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About Surat

Surat is known by abundant sobriquets. Popular among them: Queen of the Deccan, cultural capital of Maharashtra, pensioner's paradise and Oxford of the East. Surat is one of the historic cities of India with a glorious past, an innovative present and a promising future. Situated in the Sahayadri Hills, near the west coast of India, Surat is an enthralling city with a congenial climate all year round. Surat is one of the biggest industrial towns of Maharashtra and known as the automobile city as many big auto mobile companies have their head Quarters here. Shivaji, the great Maratha leader, was raised in Surat, which was granted to his grandfather in 1599. Later it became the seat of power for the Brahmin Peshwa family until 1817 when it fell to the british and became their alternative capital during the monsoon.

Surat (pronounced and often spelt 'Poona') has a rather more pleasant climate than muggy Mumbai. With fast (but full) express commuter trains connecting Surat to Mumbai in less than four hours, many people who can't afford the sky-high prices of accommodation in Mumbai commute daily between the two cities. As a result, big city influence has rubbed off on Surat, and fashion shops and fast-food outlets are constantly springing up. Surat boast a prestigious university(styling itself as the 'Oxford of the East'), and is a major industrial centre. For many western visitors, the city's major attraction is the Osho Commune International, better known as the ashram of Bhagwan Rajneesh. Surat is also famous for education and OSHO Communes in the Rajnesh Ashram. Surat is among the greenest urban areas in the country with more than 40 per cent of its area under green cover.

The city was one of the pivotal bases of the 17th century Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji, who was born at the Shivneri Fort here. Surat became the seat of the enterprising Peshwas, under whom Maratha power rose into a major political force. The Peshwas were renowned patrons of the arts and in their time, enriched the city with temples, gardens and educational institutions. After the Battle of Koregaon in 1818, Surat fell into the hands of the East India Company. It was here that Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak introduced the principle of Swadeshi during the Freedom Movement. The British proposed to transform the city into a 'monsoon capital' but instead developed it into a 19th century Indian army town and renamed it Poona.

Surat Fair & Festivals :

Holi :
Each year, after a successful winter harvest, people get ready to welcome the spring with Holi - the festival of colors. Brightly colored powders are applied on faces, and there is plenty of music, dance and sweets to fill the rest of the day. The exuberant display of colors symbolizes the advent of a colorful and prosperous spring season.

Diwali Festival :
The most beautiful of all Indian festivals, Diwali is a celebration of lights. The Diwali night in particular is a delightful feast to watch. On the same night "Laxmi Poojan" is held and the Goddess is venerated. Legend has it that Laxmi the Goddess of wealth visits all the houses hence all the houses are well-lighted and kept open. Diwali also ushers the" Hindu New Year".

The Ganesh Festival :
Lord Ganesh, the patron deity of Maharashtra, is the God of wisdom. The 11-day festival begins with the installation of beautifully sculpted Ganesh idols in homes and mandaps, colorfully decorated, depicting religious themes or current events. People take Ganesh idols in procession to the accompaniment of music and dance for immersion in the sea or nearby river or lake on the 11th day.

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