Surajpur lies some 14 kilometres south of Bhuj on the State Highway 48 Route to Mundra. It forms part of Bhuj District.
Around 140 years ago, Kanbi families from Baladia, Naranpur, Meghpur, Dahisara, Rampur, Manukwa and Sukhpur came to Bharapur to farm the land around the village which belonged to the Khawja and Shatri (Jadeja) clans. They lived communally in Joghani and Khanna areas of Bharapur. Slowly they started going into farming partnerships and also buying farms or taking over the existing ones. As they proposed more Kanbi families joined.
A request was made to the King of Kutch, Maharo Khengarji III for further permanent land to farm and live on. The Kings Foi, Sujaba gave land on the west of Bharapur to the Kanbi’s in 1886. To appreciate her generosity and leave her name immortal, the new Village was called Sujapar.
The first settlers were Vaghji Laxman Halai, Mavji Nanji Mepani, Natha Premji Mepani, Devji Parbat Raghvani and Manji Parbat Raghvani. With them some Rabari families also settled in the village.
The farming land was quite productive, but required considerable hardwork. Further families joined from Baladia, Mirzapur and Manukwa and the village continued to grow over the years.
At the same time, Bharapur continued to decline and the surrounding farm lands were purchased by the Kanbi’s. By the 1940’s with declining quality of new land and failure of the monsoon rains, it was becoming difficult to make a reasonable living.
At this time, Surajpur Kanbi’s started looking outwards and Natha Kanji Khetani, Murji Devraj Halai, Karsan Ruda Vekaria and Ravji Kanji Hirani decided to go to East Africa, landing at Mombasa ( The first Kutchi's arrived in Africa in 1880’s ).
From this beginnings, going abroad has always been in our blood. In 1960’s, Surajpur Kanbi’s came to London and in the 1970’s, went to the Middle East and in 1980’s to Sweden. In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, Australia, New Zealand and America became newer destinations. Today we have representatives in Singapore, Malaysia and China too.
The village occupies an area of around 2 square kilometres and has grown substantially over the last 10 years. Today there are 488 built households and 450 marked building plots within the village. Around 80% of the residents are Kanbi’s, remaining been Mahajan and a small Rabari contingent.
From 18th January 2000, Surajpur became a separate village from Bharapur, having its own elected panchayat.
The resident population is around 2500 persons. Surprisingly, there are around 2000 original Surajpur residents living around various corners of the world too.
Within the village the main sights are the Gents Temple, the new Ladies Temple, the Mahadev and Hanumanji temples, the Samaj and both the Schools.
In the surrounding areas are the Pukhrogad, Pukhresvar Mahadev Temple, Dhrang-Kotara sun temple, Selor Vav, Vijay Villas palace, Soaad (16) Sati memorial, Ayana Palace, Dhoda Veera. Hansaswar Mahadev Temple, Bhima, Shethni Vav, Kalyanesvar Shiv Temple, Gangeshwar Mahedev Temple, Bhujio Dungar, Kado Dungar, Matano Maath and Narayan Sarovar and Kotasvar.
Article contributed by Harilal Punja Hirani