Bharuch (formerly commonly known as Broach) in India, is a district in the southern part of the Gujarat peninsula on the west coast of state of Gujarat with a size and population comparable to that of Greater Boston. The Narmada River outlets into the Gulf of Khambat through its lands and that shipping artery gave inland access to the kingdoms and empires located in the central and northern parts of the sub-continent of India.
Early Middle Ages map showing Western trade regions serviced by this ancient and historical port. The gateway city of Bharakuccha is not delineated on this map, but the outline of the Gujarat peninsula and Gulf of Khambhat mark its location. The inhospitable mountains and deserts to the north of the Erythraean Sea suggest its importance in trade with ancient Axum, or via the sea-land trade routes via the Tigris-Euphrates valley.
Bharuch is today is a large seaport city of more than a million inhabitants and a municipality in the Bharuch district, in the state of Gujarat, India. 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, so that it became known to history by various names such as Bharakuccha, Bhrigu Kaksha (the domain of Bhrigu, an ancient Indian sage), Bhroach, as well as Bhrauch. During the British Raj it was officially known as Broach.
Bharuch was once just a small village on the banks of the Narmada River but that river's inland access to central and northern India and with a location in the sheltered Gulf of Khambat in the era of coastal sea travel grew and prospered as a trading transshipment center and ship building port. Until very modern times the only effective way to move goods was by water transport, and Bharuch had sheltered waters in a era without weather forecasting, compasses, and when shipping was necessarily limited to coastal navigation, and the general East-West course of the Narmada gave access to the rich inland empires at the upper reaches of the Narmada, including easy caravan access to the Ganges valley and the plains of Delhi.
East-West course of the Narmada gave access to the rich inland empires at the upper reaches of the Narmada, including easy caravan access to the Ganges valley and the plains of Delhi.
Certainly by the 500s BC, the city was known at least by reputation, via land-sea routes reaching the Levant) to the Arab and Ethiopian traders feeding goods westwards to the Egyptians, Greeks, Persians, Western Romans, Carthaginians, and eventually, the Eastern Roman Empires, and the Republic of Venice. It is likely even the Phonecians knew of it and so it has acted since antiquity as a link port to the luxury goods trade from the Far East and the interior of the Indian sub-continent to the civilizations of South-west Asia, the Middle-East, the Mediterranean basin including Northern Africa and Europe.