Surat Tourism, India: Places, Best Time & Travel Guides 2020
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The city of Surat, in Gujarat, has a lot to offer for travellers seeking a break from the humdrum.  This vibrant Diamond city in Gujarat offers much to see and soak for travellers. From a visit to the vast salt expanse to retreating to the forests of Gir close by and from cultural heritage of the temples of Surat to modern art, the city has something for everyone to stay inspired. The city of Surat, makes for a good base to explore the many offerings of the state of Gujarat, like the lions in the Gir Forest and the Asiatic Wild Asses of the Little Rann of Kutch as well as a wonderful travel getaway in itself.

Surat, often called the Diamond City, for it has been the trade centre for diamonds for centuries! The city sparkles with its natural beauty, the hot springs, temples, tree-lined roads and access to some of the most beautiful beaches. Believed to have been settled as Suryapur in 1516, Surat city of today is a marvel to behold and a visitor’s delight. There is celebration in the city of Surat, almost all through the year. From the vibrant Navratri celebrations across the many shrines dedicated to the Hindu goddesses at the beginning of the year to the festive colours of the Garba dance in October-November.

There’s the enthusiastic kite-flying festival in January which attracts travellers from all over the world and then there are music festivals after the rains. Surat has the tropical weather with hot summers, delightful winters, plenty of rain during the monsoon along with a sparkling although short, springtime. The city attracts travellers from all corners of the world through October to March which is the best time to visit the state. The lovely beaches around Surat, like Dumas and Suvali, make for a wholesome travel experience at any time of the year.

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  1. What are the best places to visit in Surat?

    1. Surat Fort
    Built in the 16th century, this castle was used to defend the city from the numerous scathing attacks by robbers. The city of Surat, a flourishing international trade centre, had been burnt to the ground thrice before the fort fended off the attackers. The Surat Fort still remains a magnificent piece of architecture.

    2. Ambaji Temple
    Built on the banks of the river Tapti in the city of Surat, the Ambika Niketan Temple is among the most popular places in the city. The temple is dedicated to the Goddess Ambika and the evening prayer rituals are worth experiencing.

    3. Dumas Beach
    Despite making its name as one of India's most haunted beaches, it is actually quite a serene visit all through the day. A popular picnic spot, the beach attracts children and adults alike and the sunset is truly scenic on the Arabian Sea.

    4. Hajira
    A small town on the outskirts of Surat, Hajira is popular for its hot water springs. The town is settled by the beach which makes it a scenic getaway from the city too.

    5. Dandi
    Only 28 kms from the city lies the historic Dandi beach. Mahatma Gandhi had led the famous Dandi March in 1930 to allow Indian citizens to make and have their own salt. The beach is scenic and makes for a wonderful day-long visit. 

    6. Sarthana Nature Park & Zoo
    This massive nature park in the heart of Surat city is a safe haven for lions, leopards and quite a few species of deer. The Sarthana Nature Park was the first zoo to be set up in Gujarat as late as 1984. 

    7. Science Centre
    For those with a more curious bent of mind, the Science Centre in Surat is a delight. It has a planetarium, an art gallery and a science museum in its complex and also has an amphitheatre to attend debates and discussion on scientific topics all-round the year. 

    8. Snow Park
    Located inside a popular mall in Surat, the Snow Park has become a major attraction for people visiting the city. The Snow Park offers respite in the extreme summer and has a range of special events planned to engage a large number of people.

    9. River Front
    The Tapi river flows by Surat and makes for the most beautiful sunset points in the city. The government has developed the banks into a river front with shops selling food and a long walkway for families to stroll along in the evening. 

    10. Chintamani Jain Temple
    This exquisite temple was built more than 400 years ago. It is located at the heart of the city and is very easy to reach. The vegetable dye paintings that one can find inside have made it famous. 

    11. Suvali Beach
    Surat is blessed with several scenic beaches and the Suvali beach ranks among the best in the entire state. It is a unique black sandy beach located 20 kms from the city and is not as crowded as most other beaches. You can enjoy a day to yourself by the sea here.
  2. Which are the best things to do in Surat?

    1. History Trail
    Let your inner Indiana Jones guide you through the maze of the many Vavs (stepwells) in the city. There are known and hidden ones and they all are very beautifully made. From the Lakhi vav hidden from plain sight to the elaborate Khammavati Vav and the Gopi stepwell. 

    2. Time to Pray
    Surat is home to people of many religions living together. You can witness the evening aarti at the SwamiNarayan Temple, sing in joy at ISKON temple, or reflect peacefully at the Jain Temple. 

    3. Textile Shopping
    Surat is also a hub of textile and has been an international port for textiles for many centuries! There are several shops for you to explore along Randher Road for some exquisite handmade textiles. 

    4. Eye on the Sky
    The Gavier Lake is an excellent spot for bird watchers as the marshland attracts thousands of the species mainly in the winter months. Local species like peacock, kingfishers and sunbirds have thrived here as well.

    5. Famous Food
    You won’t be disappointed with the range of food on your plate in Surat. From the simple sev bhel to the elaborated Gujarati thali, the all-vegetarian fare is as tempting as that from anywhere else in the country. Top it all off with some delicious malai kulfi!
  3. What is Surat famous for?

    Surat is famous for its diamonds and its textiles to the extent that the city is called the Diamond City as well as the Textile City of Gujarat. The city also has a number of cotton mills and silk fabric production units and the city is also a hub of tribal heritage handlooms as well.
  4. Is Surat worth visiting?

    Surat is truly worth visiting as it has everything a traveller seeks from architecture to modern amenities, from scenic beauty to scientific progress. There is a lot to see in Surat and The Dutch, Armenian and English burial grounds reflect on the rulers of the city. The city has had several rulers over many years as it has been a port of global importance in trade.
  5. What is the old name of Surat?

    The city of Surat is believed to have been established under the name ‘Suryapur’ or the ‘City of the Sun’. It was a popular port that attracted international trade and history books claim that it was only by 1520 that Surat got its present name.
  6. What city is Diamond City?

    Surat is also called Diamond city as 90 per cent of the world’s diamonds are cut and polished in the city. The heritage of diamond cutting and polishing has been established over centuries. If you have a diamond, it is highly possible that it has been to Surat!
  7. Why Surat is called the City of Sun?

    Surat is also called the city of the Sun as the earliest settlers of the city practiced Zoroastrianism. They worshipped fire and they named their settlement after the ultimate source of fire and energy, the Sun. The first name was Suryapur or Surajpur (City of the Sun). Some people also believe that the sunset of this port city is so beautiful that the settlers named it after the flaming sunsets.
  8. Is Surat good for shopping?

    Shopping is among the top things to do in Surat. Not only is the variety of textiles worth delving into, the prices are competitive as well. You can get bargain deals on handloom products as well.
  9. What is the best time to visit Surat?

    The best time to visit Surat runs from September to March. The summer months are best avoided in the City of Sun and also there are so many more options for activities when the weather is cooler. November to February is the best window to visit the city.
  10. Which are the best places to stay in Surat?

    1. Courtyard by Marriott
    The top of the line experience while in Surat, the hotel offers all modern amenities and round the clock services. The imposing modern structure appears as a statement in the Surat skyline. It is located within the city and can be easily reached from the airport or the railway station. 

    2. Taibani Mansion
    This boutique property located inside a modern gated residential complex makes for an excellent homestay kind of option for travellers. It has all the modern amenities like wi-fi, 24-hour service and breakfast included. It is located near the SMC quarters and provides easy access to the places to see in Surat.

    3. The Grand Bhagwati
    This exotic hotel is a welcome delight in Surat and makes for an excellent stay with its modern amenities. Standing tall with its modern construction and its fine dining experiences, it attracts locals and travellers alike. A true 5-star experience on the Dumas Road in Surat. 

    4. Budget Inn Bellevue
    Located very close to the railway station and about half an hour’s ride to the airport, this hotel is perfect for the traveller on the move. The green entrance of this tall standalone modern building is an added attraction. Ease of access makes it a top choice for action-packed travel as you can move quickly in and out of all the places you can see with access to your hotel. 

    5. Hotel Ginger
    A family hotel, the state-of-the-art fitness centre has attracted much attention among travellers. A no-frills hotel with a basic structure and contemporary look, it is ideal for small families visiting the city.