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Surat Castle in Ruins

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January 1, 2021
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Scenery and Places
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Alamgir III 2012-Present

Surat Castle in Ruins

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Description: Though in context of the identity of Surat in medieval times many views have been expressed by different historians, in all the historical narratives Surat has emerged as one of the major ports of international importance on the map of the world trade. A Portuguese traveller named Barbosa during his visit to Gujarat in 1514 described Surat as a city of great trade in all classes of merchandise, a very important seaport yielding a large revenue to the king, and frequented by many ships from Malabar and many other ports. Shortly before Barbosa was in Gujarat, Surat is said to have been burnt by the Portuguese in 1512. Surat reportedly suffered from a wholly unprovoked, and piratical raid, in 1530, a second time by the Portuguese under the leadership of Antonio da Silvaria. Though the assailants were opposed by a guard of 300 horses and 10,000 foot, at the first charge the defenders fled, and the town was taken and burnt. As they were still at the war with the Gujarat King, the Portuguese again burnt Surat in 1531. The Ahmedabad king Sultan Mahmud Shah III (1538-1554), who was very much annoyed by these frequent destruction of Surat, ordered a very strong castle and endowed Safi Agha, a Turkish soldier who had been ennobled with the title of Khudawand Khan with a substantial budget for the work. Khudawand Khan initially selected three alternative sites for building the castle. SURAT Castle restoration : Surat’s 15th century old fort at Chowk Bazar is getting a makeover and will be ready to dazzle with light, sound and fury by mid 2020. With second phase restoration work of fort more than 60% complete, the addition of sound and light show arrangements will only add sheen to its grandeur. Under the second phase of the Rs 34 crore fort conservation and restoration work, SMC has extended time limit for sending expression of interest by seven days following request from prospective agencies wanting to make a presentation. More than five different agencies have shown interest in setting up the arrangements, after which SMC hopes to throw open the castle for public view in around six months or so.

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