Guj: સુરત surat
‘Sun City’ [Surajpur/Suryapur] -City/District, Gujarat
From Skt: surya, ‘sun’; and Skt: pura, ‘fort’, ‘city’.
The city was founded in 1510 by Malik Gopi (a merchant and local governor), who built the Gopi Tank (lake/reservoir) in 1516 and named the area Surajpur or Suryapur. Surat is a corruption of Surajpur, perhaps on the model of Saurashtra.
Surat has been a large and prosperous port city under the control of a succession of dynasties and empires: the Rajputs, the Delhi and Gujarat Sultanates, the Mughals, the Dutch and the British. Under the Mughals it was an important trading post for merchants from all around the world. It was a major exporter of gold, gems and textiles, and was an important shipbuilding centre.
The modern Surat is a leading commercial centre and Gujarat’s second largest city with world-ranking expertise in diamond cutting and polishing (it is nicknamed the ‘Diamond City of India’), textiles, and clothing.