Also known as the Diamond City of India, Surat is Gujarat’s second-largest city and is a glittering little gem on the Arabian Sea. One of India’s smart cities, this bustling economic and technology hub has a teeming population that is mostly engaged in business. Surat has a rich history as one of the most prosperous seaports during the reign of the Mughals.
A charming moat separates the older part of the city from the modern business centre, and as you traverse from one part to the other, you will find the grand glass-encased business centres giving way to well preserved historical buildings that were once the establishments of the Turkish, Dutch and French traders. These buildings, prime examples of fine colonial architecture, still hold the legacy of the prosperous days of yore, when Surat’s silks, brocades and gold and silver were highly prized across the seas.
With one foot still firmly in the past, modern-day Surat is a rich amalgamation of the old and the new. If you’re doing up your home interior in Surat, make sure to blend in all the elements that are woven into the rich tapestry of its culture.
1. Fine Textiles
The finest of muslins originated in the mills of Surat, which were considered to be so sheer that they could pass through a ring! Even today the textile industry in Surat is world-renowned for its robust textile ecosystem. Draw upon the rich diversity of organic fabrics available, ranging from handloom cotton to raw silk and hand-embroidered brocade, to fabricate ethnic furnishings for your home décor.
2. Climate-Responsive Décor
Surat is known for its salubrious climate that is moderated by the sea breezes. Outdoor living is a part of the lives of the people of Surat, with every home incorporating a terrace or balconies abounding in plenty of greenery. Traditional buildings were made of locally sourced building materials like stone, mud and clay, and were designed with stepped facades to catch the breeze. A patch of green in your balcony, with a shady hammock and some colourful cushions, is the perfect spot for a lazy afternoon siesta!
3. Arts and Crafts
Kathputhli puppets, characterised by their lovely large eyes, painted faces and bright, gold-edged clothes are a popular art form in the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Use these puppets in your home as wall hangings or colourful window dressing for an ethnic vibe.
4. Handmade Torans
Colourful torans, beautifully embellished with handmade kutch work embroidery and mirrors, hang at the door of every Gujarati home and are said to ward off the evil spirits. While these festive streamers used to be crafted by the women in the family in earlier times, today they are mass-produced as local tribal handicraft.
5. Sankheda Furniture
Local craftspersons are skilled at wood and stone carving, and ornate decor like the Sankheda style of furniture is very popular. This colourful style of wooden furniture is finished with glossy lacquer and painted in shades of brown, maroon and gold. The upholstery used is also typically very ethnic with touches of gold, copper and silver interwoven into the patterns of brocade.
6. Bandhej fabrics
The beautiful art of bandhani, or tie and dye, has been passed down through generations of Gujarati craftspeople. Figurative designs are created on silk or fine cotton using many tiny bindings or ‘bheendi’ that are removed after the cloth is dipped into organic dyes. Use this patterned fabric on cushions, curtains and wall murals in your home to reflect the ethos of local artisans.
7. Khavda Earthenware Pottery
Dating back to the days of the Indus Valley Civilisation, Khavda earthenware is made using the same techniques as our ancestors used. Clay matkas, plates, ketli, vases and boxes are made using Geru from a particular region. Each piece is painstakingly decorated with intricate patterns by hand using red, black and white organic paints. Sadly, this unique art is dying out as the families who are skilled in these traditions are unable to eke out a living from the meagre income they make. Do support the local artisans by using this fine pottery in your table décor, and help them to survive and thrive!
If you’re looking for more home designs in Surat, do look up the HomeLane team who can help you incorporate the rich local flavours of Gujarati décor into your home. Make the best decision for your dream home; call us today!
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