Surat was formerly known as Suryapur, is the Commercial Capital City of Gujarat, also India's eighth largest metropolitan city. The city proper is the one of the most populous cities in the world. Surat is the administrative capital of Surat district and Surat Metropolitan Region.
The city is situated on the left bank of the Tapti River, 14 miles from its mouth. The Population of Surat with its twin city Navsari is above 6.2 million as of 2010. A moat divides the older parts of the city, with its narrow streets and handsome houses, and the newer suburbs. The city is largely recognized for its textile and diamond businesses. It is also known as the diamond capital of the world and the textile capital of India. 92% of the world's diamonds are cut and polished in Surat. Surat is also the Third cleanest city in India after Chandigarh and Mysore. Surat was once the largest city in India It has one of the highest GDP growth rates in India at 11.5% as of 2008 Surat was the primary port of India during the Mughal period, a distinction it lost to Bombay during the British Raj.
Surat finds mention in the Mahabharata when Lord Krishna stopped here during his journey from Mathura to Dwarka with his cows. According to the Sanskrit scriptures, this area was under the control of the western Chalukyas in AD 610 and remained under Hindu kings till 12th century when a general of Qutub-ud-din Aibak captured the city. The wealth and prosperity of the city started in the 12th century when Parsis first settled here. Akbar captured the city in 1573 after a long siege and it became an important Mughal trading point. Arabian traders started calling this place Bunder-E-Khubsoorat (the beautiful port), which later shortened to Surat.
In 1612, the British established their trading factory here, soon to be followed by the Dutch and French. Due to political and climatic problems and growing importance of Mumbai, Surat lost its prominence. In 1852, Surat became the first municipality of Gujarat and gradually it became a major business city famous for its textile industry.