Surat, earlier known as Suryapur, is historically one of Indias most important port cities and as the second largest city of Gujarat, is considered the states economic capital. It is the eighth most populous city of India with a total population of 4.4 million. The city is the administrative capital of the Surat District. The city is located south of the River Tapti and Gujarati is the native and widely spoken language. The nearest ports to the city of Surat are Magadalla and Hazira. Surat is famous for its Diamond cutting and polishing centers. Approximately 90% of the worlds rough diamond polishing happens in Surat. The city is a large hub for the textile industry with the presence of over hundred thousand textile units and mills. As per the report of the 2011 census, the total population of the district is 6.1 million, out of which 42 percent are in the working age. This includes 17 percent of the workers that are engaged in the agricultural sector, 2 percent in the household industry and the bulk 81 percent in the industrial and services sector for employment. The city of Surat has a rich history, it is mentioned in the Mahabharata when Krishna stopped here on his way from Mathura to Dwarka.. The inscriptions of Rudradaman at Girnar suggest that the entire region of Gujarat was under the Mauryan Empire. The Parsis began to settle here in the 8th century and in the Mughal period, this region enjoyed peace and prosperity under the reigns of Akbar, Jahangir and Shahjahan.
The picturesque fortress of Surat was built in 1546, on the banks of the River Tapti, during the reign of Sultan Mahmud III to protect the city from the Portuguese. The British opened their first factory of India at Surat in 1613 and the Dutch followed in 1620. Surat houses various government offices and the city is a bustling trading hub with jewelry production and textile manufacturing. Before independence, the district was part of the Bombay Presidency and on 1st May 1960, separate States of Gujarat and Maharashtra were formed by bifurcating the Bombay State and since then, the district of Surat has been a part of the State of Gujarat.