Surat has a glorious history that dates back to 300 BC. The origin of the city can be traced back to the old Hindu town of Suryapur during 1500-1520 that was later colonised by the Brigus or the King from Sauvira on the banks of River Tapti. Rander is one of the 34 wards of Surat and is perhaps one of the oldest too, having served as a port even before the port at Surat was developed. The city is replete with buildings, artefacts and other features of historical and cultural value.
The 50 year period between the settlement of the English and Dutch in Surat and the close of Emperor Shah Jahan’s reign was the time of increasing prosperity in the city. It came to be ruled by independent governors till 1800 when the whole administration was overtaken by the British.
A listing and documentation exercise invited by Surat Municipal Corporation and undertaken by Urban Management Centre identified 4,450 in Rander and the central zone of Surat. Survey also revealed that most of the properties have been passed down as family legacies through generations resulting in residents having a strong sense of belonging to the built heritage. The buildings show influences of varied architectural styles – traditional, colonial and art deco.
Information: Manvita Baradi and Meghna Malhotra, ‘Documenting Built Heritage: The Case of Surat’, Context, Vol VIII, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2011.
Images: Urban Management Centre
For more information on Surat and Rander Documentation, visit www.umcasia.org.