Guj: ખંભાત khambhāt

‘Pillar Village’  [Cambay, Khambavati]  – City, Gujarat

From Skt/Hin: stambha/khambhā, ‘pillar’; and Skt: vāṭī, ‘site’, ‘enclosure’, ‘village’.

Khambhat was, in ancient times before its harbour silted up, an important port and trading post, dealing in silk, chintz, gems, beads and precious metals and trading to distant lands: 

Cambay chiefly stretches out two arms; with her right she reaches out to Aden and with the other towards Malacca, as the most important place to sail…’ [Tomé Pires (1515) in Fatima (2010), p. 354].

Its agate beadmaking, practised even today, has its origins in the original manufacturing technology used by the Harappans (see Lothal).

Khambhat was the capital of Cambay State, a small princely state founded in 1730 in the final days of the Mughal Empire. 

For related place names see Indian Place names and Gujarat place names.


The King of Cambay from “Figurae variae Asiae et Africae,” a 16th century Portuguese manuscript in the Casanatense Library in Rome