Gulf of Khambhat – The Site Of The Earliest Commercial Contact Between India and Europe
The Gulf of Khambhat is a horn or trumpet-shaped gulf of the Arabian Sea which cuts to the north. It is the coastline of the state of Gujarat, western India, located between Mumbai and the Kathiawar Peninsula.
- The Gulf of Khambhat is 190 km wide at its mouth near Daman and Diu but rapidly narrows to 24 km. This gulf contains many rivers including Sabarmati, Mahi, Narmada, and Tapti.
- Its shape and location relative to the south-to-west monsoon is the reason for its high waves (12 m) and the speed of the incoming waves (6–7 knots). Its silt and sandy shores make it inaccessible for navigation, and all ports in the bay have been heavily damaged by siltation brought by waves and river floods.
- On the east side of the gulf are Bharuch (the oldest port in India) and Surat, which has been identified as the site of early commercial connectivity between India and Europe, is situated at its mouth.
- Although the ports on the Gulf are of local importance, oil exploration and exploration efforts here have led to a commercial resurgence, especially near Bharuch, at the mouth of the gulf, and offshore areas of Bombay High.
Afanasy Nikitin is the next Explorer. A traveler, who came to India for business after crossing three seas and became the first Russian to do so. What did he bring from Russia to sell here? What did he buy first when he reached Gujarat? All this is in the next article.