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Bharuch (Gujarati: ભરૂચ; listen (help·info)), also known as Broach, in Gujarat is situated at the mouth of the river Narmada. Bharuch is the administrative headquarters of Bharuch District and a municipality of about 370,000 inhabitants.
The city of Bharuch and its surrounds has been settled since far back into antiquity and was a ship building center and sea port in the pre-compass coastal trading routes to points West, perhaps as far back as the days of the Pharaohs, which utilised the regular and predictable monsoon winds or galleys. Many goods from the Far East (the famed Spice and Silk trade) were trans-shipped there for the annual monsoon winds making it a terminus for several key land-sea trade routes. Bharuch was known to the Greeks, the various Persian Empires, in the Roman Republic and Empire, and in other Western centres of civilisation through the end of the European Middle Ages.
In the 3rd century, Bharuch port was mentioned as Barugaza. Arab traders used to enter Gujarat via Bharuch to do business. The British and Valandas accepted the importance of Bharuch and established their business center there. At the end of the 17th century, it was plundered twice but resurged quickly afterwards and a proverb was composed about it, “Bhangyu Bhangyu Toye Bharuch”. As a trading depot, the limitations of coastal shipping made it a regular terminus via several mixed trade routes of the fabled spice and silk trading between East and West. During the British Raj it was officially known as Broach.
Bharuch is the home to the Gujarati Bhargav Brahmin community for ages. The community traces its lineage to Maharshi Bhrigurishi and Bhagwan Parshuram who is considered to be incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The Bhargav community still administers large amount of public Trusts in the city. However the present day Bhargav Brahmins have migrated to Mumbai, Surat, Vadodara, Ahmedbad and other countries. The community today guards & administers a number of old temples whose idols have been saved over the centuries from fanatical religious aggression.
The city has textile mills, chemical plants, long staple cotton, dairy products and much more. Gujarat's biggest liquid cargo terminal is situated there. It also houses many multinational companies, such as Videocon, BASF, Reliance, and Welspun Maxsteel Ltd. Bharuch is a shopping center well known for its salty peanuts. Because of the distinctive colour of the soil here that is ideal for cotton cultivation, Bharuch is sometimes referred to as 'Kanam Pradesh' (black soil land).
Another theory states that the city derived its name from "Bhr̥gukachchha" (Sanskrit: भृगुकच्छ, "Bhr̥gu's riverbank"), the residence of the great saint Bhrigu Rishi, which was later abridged to Bharuch. The city then became known as 'Bharukachch'.
It is believed Bhrigukachchha later developed into Bharuch (भरूच) in the local medieval vernacular – which seems quite possible according to linguistic developments in Prakrit, Apabharamsa and neo-Indian-Aryan. According to another argument, the present name Bharuch is derived form "Broach" though this unlikely as this seems to be a variant of Bharuch.
In ancient India, Bharuch was an important trading port with merchants from the Arabian peninsula using this port for trading with the lucrative Indian market. In popular etymology, Broach is derived form Bar and Oach (બર્+ઓચ). Bar (બર્) means "hill" and Oach (ઓચ) means "located" – so, allegedly without any reference to historical etymology, Broach is taken to mean "located on a hill". According to this popular derivation, Broach was later transformed into Bharuch.
Bharuch has been known by various names in various eras. It was known as Bhrigukachchha (भृगुकच्छ), Bhrigupur, Bhrigutirtha, Bhrigukshetra, Bhrigukaksha as per Hindu Puranas and during the BC and early AD eras and earlierShrinagar as an abode of the goddess Lakshmi. It was known as Barugaza to the Greek, and, later, Roman name for this port. It was known as Bharukachchha (भरूकच्छ) in the 8th to 10th century, Bharuch under Muslim rule, Bhadoch under Maratha rule and as Broach – under British rule.
Bharuch derives its name from the great sage Bhrigu. The original name of Bharuch is Bhrigukachchha. Bhrigu rishi was one of the ten sons of Lord Brahma. There is also a story which indicates that Brighu along with his kins asked for temporary access to Bharuch which then belonged to Lakshmi since Bharuch is located on the banks of river Narmada also known as Rudra Deha. Chanra Mauli Mahadev is the Kul Devata of Bhargavs of Bharuch Brighu never left the place and the Ashram of Brighu Rishi is located on the banks of Narmada.
Bharuch was considered to be sacred among sages, and they would come to Bharuch to pray. The priests of Bharuch were famous for their learning in the other regions too. As per the mythological stories, Agnihotri and Samvedi, the learned priests of Bharuch were famous up to the Kashi in the northern India.
In Bharuch, the celebrated Asura king Mahabali, conducted a great sacrifice. In this sacrifice, a dwarf Brahmin called Vamana (fifth incarnation of Lord Vishnu) came and interfered with the king's sacrifice and put an end to his reign. A sage named Guru Shukracharya, from the lineage of Maharishi Bhrigu, was the priest of King Mahabali.
According to the Skanda Purana, there are fifty-five (55) tirthas located in Bharuch. Many great sages like Kashyapa, Kapila, Mandavya, Adi Sankaracharya, etc. also have performed penances in Bharuch.
The Narmada happens to be one of the most sacred of the five holy rivers of India; the other four being Ganges, Yamuna, Godavari and Kaveri. It is believed that a dip in any of these five rivers washes ones sins away. According to a legend, the river Ganges is polluted by millions of people bathing in it. To cleanse herself, Ganges acquires the form of a black cow and comes to the Narmada to bath in its holy waters. Legends also mention that the Narmada River is older than the river Ganges.
This tirtha is situated in the Bharuch city on the rail and road path, in the Shrimali Pole. Here we see the idol of Muni Suvrata Swami; black in complexion and in Padmasana posture. In the history of the Jainas, this ancient city is important from many points of view. Guru Gautama Swami has eulogised Muni Suvrata Swami, who is installed in Bharuch, in his "Jagachintamani Stotra" composed on the eight tirthas, Bhagavan Muni Suvrata Swami gave sermons to a horse here itself.
Further, many prominent Acharyas have raised temples in this tirtha and have composed works also. At so many places do we come across ancient pieces of art because this is an ancient town. In Bharuch we are shown the Ashvavabodha tirtha of the times of Muni Suvrata Swami, Shakunika Vihara of princess Sudarshana of Simhaladvipa and also the Vihara which was ceremoniously raised by Acharya Hemchandra in which Kumarapala has waved ARATI; is now converted into a mosque.
In the opinion of the archaeologists, the Jamamasjid of present Bharuch is probably this ancient temple. It is believed that in times of such invasions the idol of Shri Prabhu was kept at a safe spot, and, as time passed, new temples were constructed and the old idols were installed. To-day the idol is found in the new temple. There are here eleven other temples besides this.
Bharuch is mentioned in various Buddhist Jatakas. Bharuch was an important Buddhist center in the 7th century and considered to be sacred among sages.
Certainly by the 6th century BC, the city was known at least by reputation, via land-sea routes reaching the Levant to the Arab and Ethiopian traders feeding goods westwards to the Egyptians, Greeks, Persians, Western Romans, Carthaginians, and eventually, the Eastern Roman Empires, and the Republic of Venice. It is likely even the Phonecians knew of it and so it has acted since antiquity as a link port to the luxury goods trade from the Far East and the interior of the Indian sub-continent to the civilisations of South-west Asia, the Middle-East, the Mediterranean basin including Northern Africa and Europe.
The Theragatha, part of the Pali Canon written down in Sri Lanka in the 1st century BC, mentions Vaddha Thera and Malitavamba Thera of Bharukaccha, as contemporaries of the Buddha, while the Therigatha of the same canon mentions Vaddhamta Theri of Bharukaccha.
It was known to the Greeks and Romans as Barygaza, and probably had a settlement of Greek traders. As one southern terminus of the Kamboja-Dvaravati Route, it is mentioned extensively as a major trading partner of the Roman world, in the 1st century Periplus of the Erythraean Sea. One of the Periploi describes numerous Greek buildings and fortifications in the area, although mistakenly attributing them to Alexander the Great who never reached this far south, as well as the circulation of Indo-Greek coinage in the region:
- "The metropolis of this country is Minnagara, from which much cotton cloth is brought down to Barygaza. In these places there remain even to the present time signs of the expedition of Alexander, such as ancient shrines, walls of forts and great wells." Periplus, Chap. 41
- "To the present day ancient Drachmae are current in Bharuch|Barygaza, coming from this country, bearing inscriptions in Greek letters, and the devices of those who reigned after Alexander the Great, Apollodotus I and Menander." Periplus Chap. 47
Excavations near the banks of the river Narmada in Bharuch have revealed many archaeological and architectural wonders, mostly temples. Later Bharuch was part of the Mauryan Empire (322–185 BC), the Western Satraps, the Guptas and the Gurjars.
As part of the Sultanate of Gujarat, it was subsequently annexed by the Mughals, and finally by the British. It is also situated near a small village called Halderva where two Islamic priests were found performing miracles.
Princess of Sinhal, Sudarshana had built the Shakunika Vihara in the Bhragukutchh during the rule of Sampati (229–220 BC) and a Bharuch trader became responsible for the memories of the princess. This depicts trade relations between Laat and Ceylon. During the Prarga – Maurya period in Gujarat, King Pradyot Mahaveer of Ujjain ruled over Bhragukutchh in 550 AD.
He was contemporary of Gautam Buddha. Maurya period was between 322 and 185 BC. Post Maurya period is mentioned between 185 BC and 23 AD. During the decade of 70–80 AD coins of Greek writing were used in Bharuch. The Activity region of Jain priest Arya Khapoot (1st century AD) was in the Aatapata region of Bharuch. He had released the Ashvaavabodh pilgrim in Bharuch out of the control of the Bauddhas.
Kshatraya era (c. 23–400 AD)
In the 1st century AD, kings of Shaka community established their rule in Gujarat. Nabhovaahan (Nahapana), the king of Bharukutchh was very prosperous. During the Kshatraya era Bharuch port was very prosperous. It was a gateway of trading through land and waters both routes. Like other ancient ports, trading of slaves also took place at the Bharuch port.
Seven caves have been discovered from Kadiyadungar near Jhajhapore near Ankleshwar of the Bharuch district. These caves seem as the Bauddha Vihaaras. It seems that they were sculpted in 1st or 2nd century.
Gupta era (c. 415–470 AD)
During this time kings of Trekootaka dynasty ruled the north of the Konkan and south of the Laata. Trekootaka ruled over the Surat district but the border of their state could not be decided. In the lines of Daspur of the weavers of Laata ( South Gujarat ) it has been mentioned that Sun-Temple was built in 437.
Maitrak era (c. 470–788 AD)
It is known that in 540 AD which dynasty ruled over the Bharuch state in 540, a Mahasamant named Sangramsinh ruled over Bharukutchh, But nothing is known about the king. During this period Hakem Usmanbhai Hakem had attacked over Bharuch. In 648 AD, King Dhansen – 4 of Vallabhi had put winning camp in Bharukutchh. A Muslim traveller Al – Biladuri had written in his notes that in 713 – 714 AD.
Governor of Sindh, Hasam Bin Amru Tughlakhi came to Gandhar port by boat. He destroyed the idols and the temples and built Mosques in place of them in the time of 760 AD Arab Hakem Hisham of Sindh had attacked the Gandhar port near Bharuch. In the post Maitrak era during 788 – 942 AD Rashtrakuta kings of south Laata ruled over Bharuch.
Solanki era (942–1304 AD)
In 942, Moolaraj 1st established the rule of Solanki dynasty in Anahilvaad Patan. Till this time the importance of Bharuch as the trade centre was continued. It was the capital of Laata region at the starting of 11th century. It was the centre for the ships coming from China and Sindh in the 12th century Mahatma Vastupal had established a library in Bharuch.
The priest Chakradhar Swami of Bharuch was during the era of Bhimdev 2nd. He established the Mahanubhav community which was spread in Maharashtra. One Madresa was built during the Solanki era in Bharuch.
Middle Ages era (1293–1872 AD)
The middle era history of Bharuch district can be divided in three main parts, out of which, we can say that Sultanate era (1297–1572), Mughal era (1572–1736) and Maratha era (1783–1802) were the eras of struggle. Bharuch was ruled by Delhi Sultanate for 94 years, Gujarat’s independent Sultanate for 181 years, Mughal Sultanate for 164 years, independent emirs for 36 years and Maratha rule for 19 years.
During these times revenue was collected from Bharuch and hundreds of people, especially the rich people, were killed. Same way in the cities on the banks of river Kavi in Jambusar taluka there were many big and rich Muslim communities. They were mainly formed by the foreign traders.
On taking a bird’s eye view of the financial structure of the whole era of Gujarat’s sultanate it can be seen that the era was cheaper and prosperous also when Akbar had won over Bharuch during Mughal era it had 12 Paraganas. The annual growth of all 559 villages of the Bharuch, Hansot, Olpad, Mandvi, Galaa, Jambusar, Dahej, Koral, Ankleshwar and Tadakeshwar paraganas was Rs. 7.5 million. As given in the Tabakka – E – Akbari there is a description of severe draught and spread of contentious epidemic in Gujarat.
Mughal era (1605–1627 AD)
On understanding the importance of Bharuch district as the trade centre, British had taken permission from Jahangir for establishing the office during this era. Jahangir also gave permission for trade to the British. A big office building built by the Valandas in the 18th century, can be seen in the Kansarvaad in Bharuch. This building has a fort around it.
Attacks by the Marathas (1664 to 1685 AD)
Marathas had plundered Bharuch twice. Due to six droughts between 1681 and 1696 prosperity of both the ports was ruined. By the end of the 17th century their place was taken over due to the development of Mumbai port. In 1772, after the control of Bharuch was taken by the British, Valandas also left their trade centre in Bharuch.
Independent Nawaabs of Bharuch (1736 to 1772 AD)
During this period independent Nawaabs rule over Bharuch. Nizamumude, Abhesinh, Damaji Gayakawad of Vadodara, Mirza Baig, Ahemad Baig, Hakem, Nawab Mozumkhan, Prabhudas Seth of Bharuch, Peshwa Bajirao etc. rulers fought and ruled over Bharuch during this period. It can be said that the movement for freedom struggle against foreign rulers in Bharuch started in 1905. But before that in the struggle of 1857 also Bharuch district had played an important role. Bharuch had contributed in the Swadeshi and Home Rule movements also. In which Kanaiyalal Maneklal Munshi of Bharuch also joined the national struggle.
In 1930 the movement of Satyagraha had spread in Gujarat which had affected Jambusar also. On 12 March 1930 when Gandhiji started the Dandi March with some of his supporters, the route of Dandi Kuch in Bharuch district was from Devaataa village of Borsad taluka via Jambusar Amod on the other side of the river Mahi via Bharuch and Ankleshwar on the other side of the river Narmada and reaching Dandi via Surat. The Dandi Kuch arrived in Kareli village on 20 and 22 March 1930 became a memorial day in Jambusar which is a proof of the history of freedom struggle.
Kanaiyalal Maneklal Munshi of Bharuch district had participated in the Home Rule movement. He was imprisoned for participating in struggles of Bardoli movement in 1938, "Savinay Kanoon Bhang" in the 1930 and personal movement in 1940. Chunilal Shivlal Modi, who was born in 1913 in Bharuch, participated in the struggle of "Savinaya Kaanoon Bhang" in the 1930 at the age of 18 years. Chandrashankar Manishankar Bhatt of Amod played a leading role in spreading the movement of "Hind Chhodo".
Dinkar Rao Nabheram Desai of Bharuch participated in all the movements of freedom struggle and was imprisoned for five times. Tribhuvandas Chhaganlal Paalejwala of Palej village had played a leading role in picketing the foreign cloths shops in Bharuch in 1930. Manishankar Bhatt of Panjareli village had motivated the youth of the district to participate in the freedom struggle. Maganbhai Rugnathdas Patel of Bhadaam village had played a leading role in the Dholera movement in 1930.
Manishankar Ranchhoddas Sukawala of Bharuch had played an active role in non-co-operation movement in 1920–21.
Ratuprasad Nathalal Bhatt of Bharuch participated in all freedom movements and was imprisoned, Vinodchandra Chunilal Shah, "Savinaya Kaanoon Bhang" movement, Chunilal Dharamlal Shah of Amod and Chhotubhai Mitilal Patel of Tegava village had devotedly served the freedom fighters, Tribhuvandas Purushottamdas Luhaar ( Sundaram ) of Matar village, non-co-operation movement in 1920, Desaibhai Bakorbhai Patel of Kahanava village, historical Dandi Kuch, Nathuram Kashiram Bhatt of Raima village, Yashvantray Rajaram Joshi of Malanpore village of Hansot district, Shanabhai Jhaverbhai Patel of Uber village, Vitthalbhai Ranchhodabhai Patel of Sarbhan village, Raysangh Dabhai Parmar and Vishnu Dattatrey Bhoder of Bajodara village had participate in all the freedom movements in the district along with Chhotubhai Purani.
Surajben Hardev Banarasi of Aasta village of Hansot Taluka, who was born in 1905 and widowed at a young age, got renowned as the leading lady freedom fighter and female worker. She was imprisoned for participating in the freedom movement, contributed significantly in the activities related to the uplift of the women and activities of creative programs. Like the other districts of Gujarat Bharuch district also had participated actively in various freedom struggles and had suffered loss of property and lives of their citizens. Almost all the talukas of Bharuch district had enlightened their people about political and national spirit by participating in freedom struggle through local leadership and history is the proof of the activities of the uplift of the people by implementing the creative programs instructed by Gandhiji.
Geography and climate
Bharuch is located at  It has an average elevation of 15 metres (49 feet). Bharuch is a port city situated on the banks of the Narmada river. The damming of the Narmada caused the original port facilities to close, the nearest port is now in Dahej. The Bharuch district is surrounded by Vadodara (North), Narmada (East) and Surat (South) districts. To the west is the Gulf of Khambhat..
Bharuch has a tropical savanna climate (under Köppen's Climate classification), moderated strongly by the Arabian Sea. The summer begins in early March and lasts until June. April and May are the hottest months, the average maximum temperature being 40 °C (104 °F). Monsoon begins in late June and the city receives about 800 millimetres (31 in) of rain by the end of September, with the average maximum being 32 °C (90 °F) during those months. October and November see the retreat of the monsoon and a return of high temperatures until late November. Winter starts in December and ends in late February, with average temperatures of around 23 °C (73 °F).
Very often heavy monsoon rain brings floods in the Narmada basin area. The city had witnessed major floods in the past, but now the floods have been controlled after the damming of the Narmada.
Economy, commerce and industry
Bharuch has always been prosperous because of its location on the Narmada River. Although water tends to be scarce in Gujarat, one never finds difficulty in getting water in Bharuch. As a result of this, agriculture and other linked commercial activities have flourished in Bharuch. Bharuch is also a central stopping point for many villages spread around its boundaries. People from these small villages come to Bharuch when they want to shop for new clothes, or make a major purchase. Lately a lot of retiring expatriates have been returning to Bharuch and building new houses giving the economy a boost.
Traditionally, Bharuch has been the center of the peanut processing and marketing industry with a well established brand name around the country. Almost none of the peanuts are grown in Bharuch itself but the best of the crops from neighbouring regions are brought here for processing. Mr. Kirit P Modi a local resident and businessman holds the Intellectual Property rights for manufacturing roasted salted peanuts in a hygienic process. Bharuch is also the home of the Bandhni method of clothing design and is well known for this traditional art form.
At present, this heavily industrialised city is renowned for its textile mills, chemical plants, long staple cotton, dairy products and much more. Gujarat's biggest liquid cargo terminal is situated here. It also houses many reputed multinational companies like Videocon, BASF, Reliance, Welspun Stahl etc. Bharuch is a shopping center well known for its salty peanuts. Because of the distinctive colour of the soil here that is ideal for cotton cultivation, Bharuch is sometimes referred to as 'Kanam Pradesh' (black soil land).
In the past 10 years or so a major part of population has moved to countries like United Kingdom, United States of America, The African continent, & other parts of Europe. This definitely brings some economical boost to the local businesses as people come back for vacations & spend their earnings here.
Bharuch was a major sea port in the important pre-compass coastal trading routes to points West, perhaps as far back as the days of the Pharaohs, which utilised the regular and predictable Monsoon winds or galleys. Many goods from the Far East were trans-shipped there for the annual monsoon winds making it a terminus for several key land-sea trade routes and Bharuch was definitely known to the Greeks, the various Persian Empires and in the Roman Republic and Empire and other Western centres of civilisation right on through the end of the European Middle Ages.
In the 1st century AD, Bharuch port has been mentioned as Barigaza. Bharuch which was prosperous and powerful port was an important port of Gujarat until the 16th century. Arab traders used to enter Gujarat via Bharuch and do their business. British, Valandas etc. accepted the importance of Bharuch and established their business centre here. At the end of the 17th century, it was plundered twice but resurged quickly after the plunder and a proverb was also phrased for it, "Bhangyu Bhangyu Toye Bharuch".
As a trading depot, the limitations of coastal shipping made it a regular terminus via several mixed trade routes of the fabled spice and silk trading between East and West.
Narmada River's inland access to central and northern India and with a location in the sheltered Gulf of Khambhat in the era of coastal sea travel grew and prospered as a trading transshipment center and ship building port. Until very modern times the only effective way to move goods was by water transport, and Bharuch had sheltered waters in an era without weather forecasting, compasses, and when shipping was necessarily limited to coastal navigation, and the general East-West course of the Narmada gave access to the rich inland empires at the upper reaches of the Narmada, including easy caravan access to the Ganges valley and the plains of Delhi.
Present industrial city
Modern Bharuch is one of the most heavily industrialised areas, not only in Gujarat but in India as a whole, with many large chemical plants producing fertilisers, paints, dyes, cotton, textiles, and dairy products.
Large multinationals like the Torrent Group, PepsiCo International, Guardian Corporation, Heubach Colors, Zydous Cadila, Cadila Health Care, Survival Technologies, Videocon, China Light and Power, BASF, Reliance, Tata Group, Aditya Birla Group, Welspun Stahl, Aventis, Wockhardt, Rallis, Pfizer, Ciba, L&T, Bayer, Glenmark, UPL, Lupin, J B Chemicals, Gujarat Fluorochemicals, NTPC, ONGC, GAIL, OPAL
and GPEC have set up manufacturing units in and around Bharuch and Ankleshwar.
Petronet LNG Ltd, one of the fastest growing companies in the Indian energy sector, has set up the country's first LNG receiving and regasification terminal at Dahej. Dahej nowadays is considered to be fastest growing industrial area with companies like ONGC, GNFC, ABG Shipyard, First carbon, indofil,Birla copper, Adani, Reliance,
As of 2001[update] India census, Bharuch had a population of 148,391. Males constitute 52% of the population and females 48%. Bharuch has an average literacy rate of 78%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; with male literacy of 82% and female literacy of 73%. 10% of the population is under 6 years of age.
The primary religious grouping is Hinduism, at 70%. However, Muslims make a significant minority at 27%.
Bharuch is administered by the Bharuch Nagar Seva Sadan (Bharuch Nagar Palika). Bharuch is also the administrative head quarters of Bharuch District.
Bharuch Nagar Seva Sadan comprises 14 election wards and 42 seats (corporators). In the 2010, Bharuch Municipality elections, BJP won 30 seats, 11 seats went to Congress and one seat went to NCP. Sanat Rana belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Party is the present Mayor.
The city elects one member to the Gujarat Vidhan Sabha and the district elects one member to the Lok Sabha. Dushyant Patel (BJP) is the representative to the Gujarat Vidhan Sabha. Mansukh Vasava (BJP) is the representative to the Lok Sabha. Bharatsinh Parmar (BJP) and Ahmed Patel (INC) are members elected to the Rajya Sabha
Bharuch is considered to be a stronghold of BJP and since past 20 years BJP has been winning in Bharuch Vidhan Sabha, Bharuch Lok Sabha and Bharuch Municipality. Bharuch city would be soon getting a municipal cooperation
There are many religions being followed by the people of this town. Usually there is a sense of harmony and co-existence without incident. However, there have been situations in the past in which this delicate social fabric has broken down. Today the city is considered to be a great example of communal equality.
Art & literature
Bharuch has remained on top in the matters of education and culture. Bharuch is shining since years back because of the internationally famous Pt. Omkarnath Thakur in the field of music. In the field of literature, the literature Gurus like Dr. Kanaiyalal Munshi, Balwantray Thakore and Sundaram has bestowed Bharuch unique pride.
Raichand Deepchand Library was established in 1858. It is one of the oldest library in Gujarat. It has a collection of about 200,000 books including some rare manuscripts.
All major Indian festivals are celebrated in Bharuch. Bharuch enjoys a thriving cultural tradition and diverse traditions of different ethnic and religious communities. Popular celebrations and observances include Uttarayan—an annual kite-flying day on 14 January. The nine nights of Navratri are celebrated with people performing Garba—the folk dance of Gujarat—at venues across the city. The festival of lights—Deepavali is celebrated with the lighting of lamps in every house, the decorating the floors with the rangoli and the bursting of firecrackers. Other festivals such as Holi, Ganesh Chaturthi, Eid ul-Fitr and the procession of Tajia during the Muslim holy month of Muharram are integral parts of the city's culture. It is also well known for the celebration of Chandi Padvo which usually occurs around October. This day comes after one of the two biggest full moon days of the Hindu calendar year, "Sharad Purnima". On this day, people buy tons of Ghari.
The rain (Meghraja) festival celebrated in Bharuch during monsoon is unique in the whole India. In the whole country, the festival depicting the importance of ancient agricultural traditions is celebrated only here. Meghraja Festival is celebrated in the month of Shravan. A 5.5 feet idol if Meghraj (Lord Indra) is prepared from the soil of Narmada river and is worshiped for 25 days. A fair (mela) is organised during the last 4 days of this festival. This festival is celebrated only in Bharuch in whole of India.
Bharuch cuisine is similar to that of Surti cuisine. The most popular form of meal—a typical Gujarati thali—consists of rotli, dal, rice and shaak (cooked vegetables, sometimes with curry), with accompaniments of pickles and roasted papads. Bharuch cuisine also includes perennial favourites such as "Ghari" (a type of sweet), "Malai Ghari" (a unique sweet of Bharuch), Khichu, Undhiyu, Khaman, Nylon Khaman, Phaphada and Jalebi. Unlike cuisines in other parts of Gujarat, Bharuch cuisine is quite spicy. In the cooler winter months, people eat Ponk, a roasted cereal. Roasted salty peanuts of Bharuch are famous world-wide.
Most of the food outlets serve only vegetarian food, as a strong tradition of vegetarianism is maintained by the city's Jain and Hindu communities. Roadside kiosks, called "laaris" or "rekdis", are quite popular.
Non-vegetarian food is also available in some Muslim dominated areas. Novel dishes made from eggs (ghotala, kheema, half fry) are specialties which are savoured with much gusto. Apart from this the traditional mutton preparation of tapela, fish (patra macchi), and lemon chicken can also be relished.
Bharuch is well connected by Indian National Highway 8 (Mumbai to New Delhi) and by the Western Railway Division of Indian Railways. The railway division also runs the narrow gauge train services to Dahej and Jambusar. The 132-year-old Golden Bridge connects Bharuch to Ankleshwar across the Narmada on the station front while a new bridge connects the highway, the other bridge on the highway has been under maintenance for some time causing regular traffic jams at the four lane NH:8.
There are many auto rickshaws (3 wheeled passenger accommodating petrol/diesel vehicles) and utility vehicles in Bharuch providing the means of transport within the city. Intra-district and Inter-state buses also serve Bharuch frequently, to most of the nearby cities and states. In addition to this there are private bus operators ferrying passengers across Bharuch.
Air : The nearest airport to Bharuch are Vadodara & Surat, at a distance of about 84&86 nbsp;km. Indian Airlines and other private airlines connect the city to most important cities of India.
Rail :Bharuch railway station, 'Bharuch Junction' is on Mumbai- Delhi- Ahmedabad line, which connects the Northern, Central & Western Railway link. The main trains which passes through the station are Mumbai-Ahmadabad Shatabdi Express, Mumbai-Vadodara Express, Jammu Tawi-Mumbai Central Swaraj Express and Bandra-Dehradun Express. The major railhead towards north of Bharuch is Vadodara Junction Railway Station (71 km) and towards south is Surat (68 km.)
Bus :National Highway 8 passes through Bharuch and has a good road network. The Bus Station situated in the heart of the city is one the busiest bus terminals in Western India. State transport buses and private luxury coaches connects Bharuch with various centres of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Rajasthan.
There are a number of schools and colleges in Bharuch which provide education in English and Gujarati mediums. Schools here are either affiliated to Gujarat Board, CBSE Board or the ICSE Board. Colleges provide education in various under-graduate and post-graduate courses.
Shree Narmada Sanskrit Ved Pathashala is 115 year old institute which imparts education in Sanskrit at School, Graduate and Post Graduate levels. It imparts education in the fields of vedas, jyotisha, vyakrana, nyaya, mimansa, etc.
Cricket is the most popular sport in the city. Munaf Patel and Rashid patel both played for Indian cricket team. However, other sports are also played.
Shri Batuknath Vyayam Shala was established in 1913 by Chhotubhai Purani and Ambubhai Purani (propagators of Indian gymnastics/vyayam in Gujarat).
GNFC Sports Complex has a number of modern sport facilities, which includes Cricket Stadium (Ranji Trophy matches are also held here), Golf Course, Tennis, Table Tennis, Badminton, Scatting, Swmming Pool, etc.
Rotary Club also has facilities for sports like Table Tennis, Swmming Pool, etc.
Shopping and recreation
There are various avenues for leisure time activities in Bharuch, and there are a few very good parks maintained by the municipal commission. Privately owned parks are also there. Among them, J. B. Modi Park and Vasu Van Nisarg Udyan are very famous.
There are river banks where people go for strolls, as well as a couple of libraries and a few auditoriums. The auditoriums along with movie halls make theatrical entertainment available in the city. There is a crowded but fascinating bazaar in old Bharuch. One can find a number of things in this market.
Bharuch is well known for textile products. Salted Peanuts and Sweets of Bharuch are renowned and admired world-wide.
Of late there has been a boom in the retail sector in the city and there are new shopping malls and multiplexes opening up all over the place. Shopping malls like Big Bazar, Reliance Hyper Market, V-Mart, [Mayuri],[Acropolis mall] are also there in Bharuch. Multiplexs like INOX, Fame are also there in Bharuch.
Bharuch is provided health care through hospitals and clinics. There are hospitals run by the Government, private entities as well as charitable trusts.
It also has several clinics owned and operated by individual doctors and medical professionals. Pharmacies are also operated and run by individual people.
People from Bharuch
Notable personalities from recent times include K. M. Munshi, Omkarnath Thakur, Feroze Gandhi, Sundaram, Burjorji Sorabji Godrej (father of Ardeshir Godrej and Pirojsha Godrej, founders Godrej company), Premchand Roychand, Ahmed Patel, Munaf Patel, etc.
- Kanaiyalal Maneklal Munshi (Gujarati: કનૈયાલાલ માણેકલાલ મુનશી) or Kulapati Dr. K. M. Munshi (30 December 1887 – 8 February 1971) was born in Bharuch. He was an Indian independence movement activist, politician, writer and educationist. A lawyer by profession, he later turned to literature and politics. He is a well known name in Gujarati literature. He founded Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, an educational trust, in 1938. He also founded Institute of Agriculture at Anand, Gujarat. Munshi was an active participant in the Indian Independence Movement. After the independence of India, Munshi was appointed diplomatic envoy and trade agent (Agent-General) to the princely state of Hyderabad. He was on the ad hoc Flag Committee that selected the Flag of India in August 1947, and on the committee which drafted the Constitution of India under the chairmanship of B. R. Ambedkar. He was also the main driving force behind the renovation of the historically important Somnath Temple. He was the first Union Minister of Food and Agriculture of independent India. During this tenure, he initiated the Vanmahotsav in 1950, to increase area under forest cover. Since then Van Mahotsav a week long festival of tree plantation is organised every year in the month of July.
- Omkarnath Thakur (1897–1967) from Bharuch was an Indian educator, musicologist, and Hindustani classical singer. During the 1920s he worked for the non-cooperation movement on a local level and in 1933 became one of the first Indian musicians to perform in Europe, which also included a private concert for Benito Mussolini. He performed in Europe until 1954 and received the Padma Shri in 1955 and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1963.
- Premchand Roychand (born 1831) was the son of Roychand Dipchand, a merchant from Bharuch/Surat. He was a 19th-century Indian businessman known as the "Cotton King" and "Bullion King". The Roychand family moved to Bombay when Premchand was a young boy. Recorded as the first Indian broker to speak, read and write English, he entered the lists as a stock broker in 1849. Apart from the capital markets, Premchand Roychand had significant business interests in the cotton and bullion markets along with stock market. He was the founding member of The Bombay Stock Exchange. He reaped enormous profits from the cotton boom that changed Bombay's economy for all times to come. He was also the founder of the Bank of Bombay. The Rajabai Clock Tower in the University of Bombay, named after his mother, was built from a donation of Indian Rupees 200,000 by him, as was the library. He once made a single pay-in of Rs 115 million, which would equal Rs 10 billion today (as of 2008)! Such single-day transactions by a lone broker are unheard of even in stock markets today. He is also well known for his contribution to society and his donations to causes and institutions that are still very much a part of India today. Nobody knows the extent of Premchand Roychand's gifts to education, particularly education of the girl child.
- Feroze Gandhi (Hindi: फिरोज गांधी; 12 September 1912 – 8 September 1960), belonged to a Parsi family of Bharuch. He was an Indian politician and journalist. He married Indira Nehru (later known as Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India). They had two sons, Rajiv Gandhi (also later a prime minister) and Sanjay Gandhi. Their ancestral home, which belonged to his grandfather, still exists in Kotparsiwad area in Bharuch. Thus the biggest political family of India, the Nehru-Gandhi Family has their ancestral origins in Bharuch.
- Ahmed Patel (born 21 August 1949) is a senior leader of Indian National Congress (INC) party. He was born in the village Piraman near the industrial city of Ankleshwar, near Bharuch. He is the present political secretary and advisor to Congress president Sonia Gandhi. He is among the core think tank of the INC today. He is one of the crucial leaders in the decision making process of the party at national level. He has also worked alongside Sonia Gandhi and was a key player in getting the Congress Party re-elected in the 15th Lok Sabha. He is also the Treasurer of All India Congress Committee since October 1996.
- Bharuch derives its name from the great sage Bhrigu. The original name of Bharuch is Bhrigukachchha (Sanskrit: भृगुकच्छ), which was later shortened to Bharuch during the Muslim rule. Bhrigu rishi was one of the ten sons of Lord Brahma. He selected Bharuch for his residence due to nine Swayambhu (self-menifested) Shivalingas and its proximity to the holy River Narmada.
- Many years before Bhrigu rishi came here, Bharuch was the residence place of Goddess Lakshmi. At that time Bharuch was known as Shrinagar. The palace of Goddess Lakshmi was fully made of gold. Today this golgen palace is not there but a place named Soneri Mahel (Golden Palace) is still there in Bharuch.
- Bhrigu rishi was well-versed in all the Shastras. He is also known as the Father of Jyotish Shastra (Indian Astrology). The first book on Jyotish Shastra known as Bhrigu Samhita was written by Bhrigu rishi at his ashram in Bharuch.
- Shukra (शुक्र), popularly known as Shukracharya (शुक्राचार्य) was the son of Bhrigu rishi, and preceptor of the Daityas, and the guru of the Asuras, identified with the planet Venus, one of the Navagrahas. He presides over Shukravar (Devanagari: शुक्रवार) or Friday.
- Chyavana (Sanskrit: च्यवन) was also the son of sage Bhrigu and was known for his rejuvenation after penances for several years. He was well known for his knowlwdge about Ayurveda. He prepared a tonic known as Chyawanprash, which is widely used in India, as a rejuvenative, energiser and immunity booster. It is often called "the elixir of life" due to its numerous nutritional properties and benefit to the body.
- Sages like Markendeya, Dadhichi, Jamadagni and Parshurama were from the linage of Bhrigu rishi.
- In Bharuch, the celebrated Asura king Mahabali, conducted great sacrifices (ten ashwamedha yagyas). In this sacrifice, Lord Vishnu came in the disguise a dwarf Brahmin called Vamana (fifth incarnation of Lord Vishnu), interfered with the king's sacrifice and measured the whole universe with his three steps. Shukracharya was the priest of King Mahabali.
- Parshurama (sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu) was born in the sixth generation of Chyavana.
- Bharuch is the only place in India to have the honour as a place where Lord Vishnu incarnated for three times. These three incarnations are of Dattatreya, Vamana and Parshurama. Other two incarnations, Rama and Krishna also visited Bharuch during the course of pilgrimage (tirthyatra).
- Out of nine Navagrahas (planets), three namely Chandra (or Soma), Budha and Shukra are from Bharuch. Thus out of the seven days of a week, three are named after them namely Somavar, Budhavar and Sukravar. This is a great honour for Bharuch.
- The great sage Durvasa (generally known for his anger) was also from Bharuch. He is supposed to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva.
- Many great sages like Kashyapa, Kapila, Mandavya, Adi Sankaracharya, etc. also have performed penances in Bharuch.
- There are around 1000 temples in Bharuch city.
- According to the Skanda Purana, there are fifty-five (55) tirthas located in Bharuch.
- Bharuch finds its mention in all major Hindu scriptures like Bhagavata Purana, Shiva Purana, Skanda Purana, Kurma Purana, Matsya Purana, Ramayana, Mahabharata, etc.
- The priests of Bharuch were famous for their learning in the other regions too. As per the mythological stories, Agnihotri and Samvedi, the learned priests of Bharuch and Shukaltirtha were famous up to the Kashi in the northern India.
- Bharuch is the oldest city of Gujarat. It is also the second oldest city of India. Bharuch has a known history for about 8000 years.
- Bharuch had trade relationships with the ancient Greek and Roman Empires. Bharuch was called by the name of Barygaza by Greeks/Romans. North India also traded with western and southern nations via Ujjain and Bharuch. (Also see: Periplus of the Erythraean Sea) (Also refer: http://depts.washington.edu/silkroad/texts/periplus/map/periplus_map.html)
- Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, an educational trust wad founded by a Bharuchian K. M. Munshi. He is a well known name in Gujarati literature. He was also the main driving force behind the renovation of the historically important Somnath Temple. He was the first Union Minister of Food and Agriculture of independent India.
- Omkarnath Thakur, the first Indian musician to perform in Europe was from Bharuch.
- Bombay Stock Exchange and Bank of Bombay was founded by Premchand Roychand (born 1831). He was the son of Roychand Dipchand, a merchant from Bharuch. He was known as the "Cotton King" and "Bullion King". He donated Rupees 200,000 for building Rajabai Clock Tower in the University of Bombay, named after his mother, as was the library. He is also well known for his contribution to society and his donations to causes and institutions that are still very much a part of India today.
- Feroze Gandhi belonged to a Parsi family of Bharuch. He was the husband of Indira Gandhi His ancestral home still exists in Kotparsiwad area in Bharuch. Thus the biggest political family of India, the Nehru-Gandhi Family has their ancestral origins in Bharuch.
- Ahmed Patel was born in Ankleshwar, near Bharuch. He is the political advisor to Congress president Sonia Gandhi. He is among the core think tank of the INC today. He is also the Treasurer of All India Congress Committee.
- One of the oldest library of Gujarat, Raichand Deepchand Library (started 1858) is located in Bharuch. It has a collection of around Two Lacs books.
- Bharuch is one of the Indian cities which has a Martian crater named after it. The crater is named Broach.
Places of interest
- Bhrigu Rishi Temple. The temple of Bhrigu Rishi, one of the famous and sacred temples of Gujarat, is situated on the east of the city in Dandia Bazar area on the banks of the holy river Narmada. This temple, being visited by a number of pilgrims, has great religious importance to the people of Bharuch. Bharuch which was originally called 'Bhrigukachchha' derived its name from this temple. The temple was built in honour of the great saint Maharishi Bhrigu who was able to attain sainthood by reaching the perfect balance between wisdom and activity. It was here that Bhrigu Rishi wrote first Indian Astrological work, Bhrigu Samhita. He is said to have documented five million horoscopes, in which he wrote down the fate of every being in the universe.
- Nav Nathas. There are nine Swayambhu (self menifested) Shivalingas located at different places in old Bharuch city. These Shivalingas are known as Nav Naths in Bharuch. They are Kamnath, Jwalnath, Somnath, Bhimnath, Gangnath, Bhootnath, Pingalnath, Siddhnath and Kashi Vishwanath. These nine shivlingas are said to be exist since time immemorial. It was due to these shivlingas that Bhrigu Rishi choose Bharuch for his ashram.
- Dashashwamedh Ghat. It is situated on the bank of river Narmada near Dandia Bazar. This is the place where King Mahabali performed ten ashwamedha sacrifices. It is at this place where Lord Vishnu came in the disguise of Vamana and measured the whole universe with his three steps. There are many old temples constructed on this ghat which includes Ambaji Mata Temple, Umiya Mata Temple, Narmada Mata Temple, Kotirudreshwar Mahadev, Vamana Temple and many others. One must not forget to visit this ghat at early morning hours to enjoy the spiritual peace of this place.
- River Narmada. Many ghats are situated on the banks of the River Narmada in Bharuch, which hosts a number of temples. The Narmada happens to be one of the most sacred river of India. It is believed that a dip in the Narmada river washes ones sins away, and that her divine sight alone makes one pure. According to a legend, the river Ganges is polluted by millions of people bathing in it. To cleanse herself, Ganges acquires the form of a black cow and comes to the Narmada to bathe in its holy waters. Legends also mention that the Narmada River is older than the river Ganges.
- Temples swarm the city and each holds its own religious significance. The Swaminarayan Temple in Dandia Bazar area of city is 175 years old and hosts a palette of colour on its walls. Narmada Mata Temple, also in Dandia Bazar, is 150 years old and dedicated to Goddess Narmada. The Vaishnav Haveli enshrines an idol of Bal Krishna said to have come from Mathura in 1725. Behind the old Civil Hospital, the Khodiyar Mata Temple overlooks the low lying area of furja and offers one of the best views of sunset in the city.
- Other temples in old Bharuch city include Bahuchara Mata Temple, Sindhvai Mata Temple, Santoshi Mata Temple,Nilkanth Mahadev, Doodheshwar Madhavev, Nav Graha Temple, Kala Raam Temple, Dwarkadhish Temple, Dattatreya Temple, Bhrigvishwar Mahadev, seat of Vallabhacharya, Gyaneshwar Hanuman, Rokadiya Hanuman, Bhid Bhanjan Hanuman, Ganapati Temple and many others.
- There are many ashramas along the river side. Some of these ashrams also runs meditation centres, adhyatama discourses, etc. A few prominent ashramas to name are Ashoka Ashrama, Swami Omkarnath’s Narmada Ashrama, Kusuma Pagala Ashrama, Swami Swyamjyotitirtha’s Gyan Sadhan Ashrama, Vishwa Gayatri Alakha Dham, Brahmakumari’s Anubhuti Dham, Swami Tadrupananda’s Manan Ashrama, Hansdevji’s Hans Ashramas, etc.
- The Golden Bridge. It was built by the British in 1881 across the Narmada River to improve access to traders and administrators to Bombay. The structure was built with rust-resistant iron, and therefore, more expensive than modern steel, lending to the name Golden Bridge. This bridge connects Bharuch and Ankleshwar.
- Sona no Patthar (Golden Stone)
- Soneri Mahel (Golden Palace).
- Fort. Around 1000 year old fort, built by Siddhraj Jaysinh, the then king of Gujarat. The fort is situated on a hill top which overlooks the Narmada river. Within the fort there are the Collector's office, Civil Courts, the Old Dutch factory, a church, the Victoria Clock tower and other buildings. Around 3 km from the fort there are some early Dutch tombs, overlooked by some Parsee Towers of Silence. Also there are many historical monuments built by the Dutch, Portuguese and British.
- Gurudwara Chadar Saheb. In the 15th century Nanak Dev, the first Shikh guru, visited Bharuch. It is believed that when a boatman refuses to take him across the Narmadda, he crosses over on a cloth sheet or chadar. The gurudwara was later constructed in Kasak area, on the site where he landed in Bharuch.
- Some important temples in new Bharuch city includes Shaktinath Mahadev, Chandramaulishwar Mahadev (this shivalinga is made from mercury), Sai Baba temple, Gayatri Mata temple, Amba Mata temple and many others.
- A unique feature of Bharuch is the Meghraja festival celebrated in the month of Shravan (August–Sept) for 25 days. A 5.5 feet idol if Meghraj (Lord Indra) is prepared from the soil of Narmada river and is worshiped for 25 days. A fair (mela) is organised during the last 4 days of this festival. The unique feature is that this festival is celebrated only in Bharuch in whole of India.
- Jainism and Buddhism had also a significant role in history of Bharuch and there are many Jain temples with architectural excellence.
- Islamic buildings like Eidgah (built in 1326), Jama Masjid and Madresa Mosque
- The crowded but fascinating bazaar known as Katopore Bazar.
- Swaminarayan Mandir in Zadeshwar lies on the NH-8 and attracts a huge number of devotees from Bharuch and nearby areas.
- Bharuch hosts one of the oldest libraries of Gujarat – Raichand Deepchand Library, started in 1858. It has a collection of around Two Lacs (200,000) books. There are many other libraries in the city.
- Shuklatirth. It is situated at a distance of about 12 km east of Bharuch is a host of many old temples. The most famous of them is Shukleshwar Mahadev Temple. Legend says that Shiva was pleased with the devout Chanakya and guided him to salvation. He instructed Chanakya to start his journey in a black boat at the mouth of the Narmada dress in black and accompanied by a black cow. The place were black would transform into white would mark the location of his liberation. The transformation occurred in Shuklatirth. Shiva stayed with Chanakya at this site in the form of a linga. It is believed that this temple houses that same linga, and that by praying here all sins are purged and desires fulfilled. The Omkarnath Vishnu Mandir has a tall white idol of Vishnu said to have emerged from the Narmada. This idol is made up of sand (it is a self manifested idol), but it appears as if it is made from marble.
- Kabirvad. – It is the island of Banyan trees. Kabirvad is an island on the river Narmada at a distance of about 16 km east of Bharuch city. The main attraction here is a gigantic banyan tree covering an area of more than 2.5 acres. According to legend, it is at this place that saint Kabirdas meditated and the tree grew from a meswak stick (used for brushing the teeth) that was thrown here by the saint. A single tree has over years polifrated into a tree with several trunks and spread in over 2.5 acres of land. Other added attractions here are the lotus shaped marble temple, Kabir museum and boat ride on Narmada river.
- Kukarwada situated at a distance of 5 km west of Bharuch hosts Panchmukhi Hanuman temple.
- Osara located about 17 km north-east Bharuch has a temple of Kali. This temple opens only on Tuesdays attracting huge number of devotees.
- Gumandev (near Jhagadia) at a distance of about 20 km south of Bharuch, is a temple of Lord Hanumanji. It is said that temple is very old. Large number of people from different parts of the world visit this temple is the testimony of people faith in the divine power of this grand old deity. A fair is organised at this place on every Saturday in the month of Shravan. At this time, deevotees from Bharuch, Ankleshwar and other places go to this place walking.
- Hathila Hanuman, at a distance of about 30 km north of Bharuch towards Amod, is another place of Hanuman temple.
- Nareshwar at a distance of 25 km north-east of Bharuch is the place of hermitage of Rang Avadhoot Maharaj.
- Ankleshwar situated at a distance of 12 km south of Bharuch is also an ancient city. Imoprtant places here include Antarnath Mahadev and Ram Kund. Today Ankleshwar is a highly industralised city and it has the honour of being the biggest Industrial Complex in whole of Asia.
- Kadia Dungar situated at a distance of 40 km south of Bharuch is a Buddhist cave, believed to have been occupied by Pandavas.
- Other important places on the banks of Narmada include Angareshwar, Mangleshwar, Nikora, Janor, Sajod (hermitage of sage Chyavana), Hansot, Jageshwar, Dahej, and many more.
Other places of interest
- Stambheshwar Mahadev – Kavi Kamboi (45 km from Bharuch) at the confulance of Mahi River and Sea. This Shivalinga gets submerged into the sea during high tides and is only visible during low tides. <http://www.stambheshwarmahadev.org/>
- Rajpipla (65 km)
- Garudeshwar – Samadhi of Vasudevanand Saraswati (60 km)
- Sardar Sarovar Dam (90 km)
- Chandod (40 km)
- Anasuya (near Chandod) – birthplace of Dattatreya, Chandra and Durvasa
- Kayavarohan (50 km)
- Soolpaneshwar Wildlife Scantury (95 km)
and many more.
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Broach (city).|
- Indo-Greek Kingdom
- Periplus of the Erythraean Sea
- The Imperial Gazette Entry
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Bharuch|
- Periplus of the Erythraean Sea
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