A different Surat #ExploringMyCity

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Photo of A different Surat #ExploringMyCity by The Dainty Dandelion

Surat is not the city you read about on any travel blogs. Or food blogs even. Such a shame. Because I've had some of the best meals in the city ( don't tell my friends, I finally agree with them :P) It is as warm,welcoming and inviting as it's smooth roads.

Hidden in plain sight are these gems:

1. Dutch and Armenian cemetery:

For : The architecture lover and photography enthusiast

Photo of A different Surat #ExploringMyCity 1/1 by The Dainty Dandelion

What is it all about: Surat was under the battle of dominance by the Dutch and British. Fun fact: Before the Bombay port, the Surat port was the busiest and largest port. In order to show their supremacy, the Europeans, including the Dutch,Armenian and British built ornate mausoleums instead of the tombs they built otherwise in their homeland. Although not in complete shambles, the tombs are in dire need of some maintenance and landscaping. If you're into architecture and photography, you can take permission and get a nice photo-shoot done.

Photo of Surat, Gujarat, India by The Dainty Dandelion

2. Surat Castle

For: The history buff and some good family time

What is it all about: Surat castle was built by the Sultan Mahmood-III to protect the city from the frequent attacks by the Portuguese invaders. Surat was a very important port which placed it on the international map. Surat was under constant attacks from the Portuguese which destroyed the city multiple times. Fed up of the constant onslaught by the enemies, Sultan Mahmood-III ordered to build a strong fort to protect the city from any further plundering. He assigned the job to a Turkish military soldier, Safi Agha, who was conferred the title of Khudawand Khan.

The Castle has been restored and is open to public now. The history of Surat has been beautifully portrayed here with each room showcasing a different facet of Surat which was buried in time. There are elaborate plans of further developing the precinct with special shows being planned for the weekend and British-era themed restaurants . It is a must visit place to learn more about Surat and it's very rich history.

Photo of A different Surat #ExploringMyCity by The Dainty Dandelion

3. A walk through the old city to see the rich heritage and architecture

For: The history buffs, architecture and design nerds

What is it all about: There are more than 500 architectural buildings (houses, institutes, and religious buildings). You can take a walk down the old city and find hidden gems. After visiting the Surat castle, one can just stroll through the bylanes of Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg. You can spot Andrew's Library, CNI Church, Gandhi baug.

Photo of A different Surat #ExploringMyCity by The Dainty Dandelion

4. Eat from the plethora of food options around

For: EVERYONE

What's it all about: There's a famous saying in Gujarati, " Kashi nu maran ane Surat nu jaman" which means a person's life is best lived when they get to die in Kashi (Varanasi) and get to eat the delicious food of Surat.

On the list of must have foods are the famous Surti ghari from Shah Jamnadas Ghariwalas in the old city area, the chicken tikkas from Rander bylanes, the panipuri in Citylight or anywhere really, and the infamous 'locha' which is a breakfast staple of the locals. 'Locha' is basically the batter for 'khaman' which comes in endless varieties, eg: Schezwan locha, pizza locha, mexican cheese roll and such. On the list are the scrumptious and unique egg preparations that one can only find in the city. My favourite is Chandan Egg Centre off the University Road.

5. Following the nature trail at Gaviar lake

For: Nature lovers, budding photographers, bird-watchers

What is it all about: With the combined efforts from the Surat Municipality and The Nature Club of Surat, this beautiful lake spanning over a radius of a kilometer is a welcome break from the concrete jungle built in the city. It is a paradise for bird-watchers and nature lovers who can take a walk around the periphery of the lake and watch various bird species and enjoy the floating lotus in the lake. It is a must visit for the budding photographer in you, since every frame in this place is worth capturing.

Photo of A different Surat #ExploringMyCity by The Dainty Dandelion
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