Gopi Talav is a lake in the Gopipura locality in the city of Surat in Gujarat state of India. It was built in circa 1510 CE by Malik Gopi, who was an affluent merchant and governor of Surat during the Gujarat Sultanate. In 2012, the lake was renovated by Surat Municipal Corporation and the area surrounding it was redeveloped as a recreational facility.

Gopi Talav
Gopi Talav 5.jpg
Gopi talav at evening
Gopi Talav is located in Gujarat
Gopi Talav
Gopi Talav
LocationSurat, India
Coordinates21°11′18.9″N 72°49′45.8″E / 21.188583°N 72.829389°E / 21.188583; 72.829389Coordinates: 21°11′18.9″N 72°49′45.8″E / 21.188583°N 72.829389°E / 21.188583; 72.829389
Typeartificial lake
EtymologyMalik Gopi
Catchment area35,300 m2 (0.0136 sq mi)
Managing agencySurat Municipal Corporation
Max. length212 metres (696 ft)
Water volume120,000,000 L (26,000,000 imp gal; 32,000,000 US gal)
WebsiteSurat Tourism - Gopi Talav


Malik Gopi, a Brahmin merchant,[Note 1] settled in Surat and the development of the city has been attributed to his contributions. The area he developed was called Gopipura, in his honour and the king of Gujarat[Note 2] gave him the title of "Malik". The town that he developed was still unnamed and consulting astrologers he proposed to name it "Suraj" or "Suryapur". The king disliking the Hindu inclination of the name altered it to "Surat" (meaning headings of the chapters of the Quran).[1] Gopi also finds mentions in Portuguese literature as "Lord of Surat and Bharuch".[2]

In 1573, Emperor Akbar had set up his military base camp near the lake during the siege of Surat.[3]

Sanskrit poet Vinayavijaya (1613–1681)[4] in his poem "Indudutam" calls this lake a "fine art emerged from the churning of oceans."[5] The lake also finds mentions in travelogues of European visitors. British traveler Peter Mundy who arrived in Surat in September 1628 describes the lake as "the Great Tancke of Surat," and "admirable for its workemannshipp and bignes".[6] Dutch geographer Joannes de Laet's 1631 Latin works mention this lake to have been cut out of a rock.[7] Johan Albrecht de Mandelslo, a German adventurer who landed in Surat in 1638 describes the vastness of the lake along with steps surrounding it and mentions the house that stood at the centre; wrongly calling it "the tomb of the builder of this magnificent structure".[2] Portuguese Jesuit Manoel Godinho toured the Surat region in 1662–63 and mentions two wells outside the city used to supply drinking water and this is implied as a reference to two cisterns of the lake.[7] The lake also finds mentions in the chronicles of Italian traveler Pietro della Valle as "Gopi Telau". Sir Thomas Herbert, who toured India on various occasions in 15th century, mentions the lake to have been used to hold rain water for drinking purpose.[7]

In 1666, French traveler Jean de Thévenot in his writings notes the absence of restorations required for the lake.[6] By 1674, the lake had been ignored and had turned dry turning to ruins by 1717. Further in the 20th century, the steps surrounding this dry lake made it look like a huge amphitheater.[7]

Renovation and redevelopmentEdit

Map of Gopi Talav and its amenities.

In 2012, the lake and the surrounding areas were renovated at the budget of around 22 crore (US$2.9 million). Around 90,000 square metres (970,000 sq ft) of land was renovated, where the 212 metres (696 ft) diameter lake covered almost 35,000 square metres (380,000 sq ft) of area.[8] The lake can hold 120,000,000 litres (26,000,000 imp gal; 32,000,000 US gal) of water.[9] The renovated surroundings include amphitheater and fountain plaza.[3] The area has been divided into seven zones; the diamond zone, food zone, environment zone, history zone, communal harmony zone, textile zone and Surat nu Jaman.[8] The Surat Municipal Corporation has outsourced the operation and maintenance of these to a local company called Rajhans Entertainment which would develop an amusement park called "Future Zone" and also pay an annual royalty of 30 lakh (US$40,000) to the Corporation.[9] The first phase was inaugurated on 5 December 2015 by Chief Minister of Gujarat, Anandiben Patel.[10]

The redevelopment of the lake and the park around it is based on the renovation of Kankaria Lake in Ahmedabad.[11] Water to the lake will be piped from the Tapi river on whose banks the city lies.[12]



  • ^[Note 1] Caste of Malik Gopi is unclear and has been described as Nagar Brahmin or Anaavla Brahmin.[1]
  • ^[Note 2] The king at the time has been disputed and has been described to be Mahmud Begada or his son, Muzaffar Shah II in various accounts.[1]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency, Volume 2. Government Central Press. 1877. p. 70.
  2. ^ a b M. S. Commissariat (1996). Mandelslo's Travels In Western India. Asian Educational Services. p. 11. ISBN 9788120607149.
  3. ^ a b Khurana, Ashleshaa (1 March 2014). "504-year-old Surat's lost lake Gopi Talav set to regain glory". Times of India. Surat. Retrieved 6 December 2015.
  4. ^ Encyclopaedia of Oriental Philosophy. Global Vision Pub House. 2005. p. 413. ISBN 9788182201132.
  5. ^ Khurana, Ashleshaa (29 July 2015). "Gopi Talav to open for public in Sept". Times of India. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  6. ^ a b Dilip K. Chakrabarti (2003). The Archaeology of European Expansion in India: Gujarat, C. 16th–18th Centuries. Aryan Books International. ISBN 9788173052507.
  7. ^ a b c d Donald Frederick Lach, Edwin J. Van Kley (1998). Asia in the Making of Europe: A century of advance. Volume III, Volumes 2–3. University of Chicago Press. pp. 617, 652, 661, 743, 746, 751. ISBN 9780226467672.
  8. ^ a b Bhatt, Himansshu (25 December 2012). "Gopi Talav to get a new avatar next year". Times of India. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  9. ^ a b "Gopi Talav to get an amusement park". Times of India. 30 July 2015. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  10. ^ "CM wants to make Surat best city in the world". Daily News & Analysis. 5 December 2015. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  11. ^ Bhatt, Himansshu (21 April 2014). "Blending past with present". Times of India. Surat. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  12. ^ "New-look Gopi Talav to make splash in January". Times of India. Surat. 19 November 2014. Retrieved 10 December 2015.