Bharuch 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.[citation needed] It also houses many multinational companies, such as Videocon, BASF, Reliance, Safari Construction Equipments Pvt. Ltd. and Welspun Maxsteel Ltd.[citation needed] Bharuch is a shopping centre well known for its salty peanuts.[citation needed] 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).[citation needed] According to the Skanda Purana, the sage Bhrigu came to Bharuch sitting on a tortoise. The tortoise is known as Kachchha in Sanskrit. Hence the place was named 'Bhrigukachchha'. Another theory states that the city derived its name from "Bhr?igukachchha", the residence of the great saint Bhrigu Rishi. The city then became known as 'Bharukachch', which was later abridged to 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. Bharuch has been known by various names in various eras. It was known as Bhrigukachchha, Bhrigupur, Bhrigutirtha, Bhrigukshetra, Bhrigukaksha as per Hindu Puranas and during the BC and early AD eras and earlier Shrinagar as an abode of the goddess Lakshmi.[citation needed] It was known as Barygaza (meaning "deep-treasure"), Bargosa etc. for the Greek, and later the Romans adopted the Greek name of this port. It was known as 'Bharukachchha' in the 8th to 10th century, 'Bharuch' under Muslim rule, 'Bhadoch' under Maratha rule, and as 'Broach' under British rule. 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. 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 season is unique in the whole of 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 is well connected to the rest of India by Indian National Highway 8 (Mumbai to New Delhi) and by the Western Railway Division of Indian Railways. The 132-year-old Golden Bridge connects Bharuch to Ankleshwar across the Narmada, which connects Bharuch and Ankleshwar towns, has turned golden literally. This is the first time since independence that the bridge has been painted golden. Bharuch roads and buildings department has painted the bridge golden. Golden Bridge is a part of Bharuch's rich history. The British, who needed a bridge across Narmada to enable easier access for trade and administration officials in Mumbai, built the Golden Bridge, or Narmada Bridge as it is named, in 1881. The bridge got its name due to the massive expenditure incurred in its construction. It was constructed seven times after being damaged several times due to strong currents of Narmada water. It was said that the cost incurred was so high that with the amount spent the bridge could be constructed in gold. The bridge has withstood many floods and natural disasters like earthquakes and provides daily transportation to the people of Ankleshwar and Bharuch. A new bridge connects to the national highway.

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