Who goes to Surat for a vacation ! Was the reaction ,that I got from most of my relatives….The reason for this inhibition to choose Surat as a holiday abode ,may be for the fact that, people fear the old Surat of 1994( plague ) or because of the Riots that occurred in 1992-1993. Surat is only seen as a money minting ,pollution spilling monster.. If you count the positives, Surat without doubt is the Textile capital and Diamond capital of India…and without doubt Surti cuisine is famous ,as I have read about it many times….
(Food + Textile + Beaches + Parsi culture ) tempted me to select Surat this Independence day( 70th Birthday Of free India). I wanted to explore,how well, It will score as a tourist spot !
Surat is 270kms from Ahmedabad, Minimum 3 days you need ,if you wish to cover surat to its full potential. I had so much in my bucket list for Surat #HauntedBeach(Dumas) , #Suratcastel, #Suvalibeach( the cleanest beach of India), #Hazira Beach( Mangrove forest) and much more…before the trip ,I was busy packing and enlightening my grey cells about ‘khubsoorat Surat’
We started from Ahmedabad at around 7:30 Am and reached Surat at around 3:30 PM, enjoying the ride…The road to Surat is full of good food joints,we even crossed a chocolate factory( Schimitten luxury chocolates)…My baby had a great time chockie Shopping! After so many bad experiences, I wonder how Online hotel booking sites are thriving ! this was the second time, we faced a problem on reaching a hotel, my advice would be go for makemytrip.com..The best site for bookings ( booking.com and cleartrip.com have made our vacation mood go sour quite a few times now) . Anways after all the hitch, we were ready for the sightseeing by around 5PM.
Destination 1 : Dumas Beach ( Haunted Beach)
Around 18kms from Surat city….
The Internet says, It is amongst the most haunted places of India ! Do not know why ! The place was full of human beings…some of them, were of-course behaving like ghost ! There was no real ghost sighting !
She has started enjoying ,what most of us don’t !
silently watching the sea rock and roll …..
Deciphering the secret whispers of the sea breeze……
Watching the sun sleep(set) peacefully ……
It was a great evening…with a lot of photography and food !
P.S( try cheese corn chat)
A few elements on the beach, did make me feel spooky !
To see series of transmission poles on the beach is scary…( Water + Electricity + Humans)..not cool!I saw a lot of crows on the beach, I have heard my granny saying, crows are evil and they carry message from the dead ! I do not believe in these superstitions..but still I have been conditioned like that…somewhere ..some corner, sitting on a Haunted beach…you feel not very safe !..:P
Balancing act near the beach…
We saw temple of universal mother near parking lot ! A temple for one and all….
On our way back….We discovered something , on a roundabout( circle) !
Surat was a princely state I knew..But details I did not. ‘Sachin state’ was a princely state of the Surat Agency. Sachin state was founded on 6 June 1791. Although over 85% of the subjects were Hindu, the state was ruled by Sunni Muslim Sufis of the Sidi dynasty.The Sidi dynasty is of African origin.
There is a palace near this circle…But entry was restricted. An ice-cream vendor informed us, the rulers lived somewhere in Navasari . There permission was mandatory to access this property! Some interesting facts I learnt on returning back from our adventure….Fatima Begum (1892 – 1983), one of the early superstars in Indian cinema and India’s first female film director, was allegedly married to Nawab Sidi Ibrahim Muhammad Yakut Khan III of Sachin State. But Sachin royal family sources cast a veil over this. Zubeida, leading actress of India’s first talkie film Alam Ara (1931), was her ( Fatima Begums) younger daughter. I am sure most of you reading my blog are not aware of these strange facts !
I have heard this phrase quite a lot of times now from my Gujarati friends “SURAT NU JAMAN NE KASHI NU MARAN ” that is …DINE IN SURAT AND DIE IN KASHI”…It was time to check its validity…We chose an Iranian joint near out hotel, on our way back, from the beach for dinner…
For starters, we ordered Chicken Masala papad and Murg farcha..and main course was Chicken Dhansak !
Firts half of the day, we went to Udvada , it is around 120kms from Surat. We had an eventful day there…That I will write in a separate blog….
On our way back..we went to the DANDI BEACH….That too on Independence day…(This is the place where Mk Gandhi made India independent from salt Tax Law)…Coming back to present..It is a great beach for long walks, Ideal beach to make sand castles with your kid !
SPOT 1 : Mughal Sarai..
It is one of the ancient monuments of Surat city and was built originally as a ‘Sarai’ or Musafarkhana (travellers’ inn). It was built during the period of Mugal Emperor Shah Jahan in the year 1644 A.D. and was popularly known as ‘Mugal Sarai’. During 18th century the same building was used as jail, currently use as Headquarters of Surat Municipal Corporation.
Spot 2: Dutch Cemetery
First look …and my reaction ….Muslim Tomb?!…the answer is no..The Dutch as well as Armenian cemeteries at Surat are situated in a locality known as ‘Gulam Falia’ near the mail road leading to Katargam Gate. The Dutch tombs are of various sizes and shapes, but the one that excels all the rest in magnificence is the grandiose mausoleum of Baron Adrian Van Reede and, is described here in detail.
Spot 3 : ENGLISH CEMETERY
The English cemetery which is situated outside the city-wall (which was known as ‘Alampanah’) near the Katargam Gate reminds the visitor eloquently of many a famous names in the historical narratives of the English factory at Surat who were the significant persons in the political history of the city.
SPOT 4 : Surat Castle
Not in a very good condition,the government is giving a face lift though…I took the pics from a bridge nearby…
Spot 5: Suvali beach
It is supposed to be the cleanest beach of India, Its claim to fame is also credited to the fact, It is the Birth Place of modern Indian Navy. in 1612, Captain Thomas Best encountered and defeated the Portuguese at the Battle of Swally.
Source : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suvali_Beach
Spot 6: Hazira beach…
Gujarat is full of surprise packages..It has a mangrove forest !!! can you believe it !…It is a private property I guess..Took a few pictures …
If you are still living in the past and feel Surat is full of rodents ( impression beacuse of the plague) or is dirty….believe me it is now, One of the cleanest City I have seen….9/10 for cleanliness ! It is exactly what, this signboard says..’ Sundar surat’
Its a huge city and a very clean city…Food is yum….On top of it…Shoppers paradise and has a bag full beaches and historical monuments to explore ! and not to forget..A photographers heaven…