Bharuch History

Bharuch (Gujarati: ભરૂચ, Bharūca, About this sound listen (help·info)), formerly known as Broach, is a city at the mouth of the river Narmada in Gujarat in western India.

Bharuch is the administrative headquarters of Bharuch District and is a municipality of about 370,000 inhabitants. Being one of the biggest industrial areas including Ankleshwar GIDC, it is at times referred as the chemical capital of India.

The city of Bharuch and its surroundings have been settled since times of antiquity. It was a ship building centre and sea port in the pre-compass coastal trading routes to points West, perhaps as far back as the days of the Pharaohs.

The route made use of the regular and predictable monsoon winds or galleys. Many goods from the Far East (the famed Spice and Silk trade) were shipped there during 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 entered Gujarat via Bharuch to do business. The British and the Dutch (Valandas) noted Bharuch’s importance and established their business centres here.

At the end of the 17th century, it was plundered twice, but resurged quickly. Afterwards, 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 has been the home to the Gujarati Bhargav Brahmin community for ages. The community traces its lineage to Maharshi Bhrigu rishi and Bhagwan Parshuram who is considered to be incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The Bhargav community still administers a large amount of public trusts in the city. However the present day Bhargav Brahmins have migrated to Mumbai, Surat, Vadodara, Ahmedabad and other countries like the USA, UK & Australia.

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, Safari Construction Equipments Pvt. Ltd. and Welspun Maxsteel Ltd. Bharuch is a shopping centre well known for its salty peanuts. Because of the distinctive colour of its soil (which is also ideal for cotton cultivation), Bharuch is sometimes referred to as ‘Kanam Pradesh’ (black-soil land).

Bharuch is the oldest city of Gujarat. It is also the second-oldest city of India having continuous inhitations, first being Kashi (Varanasi). Bharuch has a known history for about 8000 years. Bharuch was ruled over by too many emperors in the princely states era. Chandragupta Vikramaditya and other kings of the Gupta dynasty ruled over here up to 5th century and later it was ruled over by the kings of Gurjar ancestry till 7th century. The time period of 8th to 13th century was said to be an important and very well-known part under the rule of Rajput Emperors. Solanki ancestry’s great emperor Sidhdhraj Jaisinh had built up Kot (fortification) and darvaja (doors)
around the whole Bharuch which was known as ‘Malbari Darvaja’. These are renamed as ‘Katopor Darvaja’and ‘Zadeshwari darvaja’ later.

In the first half of 16th century, Bharuch was ruled over by Changez Khan. Then, Mughal king Humayu ruled over in 1534 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). Broach was a center of a prosperous merchant community, and was one of the chief ports of Gujarat from ancient times to the first half of the 16th century; the Portuguese had little contact with the port, until 1547 when Jorge de Menezes sacked Bharuch 1547, from which the city fell into insignificance.

In the 17th century the Dutch and British made it a center of their cotton purchases in Gujarat, and commercial warehouses were established in 1616 and 1618 by the British and Dutch (Valanda) respectively. After that, in 1675 & 1686, it was sacked by the Maratha’s.

During this time period, Bharuch was handed over to Kutubuluddin. Mughal king Aurangzeb demolished the fortification and the fort in 1660 by attacking. Later on, he had built it again in 1686.

In 1772, the Britishers again attacked on Bharuch with the help of ‘Diwan Lallubhai’ and they got succeed to take the power from ‘Nawab Mojubb Khan’. 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.

As part of the Sultanate of Gujarat, it was subsequently annexed by the Mughals, and finally by the British.

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 area was cheaper and prosperous also when Akbar had won over Bharuch during Mughal era it had 12 Paraganas. The annual growth of all 559 City 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.

 

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 centre 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. Ruchik Amrish Jani 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 Village 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 centre 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 is located at 21.7°N 72.97°E. 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 Village 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 Village had witnessed major floods in the past, but now the floods have been controlled after the damming of the Narmada.

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.

Bharuch has also advantage of Gujarat’s biggest liquid cargo terminal. A very large fertiliser, chemical companies, like GNFC Ltd. are also located in Narmadanagar (a suburb of Bharuch) since 1976.

Large Indian & Multinationals, like the Torrent Group, PepsiCo International, Guardian Corporation, Hitachi, Heubach Colors, Zydous Cadila, Cadila Health Care, Survival Technologies, Videocon, China Light and Power, BASF, Reliance, Tata Group, Aditya Birla Group, Welspun Stahl, Aventis, Gulbrandsen Technologies, Wockhardt, Rallis, Pfizer, Ciba, L&T, Bayer, Glenmark, UPL, Lupin, J B Chemicals, Gujarat Fluorochemicals, NTPC, ONGC, GAIL, OPAL SOlvay, Breeze Intermediates For Flavor & Fragrance Intermediates, Alliance Tyre Group, Fireminich, Astra Specialty Compounds, Dahej 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, Alliance Tyre Group, ABG Shipyard, First carbon, Indofil, Birla copper, Adani, Reliance.

As of 2011 India census, Bharuch had a population of 168,391. Males constitute 52% of the population and females 48%. Bharuch has an average literacy rate of 97.06%, much higher than the national average of 74% ; with male literacy of 98.5% and female literacy of 95.5%.

10% of the population is under 6 years of age.

There are a number of schools and colleges in Bharuch which provide education in English and Gujarati mediums. And best competitive exams institution like Intellingent Academy and some best Schools here are either affiliated to Gujarat Board, CBSE Board or the ICSE Board to name few Sabari Vidya Peedom, Aditya Birla Public School, Amity, Queen of Angels, Holy Angels Convents,Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s, Narmada Vidyalya, DPS, Sanskar Vidya Bhavan.

Several colleges provide education in various under-graduate and post-graduate streams including commerce and science, Narmada College of Science & Commerce is the prominent known college since last many decades. Narmada College of Computer Application (NCCA) in its campus is the only college in Bharuch District providing Master of Computer Application (MCA) course since 1999.

There are also several engineering colleges affiliated to the Gujarat Technical University including SVM Institute of Technology which offers Post Graduate courses.

There are also several Pharmacy colleges and a Medical college.