Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Gulf of Cambay
The Gulf of Cambay (also the Gulf of Khambat) is an inlet of the Arabian Sea along the west coast of India, in the state of Gujarat. It is about 80 miles in length, and divides the Kathiawar peninsula to the west from the eastern part of Gujarat state on the east. The Narmada and Tapti rivers empty into the Gulf. The Gulf is shallow and abounds in shoals and sandbanks. The Gulf is known for its extreme tides, which very greatly in height and run into it with amazing speed. At low tide the bottom is left nearly dry for some distance below the town of Cambay.
The Alang Ship Recycling Yard takes advantage of the extreme high tides of the gulf. Large ships are beached during the twice-monthly highest tides, and are dismantled when the tide recedes.
The Gulf of Cambay has been an important center of trade since ancient times; its ports connect central India to the maritime trade routes of the Indian Ocean. Bharuch (Broach), Surat, Cambay, Bhavnagar, and Daman are historically important seaports. Bharuch has been important since ancient times; Cambay was the gulf's chief port in the Middle Ages, but after the silting of its harbor, Surat rose to prominence as the most important harbor of the Mughal empire.
Traces of human habitation have been found submerged in the Gulf in 2002. A piece of carbonized wood recovered from the area has been radiocarbon dated to a calibrated age of some 9,500 years. The finds have been associated with the Harappan civilization, and even with Atlantis, but evidence is inconclusive.
The name Gulf of Khambat is most probably the origin of the family name Khambatta. See, for example, Persis Khambatta.
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