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|• Official||Gujarati, Hindi, Dhodia|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Vehicle registration||GJ 15|
Sanjan is the location of the second railway station in Gujarat (the first station is on Umbergaon) on the Western railways (formerly the BB&CI Railways) just inside the Gujarat-Maharashtra border. Sanjan is in the Umargam taluka of Valsad district. Sanjan Bundar, the original settlement before the rail-head, is situated 2 km to the north of the railway station and is today a part of the extended town of Sanjan.
Sanjan is believed to have been founded by Zoroastrian refugees who sought asylum in Gujarat in 698 AD. A widely believed legend is that the Zoroastrians were offered a filled pot of milk by Jadi Rana, the King of Sanjan to signify that his kingdom was full. In response, the Zoroastrians poured sugar into the milk without spilling any milk, stating they would adapt to the kingdom and cause no disorder, to which the King agreed. Those Zoroastrians, whose descendants are today known as the Parsis, are thought to have named the settlement after Sanjan in Greater Khorasan, the city of their origin. Although originally a Zoroastrian city, Sanjan was captured by Mahmud Begada of the Delhi Sultanate in the 1480s.
Later, Sanjan became part of the Portuguese Northern Provinces until it was liberated by the Marathas under Chimnaji Appa in his campaign against the Portuguese (1733–39). In the 18th century, there was a huge influx of Spanish and French Muslim traders who had come to trade in Indian spices which was a hugely profitable market at the time. Many of these traders married Hindu Gujarati women who later on went on to convert to Islam; the current Muslim population of Sanjan are believed to be the descendants of these people.
From 2002 to 2004, the World Zarathushti Cultural Foundation (WZCF) (Mumbai) and the Indian Archaeological Society(IAS) (New Delhi), conducted three seasons of archaeological excavations at the ancient mounds immediately North and East of Sanjan Bandar. The excavation Directors were (late) Dr S P Gupta of the IAS and Dr Kurush F Dalal. Three years (2002, 2003 & 2004) of excavations have revealed a large city (approx 2 km x 1 km) on the banks of the Varoli Creek/River which was occupied from the 8th to the 13th centuries AD. The houses were made of burnt brick and had solid stone foundations, they were equipped with sophisticated drainage in the form of adjacent Ringwells.
That the city was involved directly in the trade activities of the Indian Ocean littoral is evidenced by the large amounts of West Asian and Chinese ceramics as also by the numerous numismatic finds and the large amounts of West Asian glassware and beads.
West Asian ceramics identified for the first time include Sassanian-Islamic Turquoise Glazed Ware, sgraffito ware, Kashan Lustre ware, Tin glazed ware and other associated wares like Celadon. Chinese wares like eggshell ware, Yeuh and Qingbai porcelains and glazed stoneware were also recovered though in smaller numbers. The ceramics were studied and published by Dr. Rukshana Nanji. The published report is the first volume in the Sanjan Excavation Report Series. The glass was studied by Ms. Rhea Mitra-Dalal. Human remains were studied by Dr Veena Mushrif-Tripathi and published as the second volume in the series.
The site has also yielded the first definitive proof of Parsi (Zoroastrian) occupation at Sanjan in the form of a dokhma or Tower of Silence (a uniquely Zoroastrian mortuary structure). The excavations and explorations have also yielded interesting art historical data in the form of Hindu (Shilahara Period) sculptural and structural remains.
- Qissa-i Sanjan, an account of the early years of Zoroastrian settlers in India.
- Sanjan Stambh
- Jadi Rana