Pratap Vilas Palace
Jain Temple Triad
Ratan Bai Masjid
Raisi Shah's Temple
Welcome to Jamnagar,
Jamnagar is a district in the Indian state of Gujarat. The city was built up substantially by Maharaja Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji in the 1920s, when the district was known as Nawanagar. Jamnagar is situated at the bank of River Rangmati. Jamnagar is a very beautiful city. It is also known as Saurashtra.
The city of Jamnagar, in Gujarat is known to have a few of the uncommon Temples in India. Hence, every year tourists from all over the world flock the city in large numbers to have a look at the finest gifts of history. Among these are visited by the tourists form various parts of India and the world. Among the Temples in Jamnagar, the Bhid Bhanjan Temple, Jamnagar deserves a special mention. Other places are Gaga Wildlife Sanctuary, Lakhota Fort and Museum etc.
The Bala Hanuman Temple is on the south-eastern side of Ranmal Lake. The temple is famous for the continuous 24-hour chanting of the mantra 'Sri Ram, Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram', since August 1, 1964. This devotion has earned Bala Hanuman Temple a place in the Guinness Book of Records. Thousands of devotees visit the temple every year. Early evening is particularly a good time to visit the temple. It's nice one in the world.
The closest beach is Balachari, 26 km from the city. Now a locally popular resort with a golf course, the beach has a lesser known history of human compassion. Jam Digvijaysinhji's son writes that his father, ?was India's delegate to the Imperial War Conference. In 1942 a Polish ship escaped from the German invasion with 1200 children and 20 women on board. The Government of Bombay would not let them land but only gave them fuel, food and water. When they reached our coast, my father sailed out from Bedi port to take off the children, put them in tents and in six months he had built a Polish camp at Balachari, at a personal cost of 10 lakhs, and maintained the camp until the end of the war." This act surely adds warmth to the Indo-Polish relations to this day.
There also are other beaches further away, and this area has much unspoiled coastline which is worth exploring, with permission from Conservator of Forests Office, Tel: 0288 2679357, Nagnath Gate, Van Sankul, Ganjiwada, Jamnagar, and with an awareness that after a visit to unspoiled areas we should be able to say that we may visit the area again, still unspoiled.
Near Bedi Gate, west of the town hall is the Bhidbhanjan temple. The temple displays a local style though it was built in a period where most structures were constructed with a western influence. The intricate silver work on the doors is a testament to the craftsmanship that is found in Jamnagar even today.
Bhujio Kotho enjoys a distinct place among the tourists because of its height and circumference. It is on the bank of the Lakhota Tank, near Khambholiya Gate. This monument having five floors was believed to be constructed for protection during the invasions. On the first floor there are guns placed in each directions and in the walls, holes are made to place the rifles. On the upper floor a tank is constructed to store water and on its peak a dancing peacock is placed.
Jamnagar is sometimes referred to as Chhota Kashi (small Kashi), because of the abundance of temples and holy places around the city.In addition to the Bala Hanuman temple, Ratan Bai mosque, Jain temples, Bhidbhanjan temple, Parsi Agiari, and Khijada temple already mentioned, there are various other Jain and Hindu temples, a temple for the sizable Kabir sect in Jamnagar, old mosques and dargahs.
The dargah of the Dawoodi Bohra community, also known as the Bohra Hajira, a magnificent mausoleum in worship of a Muslim saint, on the banks of the river near the Rajkot highway, is worth a visit. If you want to take photographs make sure you get permission at the office in the compound.
The area around the Jain temples is called Chandi Bazaar, meaning "silver market", where you can find gold and silver artisans practicing their ancestral trade. They are now joined by other metal workers, in the winding streets.
For a complete sense of the sacred in Jamnagar, you should also visit the cremation park, known as the Manekbai Muktidham, built in 1940 near the center of the city. The surprisingly pleasant atmosphere of this lovingly designed garden, with statues and murals and a library, brings us in contact with death in such a way that we are free from fear or aversion, and can see death as simply a stage of life, as depicted by one of the artistic representations in the park.
East of Chandi Chowk is Darbar Gadh, the old royal residence, built in 1540 but extended over the years as can be seen by the mix of architectural styles, also representing the fusion between Rajasthani and European elements. The semi- circular palace complex consists of a number of buildings with very fine architectural features and detailing.
It has some fine examples of stone carvings, wall paintings, fretwork jali-screens, ornamental mirrors, carved pillars and sculpture. The walls outside have carved jarokha balconies in the Indian tradition, a carved gate and Venetian-Gothic arches.
Dhanvantri Mandir was built under the personal supervision of Dr. Pranjivan Manekchand Mehta, Chief Medical Officer of Guru Govindsingh Hospital. After independence it gained the status of Ayurveda University. It has a good library, workshop and been a place of research and international seminars on Ayurveda- an ancient Indian medicinal system.
Gaga Wildlife Sanctuary in Jamnagar is a secure abode for varied vertebrates and invertebrates. Confirmed as a wildlife refuge in the year 1988, this sanctuary spreads over an area of 332 square kilometers. The natural vivid vegetation of this region with lush green patches of grasses and other shrubs forms a unique abode for native and migratory weathered birds. The enormous, pouched bills of serene white and large pelicans, textured and patterned feathered Spot-billed Ducks along with elongated and regal forms of flamingoes inhabit the waterscapes and create an inimitably pictorial sight. These winter guests along with demoiselle cranes and common cranes make this sanctuary an ecstatic locale for bird enthusiasts.
Mammals like wolf, jackals, mongoose, jungle cats, bluebull joyously wander around their cosseted domicile within the grasslands. Butterflies, moths, honeybees, wasps with their mischievous flip-flapping movements add in a bouncy energy to the area while the varied types of spiders mystify the ambiance with their intricate webbed tapestry.
The sanctuary with in its blossoming best is one of the best places to visit within the period of autumn to spring. Toddle around the seashore during sunrise and sunset and capture riot of orange to red colors distinguishing the horizon while glistening the soft coat of the birds. Watching them flying across the vibrant sphere or swimming along with the impish waves is a pleasure unparalleled and unique. An exploring walk around the grasslands or the agricultural grounds brings you across the resident animals and fluttering butterflies of the region.
South of the mosque are three Jain Temples, built between 1574 and 1622, the most intricate of which is Raisi Shah's temple, dedicated to the tirthankar Shantinath, with a sanctum dome decorated with gold inlay work. Its various chambers, elaborate geometric patterns in the marble floors, many with mirrored ceilings, ask for a few hours of time, preferably in the morning. Next is the Vardhman Shah temple, dedicated to the tirthankar Adinath, a more simple structure, but also more vibrant in color. The third temple of the triad is smaller, but also interesting.
This is the new garden in the city a botanical one is their in the new and modern city area on Palace Road. It is very much used by the daily walkers and joggers of the western part of city area.
The Khijada temple is the founding site of the Pranami sect that, while based in Hinduism, promotes unity of all religions. The temple structure is built around two 400-year-old sacred trees. The name of the sect comes from the word pranam, or an acknowledgement of the divine in each being, demonstrated by a greeting of folded hands. The priest and many members of the community are involved in various social service activities, including HIV/AIDS prevention. These activities are open to newcomers, so if you're interested, or even just want a more detailed history of the temple community, ask for Shri Surendraji, a resident monk, or Navinbhai Parikh.
Khijadia Bird Sanctuary, located 10 km north east of Jamnagar, represents the combination of seasonal freshwater shallow lake, inter-tidal mudflats, creeks, saltpans, saline land and mangrove scrub. The place is a known breeding ground of the Great Crested Grebe. Apart from it, Little Grebe, Purple Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt and Pheasant-tailed Jacana are also recorded breeding here.
Raptors, including harriers, eagles, hawks and falcons are also spotted here. The sanctuary also shelters migratory birds such as swallows, martins, wagtails and various waterfowls. It is considered as an important site for ecological research and education.
The Kotha Bastion is Jamnagar's prize possession. It has a fine collection of sculptures, coins, inscriptions and copper plates and the skeleton of a whale. One of its most interesting sights is an old well where the water can be drawn by blowing into a small hole in the floor.
This small palace, on an island in the middle of the Lakhota lake, once belonged to the Maharaja of Nawanagar. This fort like palace has semi-circular bastions, turrets, a pavilion with guard-rooms housing swords, powder flasks and musket loops. An arched stone- bridge with balustrade connects the Lakhota Palace with the town.
Today it houses a small museum. The fort museum has a good collection of sculptures that spans a period from the 9th to18th century and pottery found in ruined medieval villages from the surrounding area. The very first thing you see on entry, however, before the historical and archaeological information, is the guardroom with muskets, swords and powder flasks, reminding you of the structure's original purpose and proving the martial readiness of the state at the time. The walls of the museum are also covered in frescoes depicting various battles fought by the Jadeja Rajputs. The museum is reached by a short causeway from the northern side of Ranmal Lake.
Every year about 75 species of birds, including pelicans, flamingos, spoonbills, ducks, terns, and gulls, descend on this lake, making it a lively birdwatching site, a pleasant surprise in an urban center. The lake is most lively in the evenings, when people relax around the lake to enjoy the breeze and a chai, kulfi, or chaat from one of the many food stands, and at night the lake is beautifully lit. You can go for a 15-minute boat-ride around it, or rent a paddle boat. Around the lake there are parks, a night market for vegetables and even a small zoo.
India's first marine sanctuary, the park is situated almost 16 nautical miles away in Great Arabian Sea near Jamnagar and spreads over an area of about 458 km2. Located at about 7 km from the city centre, the park comprises an archipelago of 42 islands noted for their coral reefs and mangroves. It is possible to see dolphins, finless porpoise and sea turtles and a variety of colourful tropical fish. The entire forest have various marine lives. The area also attracts a host of water birds.
The Goddess (Kuldevi) of the Jadeja clan of Rajputs who ruled this place. The temple is located in the east part of Jamnagar from where the entrance (Gate) to the city and its close to Darbargadh in old city area.
Next to the Bhid Bhajan Temple is the Parsi Agiari (Fire Temple), though as with all Fire Temples, it is not open to visitors. Eastwards, across the street from the supermarket, on the other side of various tourist facilities, is the tiny doorway to the Swaminarayan temple, which has a beautiful floor, ceilings and dome. The best time to visit might be during the aarti, which is usually at 7pm.
Of the 42 islands, the only ones that visitors are permitted to enter and explore are Pirotan Island, which is easier to access and therefore more popular, and Narala Island, which lacks infrastructure and can only be reached at certain times, when the tide is high enough. The islands are uninhabited except for the workers at Pirotan Island's lighthouse, so enjoy the solitude and use it as an opportunity to lose yourself to the wide world around you. Armed with a little knowledge, you can spend hours walking around the tidal flats at low tide, observing the fascinating marine life as it lies exposed from the receding waters. Some of the creatures, such as jellyfish, are best left untouched. Be sure to ask the park officers what others should be avoided, but don't be afraid to have a hands on experience with the creatures that are open to it.
The beautiful Pratap Vilas Palace, built during the rule of His Royal Highness Jam Ranjitsinhji, is a distinct place to visit for a variety of reasons. It has European architecture with Indian carvings that give it a totally distinct appeal. It was built as a mimic of Victoria Memorial Building of Calcutta but the domes built on it are according to Indian architecture, out of which 3 domes are made of glass. Carvings of creepers, flowers, leaves, birds and animals on the columns make the palace lively.
Tejsi Shah built jain temples in 1564 which were ruined by Moghul army in 1590. Tejsi Shah renovated these temples in 1592. In the year 1619 his son Raisi Shah built 'Deri'(a very small temple) around it.
Ranjitsagar Dam is the water source for the city. It has a municipal garden, a pleasant spot for picnics and birdwatching during the migratory season.
Around 8 km away from town, Ranmal Lake is a natural water body in which the river accumulates, another beautiful spot for birdwatching, especially during migration season.
In the center of old city is this old mosque, a structure hard to miss with its two towering green and white minarets. Its doors are made of sandalwood, inlaid with mother-of-pearl. It has its own rainwater harvesting system, with a tank holding water for ritual washing before namaaz.
Rozi and Bedi are two prominent ports along the shores of the mighty Arabian Sea. These attractive seaside picnic spots offer excellent facilities for fishing and angling. These ports make great daytrip spots for seaside picnics or fishing. They are accessible by ferry from Nava Bandar, 3km from Jamnagar.
Shantinath Mandir is situated, south-west of Bedi Gate, in Jamnagar. The temple has intricate carvings and the walls are adorned with fine murals, which depict the life of Jain saints. The floor is made of marble and decorated with distinctive Jain patterns in yellow, black, white and red.
The Shiv Temples within the city are so many. Temples like Badri kedar Nath and Nilkanth Mahadev Temle around the Town Hall and the Kashi Vishwanath Temple on the K.V. Road are worth visiting.
Also known as the Ranjit Institute of Poly-Radio Therapy, the Solarium was built by Jam Shri Ranjitsinhji in the 1920s during his rule by bringing in an expert from France. This slowly revolving tower provides full daylong sunlight for the treatment of skin diseases. With the destruction of two similar solaria in France during World War II, this is probably now the only one of its kind in the world, and certainly in Asia. It is open to visitors after working hours.
Vardhman Shah's Temple is a delightful shrine and one of the four main Jain temples in Jamnagar. The foundation stone of this shrine was laid in 1612, during the reign of Jam Jasaji I and was completed in the year 1620. Fifty two very small temples or 'Deri' were built around the temple in 1622.
Walking distance from the Town Hall on Bhidbanjan Road next to the cricket ground, this statue is a beautiful tribute to Mankad, one of India's greatest cricketers. He is caught at the top of his bowling run, as he is running in to deliver one of his often unplayable left-arm spinners.
The impressive Willingdon crescent was constructed by Jam Ranjit Singh, inspired by his European journey. It comprises arcades of cusped arches, larger on the ground floor and smaller on the upper storey, pilasters on the curving walls, and balusters on the parapet. The statue of Jam Saheb is situated in the centre of the crescent.
- Old city, Mandvi Tower etc.