(Last Updated on : 28/10/2010)
The Arabian Sea, also known, as Sindhu Sagar is a region of the Indian Ocean bounded on the east by India, on the north by Pakistan and Iran. The west of Arabian Sea is bounded by Arabian Peninsula, on the south, approximately, by a line between Cape Guardafui, the northeast point of Somalia, Socotra, Kanyakumari (Cape Comorin) in India, and the western coast of Sri Lanka.
The Arabian Sea`s surface area measures about 3,862,000 Sq Km(1,491,130 sq mi). The maximum width of the Arabian Sea is around 2,400 km (1,490 mi), and its maximum depth is 4,652 metres (15,262 ft), in the Arabian Basin approximately at the same latitude as the southernmost tip of India. The Indus River, the largest river in Pakistan, also known as the Sindhu River, is the largest river flowing directly into Arabian Sea; others include the Netravathi, Sharavathi, Narmada, Tapti, Mahi, and the numerous rivers of Kerala in south India. The Arabian Sea coast of central India is known as the Konkan Coast, and that of extreme southern India is known as the Malabar Coast.
The Arabian Sea has two important branches, namely the Gulf of Aden in the southwest, connecting with the Red Sea through the strait of Bab-el-Mandeb; and the Gulf of Oman to the northwest, connecting with the Persian Gulf. Besides these larger consequences, there are the gulfs of Cambay and Kutch on the Indian coast. The islands of Arabian Sea are few and the most important one is the Socotra, off the African, and the Lakshwadeep, off the Indian coast. The countries with coastlines on the Arabian Sea are India, Yemen, Oman, Iran, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and Somalia. Cities on the coast include Karachi and Gwadar in Pakistan, Mumbai (Bombay), Surat, Panjim, Mangalore, and Cochin in India, Salalah in Oman, Aden in Yemen, Chabahar in Iran, Mogadishu in Somalia and Colombo in Sri Lanka.
Sindhu Sagar or Arabian Sea is known to the Indians since the Vedic period of their history, and an important marine trade route in the era of the coastal sailing vessels from possibly as early as the 3rd millennium BCE, certainly the late 2nd millennium BCE through the later days known as the Age of Sail. By the time of Julius Caesar, several well-established combined land-sea trade routes depended upon water transport through the Sea around the rough inland terrain features to its north.
These routes along Arabian Sea usually began in the Far East or down river from Madhya Pradesh with transshipment via historic Bharuch (Bharakuccha) that traversed across the inhospitable coast of today`s Iran then split around Hadhramaut into two streams north into the Gulf of Aden and thence into the Levant, or south into Alexandria via Red Sea ports such as Axum. Each major route along Arabian Sea involved transshipping to pack animal caravan, travel through desert country and risk of bandits and extortionary tolls by local potentates.
Ocean trade routes have crossed the Arabian Sea since ancient times, thus connecting the Near East with East Africa, India, Southeast Asia, and China. Historically, sailors in a type of ship called a dhow used the seasonal monsoon winds to cross the water. The Arabian Sea forms part of the chief shipping route between Europe and India through the Suez Canal, which connects the Red Sea with the Mediterranean Sea.