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Globalized Since 1510: The Transitional Morphology of Old Surat


Surat, since its inception has had the trait of being cosmopolitan with a multitude of overlays that can be observed in the way city evolved and the manner in which its architecture has been moulded over time.

Gopipura, the innermost and the oldest core of the walled city of Surat, stands in glory observing the utmost richness of the events; trade, cultural influence of literature, flourishing crafts, floods and fire. A walk through the lanes of the para are a narrative in time that communicate through generations and yet hold relevance to the present; a true spirit of globalization.

A pluralistic society existed, which eventually resulted in a hybrid style of architecture, and can be observed even till date.  

The place observes myriad stylizations from traditional Indian architectural to colonial and art deco of early modern architecture movement to neo-classical influences, which have been observed in the practice even in present times.

The aspirations of people find expression their design of their house façades exhibiting vivid diversity and harmony within community. They tell about the affiliations of the residents, in terms of occupation, religion and also the time period they came in. The houses from within have been transformed with changing needs of the family and lifestyle, yet have retained their exteriors.

Public squares like Subhash Chowk become pivotal to shared community life, reminiscent of the freedom struggle, glories of the past and the tales associated with it.

The place is known as being central to the Jain community and one can observe many old and important Jain temples and derasars here like the Chintamani derasar, Hathiwala derasar, Sahastrafada derasar, Aagam Mandir, Samet Shikharji Temple, Ananth derasar and many more important shrines, which are known for their exquisite carvings, embellishments and elaborate rituals and festivities.