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Khambhat
Khambhat
Location of Khambhat
in Gujarat and India
Coordinates 22°18′N 72°37′E / 22.3°N 72.62°E / 22.3; 72.62
Country  India
State Gujarat
District(s) Anand
Population 80,439 (2001)
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
Area
Elevation

8 m (26 ft)

Khambhat (Gujarati ખંભાત ; Hindi खंभात) About this sound pronunciation , formerly known as Cambay, is a city and a municipality in Anand district in the Indian state of Gujarat. It was formerly an important trading center, although its harbor has gradually silted up, and the maritime trade has moved elsewhere. Khambhat lies on an alluvial plain at the north end of the Gulf of Khambhat, which is noted for the extreme rise and fall of its tides, which can vary as much as thirty feet in the vicinity of Khambhat.

Contents

Origin of name

Some scholars suggest that the name Khambhat/Khambat -the Kambaya/Kanbāya of the Arabic writers[1] - is connected with the Kambojas, and it is stated to be an apabhraṃśa form of the Sanskrit Kamboja[2][3]. Some people believe that the town of Khambhat may be the Camanes of Ptolemy. Lieutenant-Colonel James Tod believes that the name comes from the Sanskrit Khambavati or 'City of the Pillar'. One of the most accepted belief is, 'Khambhat' is made up of 2 words 'Khambh' and 'Aayat', Khambh means pole or pillar & Aayat means Import in Gujarati language. So, it is believed that, there has to be some pole, which must have been an identity for this city & as it was a glorious port, import/export trade was at the extreme.

History

Khambhat was formerly a very flourishing city, the seat of an extensive trade, and celebrated for its manufactures of silk, chintz and gold stuffs. The Arab traveller, al-Mas'udi, visited the city in 915 AD, describing it as a very successful port; it was mentioned in 1293 by Marco Polo, who, calling it Cambaet, noted it as a busy port. He mentions that the city had its own king. Indigo and fine buckram were particular products of the region, but much cotton and leather was also exported through Khambhat. A contemporary Italian traveller, Marino Sanudo, said that Cambeth was one of India’s main two ocean ports.

The Portuguese explorer Duarte Barbosa visited the city, which he calls Cambaia, in the early sixteenth century.[4] His description of the city is very full, he states:

"Entering by Cuindarim[5], which is the internal river, there is great and beautiful city that they call Cambaia, populated by Mouros (Muslims) and Hindus (Gentios). It has many beautiful houses, very high with windows, and covered with tiles in our manner. The streets are laid out well, with pretty squares and large buildings." He describes the city as very busy and affluent, with merchants coming frequently by sea from the world around.

Another Italian, visiting in about 1440, Niccolò de' Conti, mentions that the walls of the city were twelve miles in circumference.

Khambhat was the capital of a princely state of British India within the Gujarat division of Bombay.It has an area of 350 square miles (906 km²). As a separate state it dates only from about 1730, the time of the dismemberment of the Mughal empire. Its Nawabs were descended from Momin Khan II, the last of the Mughal governors of Gujarat, who in 1742 murdered his brother-in-law, Nizam Khan, governor of Khambhat, and established himself there.

Even the detailed description of Khambhat is there by Marco Polo in his writings.

Owing principally to the gradually increasing difficulty of access by water by the silting up of the gulf, its commerce has long since fallen away, and the town became poor and dilapidated. The spring tides rise upwards of 30 ft (10 m), and in a channel usually so shallow form a serious danger to shipping. By 1900, the trade was chiefly confined to the export of cotton. The town was celebrated for its manufacture of agate and carnelian ornaments, of reputation, principally in China.

The houses in many instances are built of stone (a circumstance which indicates the former wealth of the city, as the material had to be brought from a very considerable distance); and remains of a brick wall, 3 miles (5 km) in circumference, which formerly surrounded the town, enclose four large reservoirs of good water and three bazaars. To the southeast there are very extensive ruins of subterranean temples and other buildings half-buried in the sand by which the ancient town was overwhelmed. These temples belong to the Jains, and contain two massive statues of their deities, the one black, the other white. The principal one, as the inscription intimates, is Pariswanath, or Parswanath, carved in the reign of the emperor Akbar; the black one has the date of 1651 inscribed.

In 1780 Khambhat was taken by the army of general Goddard Richards, and was restored to the Marathas in 1783, and was afterwards ceded to the British by the Peshwa under the treaty of 1803. It was provided with a railway in 1901.

Geography

Khambhat is located at 22°18′N 72°37′E / 22.3°N 72.62°E / 22.3; 72.62[6]. It has an average elevation of 8 metres (26 feet). Khambhat has warm & humid climate. It is located on the plains. The land on which Khambhat sits right now is the silt deposited by Mahi river, so Khambhat has got very fertile & wet soil. Soil over here is Coastal Alluvial. The area south of Khambhat is muddy wetlands and then coast line comes. Normally April to June is summer. From July, it rains until September. Sometimes Khambhat receives heavy rain. And sometimes surrounding areas gets affected from the floods in Mahi river. October to February is winter. max. average temperature remains 25 to 30 and min. average temperature goes until 10 to 12. Summer max. average temperature remains 38 and minimum remains around 22. In summer, wind blows high. Khambhat coast's tides are the highest in the world. It goes high up to 35 feet.

Demographics

As of 2001 India census[7], Khambhat had a population of 80,439. Males constitute 52% of the population and females 48%. Khambhat has an average literacy rate of 73%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 78%, and female literacy is 67%. In Khambhat, 10% of the population is under 6 years of age.

Additional information

In 2000, India's science and technology minister Murli Manohar Joshi announced that evidence of an ancient civilisation exists in the form of a large complex of man-made structures underwater in the Gulf of Khambhat. India's archaeological community rejected the claims as baseless and politically motivated.

The name "Khambhat" is most probably the origin of the family name Khambhatta. See, for example, Persis Khambatta.

Khambhat also appears to be the origin of the Maharashtrian surname Khambete just like the Sindhe/Shinde originates from someone who came from Sindh long ago.

The Cambyses dynasty in Iran may have derived from the area of Khambhat/Cambay historically.

Khambhat is also recognised as the landing place for the first of the representatives from the Fatimid Caliphate era from the shores of Egypt. Maulai Ahmad and Maulai Abdullah were sent to India by Imam Mustansir Billah where they propagated the cause of Fatimid Islam and laid the foundations of the one million strong Dawoodi Bohra community who are generally regarded as the inheritors of the Fatimid legacy.

References

  1. ^ For instance in al-Risālah of Ibn Baṭūṭah, in which this port is referred to many times as Kanbāya, and also once or twice as Kanbāyat.
  2. ^ See some refs: Epigraphia Indica, Vol XXIV, pp 45-46; Vangar Jatya Itihaas, Rajanya Kanda (in Bengali), Nagendra Nath Vasu; The Spirit of Islam Or the Life and Teachings of Mohammad: or the life and teachings of Mohammed, 2002, p 359, Ameer Ali Syed; Asiatick Researches: Or, Transactions of the Society Instituted in Bengal, for Inquiring Into the..., 1801, p 129, Asiatic Society (Calcutta, India); Encyclopedia of Religions Or Faiths of Man 1906, 2003 Edition, p 282, J. G. R. Forlong; Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 1990, p 232, Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, Published 1990, Cambridge University, Press for the Royal, Asiatic Society etc.; Cultural History of Northern India, Prior to Medieval Invasion, 1988, p 198, Kamala Chauhan; Ancient Kamboja, People and the Country, 1981, pp 305, 332; Kambojas Through the Ages, 2005, pp 161, 216; Kim (by Rudyard Kipling - 1901), Chapter XI, Page 266, line 23, Notes on the text by Sharad Keskar; Cf: Ancient India, 1956, p 383, Dr R. K. Mukerjee.
  3. ^ A Gazetteer of the World, A Dictionary of Geographical Knowledge, 1856, p 213, Royal Geographical Society (Great Britain), Member of the Royal Geographical Society, Royal Geographical Society Great Britain - Geography.
  4. ^ Livro em que dá relação do que viu e ouviu no Oriente. pg. 77 sq.
  5. ^ Is this internal river, the Cuindarim, the Narmada?
  6. ^ . Khambhat is located between tropical & subtropical climatic zone.Falling Rain Genomics, Inc - Khambhat
  7. ^ "Census of India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on 2004-06-16. http://web.archive.org/web/20040616075334/http://www.censusindia.net/results/town.php?stad=A&state5=999. Retrieved 2008-11-01.  
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