Rampara Wildlife Sanctuary
Rotary Dolls Museum
Welcome to Rajkot,
Rajkot is the 4th largest city in the state of Gujarat, India. It is located on the banks of the Aji River and Niari River. The tourism in the city is picking up owing to the fact that there are a number of places here that are worth visiting.
It was founded by Thakur Saheb Vibhaji Ajoji Jadeja of Jadeja clan in 1612 AD. Since then, it has been the seat of Jadeja rulers of India. Rajkot is also known for the reason that Mahatma Gandhi spent the early days of his life here only. He completed his education in one of the schools here. Apart from this, the city is famous for jewelry, silk embroidery and watch parts. It is also famous for its gold purity. Rajkot has one of the biggest gold markets of Gujarat, called Soni Bazaar. Places to visit are Hingolgadh Nature Education Sanctuary,
It is situated 8 Kilometers from Rajkot and supplies the town's water.
The market in the old part of the city is a maze of narrow alleyways, lanes and cul-de-sacs. Shop fronts and fort paths displaying a vast array of embroidered fabrics, beadwork, bandhanis and readymade flow in profusion to the colorful riot of Bangles in every shape, form and color giving the market the apt title of Bangdi Bazaar. Up close and personal is the bazaar of the Sonis, the traditional community of gold and silver smiths tantalizingly displaying their wares viewing, gossiping and cups of chai are the norms of the day with bargains sometimes struck along the way.
The Community Science Centre and Planetarium is run and maintained by a non government organization and was established in 1992. The objective of the place is to impart knowledge related to science and maths to children with the help of educational programmes, workshops, and seminars. This community centre also has on display, several science fiction programs along with scientific and mathematical objects. It also provides knowledge about position and movement of planets and its effects with the help of audio and video shows. The team of this centre has also been educating children on crucial issues of aids.
Gondal, a city state mere 35 km away from Rajkot ruled by a family of car enthusiasts whose royal passion resulted in a fine collection of automobiles which are now part of a museum in the palace premises. Such was the royal passion that Gondal had the best planned and well designed road system in preindependent Gujarat. Gondal like its neighbors has some visually exciting palaces and living spaces; some like the Riverside Palace commissioned in 1875 by Bhagwatsinghji is now a Heritage Hotel. The palace grounds form a private forest reserve with frolicking deers and a variety of birds adding to the tranquil beauty of the place.
A building worth visiting is the old Darbargadh a seventeenth century structure which reputedly cost Rupees Nine Lakhs thus earning the sobriquet 'Navlakha Palace'. The palace is built on series of arches delicately carved and inscribed in stone with a magnificent spiral staircase leading all the way to the top. The interior of the Darbargadh is open to visitors and for a fee one can experience the opulent living style of the Maharajas of old. Mandvi Chowk.
Hanging Bridge is located in Morbi of Rajkot. It was made from wire ropes and wood, during the British rule. The bridge is 165 feet long and 4.5 feet broad and has been constructed over the River Machchhu. Crossing the bridge is a sensational experience for the visitors.
Other noteworthy attractions in Morbi are the Mani Mandir, a multi-religious Hindu shrine, the Wellington Secretariat with its marked Rajasthani influence and the Art Deco Palace constructed in 1931 with a magnificently varied interior.
Onset of monsoon till the beginning of winters is an ideal period to explore this unique terrain or attend the Nature Education Camps. This unique eco-education haven provides valuable opportunity for observing physical features such as the surging hill-slopes, patterns of soil characteristics, water-flow and the impact of these features on the food chain comprising of vegetation (grasses, herbs, shrubs and scrubby trees) and the animal world primarily supported by the vegetation.
While the melodious singing of bulbul enchants you and the shy fox hidden behind a shrub attracts your attention, be cautious and aware of where you are standing and proximity with reptiles. This unique untamed garden of nature is also home to 19 species of snake and you being alert will make the trip a safe and memorable endeavor.
Ishwariya Temple is a small temple of Rajkot, dedicated to Lord Shiva. It lies at 10 km from the city in the Madhapar village on Jamnagar highway. The most popular feature of this is its Shiva Lingam, which is recognised as 'Swayambhu'. It is also a major picnic spot of the place. Along with this, an annual fair held at this temple is also quite popular.
Jagat Mandir is the beautiful carved temple of Shri Ramakrishna Paramhansa. It is made of red stones.
70 km from Rajkot on the way to Junagadh lies Jetpur, a town renowned in history as a center for Block printing and dyeing. The very air is laden with the smells of dye stuffs spiraling out of large copper vats with translucent layers of colored fabrics drying to the percussion beat of wooden printing blocks. Jetpur is a pleasure for textile enthusiasts who can visit and experience the process of printing and dyeing.
Jubilee Garden is located in the heart of Rajkot and is one of its most popular sightseeing and picnic spots. Jubilee garden is home to a large amusement park along with many shops and attractions likeWatson Museum, Connaught Hall, Alfred High School, and Lang Library. There are also many food courts present in the place that serve a variety of food items. The chutney of 'Chevdo' is the most popular food item in the place. The amusement park in the place offers a wide variety of rides both for children and adults. This garden is also ideal for spotting a few rare species of winter birds. This place is also a major commercial hub of the city.
It is also known as Kaba Gandhi no Delo. This is Gandhiji's ancestral home (1880) which now houses the 'Gandhi Smriti'- a memorial museum containing photographs and personal effects.
Karamchand Gandhi, the father or the Mahatma was appointed the Diwan of Rajkot State and resided in what is today known as Kaba Gandhi no Delo, located just off the busy Gheekantha Road.The house offers a pictoral tour of the Mahatma's life with bilingual captions in both Hindi and Gujarati. An NGO runs classes in sewing and embroidery for young girls within the premises.
A 28 km drive from Gondal gets you to Khambhalida. It has got three caves where the central one is called 'Chaitya' with a worn out stupa. The lonesome cry of peacocks and dancing dust devils guide you to an isolated cliff face where two imposing sentinels, statues carved in stone of the Bodhistava and on the right Vajrapani, guard a series of Buddhist caves hewn out of solid rocks some time in the 4th century AD.
A picturesque picnic spot, 5 kms. from Rajkot.
Mukti Dham is a renowned electric crematorium site of Rajkot, situated in Ramnath para area on the banks of River Nyari. Apart from being a cremation site, the place also comprises a library that houses books related to spiritual and religious topics. Mukti Dham has three umbrella resting points that provides shelter during heat and rain. The pillars of these resting points are decorated with statues of various deities. Some paintings and sculptures related to mythological events are also displayed within the premises of this 'dham'. There is also a step garden in the exteriors of this site decorated with flowers and shrubs.
Nehru Gate is also known as Nagar Darwaza. It is a historical architectural gate with a clock, depicting majesty and elegance. This gate leads to the historical market of Morbi.
Race Course is a large ground located in the heart of the city. It houses various places of interest, like Baalbhavan, Children Traffic Park, Fun World, etc. It also has various sports facilities like Olympic-standard Indoor Stadium, International-quality Cricket ground, Football ground, Hockey ground and Volleyball ground, along with a gym and swimming pool.
The Raiya Naka and Bedi Naka Gate is an old fort situated in Rajkot, which was built by Masum Khan, the Deputy Faudar of Junagadh in 1722 AD. It lies in the Ramnath para area of the city. In 1892, this fort was renovated by Sir Robert Bell Booth, who was the Chief Engineer of a British Agency. He also built a three storied clock tower here. Presently, only the gate of this fort is seen in a perfect state and only the ruins of the rest of the fort is seen at the site.
The Rajkumar College, Rajkot, is one of the oldest schools whose foundation stone was laid in 1868. The college has a flourishing history of 136 years and has had students from all walks of life. The college was founded for the education of the Princely order by the Princes and Chiefs of Kathiawar for the education of their sons and relations. In 1938, on the initiatives of its founding members, the College became a Public School - the first such college to do so. The college itself is also a founding member of the Indian Public Schools Conference.
In the mid 19th century, Ramkrishna Paramhans set out to revitalize Vedic philosophy and principles amongst the people of India. Following in his steps, the Ramkrishna Mission, Rajkot, located on a serene campus offers a value based education, has a public library and an Ayurvedic center, plus guest house and a permanent exhibition showcasing the life of Shri Ramkrishna Paramhans.
Marked with fringes of hillocks around the bordering periphery of the arid shrubby plain land distinct with wild grass is the Rampara Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary got the status of 'Reserve Forest' in the year 1983 before which it served as a shooting reserve that belonged to the former princely state of Wankaner also known as Central Saurashtra.
The natural spread of the sanctuary is known and renowned for housing an entire troop of mammoth antelopes. These vivacious antelopes roaming around in flocks or solitarily hiding in the wooded landscape are gorgeous creatures known for their slender body and thick coat of short fur. Galloping around the terrain with their delightful jumps and leaps, the antelopes add in zest and verve in the ambience.
Other animals like wolf, jackal, hyena, common fox, and blue bull are fellow residents of this sanctuary along with more than 130 species of birds flocking in this region. Partridge, Common peafowl, ring dove, large gray babbler, purple sunbird, yellow throated sparrow are indigenous varieties of birds inhabiting this area.
Gandhiji returned back to Rajkot, the place of his former schooling in 1939 to help set up the Rashtriyashala, the first of many institutions expressly incubating the values of Swaraj and instigating a sense of pride leading to freedom from the colonial rule. The shala(school) today imparts education and vocational training and has initiated projects in weaving khadi, cotton and manual oil pressing. A shala initiative also introduced local weavers to the art of single ikat weaving leading to a distinctive Rajkot style of ikat saris which have gained acceptance in the market.
The Rotary Dolls Museum, Rajkot. This unique Museum gives an overview to the culture and traditions of the world at large through a medium of dolls. The Rotary Clubs across the world have generously donated these Dolls to the Rotary Club of Rajkot Midtown. This vision was conceived in 2001 by the Rotarian Mr. Deepak Agrawal. To view in detail the path from conception to the birth on this Rotary Dolls Museum, While the vision has been to create a Dolls Museum where children and adults both gain from, the mission has been yet noble and simple, Love, Care and Concern for Humanity.
The Shri Ranchoddas Bapu Ashram is situated on the Kuvadava Road in Rajkot. This ashram is involved in several humanitarian and spiritual activities. It also runs a charitable trust and hospital for the blinds. The busiest days for this ashram are Thursdays', when it is flocked by a large number of believers and visitors.
This temple was built in 1998-99 by Swaminarayan Sampradaya. It is situated on Kalavad Road near Mahila College. The temple boasts of one of the largest auditorium in the state, having a capacity of thousands.
In 1824, Tankara - a village 44 km from Rajkot was blessed with the birth of a child who later grew up to be a great social reformer and began a Hindu movement based on Vedic principles. This venerable personage was none other than Swami Dayanand and the movement that he initiated is the Arya Samaj of today.
The Tarnetar Fair is one of the most important fairs of Gujarat. Various tribes like the Kolis, the Rabaris, the Bharwards, the Khants, the Khanbis, the Charans and the Kathis, get together to celebrate the famous legendary marriage of Draupadi with Arjuna, thereby retracing its origin to the times of the Mahabharata. Arjuna was the third of the five Pandavas of Hastinapur, who got married to Draupadi - the princess of this region, in the great Hindu epic, the Mahabharata.
Ras Garba Style of Dance Folk dances like the energetic and playful Ras Garba (where men and women dance in two circles moving in the clockwise and counter-clockwise directions with dandiyas, or sticks, in their hands) and the Hudo Dance (performed by the shepherd community where the dancers clap in a rhythmic manner while duplicating the movements of two sheep ramming their heads) are key draws.
The fair has a total local flavour to it, with food stalls, a cattle show, competitive sports and exhibitions of embroidery. The most distinctive feature is the famous Tarnetar Chhatri (umbrella) embroidered by the bachelors to attract the attention of unmarried girls. These are surely a treat for the eyes with their extensive mirror work, embroidery and delicate lacework. This fair, a major tourist attraction in Gujarat, symbolises the rich heritage of Saurashtra and draws thousands of visitors from various parts of the country and abroad.
The Lang library on the other hand has an extensive collection of old literature, lovingly bound books with the wafting aroma of aging leather and the soft crinkle of delicate pages keeping time with parchments of hand made paper etched in gold. The library has an enviable collection of Kathiawadi and Gujarati literature and a vast repository of fictional and reference material linked to the colonial era.
A short distance from Gondal is the town of Virpur, Jalaram Bapa the great social reformer and founder of the Jalaram movement was born here in the year 1800. His former residence is now part of a larger complex housing the main Jalaram temple and extensive kitchens to take care of needy pilgrims.
The former princely state of Wankaner is located 53 km from Rajkot. Nestled round a bend on the River Machchhu hence its nomenclature 'Wanka' meaning bend, 'Ner' a river, Wankaner formed part of an area in Saurashtra caller Jhalawar due to the predominance of the Jhala Rajputs ruling there.
The Wankaner Royal Family known for their patronage of the arts had a personal interest in engineering and architecture, exemplified in the Ranjit Vilas Palace designed by His Highness Amarsinghji in the year 1907. This Palace built on a hilltop overlooking the town of Wankaner is an eclectic blend of various architectural styles. Gothic arches support oriental marble balconies, terraced porticos sport Doric and ionic columns and a seven storied clock tower capped with a Mughal dome. Franco-Italian window panes frame the exteriors overlooking magnificent grounds containing stables for thorough bred stallions and a fine collection of classic automobiles. The palace is occupied by the present royal family though sections have been converted into a museum showcasing a grand collection of armaments, stuffed animals, portraits and paintings, royal silver ware and exotic furniture.
Two palace guest houses, The Royal Residency and the Royal Oasis are now Heritage Hotels. The Royal Oasis is situated on the banks of the Machchhu Lake amidst a serene orchard of leafy trees, the warbling of birds and an atmosphere of cool, meditative calm. It also houses a grand indoor pool in the Art Deco style with an early twentieth century step-well located near the palace grounds. Wankaner reflects the hospitality and grandeur of old Kathiawar
A pleasant day spent in the Jubilee Gardens is the ideal way to enhance ones body and mind. Nestled within nature's bounty are the Watson Museum and the Lang Library. The Museum is named in honor of the Brisith Political Agent in Kathiwad who initiated the documentation of historical artifacts with due patronage of the royal families in the region. The collection houses paintings and artifacts donated by the various royal families, an extensive memorabilia of Colonial rule and influence with textiles and jewelry depicting Bharwads, Ahirs, Darbars and other indigenous people of the province. There is also an interesting collection of Indus Valley Civilization artifacts garnered from various sites around the Saurashtra region.
A huge 19th century marble statue of queen Victoria is fascinating. There are many splendid portraits and photographs of royal princes of Saurashtra and European dignitaries, handicrafts, pottery and princely relics.