan, this temple’s architecture makes it stand out from the others on this list. The whole construction of this shrine has been done so marvelously that you can notice its shine from a mile away. The credit must go to the maintenance faculty of this temple whose work can surely be flaunted by not only the temple but its surroundings and well-kept environment as well.
● Chintamani Temple
Located almost in the middle of the city and built during the rule of Aurangzeb. A Solanki Dynasty king named Kumarpal has an advisor named Hemachandraji, who guided him in bringing prosperity to his kingdom. This temple is said to be built by the king in a way to honor his advisor. The carvings and paintings present inside the temple will surely surprise you because of their intricacies. It is said that most of the paintings are made of colors extracted from vegetables.
Coastal Sites | Get Refreshed With The Waves
● Dandi Beach
This is the renowned place where Mahatma Gandhi shook the British Government by picking up a handful of saline mud water and bringing an end to the British hegemony in the salt market. Not just for sunrises and sunsets, visit this place to experience the aura of revolt and rebellion that is still left in the air of this beach. The roar of thousands of Indians who marched to the shore of Dandi beach can be heard loud and clear along the waves of high tide.
● Ubharat Beach
Clear sky, warm blue beaches, and a place to just relax and unwind, if this is your idea of a perfect tourist destination, then you don’t need to visit any foreign state for that as Surat already has it. Ubharat is a beach that will surely shock you with its calmness and sunsets, complementing each other with the cold winds of the coast. There are a lot of food stalls nearby from which you can buy a snack and enjoy the picturesque view in peace.
● Dumas beach
If you feel a little adventurous then we dare you to visit this haunted beach of Surat. What makes this place scary you ask? Folklore and its black soil are the answer to this question. Many say that the beach had black soil because the place used to be a common ground for Hindu burials and because of the excess of ashes it has turned black. Many paranormal activities have also been reported here along with people going missing. Whether it is because of the myths surrounding this place or the whole set-up it is in, a visit to this place will surely give you goosebumps.
Parks and Gardens | Welcome To a Natural Bliss
● Dutch Garden
A European-style garden is all that you need to splash yourself with some goodness of nature. Morning or evening walk, picnics, get together, no matter what you want to use this gorgeous space for, you will surely not regret it. Even though this garden does hold some graves of the English and Dutch explorers who settled in Surat, their burial sites sure do amplify the beauty of this breathtaking beauty.
● Vansda National Park
Named after the town it is located nearby, Vansda National Park is a protected region that is mostly covered by deciduous forest having groves of bamboos that enhance the scenic nature of this place. Placed in the Sahyadri range’s Western side, the undisturbed flora and fauna of this place are amazing. Pre-monsoon season is the best time to visit this place as suggested by Wikipedia.
● Snow Park
A one of its own kind of Snow Park in Surat is present to make your journey even more exciting. This cutely constructed setting can be your perfect getaway during your summer stay in Surat. Whether you want to play with snow, slide on a sledging cart, or snow dance with laser lights, all are available at this park.
Started as an ecotourism initiative, Padamdungri is a campsite that has trails and treks worth checking out. This will be the perfect ingredient to turn your trip to Surat into a fun-filled adventurous ride. The region has all types of wildlife and views you need in making a successful camping trip. As this place is located near River Ambica, options of river rafting and boating are also present.
With this, you have the perfect cheat sheet you need to create a thrilling itinerary for your Surat Trip.