Surat was the first point where the VOC landed. The VOC first loge started here in 1606. But it took until 1623 and in strong competetion with the British until the VOC had a strong foothold in this area. Cloth and indigo of this region were the big profit makers for the VOC.
The Ducth cemetery in Surat is the most important sign of the VOC presence there. The chokidar (watchman) lives on the cemetery, had his laundry hanging in front of the 18-metre high tomb of the VOC commissaris generaal Van Rheede tot Drakensteijn. I visited there for the first time in 1989, see the pictures below and I revisited in 2019.
Tomb of VOC commissaris generaal Van Rheede tot Drakensteijn
Just outside the Dutch cemetery in Surat street life continues, women collect water.
The nicest Dutch tomb in India has eight corners and is the most lavishly constructed and decorated one of all Dutch graves that our Dutch forefathers left behind in India from the 17th to the 19th century.
In 1669 Van Rheede became the first independent commandeur of the VOC in Cochin. He died in 1691 on a ship underway from Ceylon to Surat.