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Location: Gujarat. Famous For: Unique Textiles. Best Season: Months of October and March. Main Languages: Gujarati, Hindi, and English. Ahmedabad founded in the year 1411 AD is located on the banks of River Sabarmati. Ahmedabad has been named after Sultan Ahmed Shah, who was primarily responsible for building it. Today, this city is known as the 'Manchester of the East'. One of the highly industrialized cities in India, Ahmedabad is also India's Textile City.
The old city of Ahmedabad is dotted with labyrinthine bylines called 'pols'. The exquisite carved wooden mansions and havelis are in no manner less than their stone counterparts in Rajasthan. The city is full of architectural delights. Though the capital of Gujarat was shifted from Ahmedabad to Gandhinagar, it is still the second largest industrial city in western India. Ahmedabad, a mass of factories, mosques, temples and high-rise offices, amazes the visitor by its unique mix of ancient and modern, along with the combination of thriving Hindu, Muslim and Jain communities that lend the city an appealing character that can be hard to resist. A Witness to Indian Freedom Movement.
Ahmedabad became the base camp for the Indian freedom struggle. Gandhi built the Sabarmati Ashram on the outskirts of the city. From here, he guided India to freedom. During the freedom movement, this city of textiles became the nerve center of the struggle. It was a spectator to the strategies and plans of Gandhi, which he chalked out to make the freedom struggle a mass movement. In 1930, it was from here that Gandhi started his 'Dandi Yatra' to break the salt laws of the British. Ahmedabad is now regarded as a national Pilgrimage, a symbol of nonviolence and peace.
A Peek Into History: When Ahmed Shah inherited the Sultanate of Gujarat in 1411 AD; he chose to move his capital from Patan to the site of Asawal village, a small settlement on the east bank of the Sabarmati, renaming it after himself. The city quickly grew as skilled artisans and traders were invited to settle. Its splendid Mosques were clearly intended to assert Muslim supremacy, and heralded the new IndoIslamic style of architecture, which though best displayed here, is a marked feature of many Gujarati Cities. In 1572 AD, Ahmedabad became part of the growing Mughul Empire and was regarded as India's most handsome city. It profited from a flourishing textile trade, which exported velvets, silks and shimmering brocades as far a field as Europe. But after a devastating famine in 1630 AD and a period of political instability when government passed to and for between the Muslims and the Hindu Marathas, the city went into decline. Another famine in 1812 AD left it almost crippled, but the merchants and traders who had left during Maratha rule were encouraged to return five years later when taxes were lowered by the newly arrived British. Trade in opium grew, as the British needed something to offer the Chinese in return for silk and tea. The introduction of modern machinery re-established Ahmedabad as a textile exporter that came to be known as the "Manchester of the east".
Location: 35 Kms from Vadodara, Gujarat. Famous For: Milk Cooperative. The Exemplary Milk Revolution: Anand is situated 35 Kms from Vadodara and is located in Kheda. One of the most successful examples of a cooperative venture in the country. The Anand milk cooperative has transformed the life of farmers in this region. It is well worth a visit. The Anand milk co-operative has transformed the lives of over 60,000 families in the area. Anand is said to have been established by a 'Gosai' (cowherd) named 'Anandgar' during the 9th century. The Kheda district co-operative Milk Producers' Union, the most unique co-operative unit of its kind, was established in 1946 AD. Today it covers an estimated area of 2,000 square miles. PLACES OF INTEREST Dakor: It is situated about 94 Kms. from both Vadodara and Ahmedabad. Dakor is a temple town sacred to Lord Krishna. His image, said to be the original from Dwarka, was brought here by a devotee and installed in the temple of Ranchodrai. Champaner: It is situated 47 Kms. from Vadodara. The town of Champaner lies at the foot of Pavagadh Fort. The ruins of its mosques and palaces reflected in the lake are some of the most picturesque ones in India. Pavagadh Fort: The hill of Pavagadh rises from Champaner in three stages. The plateau at an altitude of 1471 feet is known as the Machi Haveli. Pavagadh is 49 Kms from Vadodara, and is also known as the birthplace of Gujarat's famous musician, Baiju, who preceded Tansen.
Bharuch: It is situated 70 Kms from Vadodara. It's an ancient town with a 2000-year old history. On a hilltop is a fort, which over looks the river Narmada. Dhumakal: Sloth Bear sanctuary, which also houses the tiger and leopard. The Old Fort: Built by Mohammed Tughlak in the 14th century, as a defense fortification against the Bhils. The Textile Market: Surat's vast and active textile market testifies its importance in the textile trade even today. HOW TO GET THERE: Air: Various domestic airlines connecting Ahmedabad, Delhi, Mumbai, Daman, and Pune. Rail: Vadodara is on the Western Railways, Mumbai, Delhi and Ahmedabad line. Road: Stare transport buses and private luxury coaches connects various centers of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Delhi and Rajasthan. Vadodara is 112 Kms from Ahmedabad and 420 Kms from Bombay.
Location: 250 Kms from Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Founded In: 1743 AD. Main Attractions: Gauri Shankar Lake. Main Languages: Gujarati, Hindi, and English. Situated about 250 km away from Ahmedabad, Bhavnagar is an important trading center for cotton goods manufactured in Gujarat. Bhavnagar lies in the southeast corner of the peninsular region of Gujarat known as Kathiawad or Saurashtra. Once the capital of a princely state, Bhavnagar is home to several lakes and temples. Founded in 1743 AD, by Bhavsinhji Gohil, on the site of a small village of Vadva, near the creek, Bhavnagar was once a flourishing port. Today, however the only activities related to the sea near Bhavnagar take place at the port of Ghogha and at Alang, which has also Asia's largest ship breaking facility. Gandhi Smriti Library, a museum, a gallery and a memorial to the Father of the Nation are worth seeing. Gaurishankar Lake and Takhteshwar temple are popular picnic spots lending an enchanting view from the hilltop. Its coastline is with ports, salt works, shipbuilding and ship breaking yards along the Bhavnagar coast. Its business today is vastly different, for it is a premier cotton-exporting seaport on the southeastern Saurashtra coast. For the tourist, Bhavnagar serves as a convenient base to visit the Jain temples at Palitana on the Shatrunjaya Hills and the Velvadar Sanctuary, the home of the famous Indian Black Buck. PRIME ATTRACTIONS Gaurishankar Lake: A beautiful picnic spot near the Lake. There is also a well-laid out park. Takhteshwar Temple: Situated on a hill, the site provides a panoramic view. Lock Gate: The first of its kind in Gujarat, the seawater here is impounded by the lock gates to keep ships afloat during low tide, which can be seen with special permission. Velavadar Black Buck Sanctuary: This is the home of the Indian black buck. Velavadar in the Bhal region of Saurashtra is a unique grassland ecosystem that has attracted fame for the successful conservation of the black buck. Once found in open plains throughout the country and the state of Gujarat, the Velvadar National Park boasts of the largest population of black bucks. This exclusively Indian animal is perhaps the most graceful and beautiful of its kind. Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute: The more-scientifically inclined may enjoy their visit to the Central Salt and Marine Research Institute. This institute is located on Waghavadi Road and enjoys immense popularity.
Samaldas College: Among Bhavnagar's many attractions is Samaldas College, just over a hundred years old, a frontline institution that claims Mahatma Gandhi as one of its students. Do visit the Barton Library, again a place which age has not withered. Palitana: A 56 Kms drive from Bhavnagar, Palitana lies at the foot of the Shatrunjaya Hill, with the Shatrunjaya River flowing to its south. The sacred hill rises in a crescendo of magnificent temples numbering 863 in all, soaring in marble splendor to the top of the hill. The temples were built over an impressive span of 900 years with each generation of pilgrims making its contribution to the shrines of Shatrunjaya. The 600-metres climb to Shatrunjaya is usually made on foot. 'Dolis' or lift-chairs are also available for the ascent. Shihor: An interesting excursion from the Vijay Vilas Palace is Shihor, with its historic old palace of the Maharaja of Bhavnagar, featuring gardens, wall paintings and woodcarvings. It can also be used as a base to visit Alang Ship Breaking Yard, the Jain temples of Talaja, the historic town of Vabhipur and the Velavadar National Park. Alang: A modern wonder of Gujarat, the Ship-Breaking Yard at Alang is a fantastic spectacle in itself. It is located on the coast between Bhavnagar and Talaja. Large ships from America, Europe, Asia is brought here to be scrapped. The reason behind the selection of this site was the nature of its tide, suitable for such maritime activities and the proximity of industrial zones that could utilize its metal and other scrap. It's India's largest ship-breaking site. Here supertankers, container ships, warships and other vessels are reduced to scrap by 20,000 workers toiling day and night. Gangajaha: In the midst of a tank, stands the temple of Gangadevi with a 'chhatri' or partition. Designed by Sir John Griffiths, the white marble building was built at the behest of Maharaja Takhtsinghji in memory of Maharani Majirajba in 1893 AD. Khodiyar Mata: Situated 4 Kms from Sihor, is a famous shrine commemorating the family Goddess of the rulers of the former Bhavnagar State. The deity is held in great reverence and the shrine with 36 pillars and a vast 'mandap' presents a serene sight. The views are absolutely breathtaking. HOW TO GET THERE Air: Various domestic airlines connecting Bombay and Surat. Rail: Bhavnagar is on the Western Railway line. It is 761 Kms from Bombay via Ahmedabad and 788 Kms via Virangam. Road: State transport buses and private luxury coaches connect various centers of Gujarat. It is situated 791 Kms from Bombay via Ahmedabad, 200 Kms from Ahmedabad via Sihor. NEARBY CITIES Palitana: 55 Kms. Rajkot: 165 Kms. Ahmedabad: 203 Kms.
Location: Kachchh Region, Gujarat. Founded By: Rao Khengarji. Founded In: 1548 AD. Main Attractions: Aina Mahal, Prag Mahal. The old, walled city of Bhuj is the most important town in Kachchh and also the district headquarters. Rao Khengarji of the Jadeja dynasty, which ruled over Kachchh for more than 400 years, founded Bhuj in 1548 AD. Bhuj is distinguished by its brightly decorated Hindu Temples, beautiful palaces and intricately carved wooden pavilions. It is a paradise for handicraft lovers. The houses here are decorated both from inside as well as outside with linear relieves made from
mud and mirrors. Bhuj is famous for embroidery. The oldest Museum of Gujarat is situated in Bhuj. Be it the bandhni (tie and dye) and batik textiles, or the intricate silk embroidery done on leather, each artifact is a labour of love for the craftspersons. Different castes and communities do the colorful thread embroidery on cloth in their own distinct way. The region was also known for the enamel work done on gold and silver jewelry, lacquered wood, seashell toys and metal bells. PRIME ATTRACTIONS Aina Mahal: (Old Palace) this is a beautiful museum, built in the 18th century as the palace of Maharao Lakhpatji. It has a Hall of Mirrors with white marble walls covered with mirrors and gilded ornaments; the floor is lined with tiles with a platform above it surrounded by a series of fountains. The room also has a chandelier of Venetian glass. It lays in the old part of the city, in a small, fortified courtyard and houses some very rare idols. Kachchh Museum: The oldest museum in Gujarat, it was established in 1877 originally known as the Ferguson Museum, after its founder, Sir James Ferguson, a governor of Mumbai under the British Raj. The exhibits on display are gold and silver ornaments, Kshatrapa inscriptions, textiles, weapons, archaeological finds, stuffed animals and musical instruments. Besides these, it is equipped with a picture gallery and sections for anthropology and shipping. Prag Mahal (New Palace): Constructed in 1979, the Prag Mahal is a magnificent building made of ornate Italian marble and sandstone. Its Corinthian pillars and Jali work depicting European flora and fauna are worth observing. Swaminarayan temple: It is a very colourful and richly decorated temple, situated next to the Aina Mahal. Cenotaph Complex: A popular site is the cenotaphs complex at Chattaradi. These are built of red stones. Of all the tombs here the largest and the finest is the one of Rao Lakha built in 1770 AD. It's polygonal in shape with balconies and an intricately carved roof. Other impressive cenotaphs are the ones of Rao Rayadhan, Rao Desai and Rao Pragmal. Puraneshwar: Puraneshwar is about 35 Kms from Bhuj. It is a 9th/10th-century temple raised on a high plinth and has some fine sculpture on display. Near the temple is a place called Vadimedi, a palace dating back to the Solanki era. Kera: Kera is famous mainly due to the 10th century Shiva Temple. The present day ruins are indicative of how beautiful this temple must have been centuries ago. It was damaged in the earthquake of 1819 AD. In the same area is also a Muslim shrine of Ghulam Ali Shah. The annual Urs held here attracts devotees from all faiths. Pilgrims walking on burning coals is the principal feature of the Urs. Chinkara Sanctuary: A few kilometers away from the Narayan Sarovar are the Chinkara Sanctuary. It is about 210 Kms. from Bhuj. This sanctuary is the home of the Chinkara or the Indian Gazelle. Other animals found in this sanctuary are blue bulls, spotted deer, wild boar and a rich variety of smaller wildlife. Mandvi: (About 75 Kms from Bhuj). Mandvi, founded in 1581 AD is an ancient seaport. It is well known for its production of handicraft items particularly its relief, filigree and enamel work and its virtually unspoiled sea Beaches. The Rukmavati Bridge is the longest stone bridge, built in 1883 AD and the Vijay Vilas Palace is the major tourist spot in this destination. Anjar: Anjar is mainly known for the samadhi (tomb) of Jesal Toral, and the bungalow of James Mcmurdo, which is a veritable museum of Kachchhi Art. Places worth visiting are the Ajaypal Temple, the Holy Shrine of Pinjora Pir.
Anjar is also famous for its block printing work, nutcrackers, scissors and penknives. Koteshwar: Koteshwar is at a short distance from Narayan Sarovar & 215 Kms. from Bhuj. It is an ancient place of Pilgrimage. The existing Temple is situated on a high plinth over looking the sea. It is an excellent breathtaking sunset point. Wildlife Sanctuary: Gujarat is as famous for its large wild ass herds as it is for its lions. To protect these rare animals, a sanctuary covering an area of over 4,953 sq. Kms was created to offer protection to more than 2,100 wild Asses inhabiting this area. How to Get There Air: Flights are available from Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Rail: New Bhuj Railway Station is 1 km north of Bhuj. Direct trains ply on the meter gauge line from Ahmedabad and on the broad gauge line for Mumbai. Road: State transport, luxury coaches, auto-rickshaws and taxis are available to all centers in Gujarat.
Location: 49 Kms from Vadodara, Gujarat. Famous As: Jain Pilgrimage. Known As: Archaeological Site. Main Attractions: Muhammad Shah's Citadel. Champaner was earlier the capital of the Chauhan Rajputs, who had their fort on 822meter high Pavagadh peak, a holy place of Pilgrimage. On the hill can be seen the old fort with it's superb rocky defenses, the Make Kota where the rulers kept their grain, the ruins of Patai Rawal palace, Naulakha Kotha Mansion, the 11th century Laukalish Temple, wells and numerous religious monuments. The main monument of Champaner is the citadel of Muhammad Shah. The Jami Masjid here is the finest mosque in Gujarat. The natural beauty and fresh atmosphere have encouraged the government to develop a hill resort here. The famous poet Baiju was born here. PRIME ATTRACTIONS Muhammad Shah's Citadel: The main monument in Champaner is the citadel of Muhammad Shah's in Champaner, beside the high walls and customhouse Jami Masjid: The Jami Masjid (1513 AD), with an exquisitely carved entrance, a vast and imposing courtyard surrounded by cloistered galleries speaks of the quality of the artisans who worked at Champaner. The elevation in the front shows 5 pointed arches and slim minarets flanking the central arch, perfectly proportioned. Other Attractions: The Shah Masjid with 4 rows of ornate pillars, domes and delicate carved mihrabs, Nagina Masjid with a fine arcade and Kevda Masjid is also a sight not to go unmissed. HOW TO GET THERE Buses are available for Champaner, which is 160 Kms from Ahmedabad. From Baroda it takes an hour by bus.
Location: Gujarat. Main Attractions: Kusum Vilas Palace. Famous Excursions: Ratanmahal Sanctuary, Sardar Sarovar Dam. Royal Retreat of Eastern Gujarat Chhota Udepur was among the three princely states of eastern Gujarat the other two were Devgadh Baria and Rajpipla. The original fortification in the town lies in ruins, overgrown with shrubs and creepers and Darbar Hall burnt down few years’ back. Many buildings were built in early 1920's, around this fortification, in the fashion of big mansions of Bombay, by the relatives of the ruler. History says the founders of Chhota Udepur are the direct descendants of the famous Hindu King Prithviraj Chauhan, who bravely fought against the Muslim invaders and was
immortalized in 'Prithviraj Raso'- a romantic- heroic ballad, narrating the love of Samyukta and Prithviraj. After losing a gallant battle at Ranthambhore to Muslim invaders, the Khichi Chauhan Rajputs moved to the hills of Pavagadh via Malwa, established the capital at Mohan near Narmada and finally shifted the capital to Chhota Udepur. After 1822 AD treaty, with British, an era of peace prevailed and many royal and public buildings were erected in the town. The town is situated at the edge of a big lake, with blooming lilies and a boulevard with palm trees. The series of temples along the lake dotting the skyline makes a perfect setting for the colourful Tribal haat (market). Among several temples at Chhota Udepur, the Jain derasar and Kali Temple are worth visiting. The visit to the sprawling 18-acre palace campus is must for any visitor to Chhota Udepur. The two palaces- Kusum Vilas Palace and Prem havan Palace are the finest examples of early 20th century Indian palace architecture. Prime Attractions Kusum Vilas Palace: A famous architectural firm of Bombay - Bhatkar & Bhatkar, designed the Kusum Vilas Palace in the early 1920's. The design concept was to create a palace in a harmonious fusion of the architectural style of Champaner with modern amenities of an elevator and other functional requirements. A large porch, arcade façade and balanced architectural treatment of the 5 storied central wing with receding volume, capped with a dome lends majesty to the palace. The interiors are a blend of east and west. The carved pilasters, friezes gilded with real gold are replicas of such architectural elements at Champaner. The British-made elevator has a foyer at ground level, enclosed by series of exquisitely carved stone 'jalis' bringing in an ethereal light effect. The grand reception room on ground floor has large doors, a carved false ceiling, French furniture, Belgian mirrors and superb Italian marble statues. The wall paintings by an Indian artist, depicting the picturesque settings of Chhota Udepur and previous capital Mohan, are most remarkable. Kali Temple: The Kali Temple is dedicated to the Goddess Kali and is worshipped by the royal family. Jain Derasar Temple: The Jain Derasar is a typical example of plaster-decorated buildings of Gujarat, imitating woodcarvings and figurines in plasterwork, showing the influence of Victorian art. The arcades, with decorated pillars, the figures with musical instruments, their dressing, headgear and hairstyle painted in an unconventional manner with bright colours, make a beautiful composition. Prem Bhawan: The Prem Bhavan Palace in the same campus is now a heritage hotel, offering excellent accommodation, food and package tours to nearby interesting places. Other architecturally beautiful royal buildings now used as public buildings and government offices are Collector's office, Rani Mahal, college and ITI building. Excursion Ratanmahal Sanctuary: Home to sloth bears, panthers, various bird species, Ratanmahal Sanctuary is 80 Kms away. Jambu Ghoda Sanctuary: Panthers, four-horned antelopes, Jambu Ghoda sanctuary is a bird watcher's paradise. It is 48 Kms from the city. Sardar Sarovar Dam: One of the largest dams of India, Sardar Sarovar Dam is 110 Kms away. Sankheda: 60 Kms away, Sankheda is famous for its lacquered furniture work. Other major excursions are Tribal 'haats' of Bhil and Rathawa tribes in nearby villages, Hapeshwar Mahadev, Pavagadh (Kalika Mata temple, rope way, Patai Rawal Palace, fortification) 80kms, Champaner (Jami Mosque and other beautiful mosques, fortification) 80 Kms, Dabhoi (13th century fort, hira Bhagol and other gates) 75 Kms.
How to Get There Air: Nearest airport is Vadodara (102 Kms). Rail: Railway Station is on Vadodara-Chhota Udepur line. Road: There are road linkages to Vadodara and Ahmedabad. Local Transport: Non-metered auto rickshaws.
Location: 145 Kms from Jamnagar, Gujarat. Significance: One of the Four Major Hindu Pilgrimages. Main Attraction: Dwarkadheesh Temple. Best Season: August-September. The sacred town of Dwarka is one of the four holy pilgrimages of Hindus (Char Dham) in India. One of the main centers of the Krishna legend, Dwarka is located on the western most tip of the Gujarat peninsula, a sentinel overlooking the Arabian Sea. Dwarka is perhaps the most important place on the Saurashtra coast. It is believed to have been founded by Lord Krishna and was called 'Swarnadwarka' or 'Golden Dwarka'. According to the Krishna legend, it was the adopted home of Lord Krishna after he gave up Mathura. A labyrinth of narrow winding streets cluttered with temples, the town resonates today with the bustle of eager saffron clad pilgrims and the clatter of celebratory drums. Dwarka really comes to life during the major Hindu festivals; the most fervent are shivratri, dedicated to Shiva and Janmashtami, Lord Krishna's birthday. Archaeological excavations show that present day Dwarka is the 6th city on this site, the earlier five having been submerged in the sea. The 5-storey temple is supported by 60 columns and is crowned by a soaring, elaborately carved spire. PRIME ATTRACTIONS Dwarkadheesh Temple (Jagat Mandir): The temple of Jagat Mandir, with the presiding deity of Shri Krishna known as Dwarkadheesh, is an imposing edifice and a superb architectural monument. Having a plinth area of 1800 square feet, the temple consists of a shrine that is supported by 60 pillars made of granite and sandstone. Jagat Mandir, with the presiding deity of Shri Krishna known as Dwarkadheesh, is an imposing edifice and a superb architectural monument. Dunny Point: Dunny Point, first Eco-tourism site, and promises to be one more feather in Gujarat's cap. Active nature conservation is a vital aspect of government policy, the declaration of new nature reserves enables, on the one hand, species to thrive in protected environment while, on the other, allows visitors to sample nature without despoiling the ecosystem. Rukmini Temple: Dating to the 12th-13th century, the Rukmini Temple has beautiful carvings, especially on the pillars of the 'Sabha Mandapa'. The temple was built in honour of Rani Rukmani, princess of Vidarbha, who later got married to Lord Krishna. Nageshwar Mandir: Nageshwar Mandir is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and houses one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in an underground chamber. Beyt Dwarka: The visit of Dwarka is not complete without a visit to Beyt Dwarka, an island at a distance of 30 Kms. Off the coast of Okha port, the island is separated by a strip of sea about four Kms wide. It takes about half-an hour to cross this channel in a diesel boat operated by the Port Authority. At Bet, there are temples of Vishnu (in the form of 'matsya'), Radha, Lakshmi, Satyabhama, Jambuvanti and Devaki. Okha: A ferry ride from Dwarka to the island of Bet near Okha makes a pleasant outing. Porbandar: South of Dwarka, on the western coast, Porbandar is a picturesque old seaport associated with the birth of Mahatma Gandhi. Commemorating this event is the Kirti Mandir Memorial, which contains the little room where the Mahatma was born, a library, a spinning hall, a children's nursery school and a prayer hall.
Porbandar has a pleasant beach with beach villas. Its ancient maritime activities such as trade with Arabia, Africa and Persia have given way to a thriving industry of cement and chemical units. HOW TO GET THERE Air: Domestic airlines connect Dwarka to Mumbai. Rail: Dwarka is located on the Western Railway with direct connections with Ahmedabad. Road: State transport buses and private luxury coaches connect various centers of Gujarat. Porbandar is 145 Kms from Rajkot. SHOPPING: The narrow street leading to the temples is lined on both the sides by vendors selling seashells, local crafts, photos of deities, cassettes, coconuts and other refreshments. The pilgrims engage in bargains after paying obeisance to the deities in an atmosphere of tranquility on this windy island.
Location: Gujarat. Originally known As: Darbhavati. Established In: 6th Century AD. Main Attraction: Fort of Dabhoi. A Rare Specimen of Ancient Indian Fortification Dabhoi is an ancient town originally known as Darbhavati. It was established in the early 6th century AD. The fortification and its foundation are ascribed to the great king of Gujarat, Siddhraj Jaisinh, who made this frontier fortress. The architectural style and the exquisite stone carving and iconography on the fort walls and gates suggest that it was conceived and constructed in the same period as Rudra Mahalaya and Zinzuwada fort. It is mentioned as an important city in the Jain inscriptions of Girnar. It came under the control of Muslim rulers, in 1300 AD after the fall of Patan. Dabhoi has many Jain and Hindu temples devoted to different gods and goddesses. Dabhoi is the birthplace of the great Gujarati poet, Raskavi Dayaram, composer of many garbis (devotional songs) and a devotee of Ranchhodraiji of Dakor. Many Jain scholars also stayed here in the past and enriched the Jain Granth Bhandar, which has a collection of ancient Jain manuscripts. Prime Attractions Dabhoi Fort: The fort of Dabhoi is one of the rare surviving examples of Hindu military architecture, based on the 'shastric' traditions described in various Vastu scriptures. There are four gates in the town, one in each cardinal direction, having indirect entry, located in the middle of each side of the fort wall. It was altered during the time of Visaldev and the Muslim rule. The Gates: Hira Bhagol, the most exquisitely carved gate named after the architect, Hiradhar, is in the east, Vadodara Gate in the west, Champaner Gate in the north and Nandod Gate in the south. Dabhoi Railway Station: For a railway heritage enthusiast, a visit to Dabhoi railway station - one of the oldest narrow gauge railway junctions in the world, is a must. Ten Talav: (10 km from Dabhoi) This well-constructed octagonal tank with stone steps and embankments is a symbol of a love-legend of Hiradhar Shilpi, architect of Dabhoi fort and a beautiful girl, Ten. The legend says that Hiradhar was madly in love with ten and while constructing the Dabhoi fort; he was secretly constructing 'Ten Talav' for his lover. He was accused of misappropriation and was sentenced to death and buried alive in the fort wall of Dabhoi. Chandod: (22km from Dabhoi) this picturesque town on the bank of the Narmada, at the confluence of three rivers: Narmada, Orsang and Gupta Saraswati, is an ancient seat of Sanskrit learning for Brahmins. The 'ghats' leading to the pure waters of Narmada and
the temples, make it a sacred place for Hindus performing the rituals after death. Mandvi Mahal, a haveli of the Mahida Rajputs, dating back to the late 19th century, is now a heritage hotel. It is located close to river Narmada, in a serene setting. The 'haveli' offers a picturesque vista of bathing 'ghats', temples with fine carvings and the aquatic life on the river. Karnali: (24 Kms from Dabhoi) Karnali is a twin town of Chandod, on the opposite bank of Orsang. Karnali has several Shiva temples and beautiful ghats. The footprints of Lord Dattatreya lend great sanctity to this town. A big fair is held here on every Chaitra Sud 15. Sankheda: (20 km from Dabhoi) Sankheda is an internationally known craft centre for furniture and wooden articles. They are made in the Gujarati style, on a lathe, using the generation old secret technique of lacquer work. Rajpipla: (60 Kms from Dabhoi) Rajpipla is situated on the banks of Karjan river and at the foothills of Satpura mountains. It was capital of the former princely State of Rajpipla. Vijayraj Palace (1923 AD) is a famous heritage hotel on an elevated plain, overlooking the picturesque surroundings. Other Excursions: Jambu Ghoda Sanctuary, Vadodara, Pavagadh-Champaner (Kalika Mata temple, ropeway, fortification, Jami Mosque and other beautiful monuments) 75 km, Sardar Sarovar Dam (one of the largest dams of India) 65 Kms. How to Get There Air: Nearest airport is Vadodara (29 Kms). Rail: Railway station on Dabhoi-Chhota Udepur railway line. Road: Good road connections with nearby cities. Local transport: non-metered auto rickshaws. Where to Stay Local guesthouses are available. Nearby Cities Ahmedabad: 142 Kms. Vadodara: 29 Kms.
Location: Gujarat-Rajasthan Border, Gujarat. Main Attraction: Bhawani Villa. Excursions: Ambaji, Taranga. Royal Abode at the Foothills of Aravalli Danta is located close to the Gujarat-Rajasthan border, having social ties with the royal families on both the sides. The royal edifices of Danta reflect the blending of architecture of both the regions. Danta town is situated at the foothills of Aravalli hill range. The landscape of forest and hills, with huge boulders, make a perfect setting for this town. The entire region is populated by the Bhil tribe and has forests with diverse flora and fauna. The Parnar Rajputs ruled the royal house of Danta. They arrived in Gujarat in the 12th century AD, from Nagarthatta in Sindh and established their first capital at Chandravati, which was later, shifted to Tarsang in the Arasur hills. Tarsang finds mention in Mughal history as the rebel Jahangir was given shelter at Tarsang. About 350 year ago, the capital was finally moved to Danta. Prime Attractions Palaces: The two palaces are located at the lower end of the hill, but higher than the town. The entire old royal palace campus was fortified in the past housing several buildings within it. The huge impressive gate leads one into the royal campus. The old palace is clustered around a series of courtyards, interconnected by a series of gates. The first court is surrounded by a low height structure, originally acting as an administrative block.
In the same court, the other interesting structure is the family shrine of Goddess Ambaji built in the Rajput style of architecture, inspired by the royal architecture of Rajasthan. This four-storeyed structure has the shrine in one corner, but instead of a temple-like structure, it resembles the small Darbangadhs of Rajasthan. The opaque and plain structure at the lower level becomes more decorative at the top by the sensitive use of several architectural elements like horizontal friezes, carved brackets, delicately carved stone 'jalis', 'jharokhas', decorated parapets and domes. Bhavani Villa: Another palace, Bhavani Villa, the present residence of the royal family is located on a higher elevation than the old palace. The palace is built at several levels on a hill edge with a skyline of domes, offering a fantastic view of the Aravalli hills. A part of the palace is being converted into a heritage hotel and will be operational soon. The exruler of Danta is a great wildlife enthusiast and also runs a stud farm of Marwadi horses.
Ambaji: (22 Kms from Danta) Ambaji is one of the major 'Shakti-peethas' of India, situated in the Arsasur hills. The Ambaji temples contain no idol, but an inscribed 'Yantra' in the niche. Ambaji is essentially a temple town - with a temple dedicated to Goddess Ambaji at the centre. The Ambaji Temple and the frontcourt 'Chachar no Chowk' are aligned in the same axis of the cave at Gabbar hill- the original abode of Goddess Ambaji. The present temple was constructed a few years ago, maintaining the original architectural style. Millions of pilgrims visit the temple every year- especially during 'Navratri' to seek the blessing of Goddess Ambaji. Kumbhariya: (30 km from Danta) the Kumbhariya group of Jain temples dates back to the Solanki period (11th - 13th century). The five temples are dedicated to: Mahavira, Shantinath, Parshvanath, Neminath and Sambhavanath. The temples have a main shrine in the centre of a rectangular courtyard, formed by the series of shrines with 'shikharas', dedicated to Jain 'Tirthankaras'. On each side there is a porch with a balcony, reached by a flight of steps. The quality of workmanship on the marble is excellent and reminds one of the Dilwara Jain temples at Mt. Abu. Taranga: (27 km from Danta) The Ajitnath Temple (1166 AD) is one of the finest and best-preserved examples of Jain temple architecture from the Solanki period. It has a 'shikhara', 'mandapa', pillars and brackets made out of marble with excellent carving. Tarsang: 32 Kms away is Tarsang, which was the previous capital and contains ruins of temples. How to Get There Air: Nearest airport is Ahmedabad (184 km) Rail: Nearest station is Palanpur (38 km) on Ahmedabad - Delhi lines Road: Ahmedabad (184 km) Local Transport: Non-metered auto rickshaws
Location: South Gujarat. Founded By: King Dharmdevji.
Dates Back To: 1764 AD. In The Serene Setting Of Sahyadri Foothills Dharampur is situated on the banks of the Swargavahini River and is surrounded by the Sahyadri mountain range on east, west and south sides. Due to its location, the town enjoys a very pleasant climate, throughout the year. Dharampur, situated in south Gujarat, was a capital of the former princely State of Dharampur. Originally, it was known as Ramnagar. The present day Dharampur dates back to 1764 AD and was founded by King Dharmdevji. The descendants of the Sisodia Rajputs of Chittor ruled history Dharampur. After the fall of the Delhi Sultanate in south Gujarat, the State of Dharampur flourished and gained a very significant and powerful position by controlling at least seven strategic forts in the region. The Dharampur State was surrounded by the Muslim states of Khandesh, Ahmednagar and Gujarat Sultans, but because of its strategic importance, was never attacked by the Muslims. Even the 'Parsis' found political patronage under the Dharampur kings. The Dharampur kings had cordial relations with Portuguese traders from the south Gujarat ports and used to receive tax revenue from them. Development in Phases the City of Dharampur had two major phases of development the first in the late 18th century, when the Rana undertook the construction of Raj Mahal, public buildings, stepwells and temples. The second phase was in the late 19th century, when as a part of the Queen Victoria Golden Jubilee celebrations, the Anglo Vernacular School, jail and hospitals was constructed. King Mohandevji (1891-1921 AD) studied at Rajkumar College and introduced many reforms. Under his patronage, Mohan Vilas Palace, Pramod Bhavan, State guesthouse and several temples were constructed. Roads, water tanks and bridges were built to improve the infrastructure of the state. King Vijaydevji, on his accession to kingdom in 1921, constructed a museum and dedicated it to Lady Wilson. Vijaydevji undertook extensive travelling to collect rare and genuine art objects for display in museum. He was a great patron of art and music and a well-known musician, with equal command over both Indian and western classical music. He wrote a treatise on music 'Sangeet Bhav' in six volumes, with Gujarati, Hindi, English and French notations. He was also fond of hunting and constructed a hunting lodge at Audha and residences at Wilson Hills as summer retreats. The town has a very beautiful entrance gate (Rajya Rohan Gate) done in European style with life-size statues in Greek style adorning the top. Bandstand and gymkhana building are located, near the gate. In the old days, the State Band used to play music in the evenings for the citizens of Dharampur, at the BandStand. Prime Attractions Raj Mahal: Raj Mahal, the Original residence of the royal family is now in a ruinous condition, but there are other interesting structures in the town. Japanese Garden: The Japanese Garden (Gandhi Bag) has an imported clock from Japan- a novelty in those days. Radha Krishna Temple: The Radha-Krishna temple is designed more like a residence in colonial style with decorative plasterwork and sloping roof. Lady Wilson Museum: Lady Wilson Museum and Jubilee Hall are examples of early 20th century architecture. The museum has sections on various subjects such as anthropology, tribes, toys, industrial, arts and music. The music section has a fine collection of Indian, western and tribal musical instruments and miniature paintings of 'Pahari' style depicting various musical compositions- Indian classical 'ragas'. The District Science Centre at Dharampur is one of such three centers in India. It is successfully involved in spreading scientific education among the tribals of this region.
Wilson Hill: (27 Kms) It's a hill station with a 750 m high, marble 'chhatri' dedicated to British Governor Wilson, and offers picturesque view of hills and sea. How to Get There Air: Nearest airport is Vadodara (266 km), Mumbai (217 km) Rail: Nearest railway station is Valsad (32 km) Road: There is a well-developed network of roads. Local transport: non-metered auto rickshaws Where To Stay There are local guesthouses offering decent accommodation. Nearby Cities Ahmedabad: 379 Kms Mumbai: 217 Kms. Vadodara: 266 Kms.
Location: Gujarat. Built In: 1755 AD. Main Attraction: The Fort. A Fusion of Indian and European Town Planning: Dhoraji is a large and flourishing town on the banks of a small river Safura, a branch of the river Bhadar. The fortification of Dhoraji was completed in 1755 AD. Sir Bhagwatsinhji, the noble ruler of Gondal State was born at Dhoraji Darbargadh. He was a fellow of Bombay University and received honors from Edinburgh University. During his extensive travels to Europe and England, he was greatly impressed by Paris and got interested in the principles of European town planning. On his return to Gondal, he established a town-planning department and in the late 19th century, introduced town-planning principles to regularize and monitor the growth of the fortified towns of Gondal, Dhoraji and Upleta. With the arrival of railways, a new part of Dhoraji town, between railway station and old town, was designed using axial planning, having broad avenues, road junctions, parks, bazaars and public buildings. It is a good example of urban planning of an Indian town during British Raj. Prime Attractions Fort: The massive fort wall has several bastions, 4 main gates and 3 'baris' (small gates). The four main gates are Kathiawadi Darwaja in east, Porbandar Gate in west, and Halar Gate in north and Junagadh Gate in south. The smaller gates are- Darbari Bari, Bhimji Bari and Sati Bari. Darbargadh of Dhoraji is located at the highest point in the town and is approached by Darbari Bari; a beautiful gate adorned with a jharokha, resting on brackets of 4 elephants statues in different poses. A finely carved entrance gate leads to the Darbargadh in the middle of a courtyard. Darbargadh is a three storeyed structure on a high plinth. The façade is ornamented with sculptures of musicians, complex geometric patterns, images of sitting lions in different postures on long eaves, profusely carved pillars, horizontal friezes, decorative 'kanguras' and windows framing skyline. It is designed like a jewel box- in the same architectural style of Navlakha Palace at Gondal. Temple Of Goddess Ashapura: The temple of Goddess Ashapura is located on the left of Darbargadh. At present, the royal campus badly needs conservation. Not very far from the Darbargadh, one can walk into the streets having some of the most beautiful houses of wealthy Memon merchants. Pani No Kotho: Next to it, an exceptional building, named 'Pani no kotho', is situated. From a distance, the beautifully carved balconies on all the four sides with columns and arches, give an impression of a palace building, but in reality it houses a water tank and pumping station. It is a perfect example, showing blending of functions and aesthetics to
create a wonderful architecture. A mosque and Jain temple in the town are beautiful specimens of architecture. Upleta: (19 Kms from Dhoraji) Upleta is a fortified town on the banks of river Moj. The high fort wall with huge bastions, gates and small 'ghats' and the skyline of the buildings, creates a picturesque composition. The Darbargadh (now a police station, is enclosed within a fortified campus. It is a three storeyed structure (partly ruined), integrating a huge fort bastion as a part of the building. It has a high plinth and a carved arcade of 5 foliated arches and a sloping wooden roof. The windows and 'jharokhas' overlook the river and provide beautiful vistas. Kutiyana: (53 km from Dhoraji) Kutiyana is located on the banks of river Bhadar. Before independence, Kutiyana was under the rule of the Junagadh Nawabs. Rich traders of the Memon community, before independence inhabited the town. The houses of Kutiyana reflect the high aesthetic taste of Memon Muslims. Kutiyana is a well-planned town with a central main bazaar street leading to a magnificent mosque with high minarets and impressive façade. The shops at lower level of arcade form an urban edge. The courtyards within the water tank for 'vazu' and the profusely plaster-decorated architectural elements, painted in yellows, greens and blues make it a perfect representative example of mosque architecture of the late 19th century. How to Get There Air: nearest airports are Porbandar (99 km), Rajkot (88 km), and Keshod (70 km) Rail: Dhoraji and Upleta on Ahmedabad-Porbandar line Road: Motorable roads connect the place to the surrounding areas. Local Transport: non-metered auto rickshaws.
Location: 60 Kms from Bhuj, Gujarat. Built For: Displaced Persons after Partition. Main Attraction: Khavada. Main Languages: Gujarati, Hindi, and English. Gandhidham was specially built for displaced persons after partition. Kandla is a major port; the only free trade zone of the country is very close by. PRIME ATTRACTIONS The monument dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi and several other temples are worth visiting. Khavada: Famous for its handicrafts and cattle rearing in Banni. Flamingo colony can be approached from Khavada by road and thereafter on camel back. Bhadreshwar: It is a famous Jain pilgrimage centre. The architecture of the temple is such that the presiding deity is visible from the ground floor as well as the first floor. Other local monuments include a stepwell, morgue and a palace. Purneshwar: It is about 35 Kms from Bhuj. It is a 9th/10th century AD temple rose on a high plinth and has some fine sculpture on display. Air: Nearest Airport is Bhuj and Kandla. Various domestic flights connect Mumbai. Rail: Nearest railway station is Gandhidham and Bhuj. Road: State transport buses and private luxury caches connects various centers of Gujarat. Gandhidham is 60 Kms from Bhuj.
Location: On the Banks of River Gondali, Gujarat. Ruled By: Jadeja Rulers. Built by: Sir Bhagwatsinhji.
The Jadeja Rajput clan, till the independence of India ruled Model State of Saurashtra during British Raj Gondal, the capital of the former princely state of Gondal. It is a fortified town located on the river Gondali. Present day Gondal is a testimony to the great visionary ruler Sir Bhagwatsinhji, who introduced social reforms, planned the development of Gondal town and created a model state of Saurashtra in late 19th and early 20th century. Sir Bhagwatsinhji's high education and extensive tours to Europe enhanced his aesthetic tastes, which can be seen in the architecture and planning of public buildings, parks, bazaars and palaces built during his regime. Prime attractions Navlakha Palace: One of the oldest and most beautiful of Gondal palaces, the Navlakha Palace complex, is situated on a riverbank, on a grand masonry base, rising to the monumental scale of at least 30 meters, above the riverbed. The palace is approached by the high gateway with the clock tower from the town side. The entrance leads to a huge open space with administrative blocks on the right and a grand staircase with balustrade on the extreme left corner leading to the intricately carved pavilions on the open terrace. The grand Darbar Hall, with a series of huge windows opening onto a long balcony supported by intricately carved brackets, overlooks the river. Darbar Hall has large chandeliers, stuffed panthers, and gilt wooden furniture and antique Belgian mirrors. The private palace museum displays artifacts, gifts and messages received by Sir Bhagwatsinhji, on his 50th birthday. Riverside Palace: The riverside palace is located at the edge of the Gondali River; built in colonial style of architecture, amidst a garden with huge trees. The living room is decorated in European taste, while the Indian room has brassware, beadwork and paintings in typical Indian style. The series of galleries and terraces of the palace building bring nature close to the visitors of this heritage hotel. Orchard Palace: The Orchard Palace was originally a State guesthouse, built in colonial style with an arcade of semi circular arches, set in the midst of fruit orchards. The garden in the front, a beautiful fountain with lily pond and marble statues enhances the beauty of the palace. The main sitting room has a collection of paintings, antique furniture, bird eggs and many interesting art objects. Vintage Car Collection: The rulers of Gondal were great lovers of automobiles and one can see several vintage and classic cars in the royal garage. Two rail saloons of the Gondal State were renovated, keeping the original décor and are available for accommodation in the Orchard Garden Palace. The stay at saloons provides a unique experience: a nostalgia of the great days of the Indian railways combined with royal grandeur. Sangramsinhji High School: Sangramsinhji High School is built on the model of Eton in England. It is constructed out of wooden ceilings, Italian marble flooring and has a laboratory with European equipment’s. Other interesting places to visit are the Swami Narayan Temple, Bhuvaneshwari Temple, Ayurvedic pharmacy and the stud farm of Kathiawadi horses. Jasdan: (47 Kms from Gondal) the great warrior clan of Khachar Kathis ruled the house of Jasdan. They founded the fortified town of Jasdan on the banks of Bhadar River. The Darbargadh at Jasdan is a beautiful example combining plaster decoration with intricate wrought iron work. The decoration above the arches and 'jharokhas' are noteworthy. Hingolgadh Nature Education Sanctuary in the vicinity of Jasdan is a creation of the nature loving rulers of Jasdan. Here, nature education camps are organized to create awareness about wildlife
and environment. The royal palace on the hilltop is now a heritage hotel, offering a nice and comfortable stay amidst natural surroundings. Other Excursions: Jetpur (Textile town known for yarn dyeing and hand printed saris) 30 Kms, Rajkot (Watson Museum, Rajkumar College, Ramkrishna Mission, kaba Gandhi no Delo) 39 Kms. How to Get There Air: Nearest airport is Rajkot (39 Kms) Rail: Gondal is a railway station on Rajkot-Veraval line. Road: Connected to nearby cities by road. Local Transport: non-metered auto rickshaws. Where to Stay Local guesthouses, Heritage Hotels orchard Palace and riverside palace Nearby Cities Rajkot: 39 Kms. Ahmedabad: 264 Kms
Location: 145 Kms from Jamnagar, Gujarat. Significance: Capital City Of Gujarat. Main Attraction: Akshar Dham. Main Languages: Gujarati, Hindi, and English. Gandhinagar, Gujarat new Capital City is located on the west bank of the Sabarmati, about 32 Kms north east of Ahmedabad, the commercial and cultural heart of Gujarat. Gandhinagar presents the spacious, well-organized look of an architecturally integrated city. Around the Central Government Complex, stretch 30 sectors into which the city has been divided. Each sector has its own shopping and community centre, primary school, health centre and government and private housing. Apart from this, there is a generous provision for wide-open green parks, extensive planting and a large recreational area along the river giving the city a lush green garden-city atmosphere. In 1960, when the Old Bombay State was bifurcated into the present states of Maharashtra and Gujarat, Bombay (Mumbai) city fell to the share of Maharashtra. It was then decided to build an entirely new capital for Gujarat. PRIME ATTRACTIONS Shamlaji: This famous Vaishnava Shrine is situated at 126 km from Ahmedabad. Akshardham: It is the most famous temple of "Swaminarayan Sect" - the richest sect in the world. The splendid temple of Bhagwan Swaminarayan is built from Rajasthan pink marbles. The temple, 108 feet high, 240 feet in length and 131 feet in breadth took six years to complete. Lush green gardens and admirable fountains surround it. Koba: At a distance of 10 Kms from Gandhinagar on the Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar Highway is the village Koba, which has shot into eminence because of its Mahavir Jain Aradhana Kendra, a Jain Temple Institute that carries out research in philosophy and religion. The temple itself is of high aesthetic and artictural value set in lush green environs. Vaijanth Mahadev at Vasan: At a distance of 13 Kms from Gandhinagar is the village of Vasan, which is famous for its Shiva Temple believed to be 2000 years old. The temple has seven storeys. The Shiv-Ling is of 'Yoni-ling' type. There are 24 Shiv-Lingas in the ambulatory path of the temple. From the site, bricks and silver coins of Maitrak period were obtained, which supports the antiquity of this temple. There are some coloured pictures drawn on the ceiling of the 'sabha-mandap' dome depicting Ras-Lila. These paintings are 150 years old according to the scholars. TRAVEL INFORMATION Air: Indian Airlines connect Gandhinagar with Bangalore, Calcutta, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur and Mumbai. The city is also connected to Kuwait, Muscat and
Sharjah by international flights of Indian Airlines. Ghandhinagar's airport is 15 Kms from city centre. Taxis and buses are available for city sightseeing. Rail: Railway Station is on the western side and trains from Mumbai, Delhi and other parts of the country are connected with Ghandhinagar. Road: Two state highways skirt the capital, Ahmedabad - Mt. Abu State Highway and the Mumbai Delhi National Highway.
Location: Gujarat. Ruled By: Jhala Rajputs. Capital Of: Dhrangdhra State. Halvad was a former capital of Dhrangadhra State and was ruled by Jhala Rajputs. It is an ancient fortified town at the southern edge of the little Rann of Kachchh. The yellow earth of this semi-arid area and buildings of local yellow sandstone makes the whole townscape glow with a vibrant golden yellow at sunset and sunrise. Halvad is famous for gourmet Brahmins and heroic warriors, who fought against past invaders to protect their hometown. Today, one can see several cenotaphs and herostones built of sandstone, at the edge of town. Prime Attractions Paliyas: The 'paliyas' (memorial stones) remind the visitors, of bloody battles fought at the gates of Halvad. They evoke the memories of women who committed 'sati' to protect their honour and men who died fighting against enemies. Newly weds come here to perform the ritual of untying of nuptial knots and pay homage to their ancestors. Even today, once a year, Brahmins at Halvad organize an unusual competition of ‘Laddu’ eating. The 'chhatris' (15th century) resemble the architectural style of the smaller temple structures of Gujarat, with carved columns, high plinths and corbelled roof in a pyramidal shape. The vast arid landscape, dotted with 'chhatris', makes a picturesque setting. At the edge of the town, on the bank of the Samatasar Lake, stands the finest example of wooden architecture of royal palaces of Gujarat. Other similar examples of palaces on the lakeshore, in Indian are palaces of: Udaipur, Alwar, Datia and Mandu. The Halvad Palace campus has all the elements of Rajput palaces-zenana, hall for public audience, temple of family goddess, pleasure garden and administrative offices. The entry to the Halvad Palace is from the town-side. The beautifully carved entrance gate leads one to a huge courtyard. The formal square plan of two storeyed palace structure, adorned with exquisitely carved wooden columns, brackets, friezes and jalis with geometric patterns defines the courtyard. Four raised pathways, from the center of each side, meet in the middle of the courtyard at the base of the seven storeyed, octagonal towers, with jharokhas overlooking all eight directions. From the top of this tower, on a clear day, one can see the surrounding villages; therefore it is popularly known as Jhalawad Darshan or Ek-Dandia Mahal. The long façade, with carved stone jharokhas, brings in cool breeze as it overlooks the lake. The jharokhas were the favorite sit-outs of the royal ladies, while on the full moon nights the terrace was used for private royal gatherings. Even today, one can see beautifully carved situates of sandstone on the terrace. In short, the architecture of the palace is a perfect synthesis of two natural materials, stone and wood. Halvad has four old step-wells and six Shiva Temples encircling the town. The Bhavani temple and Bhuteshwar Mahadev at the cremation ground are at least 500 years old and are protected monuments. On the West Bank of the Samatasar Lake, a famous pilgrim place of the dawoodi Bohra community- a dargah of Maula Qazi is located. Halvad is a base to visit the wild ass sanctuary at the little Rann of Kachchh; the Asiatic Wild Ass is a member of the horse family, with striking white underparts and a deep
mane. It is a strong and powerful runner. Other animals spotted here are Nilgai, Chinkara and the birds seen are the Indian Sandgrouse, Hubara Bustard, Lark, Desert Warbler, Desert Wheatear, Indian Courser and Vultures. Other Excursions: Dhrangadhra (royal palaces, bazaar) 27 Kms, Wadhvan (Royal palaces, bazaar, stepwells) 65 Kms, Morbi (Darbargadh, Wellingdon Secretariat, suspension bridge) 48 Kms, Wankaner (royal palaces, stepwell) 75 Kms, Maliya (royal palaces) 42 Kms, Limbdi (Green Chowk, Gandhi Smriti Mandir, Jain Bhandar, palace, bazaar) 89 Kms How to Get There Air: Nearest airports are at Ahmedabad (178 Kms), Rajkot (110 Kms). Rail: Railway station is on Viramgam-Gandhidham railway line Road: It is connected by road to nearby cities. Local Transport: Non-metered auto rickshaws. Where To stay there are various dharamshalas that offer reasonable accommodation. Nearby Cities Ahmedabad: 178 Kms. Rajkot: 110 Kms. Surendranagar: 62 Kms.
Location: Southern Edge of Aravalli Hills, Gujarat. Main Attractions: Old Palace, Rani Talav. Earlier Known As: 'Ilva Durga'... The Invincible Natural Fort: Idar town is situated at the foothills and was once fortified with a high brick wall, which now lies in ruins. Idar is a classic example of a naturally protected hill fort, located at the southern edge of the Aravalli range. It was the capital of the Idar State under the rule of the Rathore Rajputs in the Mahi Kantha agency, at the time of British Raj. Idar is an ancient fort, known as "Ilva Durga' and finds mention in Mahabharat and in the travelogue of the Chinese traveler Hieu-en-Tsing. The places of interest can be classified in two parts - in the town and in the fort. The entry to Edar town is through a three storeyed clock tower cum entrance gate, with a huge arch and semi circular dome at the top. The road, with a colourful bazaar on both sides, leads to the tower and ends at the foothills of Idar fort. Prime Attractions Old Palace: At the foothill, one can see the ruins of an old palace, a fine specimen of architecture in stone with delicately carved balconies. The design and ornamentation of architectural elements like pillars; brackets, foliated arches and frescos remind one of the royal buildings at Jodhpur and Bikaner. Rani Talav: On the side of this palace, there is a huge water tank, Rani Talav; fed by rainwater from the hill. An avenue of old trees at the edge of perfectly arranged stone steps and the reflection of the massive stonescape makes an interesting composition. Temples: At the foothills, the other interesting buildings are Swami Narayan Temple (19th century), Vallabhacharya Temple (19th century) and Khokhanath Mahadev. Dolat Niwas Castle: A flight of about 700 steps leads to the fortress plateau, with the famous Dolat Niwas Castle located midway. Dolat Niwas Castle was built by Maharaja Dolatsinhji (1922-28 AD) and offers a commanding view of the picturesque Idar town. The palace is now an abandoned structure, but one can imagine its past grandeur. It is a seven-storeyed structure with a maze of staircases, terraces, balconies and courtyards. The cool breeze and commanding view make it the perfect resting-place after a long journey to the top.
Other attractions: As one reaches the plateau, one can see at the highest point on the right, Rutheli Rani no Mahal and on the left Ranamal Chowki. There is a rectangular kund with a series of stone steps leading to the water. A Dargah of a Muslim saint and ancient Shiva Temple are located nearby. At the edge of the kund, there is a ruined structure- a pavilion with 3 beautifully carved arches and a well with a water channel and an elephant statue. In the past, it might have been a beautiful royal pleasure garden- a miniature version of the Mughal royal gardens. Shantinath Temple: Further along the way are two Jain temples Shantinath temple and Sambhavnath Temple. The most interesting elements of Shantinath temple are two huge carved marble panels, depicting the sacred geography of Girnar and Palitana - two important pilgrimage centers of Jains, the inlay work of coloured stone in the marble flooring is also noteworthy. Shrimad Rajchandra Vihar: it is the memorial of guru of Gandhi, Shrimad Rajchandra, is about 3 km from the town, on a hill. There are several temples of Shiva, besides a Maha Mandir, a Laxmi Narayan Temple, 8 Jain temples and 4 mosques. Idar is famous for its handcrafted wooden toys- using simple forms, bright colours and lacquer finish. Road: (20 Kms) it is famous for a group of five beautiful temples of 8th century, a large broken kund with sculptures in picturesque location. Khedbrahma: One of the few Brahma temples of India, Nana Ambaji temple, it is 27 Kms away. Polo: (40 Kms) There are 14 temples of Hindu and Jain religion built from 11th to 16th century, spread over area of 10 sq. km of forest. The most interesting ones are: Saraneshwar temple, Lakhena Jain temple, and Shiva-Shakti temple) Ambaji (famous temple of Goddess Ambaji 73 Kms, Kumbhariya (famous Jain temples) 67 Kms. How to Get There Air: Nearest airport is Ahmedabad (107 Kms). Rail: Idar is a railway station on Ahmedabad-Khedbrahma railway line. Road: it is connected with nearby cities by a road. Local transport: non- metered rickshaws, Jeeps Nearby Cities Ahmedabad: 107 Kms Khedbrahma: 27 Kms Vijaynagar: 38 Kms
Location: Gujarat. Main Attractions: Juna Gadh Fort, Gir Forest. Main Languages: Gujarati, Hindi, and English. Best Season: October to April. Junagadh, an ancient fortified city rich in myth and legend is situated in erstwhile Saurashtra, at the foot of Mount Girnar on the northern fringes of the Gir Forest. Through various phases of history, Junagadh is described with equal importance and for many centuries it was the capital of the western region ruled by several dynasties of rulers such as Mauryas, Greeks, Kshtrapas and Guptas. Stippled with hills, the medieval city of Junagadh derives its name from an old fort called by the same name. Apart from being a place of Pilgrimage, it is a wonderful nature reserve for various flora and fauna. It is also one of the few places where lions still roam free as, it is the abode of the majestic Asiatic Lion. Junagadh is a place of pilgrimage
and has produced a number of saints in its long history. The most famous being the Gujarati saint-poet, Narsimha Mehta. Junagadh is a veritable treasure trove of ancient Temples, Museums, Palaces and Caves. Every Monument will remind you of the grandeur of the Nawabs who once ruled Junagadh. The famous rock edicts of Ashoka and the Girnar Temples are popular attractions. PRIME ATTRACTIONS Ashokan Rock: On the way to Girnar, there is a huge boulder, housed in a small roadside building, on which are fourteen Rock Edicts inscribed by Emperor Ashoka. The inscriptions are written in Brahmi script in Pali language and date back to 250 B.C. The fourteen edicts of Emperor Ashoka are actually moral lectures. Somnath: Somnath holds one of the twelve most holy temples in India, the shrines being dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is situated at around 80 km from Junagadh. Uparkot Fort: Famous in the bygone times for its virtual inaccessibility, the Upar Kot or the Upper Fort is girdled by a wall that is in some places, over 200 meters high. An ornate entrance gateway leads to the ruins. A mosque still stands in a state of preservation. Buddhist caves: The Buddhist Caves form an important rock-cut group of the caves of Junagadh. The caves, scooped in three tiers, are situated on the descent from the Jami Masjid. The central section of the lowest storey has a main hall that is open to the sky. The base, shaft and capital of the carved pillars carry unique designs. Mahabat Maqbara: is mausoleum of one of the Nawabs of Junagadh dazzles with silver doors and intricate architecture, including minarets encircled by spiraling stairways. Gondal: Prettily situated on the bank of the Gondli River, this seat of erstwhile State of Gondal is famous for its Naulakha Palace and the Riverside Palace of the erstwhile Maharaja, which have now been made into Heritage Hotels. Durbar Hall Museum: The museum displays weapons and armour from the days of the Nawabs and many other curios and artifacts. A quick foray into the museum will reveal silver chains, chandeliers, settees, thrones, palanquins, howdahs, cushions, gowns and a large carpet that was woven in the Junagadh jail. Sakkarbaug Zoo: The zoo of Junagadh, the oldest zoo in Gujarat, is home to the famous Gir lions, tigers and leopards. This zoo was set up in 1863 AD by the Nawab, to save the Asiatic lion from extinction. Besides lions, there are also tigers, leopards, bears, jackals, wild ass, snakes and birds. An open zoo has also been developed over 500 acres of land. Mount Girnar: It is a steep-sided extinct volcano, 4 Kms away from Nagadh at the height of over 1,100 m. It is a major pilgrimage centre for both Jains and Hindus and has been considered sacred since before the 3rd century BC. Buses leave from Junagadh's local depot hourly, dropping passengers at the mountain base, from where five thousand irregular steps lead to the summit. Chorwad Beach: 66 kilometers from Junagadh and 23 kilometers from the fishing centre of Veraval, Chorwad is a delightful resort on the sunny coast of Gujarat. An excellent road connects to Junagadh, Girnar, the Gir Forest sanctuary and the famous temple of Somnath. Gir wild Sanctuary: Sprawling in an area of 1424 sq. Kms, Gir with its dry deciduous forest is a luxuriantly rich ecosystem- endowed with floral and faunal plentitude. Thirty species of mammals, twenty species of reptiles, several species of insects and birds are found here. The forest is the only place in the world, outside Africa, where the lion can be seen in its natural habitat. Gir, the last refuge of the king of the jungle, is one of the largest and most important wildlife sanctuaries in India.
How to Get There Air: Nearest airport Keshod 37 Kms & Rajkot 99 Kms. Rajkot is connected to Mumbai by Indian Airlines flights. Rail: train to Ahmedabad connects Junagadh. Road: G.S.R.T.C. bus services connect Junagadh with Bhavnagar, Ahmedabad, Gir, Rajkot, Bhuj, Dwarka, Somnath, Palitana, Surat, Vadodara, and Porandar. Local Transport: Taxis, Auto-rickshaws, Tongas & City Bus services available. NEAR BY CITIES Rajkot: 99 Kms Sasangir: 58 Kms Somnath: 92 Kms Porbandar: 107 Kms Palitana: 213 Kms Jamnagar: 184 Kms.
Location: 92 Kms from Rajkot, Gujarat. Founded In: 1540 AD. Prime Attractions: Lakhota Fort, Solarium. Main Languages: Gujarati, Hindi, and English. JEWEL OF KATHIAWAD: Founded in 1540 AD, Jamnagar is a coastal town about 300 kms west of Ahmedabad and 92 kms from Rajkot. The Jamnagar district, originally constituted as Halar district, is not only recent in its origin but also in its modern set up. But the region comprised therein is of great antiquity and dates back to ancient periods of Jamnagar. According to Pauranik literature, Lord Krishna established his kingdom at Dwarka, now in Jamnagar district, after his migration from Mathura and it is to this great Yadava race that the Jams of Nawanagar trace their descent. Built by Jam Raval, a Jadeja Rajput leader who migrated from Kachchh, Jamnagar was the capital for four centuries of the prosperous princely state of Nawanagar. Present day Jamnagar is a charming blend of the old and the new with its ancient monuments and broad streets, imposing facades, and squares, which make it one of the most beautiful cities in the Saurashtra peninsula. Jamnagar is the hometown of the world famous crickets Ranjit Singh and Duleep Singh after whom the Ranji and Duleep Trophy are named in domestic Indian cricket. PRIME ATTRACTIONS Solarium: Known as the Ranjit Institute of Poly-Radio Therapy. A slowly revolving tower provides daylong sunlight. It is open to visitors after working hours. Bala Hanuman Temple: Since August 1st 1964, there has been a continuous chanting of 'Shri Ram', 'Jai Ram', 'Jai Jai Ram', or 'Ram Dhun' (invocation of Lord Rama) 24 hours a day. This continuous rendition has earned the temple a place in the Guinness Book of Records. Wellington Crescent: The most remarkable of Ranjit Singh's construction is Wellington crescent, the swooping arches of its curved facade overlooking the wide streets of Chelmsford Market. Rozi and Bedi Ports: These are attractive seaside picnic spots and offer good fishing facilities. Lakhota Fort And Kotha Bastion: In the centre of old Jamnagar, on an island in the middle of the lake, is two magnificent old structures: the Lakhota Fort and the Kotha Bastion. How to Get There Air: Various domestic airlines connect Ahmedabad with nearby cities. Rail: On the Western Railway with direct connections with Ahmedabad.
Road: State transport buses and private luxury coaches connect various centers of Gujarat. Jamnagar is 308 kms from Ahmedabad via Rajkot and 92 kms from Rajkot. SHOPPING: Jamnagar is renowned for its silk, gold embroidery, silver ware, 'bandhani' (tie-and-dye) fabrics that are renowned the world over. Nutcrackers (especially the ones made for betel nuts) made in Jamnagar are in great demand all over India. It is also known for its pearl fisheries, a naval base of some importance, and a certain type of tieand-dye fabrics. NEARBY CITIES Rajkot: 92 kms. Ahmedabad: 308 kms.
Location: West Central Gujarat. Also Spelt As: Kutch, Kachh, and Cutch. Main Attraction: Kachchh Fair. Main Languages: Gujarati, Hindi, and English. THE GREAT RANN OF KACHCHH: Kachchh is a fascinating land and no visit to Gujarat is complete without a sojourn to this peninsular district. Its remoteness has kept it a place apart for centuries. The state's biggest district and most sparsely populated one, Kachchh is a sandy, barren area over half of which is desert and marshland. Like so many other regions of Gujarat, Kachchh has its own distinctive character. It has a remarkably heterogeneous population belonging to 18 different tribes, each with its own language and culture. The Great Rann covers an area of about 7,000 sq. miles (18,000 sq. kms) and lies almost entirely within the state of Gujarat, along the border with Pakistan. The Little Rann of Kachchh extends northeast from the Gulf of Kachchh and occupies about 2,000 sq. miles (5,100 sq. kms) in Gujarat State. Originally an extension of the Arabian Sea, the Rann of Kachchh has been closed off by centuries of silting. During the time of Alexander the Great it was a navigable lake, but it is now an extensive mudflat, inundated during monsoon seasons. Settlement is limited to low, isolated hills. PRIME ATTRACTIONS Aina Mahal: This is a beautiful museum, built in the 18th century as the palace of Maharao Lakhpatji. It has a Hall of Mirrors with white marble walls covered with mirrors and gilded ornaments. The floor is lined with tiles with a platform above it surrounded by a series of fountains. The room also has a chandelier of Venetian glass. It lays in the old part of the city, in a small, fortified courtyard and houses some very rare idols. Kachchh Mahotsav: The Kachchh Mahotsav aptly called the 'Mahotsav' (great festival) is a guided tour of the life and times of Kachchh, its beauty, nostalgia, ethos, traditions, culture and spirit. Kachchh Mahotsav is usually organized during February and March each year. The festival organized by the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat, is a six-day tour into the heartland of Kachchh. Prag Mahal: Constructed in 1979, the Prag Mahal is a magnificent building made of ornate Italian marble and sandstone. Its Corinthian pillars and 'jali' work depicting European flora and fauna are worth observing. Cenotaphs Complex: Built of red stones, the Cenotaph Complex is a popular site at Chattaradi. Of all the tombs here, the largest and the finest is the one of Rao Lakha built in 1770. It is polygonal in shape with balconies and an intricately carved roof. Other impressive cenotaphs are the ones of Rao Rayadhan, Rao Desai and Rao Pragmal. Mandvi: Mandvi, founded in 1581 AD is an ancient seaport. It is well known for its production of handicraft items particularly its relief, filigree and enamel work and its
virtually unspoilt sea beaches. The Rukmavati Bridge is the longest stone bridge, built in 1883 AD and the Vijay Vilas Palace is the major tourist spot in this destination. Dhrang fair: held every year during February - March in Dhrang, 40 kms from Bhuj at the Samadhi (tomb) of Menkan Dada who served the community with great dedication. Ravechi No Melo: Ravechi fair is held on every Bhadrapad end i.e. August-September in Rav village at Ravechi Mata Temple. Anjar: Anjar is mainly known for the tomb of Jesal Toral, and the bungalow of James Mcmurdo, which is a veritable museum of Kachchhi Art. Places worth visiting are the Ajaypal Temple and the Holy Shrine of Pinjora Pir. Anjar is also famous for its block printing work, nutcrackers, scissors and penknives. Dholavira: Known for its large Indus settlement, Dholavira, discovered in 1967 lies in the northwest corner of Khadir, a large island surrounded by the Rann of Kachchh. Dholavira is situated about 445 kms from Ahmedabad, via Mehsana/Radhanpur/Rapar. Vijay Vilas Palace: Situated across the Mandvi Beach, the Vijay Vilas Palace was once the summer resort of the Maharaos of Kachchh. The sandstone structure is surrounded by many fountains and gardens and has a unique design to ward off the fierce desert sun. Lakhpat: This ghost town is 151 kms from Bhuj airport and boasts a beautiful landscape. Cenotaphs and memorial stones outside the town add a charm to it. Due to the harsh climatic conditions, most people have deserted the town. How to Get There Air: Flights are available from Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Rail: New Bhuj Railway Station is 1 km north of Bhuj. Direct trains ply on the meter gauge line from Ahmedabad and on the broad gauge line for Mumbai. Road: State transport, luxury coaches, auto-rickshaws and taxis are available to all centers in Gujarat. SHOPPING: Kachchh produces some of Gujarat's most exquisite crafts like embroidery tie die fabric’s enameled silverware and other handicrafts. The 'Bandhani' (tie and dye) hand printed sarees; embroidery and exquisite gold and silver ornaments are some of the traditional crafts of this region. Visitors to Kachchh can shop for handicrafts in Bhuj Bazaar, at Banni village for exquisite hand embroidery and also in Bhujadi for shawls and embroidery. Best Time: The best time to visit Kachchh is between Octobers to March every year. However it is ideal if a visit to Kachchh can coincide with the Kachchh Mahotsav. This is a tourist festival organized by the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat between February and March every year. GENERAL INFORMATION Climate: Hot summers and mild winters. However the vast opens of Kachchh make winter nights colder. Clothing light woolen or cotton. SOME IMPORTANT TOURIST DELIGHTS There are quite a few famous tourist circuits to explore the land of Kachchh. Circuit One: Begins with Bhuj - the 400-year-old walled capital city of Kachchh. From they’re to Bhirandiyara the biggest village of Banni. It is famous for the exquisite embroidery of its Harijan communities. From Bhirandiyara it is the Kalo dungar (Black Hills of Kachchh), 125 kms from Bhuj. You can then move on to Banni, the grasslands of Kachchh. Circuit Two: In the second route, you will again begin with Bhuj and move on to Punareshwar, 35 kms from Bhuj. It is a 9th / 10th century temple rose on a high plinth. From Punareshwar, it is Mata No Madh about 138 kms from Bhuj. Here is a 1200-yearold temple dedicated to the goddess of the ruling family of Kachchh. You then journey on
to lakhpat the deserted fort town 170 kms from Bhuj and thence to Koteshwar and neighboring Narayan Sarovar. Circuit Three: On the third route from the starting point Bhuj we move on to Kera famed for its 10th century shiva temple and also the Muslim shrine of Ghulam Ali Shah. From they’re to Bhrajmer and onwards to Tunda Vandh, the Rabari village with about 125 exquisitely designed huts, the interiors of which deserve the attention of visitors to Kachchh. The final destination will be Mandvi. Circuit Four: The fourth circuit route will take you from Bhuj to Anjar, famous for the shrine of Jesal and Total besides its exquisite block prints, nutcrackers, scissors and penknives and delicate silver filigree work. From Anjar it goes to Gandhidham, the city built specially for displaced persons after the partition of the Indian subcontinent. Kandla, a major port and the country's first free trade zone of the country is very close by from Gandhidham on to rapar and finally to phalaviara. However you can choose to chalk out your own route and visit some other exotic locale in mysterious Kachchh. For assistance while in Bhuj you can contact the Bhuj Tourist Office at 416, Bahumali building and also at Aina Mahal.
Location: Western India on India-Pakistan Border, Gujarat. Founded By: Rao Lakha. Main Attractions: 'Tomb of Gosh Mohammed, Gurudwara. The Last Frontier Fort of Western India: Lakhpat is the last town situated at the western end of India, on the India-Pakistan border, at the junction of Kori Creek and Rann of Kachchh. Lakhpat probably, derives its name from the prosperous maritime trade, which generated a daily income of one lakh (1,00,000) Kori, an old currency of Kachchh State. Another legend says that since Rao Lakha founded it, so it is named Lakhpat. Lakhpat is a fortified town with high walls, several gates and bastions made out of hard stone. After a short period of prosperity, Lakhpat lost its maritime significance in 1851 AD, when the Sindhu River changed its course. Once a thriving town with population of 15,000, it is today a deserted town with only few families living here. Prime Attractions Tomb of Gosh Mohammed: Gosh Muhammad was a famous saint revered equally by Hindus and Muslims. A beautiful tomb was constructed using local hard black stone, after his death in 1855 AD. It is an octagonal, domed structure with four entrances. The corner pilasters, foliated arches on each side, doorjambs and niches are exquisitely carved using floral motifs and the tree of life. Inner walls are decorated with verses from the Koran using beautiful calligraphy. Gurdwara: It is one of the sacred places associated with life of Guru Nanak Sahib, the founder of the Sikh religion, as it is believed that he embarked for Haj to Mecca from Lakhpat. The Gurudwara here was constructed to commemorate this event, and it is visited by Sikhs throughout the year. Other interesting structures at Lakhpat are the mosque, a structure for keeping 'Tajia' (a Muslim religious float) and number of Hindu temples. Kalyaneshwar Temple: The Kalyaneshwar temple is situated close to the Koteshwar temple at the edge of a sacred square 'kund'. The 'kund' gets filled up during high tide. Hindus bathe here and perform 'shraddh' (ritual ceremony after the death of ancestors). Narayan Sarovar: (49 kms from Lakhpat) Narayan Sarovar is one of the five holy lakes of India, the other four being Mansarovar in Tibet, Pushkar in Rajasthan, Pampa in south India and Bindu Sarovar in Siddhapur. It is located 2 km away from Koteshwar on Kori Creek. This lake finds mention in the chronicles of Alexander, the Great. In 1550 AD, the temple priest constructed the embankments and ghats on all three sides of the lake except on east.
He also constructed separate compartments for bathing, using carved stone jails. The wife of Rao Desalji, Vagheli Mahakunwarba, constructed the Laxmi Narayan temple and Trikamrai temple in 1734 AD to put the Narayan Sarovar at par with Dwarka. She donated several villages for the upkeep of the temples. Other temples at Narayan Sarovar are Adi Narayan, Goverdhannath, Dwarkanath and Lakshmiji. Koteshwar: (52 km from Lakhpat) Koteshwar is a famous place of pilgrimage located at the farthest tip of western India at the Kori Creek. A pilgrimage to Koteshwar and Narayan Sarovar is considered a must for any devout Hindu. The Chinese traveler Hieu-en-Tsing (640 AD) described the town as a flourishing port, 5 miles in circumference, at the mouth of the Sindhu River. It had 80 monasteries and 5000 monks, out of which nothing survives today. The present day Koteshwar is a fortified town with high wall and gates. The inscription shows that the present fortification and temple were renovated in 1820 AD by rich merchants- Jetha Sivji and Sheth Sundarji. The Koteshwar Temple complex is dedicated to Shiva. The white painted high wall at the seashore, the high Shikhara with saffron flags and series of domes make a perfect location for a Shiva temple. Within the temple there are images of Hanuman, Ganesha Revati, Parvati and Swayambhu Shiva Linga. How to Get There Air: Nearest airport is Bhuj (151 kms). Rail: Nearest railway station is Gandhidham (210 kms). Road: Ahmedabad (547 kms), Rajkot (369 kms) are connected by road. Local Transport: non-metered auto rickshaws only at Narayan Sarovar. Where to Stay Accommodation is available in dharamshalas at Narayan Sarovar only. Note: A visit to Lakhpat is recommended only to the adventurous traveler, as there are no proper facilities for food and accommodation. Tourists should arrange their own private transport, as the state Transport bus frequency is very low.
Location: 67 Kms from Rajkot, Gujarat. Main Attractions: Darbargadh. Excursions: Halvad, Dhrangadhra. Where Kachchh and Saurashtra Meet Morbi was the capital of the former princely state of Morbi, ruled by the Jadeja Rajput clan. The house of Morbi claimed seniority over the Jadejas of Jamnagar and Kachchh. The beautiful town of Morbi is located on the banks of the Machchhu River. Floods devastated Morbi in 1979 AD, when Machchhu dam burst during heavy rains. The folk song, which predicted this tragedy, years before it happened, is still sung by the bards of the region. The prosperous city state of Morbi and much of built heritage and town planning is attributed to the efficient administration of Sir Waghji, who came to the throne in 1879 AD and ruled till 1948 AD. Sir Waghji acted as a ruler, manager, patron and policeman of the state with great authority, always keeping the citizens' interests in mind. Sir Waghji, like other contemporary rulers of Saurashtra, built roads, railway network of seventy miles connecting Wadhvan and Morbi and two small ports of Navlakhi and Vavlakhi and Vavania for exporting the state's production of salt and cloth. The railway station of Morbi is a beautiful example of Railway architecture, combining Indian and European architectural elements. The most important buildings at Morbi are Darbargadh, Mani Mandir, Wellington Secretariat, Suspension Bridge, Art Deco Palace and Lakhdhirji Engineering College.
Prime attractions Darbargadh: Darbargadh, on the bank of Machchhu, is an original residence of Morbi rulers. It can be reached by crossing an imposing gate and arcade façade. Now it is the only heritage hotel at Morbi. Mani Mandir: Mani Mandir is a temple situated in the courtyard of Wellington Secretariat. The images of Laxmi Narayan, Mahakali, Ramchandraji, Radha-Krishna and Shiva are enshrined in this temple. Mani Mandir is made out of Jaipur stone with excellent workmanship and exquisitely carved elements- arches, brackets, 'jalis', 'chhatris' and 'shikhara'. Wellington Secretariat: It is an excellent example of the application of principles of Rajput architecture by master craftsmen, at the turn of the century. Suspension Bridge: The Suspension Bridge, an engineering marvel built at the turn of the century, reflects the progressive and scientific nature of the rulers of Morbi. This was built to give a unique identity to Morbi using the latest technology available in those days, in Europe. It is 1.25 m wide and spans 233 m on the Machchhu River connecting Darbargadh Palace and Lakhdhirji Engineering College. Green Chowk: Green Chowk is a town square approached by a series of three gates. European town planning principles inspired the creation of these gates as landmarks in the town. The Nehru Gate is made out of stone using elements of Rajput architecture with central clock tower, while another one uses elements of western architecture and is capped by a three-storeyed cast iron frame structure with a dome. Art Deco Palace: It is a marvelous example of influence of last phase of art deco movement of Europe. It is poetry in granite, a low two-storey in banded horizontal fenestration, curves and bays, which resemble the London underground stations of Charles Holden. The palace has six drawing rooms, six dining rooms, and fourteen bedrooms. The decorated subterranean bedroom, with many erotic murals and a bathroom made from seashells are also noteworthy. Lakhdhirji Engineering College: Lakhdhirji Engineering College is housed in Nazarbag Palace, a former residence of Morbi rulers. The other places worth visiting at Morbi are V. C. High School, main railway station and Nazarbag railway station. Dhrangadhra: 75 kms away, Dhrangdhra is known for its royal palaces. Wadhvan: The main attraction of this place is the royal palaces, the bazaar and the step wells. It is at a distance of 107 kms. Halvad: (48 kms) Halvad is famous for its Ek-Dandia Mahal-Zalawad Darshan, wooden palace and the cenotaphs. Rajkot: (67 kms) famous for its princely architecture, there ear many places worth seeing in Rajkot. Some of them are Watson Museum, Rajkumar College, Ramkrishna Mission and Kaba Gandhi no Delo. TRAVEL INFORMATION Air: Nearest airport is Rajkot (67 kms), Ahmedabad (247 kms). Rail: Nearest railway station is Wankaner (27 km) Road: it is connected with Rajkot and Ahmedabad. Local transport: non-metered auto rickshaws. Where to Stay Accommodation is available in various local guesthouses and the Heritage Hotel at Darbargadh. Nearby Cities Rajkot: 67 kms. Ahmedabad: 247 kms.
Location: 60 kms Southeast of Bhuj, Gujarat.
Also known As: Mart. Famous As: An Ancient Sea Port. AN ANCIENT SHIP-BUILDING CENTRE: Mandvi, or the Mart, also called Maska, Mandvi from a village close by, and in old times known as Raipur or Riyan, lies on the right bank of the Rukmavati river about one kilometer from the sea, and 60 kms southeast of Bhuj. Along the coast the land is constantly changing, the wind raising the loose sands into shifting dunes, and the sea in one place cutting out the land in pools and lagoons, and in another throwing it back in sand banks. Inland the country is low - lying and bare with waving sand-hills, and close to the town are large stretches of rich green fields well tilled and watered. A well-constructed wall now in a dilapidated condition surrounds Mandvi, about 26 feet high and 3 to 4 feet broad. 25 bastions, the largest of them at the southwest serving as a lighthouse strengthen it. Inside the walls, the streets are narrow and zigzag. PRIME ATTRACTIONS Vijay Vilas: Rao Vijayrajji (1942-48) built at a new palace, called Vijay Vilas, west of the Mandvi town. The British Political Agent posted to Bhuj had a summer bungalow at Mandvi, escaping to the sea from Bhuj shifting summer heat. Mandvi Port: Mandvi was also famous as an important center of shipbuilding in the past. In 1780 AD, a ship built at Mandvi had sailed upto England. The Vadhas of Mandvi are still clever in the art of shipbuilding.
Location: 130 Kms from Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Founded In: 1796 AD. Originally called As: Anhil Vad Pattan. Specialty: Patola Sarees. The historic town of Patan founded in 1796 AD is situated on the river Saraswati, about 51 kms from Mehsana and 130 kms from Ahmedabad. Originally known as Anhil-VadPattan, it flourished during the Solanki Dynasty and has some interesting monuments. The streets of its older quarters present an interesting look with a mélange of carved balconies, lintels of Muslim havelis, marble domes and the canopies of the over 100 Jain temples. Patan is celebrated world over for its exquisite Patola silk saree woven here. Patan is a beautiful old town with Jain temples and caned wooden houses. Ranaki Vav (step-well) and Sahastralinga Talav or Lake is also interesting places to visit in Patan. PRIME ATTRACTIONS Rani Ni Vav or Rani Uday Mati Vav: It is one of the largest step wells in Gujarat. Rani Udaymati built it during the last decade of the 11th century in memory of her husband, Bhimdeva I of the Chalukya Dynasty. The Vav is decorated with around 800 stone sculptures and relief. There are impressive images of Gods of the Hindu pantheon in their various incarnations with their consorts. No other step-well in India is as profusely adorned as this. Sahastralinga Talav: It occupies the northwestern part of the city. It's on the left bank of the river Saraswati. The Talav is reputed to have been built by Siddharaja Jaisinh, the Chalukyan ruler. Pentagonal in shape, it is spread over an area of 17 hectares. The most interesting of the relics are the channels, the well, steps and side elevation of the pond. Shamlaji: One of the principal Vaishnav shrines of Gujarat, Shamlaji, or 'the dark one', is one aspect of Krishna, an incarnation of Vishnu. It is situated 126 kms from Ahmedabad. Patola Silk Saree: The Patan Patola is one of the finest hand-woven textiles produced today. It combines the art of tying and dyeing of the warp and weft threads and their
weaving together, when each warp thread is carefully placed against the corresponding colours. Besides Patan, the double Ikat is woven only in Bali in Indonesia. HOW TO GET THERE Air: Nearest airport is Ahmedabad. Rail: Linked with Ahmedabad. Road: State transport buses and private luxury coaches connects various centers of Gujarat. It is situated 130 kms from Ahmedabad.
Location: 155 Kms from Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Main Attraction: Sri Palanpur Tirth. Main Languages: Gujarati, Hindi. Districts headquarter and the capital of former princely State of Palanpur, the city is circled by hillocks in the close vicinity of Aravali Mountains. It derives its name from Palansi Chauhans who inhabited the city in 14th century. Muslim rulers who ruled till independence replaced the Chauhans. It is also believed that King Prahlad established this city and named it as Prahladanpur. Later on, the name was changed into. Its history can be traced to the thirteenth century of the Vikram era. A thriving commercial center, the city has become crowded due to mercantile growth. There is a Kirti Stambh and a Rajmahal, the old palace of the Nawab, now used for government offices. Outside Mira Gate, there are two places of Muslim interest 'Dargahs', one of the poets Anwar Kazi and the other dedicated to Saint Mursheed, worshipped by Muslims. An ancient stepwell `Mithi Vav' is the best-preserved architectural monument with seven galleries on the walls on either side. PRIME ATTRACTIONS Sri Tirth: Built by King Prahlad, this Temple is famous as the temple of Prahladan Parshvanath. Today it is known as the temple of Pallaviya Parshvanath. This brave king melted the metal idol of Delvada in Abu and made an idol of Shiva riding a bull. Inflicted by leprosy, the agonized king went to the forest. There he met Acharyashri Shalibhadrasurisvar. He repented for what he had done and then according to the instructions and with blessings of the Acharya, he made a temple of Bhagwan Parshvanath. He poured on his body the water with which the idol was bathed and got cured of his disease. King Prahlad then becomes a follower of the Jain religion. He performed many acts of religion. He was a scholar and wrote many books. His dramatic work entitled " Parshva Parakram Vyasang" is famous even today. It speaks highly about his Scholarship. Balaram Mahadev Temple: The sacred temple of Balram Mahadev is situated about 12 kms from in Banaskantha district. The palaces of the Nawab and Hindu Temples are also worth seeing. HOW TO GET THERE Air: Nearest airport is Ahmedabad. Rail: Linked with Ahmedabad, Mehsana, and Delhi. Road: State transport buses and Private Luxury coaches connects various centers of Gujarat. It is situated 155 Kms from Ahmedabad. The railway station and the bus station are at a distance of one km. Local Transport: Buses and taxis are available for travel within the city. NEARBY CITIES Ahmedabad: 155kms.
Location: 40 Kms from Rajkot, Gujarat. Famous As: The Birth Place of Mahatma Gandhi.
Languages: Gujarati, Hindi, and English. Best Season: October to March. THE LAND OF THE MAHATMA: Porbandar, situated at the end of Saurashtra is a picturesque seaport on the Arabian Sea having pleasant beaches with beach villas. Birthplace of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, Porbandar is an intermediate seaport on the southwest coast of Saurashtra. To commemorate the birth of Gandhi, a 79 feet high imposing building has been built in an otherwise simple lane of the city where Bapu was born in 1869 AD. It is also known as "White City" because of its white stone construction. Visitors are also attracted to Bharat Mandir, depicting great men and religious preceptors of India, and to the Chowpaty, which offers a beautiful view of the beachfront. Modern villas have come up lately and there is also a small parlour serving refreshments. HISTORICAL NUANCES: If you prefer to combine a holiday by the sea with city facilities and seeing historic monuments, visit Porbandar by the sea. The very name evokes visions of Mahatma Gandhi who was born in this prosperous princely city on October 2, 1869. But the history of Porbandar goes back many centuries to Sudamapuri mentioned in the Hindu epic, Mahabharata, as the home of lord Krishna's friend, Sudama, and almost certainly the Paureliva, mentioned in the 9th century inscriptions at Ghumli. Porbandar is a paradise for bird watchers. Great flocks of flamingoes, both greater and lesser, can be seen at a remarkably close range around the coastal marshes. PRIME ATTRACTIONS Kirti Mandir: The Kirti Mandir's premises is a three storeyed ancestral house of Gandhi wherein the exact place where Putlibai, Gandhi’s mother, had given birth to the child Gandhi marked with a 'swastika'. Narrow wooden staircase leads the visitor to upper storey, in particular to Gandhi’s reading-room. The adjoining new building, Kirti Mandir, houses a Gandhi library, a prayer hall, a nursery and a steeple decorated with episodes from Gandhi’s life. Behind Kirti Mandir is Navi Khadki, where Kasturba, Gandhi’s wife was born. Huzoor Palace: The Huzoor Palace is a massive structure like a European mansion, sprawling, with a large garden at the edge of the sea. The palace has various wings in a zigzag formation, which created space for numerous forecourts and rear courtyards, which were used for gardens and fountains. The structure is of a very modern style, crowned by trussed timber roofs and balustrade terraces offering a fabulous view of the beach and the sea. Semi-circular porticos on neo-classical pillars offer entry to the palace from different sides. Daria Rajmahal: A short walk from the Huzoor Palace leads to Daria Rajmahal, Probandar's sea facing city palace, built in a style that blends Arabic, Indian, Gothic, and Renaissance architecture. The entrance is through a Gothic style archway, crowned by a tall tower that offers a marvelous view of the palace courtyards, the beach beyond, and the sea. Nothing remains of the Darbar Hall now, and the palace has now been turned into a college. Morvi: The town is famous for its clocks, tiles and the ceramic manufacture. The erstwhile ruler of the State constructed a temple with adjoining secretariat, which is known as Wag Palace or Wellington Secretariat. The Suspension Bridge is an important landmark of the town. The bridge, 765 ft. long and 4.5 ft. wide, receives its support only from the pillars on the banks. The roadway is hung across the river on iron ropes passing over towers and anchored. Gondal: Prettily situated on the bank of the Gondli River, this seat of erstwhile State of Gondal is famous for its Naulakha Palace and the Riverside Palace of the erstwhile Maharaja, which have now been made into Heritage hotel.
Kuchdi: It is a 20-minute drive away from the city center. The place has a Bird Sanctuary and is quite popular with the bird lovers and photographers. Ghumli: It was the capital of the Jetwas long before they moved to Porbander. The place is famous for its Naulakha temple, considered to be the oldest Sun Temple in India built around the 8th century, and the 12th century Vikia Vav (step well), with numerous flights of steps and string-coursed carvings. Gope: 50-km northeast of Porbandar, Gope has a 6th century temple with a sanctuary on a platform and the usual pyramidal 'shikhar' roof. The temple is in a terribly dilapidated condition but is important, as it is one of the first to have a roof of this design. Barda Hills: A 30-minute drive from Porbandar takes one to Barda Hills covered with forests where one can find the Khambala Dam with its intricate, decorated kiosks. How to Get There Air: Porbandar is connected with Ahmedabad. From Ahmedabad, one can take flights to other important cities of India such as Delhi and Mumbai. Rail: Porbandar is a railway station and is connected to many places in Gujarat and western India. The Saurashtra Express links Porbandar with Mumbai. Road: State transport corporation buses operate to most of the important centers of Gujarat. Private operators have regular luxury bus services to Rajkot, Jamnagar, Ahmedabad, and Junagadh etc. from Porbandar. A bus journey to Mumbai would take over 24 hours and is not recommended. Local Transport: Auto rickshaws are convenient and cheap for local transport. They are useful when visiting places like Kirti Mandir where parking is a problem. Taxis can be hired locally for excursions, as can cycles, which can be rented near the State Transport bus stand.
Location: Palitana, Gujarat. Main Temples: Shri Adishwara Temple, Chaumukh Temple. Commanding a special place on the Gujarat travelers' map, Palitana is a `must visit' destination for the Jains and all those who would like to witness what the subtle combination of human enterprise, architectural skills, philanthropy and channeled religious fervor can achieve. The entire summit of majestic mount Shatrunjaya is crowned with about 900 Temples, each rivaling the other for beauty and magnificence, presenting an awe-inspiring spectacle to devotees and visitors. There are many temples at Palitana, which are revered by Hindus and some are prominent Jain pilgrim centers. Shri Adishwara Temple: dedicated to Rishabhdev, stands on the apex of the northern ridge. Rebuilt by the minister Vagbhatta in AD 1157, it is one of the most magnificent temples and the most sacred on Shatrunjaya. The temple is ornately carved with a frieze of dragons along the walls of its prayer halls. Chaumukh Temple: or four- faced shrine, the highest of the shrines is visible from a distance of 40 km. erected in the early 17th century, it houses a quadruple image of the apostle Adinath, who gazes in the four directions. Other notable temples are Kumarpal, Vimalsha, and Shahastrakuta bearing the distinctive aura of the Jain temples. Another important temple is that of the first Teerthankara, though, in its overall plan it is simpler than the Choumukh. Other notable temples are those of Kumarpal, Vimal Shah and Sampti Raja. Kumarpal Solanki, a great Jain patron, probably built the earliest temple. The temple has a fabulous collection of jewels, which can be seen with special permission. Adjacent to the Shri Adishwara Temple is the Muslim shrine of Angar Peer where childless women make votive offerings of miniature cradles to the saint to bless them with children.
The Temple town of Palitana has some interesting handicrafts and 2 museums of Jain art - the Stapiya Kala Sangrah and the Shri Vishal Jain Kala Sansthan. GETTING THERE Air: Nearest airport at Bhavnagar is 62 kms away. Rail: Palitana is on the Western Railway meter gauges line and is well connected to Ahmedabad, 277 kms. By rail and 215 kms. By road. Road: State Transport & luxury buses ply regularly.
Location: 246 Kms from Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Significance: Gandhi Spent His Childhood Here. Main Attractions: Kaba Gandhi No Delo, Watson Museum. Languages: Gujarati, Hindi, and English. The pleasant city of Rajkot, situated 246 kms from Ahmedabad, was once the capital of the princely state of Saurashtra. Today, it is best known as the town where Mahatma Gandhi spent the early years of his life when his father was a 'Diwan' or Prime Minister to the king of Saurashtra. Even today, their family home here houses a permanent exhibition of Gandhi’s personal belongings. Rajkot has a fine museum and some old colonial architecture. Handicrafts like silver and textiles are a highlight of Rajkot, which has the National Weaving Institute, which is working to promote traditional weaves. Rajkot is one of the most important commercial and industrial cities of Saurashtra. PRIME ATTRACTIONS Kaba Gandhi No Delo: Gandhi’s ancestral home, which now houses the Gandhi Smriti, a permanent exhibition. Watson Museum and Library: Located in the pleasant Jubilee Garden, the museum is a good introduction to Saurashtra's cultural heritage. The Rajkumar College: As early as 1870, the state had become known for its Rajkumar College, built for the education of the princes of the Indian state. Rashtriya Shala: famous for the center of 'Patola' weaving, Rashtriya Shala was founded by Mahatma Gandhi. Jagat Mandir: Built of red stones, it is a beautifully carved temple of Shri Ramkrishna Paramhansa. Lal Pari Lake and Randerda: A Picturesque picnic spots 5 kms from Rajkot. Ajit Dam: It is situated 8 kms from Rajkot and is responsible for supplying water to whole of the town. Wankaner: About 50 kms from Rajkot on the way to Kachchh; is the palace of Wankaner, now converted into a Heritage Hotel? How to Get There Air: Various Airlines operate daily services connecting Rajkot with Mumbai. Rail: Rajkot is a Junction on the Western Railway, Viramgam-Okha meter gauge line. Road: State transport buses and private luxury coaches connects various centers of Gujarat. It is situated 798 Kms. from Mumbai via Ahmedabad, 101 Kms. from Junagadh, 193 Kms. from Porbandar, and 216 Kms. from Ahmedabad.
Location: Near Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Famous For: Rudra Mahalaya. Significance: Major Hindu Pilgrimage. Beautiful Mansions of Merchants in A Sacred Town Siddhpur are an ancient sacred town on the banks of the Saraswati River. It finds mention in the Skanda Purana as Sristhala. Siddhpur derives its name from the great ruler of Gujarat, Siddhraj Jaisinh, who constructed a magnificent Shiva Temple called Rudra Mahalaya, in 12th century AD, at
this town. The entire townscape of Siddhpur is dotted with temples, 'kunds', 'ashrams' and sacred buildings along the banks of the Saraswati River. In ancient times, the urban structures of Siddhpur were influenced by two significant aspects- the natural features of the Saraswati river and the man-made feature of the Rudra Mahalaya. Prime Attractions Religious Rituals: The unique geographical feature of the Saraswati stream turning eastwards lends special sanctity to this place. For all the Hindus, this is the place to perform the 'Matru Shraddh' (the ritual ceremony for maternal spirits). This significance is the reason for the large population of Brahmins, who act as priests in such ceremonies. These ceremonies are performed at Kapilamuni Ashram, where 3 sacred water 'kunds' exist-Gyan Vapika, Alpa Sarovar and Bindu Sarovar. For anyone interested in the Hindu religious ceremonies, it is well worth a visit. Thali Building: On the opposite bank of the Saraswati River, there is an architecturally interesting building, known as Thali building, built by Ahilyabai Holkar, queen of Indore, a famous Maratha queen who patronized many such building projects in all the important Hindu pilgrimage centers of India. Rudra Mahalaya: The ancient texts describe Rudra Mahalaya as a magnificent Shiva Temple with a three-storeyed 'shikhara', 1600 pillars, 12 entrance doors, central 'mandapa' and porches on east, north and south and sanctum in west. Around the temple, there were 11 shrines of Rudra. The eastern gate was adorned with beautifully carved 'Toran', with a flight of steps leading to the Saraswati River. Ulugh Khan and Ahmed Shah of Ahmedabad ruthlessly destroyed this magnificent Shiva Temple, in the late 13th century or early 14th century. The cells on the surrounding walls were converted in to a mosque. Mansions of Bohra Muslims: Siddhpur is a major center of the Bohra Muslims from few centuries. The Bohras are a rich and cultured community spread all over the major cities of the world. They are deeply attached to their native town of Siddhpur and regularly visit the town for important social ceremonies. About a century ago, they built very beautiful mansions in a typical architectural style, from the wealth earned abroad. The well laid out paved streets, service lanes, mosques, perfect arrangement of row houses with profusely decorated facades using a common architectural vocabulary is a direct outcome of the collective vision of the Guilds of Bohra merchants. For any visitor, a visit to the Bohravad is a must and it will be a wonderful experience to suddenly discover such a perfect example of urban design in the middle of chaotic Indian urbanization. Vadnagar: (42 km from Siddhpur) Vadnagar finds mention in many Hindu 'Puranas' and in the travelogue of great Chinese traveler, Hieu-en-Tsang (7th century), as a rich and flourishing town. The inscription on Arjun Bari Gate confirms King Kumarapla built the fortification of the city in 1152 AD. Sharmishta Talav: The town sits on the high bank of Sharmistha Talav, with an overlooking promenade, in a crescent and a series of steps leading to the tank. The fortification and undulating skyline mirrored in the water of Sharmistha Talav lend a picturesque quality to the whole composition. Kirti Toran: It is located on the bank of Sharmishta Talav, on a road going down from Arjun Bari. It is among the few surviving examples of the entrance gates, once a regular feature of the architecture of Gujarat in Solanki period. Architectural treatment and the exquisite stone carvings on every part remind one of Rudra Mahalaya at Siddhpur. Next to it, remains of one of the twin 'Toran' provide an opportunity to appreciate the sculptural details.
How to Get There Air: Nearest airport is Ahmedabad (111 km). Rail: Siddhpur is a railway station on Ahmedabad-New Delhi railway line. Road: It is connected with Ahmedabad and Mehsana by road route. Local transport: non-metered auto rickshaws. Where to stay one can find reasonable accommodation in local guesthouses and dharamshalas. Nearby Cities Ahmedabad: 111 kms Mehsana: 47 kms
Location: 140 Kms from Vadodara, Gujarat. Founded In: 12th century. Main Attractions: Old Fort, Dandi. Languages: Gujarati, Hindi, and English. THE TEXTILE CITY: Since the earliest times, the ancient port of Surat has been renowned for its fine silks and exquisite brocades and its trade in spices. Surat has been one of the most prosperous of India's cities in the 17th and 18th century. Surat, the city of commerce was an important port that first attracted the Europeans to the riches of India. The East India Company established its first warehouses in Surat in 1612. And it was at Surat that Sir Thomas Roe landed when he came as King James' ambassador to the court of Emperor Jehangir. In Mughal times, Surat was the main port from which pilgrims sailed to Mecca. Even today, Surat is a premier industrial city of India. It is a city of riches, of gems and diamonds. Times may have changed but Surat remains and continues to grow. Parsi refugees founded Surat in the 12th century, and it emerged as a minor trading post during the 1500s when it was plundered and razed numerous times by the Portuguese. In 1592, after a protracted siege, the town fell to Akbar, under whose patronage; it became one of India's most prosperous mercantile capitals, as well as a key transit point for Muslims heading to Mecca. PRIME ATTRACTIONS The Old Fort: Built by Mohammed Tughlak in the 14th century, as a defence fortification against the Bhils. The Textile Market: Surat's vast and active textile market testifies its importance in the textile trade even today. Dumas: A seaside health resorts 16 kms from Surat. Hajira: It is situated 28 kms from Surat. The pleasant Hajira Beach is fringed by feathery 'Casurina' trees and has a comfortable holiday home for visitors. Dandi: Situated on the coastline and well known as a salt center, Dandi has acquired a name in history after the famous 'Dandi March Salt Satyagraha' launched by Gandhi in March 1930 AD. While overtly the Dandi March purported to protest against the hateful Salt Tax levied by the British, the underlying purpose was to kindle the spark of Civil Disobedience and thereby attain independence. On a warm April morning in 1930, Gandhi and his 78 followers marched 241 miles to Dandi and formally breached the Salt Law, an act that would go down in the annals of history as the first salvo to be fired against the British Empire. Ubharat: It is situated 42 kms from Surat. Ubharat is known for a fine, sandy beach with a backdrop of shady palm groves.
Tithal: It is situated 108 kms from Surat and 5 kms from Valsad on the Mumbai Vadodara Western Railway. A beautiful sandy beach palm sheltered cottages is what you would get to see there. Bardoli: It is situated 34 kms from Surat. Gandhi had launched a farmers' movement known as the 'Bardoli Satyagrah' in 1921-22 under the leadership of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Swaraj Ashram at Bardoli has become a place of Pilgrimage in India. Ukai: It is situated 94 kms from Surat. A major multipurpose irrigation project of Gujarat, the storage of water at the dam site is almost as large as that of Bhakra Nangal Dam in Punjab. Bulsar: The Vansda National Park is situated in Bulsar District. Wild animals such as leopards, tigers, panthers and wild boars are found here. How to Get There Air: Various domestic airlines connecting Mumbai and Bhavnagar. Rail: Surat is on the Mumbai - Delhi - Ahmedabad broad gauge line. Road: State transport buses and private luxury coaches connects various centers of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Rajasthan, Surat is 282 Kms from Mumbai 129 Kms from Vadodara & 230 Kms from Ahmedabad. Local Transport: Tourist taxis metered auto rickshaws and the city bus service are main modes for commuting.
Location: Gujarat. Also known as: Baroda. INDUSTRIAL CAPITAL OF Gujarat: Vadodara is a graceful city of palaces, parks, temples and museums and considered by many as the de-facto cultural capital of Gujarat. Once the capital of the Gaekwads, the former rulers of Vadodara, it is also known as Baroda and rises from the banks of River Vishwamitri. Vadodara is also the industrial capital of Gujarat. TRACES OF HISTORY: Archaeological findings indicate that human habitations existed in the city since prehistoric times. Vadodara passed through the hands of the Guptas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Solankis, the Sultans of Delhi and the Mughals before passing on to the Marathas. It owes its present day grandeur to Maharaja Sayajirao, a great patron of art, architecture and music. Vadodara, originally 'Vadapadraka' means a village amidst the Banyan trees. Historical findings take us back to the 9th century where we find reference to a town called Ankottaka, which can be identified as present day Akota. Located on the Right Bank of the river this place was prone to floods and therefore in the later period Vadapadraka displaced Ankottaka as the administrative headquarters. PRIME ATTRACTIONS Lakshmi Vilas Palace: Designed in Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, the palace built by Maharaja Sayajirao in 1890 is till date the residence of the royal family. Its ornate Darbar Hall has an Italian mosaic floor and walls with mosaic decorations. The palace houses a remarkable collection of old armoury and sculptures in bronze, marble & terracotta. Vadodara Museum and picture Gallery: Founded by the Gaekwads in 1894 AD, the museum has an impressive collection on art and archaeology, natural history, geology and ethnology. The adjoining art gallery has a great collection of old European masters: Veronese, Giordano, Zurbaran, some Flemish and Dutch School of paintings, Turner and Constable, a collection of Mughal miniatures and valuable palm-leaf manuscripts of Buddhist and Jain origin.
Kirti Mandir: Meaning 'Hall of Fame', it's a memorial for the Gaekwad rulers. Designed in the Hindu style, it is a magnificent stone building with domes, terraces, balconies and a central 'shikhara'. The famous Indian artist, Nandlal Bose, decorates it with murals. Nazarbagh Palace: Built in the old classical style, the palace was used on ceremonial occasions by the Gaekwads. It now houses the royal family heirlooms. Makarpura Palace: A beautiful palace designed in the Italianate style, the Makarpura is now used as a training school of the Indian Air Force. Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum: This museum houses the royal collection of art treasures of old masters like Raphael, Titian and Murillo as well as modern western and Indian painting; Greco-Roman exhibits, Chinese and Japanese art; and a large collection of contemporary Indian art. Pratap Vilas Palace at Lalbag: Built as the residence of the royal family, the Pratap Vilas is an extravagant and flamboyant building built in the Indo-Saracenic style. The palace houses a remarkable collection of old armoury and sculptures in bronze, marble and terracotta. Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad University: The erstwhile ruler of Baroda, Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad built Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad University, also known as MSU, over a hundred years ago. The University is one of the bigger universities in Western India and the only one in Vadodara. The notable faculties here are the Faculty of Fine Arts and the Faculty of Performing Arts. Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary: Located in the Bharuch district, the Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary stretches over an area of 608sq. Kms. It boasts of abundant plant and animal life. Here you can see leopards, sloth bears, sambar, wild dogs, hyena, barking deer and a variety of birds. Tambekarwada: Famous for its wall paintings, this place is situated 35 kms from Vadodara. Anand: Anand is one of the most successful examples of a cooperative venture in the country. The Anand Milk Co-Operative has transformed the life of farmers in this region. It is well worth a visit. Dakor: It is situated about 94 kms from both Vadodara and Ahmedabad. Dakor is a temple town sacred because of its connections with Lord Krishna. His image, said to be the original from Dwarka, was brought here by a devotee and installed in the temple of Ranchodrai. Champaner: It is situated 47 kms from Vadodara. The town of Champaner was subjugated by Sultan Mohammed Begara in 1484 and made it his new capital. Champaner lies at the foot of Pavagarh fort. The ruins of its mosques and palaces reflected in the lake are some of the most picturesque sights in India. Pavagarh Fort: The hill of Pavagarh rises from Champaner in three stages. The plateau at an altitude of 1471 feet is known as the Machi Haveli. Pavagarh is 49 kms from Vadodara, and is also known as the birthplace of Gujarat's famous musician, Baiju, who preceded Tansen. How to Get There Air: Various domestic airlines connecting Ahmedabad, Delhi, Mumbai, Daman, and Pune. Rail: Vadodara is on the Western Railways, Mumbai, Delhi and Mumbai, Ahmedabad lines. Road: State transport buses and private luxury coaches connects various centers of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Rajasthan. Vadodara is 112 Kms. From Ahmedabad and 420 Kms. from Mumbai.
Location: South Gujarat.
Founded by: Maharaval Virsinhji. Main Attractions: Digvir Niwas Palace, Sir Pratap High School. At The Foothills of the Sahyadri Hills Vansada is one of the two former princely states of south Gujarat: Vansada and Dharampur. Vansada town is surrounded by dense bamboo forests and probably derives its name from 'vans', meaning bamboo in Gujarati. History of the state of Vansada dates back to at least 750 years. The rulers of Vansada are the descendants of Chalukya Rajput Clan. Vansada was the capital of the princely state of Vansada, till the independence of India in 1947 AD. Maharaval Virsinhji founded the present day fortified town of Vansada in 1781 AD, in a picturesque location, on the banks of Kaveri River, at the southern foothills of the Sahyadri range. Before founding the city, as per Hindu religious traditions, king Raval Virsinhji built three temples namely Vireshwar Mahadev, Vireshwari Mata and Virabhadra Hanuman, to sanctify the site chosen for constructing a new town. Maharaja Pratapsinhji became the king of Vansada in 1885 AD; soon after his accession, he introduced tax reforms, a banking system and provided generous public charity during the terrible famine of 1890 AD. His able administration over the years resulted in surplus wealth in the state treasury. He was a visionary ruler and under his patronage several architectural and urban design projects were constructed in Vansada, for the benefit of the public. The Clock Tower, Town Hall, Anglo Vernacular School, Library and Ratankunwarba Hospital have been built during his regime, which changed the skyline of Vansada town forever. Kings of Vansada were great patrons of arts and they have constructed some beautiful palaces on the vast palace grounds, just abutting on bank of Kaveri River. Prime Attractions Entrance Gates: Vansada town has two entrance gates. The one near Vireshwari Temple is an imposing structure with a big plaster decorated arch having motifs of fish on both sides, wooden roof, cast iron brackets supporting two beautifully carved wooden balconies on both sides. Another gate near the Town Hall is a three-storey high structure with a carved wooden door, receding volumes and a sloping roof. Although both these gates have lost their original function as security gates, they are still the famous landmarks of the town. Digvir Niwas Palace: The Digvir Niwas Palace is one of the finest examples of royal architecture in the early 20th century. The Digvir Niwas Palace is a low profile linear building, with Ashlar stone masonary. The approach the palace is through a beautiful plaster decorated gate and the octagonal 'chhatris' on both sides of the entrance gate give it an imposing look. Sushil Sadan: Another interesting building is the royal guest house- Sushil Sadan with a big pediment porch, terraces and central tower capped by Mangalore tiled roof, with dormer windows. Clock Tower: An important public building is the clock tower made of exposed brickwork. The tall clock tower has four storeys, with four corner pilasters terminating in to 'chhatris' and a dome caps the central part. Sir Pratap High School: Sir Pratap High School is a symmetrical building, with a central porch, central clock tower and sloping roof with Mangalore tiles. Vansada national Park: Famous for its population of Tigers & Panthers, this park is only 10 kms away. Unai: (18 kms) Unai is known for its hot water springs the revered Unai Mata Temple. Saputara: (66 kms) it's a famous hill station, 875 m high. The enchanting Geera falls are an added attraction here. Purna Sanctuary with its dense forests is 60 kms away.
How to Get There Air: Nearest airport is Vadodara (297 kms), Mumbai (248 kms) Rail: Nearest railway station is on Unai Vansada Road (18 kms) on Bilimora-Waghai narrow gauge railway line. Road: It is connected with Ahmedabad, Surat and Valsad by road. Local Transport: non-metered auto rickshaws and jeeps. Nearby Cities Surat: 83 kms Valsad: 63 kms. Ahmedabad: 410 kms.
Location: 111 Kms from Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Main Attraction: Hawa Mahal. Earlier Known As: Vardhamanpuri. Significance: Important Jain Center. Wadhvan is one of the examples of living fortified towns of Gujarat. The town is located on the banks of river Bhogavo and the high fort wall and several gates of the town are intact even today. Wadhvan rulers belonged to the Jhala Rajput clan and the region was known as Jhalawad having other principalities of Dhrangadhra, Limbdi and Wankaner under Jhala rule. The history of the town dates back to ancient times when it was known as Vardhamanpuri. It is an important center of Jainism and the footprints of Mahavir Swami lend a special sanctity to Wadhvan, among the other pilgrim centers of Jains. There are two ancient step wells in Wadhvan- Madhu Vav and Ganga Vav. Both are fine examples of subterranean architecture, typical of Gujarat. The rulers of Wadhvan have built several buildings in and around Wadhvan and the most interesting of them are Raj Mahal and Hawa Mahal. Wadhvan is famous for its craft traditions of tie and die, brass utensils, metal wares and educational wooden toys. It is equally well known for its culinary delights of 'Ganthia' and 'Peda'. A visit to the bazaar can be a wonderful experience. The low height wooden buildings of an old bazaar, with shops at lower level and residences at upper level with projecting carved balconies and the hustle-bustle of rural folks in colourful attire, transports one back to the last century, into medieval oriental bazaar. Wadhvan, a town with Old World charms and its own serene pace, will make it a memorable experience for any traveler. Prime Attractions Ranakdevi Temple: A small, beautiful temple of Ranakdevi is located on the southern edge of Wadhvan, at the cremation ground along with cenotaphs of Wadhvan rulers and hero stones of warriors. This town is a witness to the famous story of Sati Ranakdevi and the great Solanki ruler Siddhraj Jaisinh. Ranakdevi committed a ritual of 'sati' at this place to protect her honour, when Siddhraj Jaisinh murdered her husband, Ra 'Khengar and two sons. It is believed that her curse to Bhogavo, a mute witness to this injustice, made it waterless, forever. Raj Mahal: The late H. H. Balsinhji built the Raj Mahal in the 19th century. The sprawling campus of 14 acres has cricket pitches, tennis courts, gardens, fountains and lily ponds. The palace is designed around a central pillared courtyard with marble fountains, statues and carved marble furniture. The 'Darbar Hall' has many life-size paintings of past rulers and the royal throne. The drawing room is decorated with crystal chandeliers and the Shish Mahal has Belgian mirrors. Every nook and corner of the palace is covered by intricate decoration.
Raj Mahal is being converted into a heritage hotel, with about 10 rooms and will be operational soon. Hawa Mahal: The Hawa Mahal literally means 'wind palace'. It was an ambitious project, abandoned halfway by the Wadhvan rulers. The incomplete structure stands outside the fort and is a building worth studying for its architecture, showing different stages of construction. Even today, around the Hawa Mahal, one can see Sompura artisans carving stones for various Hindu and Jain temple projects in India and abroad. Vintage Car Collection: The rulers of Wadhvan were great automobile enthusiasts and their passion for cars is reflected in their collection of vintage, classic and sports cars and a well-stocked library of automobile books. Swami Narayan Temple: Wadhvan has a Swami Narayan Temple with a majestic gate and nicely painted interiors using bright colours, truly in the style of architecture of the Swami Narayan Sect. Wagheshwari Devi Temple: The ancient temple of Goddess Wagheswari is famous for its Navratri celebration, in which only men perform Garbis. Muli: (27 kms) it is famous for Swami Narayan Temple, the royal palace and temple of Mandavraiji. Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary: 40 kms away is located the bird sanctuary which is a haven for birds. Dhrangadhra: (40 kms) it is known for its royal palaces, bazaars, and stone carving. How to Get There Air: Nearest airport is Ahmedabad (111kms). Rail: Wadhvan city is located on Surendranagar-Bhavnagar railway line. Road: Ahmedabad, Rajkot and Surendranagar are connected by road. Local Transport: non-metered auto rickshaws. Nearby Cities Ahmedabad: 111kms. Rajkot: 116 kms. Surendranagar: 5 kms.
Location: 53 Kms from Rajkot, Gujarat. Founded By: Sartanji. Founded In: 1605 AD. Main Attraction: Ranjit Vilas Palace. On The Bend Of River Machchhu Wankaner derives its name from the geographical feature related to the location of the town: 'Wanka' means a bend and 'ner' means water stream in Gujarati. Wankaner literally means a bend on the stream and it is located on the bend of the Machchhu River. The Jhala Rajput clan ruled Wankaner, The capital of the former princely state of Wankaner, till Indian independence in 1947 AD. It was one of the four princely states of Jhalawad, other three being Wadhvan, Limbdi and Dhangadhra. History Sartanji founded the princely state of Wankaner in 1605 AD and the town was fortified in the late 18th century for protection against the bandits and neighbouring enemies. King Amarsinhji, a noble ruler, who made Wankaner a rich city-state, ruled Wankaner up till 1947 AD. Under the patronage of Amarsinhji, 5 palaces and many bungalows were built and named after the rulers of the princely states of Kachchh, Rajkot, Mayurbhanj and Jamnagar. Wankaner was among the first few royal families of India to convert their palaces into Heritage Hotels, which have guestrooms, maintained in the original royal style. Prime Attractions
Ranjit Vilas Palace: Amarsinhji built the Ranjit Vilas Palace on a hill, overlooking Wankaner town. It took seven years to complete and was designed by Amarsinhji himself. It was inaugurated by and named after his dear friend Jam Ranjitsinjhi of Jamnagar. The ground of the palace extends to two hundred and twenty five acres. The state guesthouse, Chandra Bhavan is also located in the same campus in the vicinity of the Ranjit Vilas Palace. Step Well: Wankaner also has a step well, the last one to be built in Gujarat. In the Royal Oasis complex, the 3-storeyed step well, has 2 underground floors with cool subterranean marble rooms, fine sculptures and a fountain. Morbi: 27 kms. Among the places worth seeing in Morbi have Green Chowk, Darbargadh, Art Deco palace, Wellington Secretariat, railway station, Nehru Gate and Lakhdhirjee Engineering College. Halvad: (75 kms) Halvad is famous for Ek-Dandia Mahal, Wooden Palace, and cenotaphs of warriors step wells and the Shiva temples. Air: Nearest airport in Rajkot (53 km), Ahmedabad (220 km). Rail: Wankaner city is on Ahmedabad-Rajkot railway line. Road: It is connected to nearby cities by road. Local transport: non-metered auto rickshaws. Where to Stay Accommodation is available in several local guesthouses and heritage Hotels such as Royal Oasis and The Residency. Nearby Cities Rajkot: 53 kms. Ahmedabad: 220 kms.