Information on Porbandar :
Porbandar, the coastal heritage town of Gujarat is located on the Saurashtra peninsula, on the Arabian Sea. This city is described in Skanda Purana as Sudamapuri and Ashmavati and had a flourishing trade with Africa and Arabia. According to the legends, this city was the main link of the great friendship between Lord Krishna and Sudama. Porbandar was established as a capital by Rana Sartanji in 1785 AD. Porbandar was the former capital of the Jethwa Rajput petty princely state. Porbandar, originally a fortified town, with high rampart walls, bastions and five gates, lost its fortification by the order of Colonel Lally in 1888 AD. Even today, a ritual to circumambulator the fortification is performed by Hindus. The most impressive feature of Porbandar is the city planning and the stone buildings with ashlar masonry and rich carving, the facades of the houses on either side of the streets, with windows and carved gateways. Porbandar is also associated with Mahatma Gandhi, the father of nation as he was born here. Today, fine quality silk and cotton are manufactured here. There are also chemical factories and cement works.
History of Porbandar :
Porbandar was the last capital of the Jethwa Rajputs, who ruled this area for about 1200 years. Porbandar was a prosperous town due to the maritime trade and was a thriving port in the Mughal period. It was attacked by the Portuguese in the wake of achieving supremacy over sea trade in 1531 AD. The Walker Treaty of 1807 AD between the ruling clans of Saurashtra and the British put an end to the feuds and it resulted in a favourable environment for the civic development of the Porbandar State. Porbandar is also associated with the Mahatma Gandhi as at this place Mahatama Gandhi was born in 1869 AD.
Tourist Attractions in Porbandar :
Kirti Mandir, Darbargadh, Sudama temple and the Huzoor Palace are the various tourist attractions in Porbandar. Kirti Mandir was the house of the Mahatma Gandhi and his wife. This place has a Gandhian library and a prayer hall. Sudama temple is a beautiful temple which is built in the middle of the Porbandar town. This temple is the only temple in India which is dedicated to Sudama. Darbargadh is the fortified palace built by Rana Sartanji and has a huge carved stone entrance gate flanked by high turrets and massive wooden doors. Huzoor Palace is the sprawling palace, built in the European style with sloping roofs, several wings and big windows. Darbargadh, Sartanji Choro, Kirti Mandir and Huzoor Palace are the various tourist attractions in Porbandar.
Kirti Mandir :
Kirti Mandir was the house of the Mahatma Gandhi and Kasturba, his wife. This place is situated near the place where the Mahatma Gandhi was born. This place is now a small museum and also has a Gandhian library and a prayer hall. The site of Gandhis birth has been converted into a small museum about him now, with an exhibit of old photographs, some of his very few possessions and a nice library of books either by him or relating to Gandhian philosophy and practice.
Darbargadh, the fortified palace was built by the Rana Sartanji. This palace has a huge carved stone entrance gate flanked by high turrets and massive wooden doors. It is a typical example of such royal enclosures situated within the town of Gujarat. The nearby edifices on the left of the entrance are also good examples of large mansions with courtyards and intricately carved wooden elements.
Sudama Temple :
According to Hindu mythology, Sudama was a dear friend of Lord Krishna. The friendship of two is an example sited between friends even today. To pay homage to the great soul, a beautiful temple was built in the centre of Porbandar. This temple is the only temple in the entire country that is dedicated to Sudama.
Huzoor Palace :
Huzoor Palace is located at the end of Marine Drive, in a huge campus. This sprawling palace is built in the European style with sloping roofs, several wings and big windows, overlooking the sea. The wings are interspersed with the back and front yards which bring nature and the building together by gardens and fountains. The semi-circular porticos with neo-classical pillars, decorated entrance gate and the commanding view makes this palace, a worth visiting place.
Tara Mandir (Nehru Planetarium) :
The Tara Mandir is one of the main attractions of Porbandar. It is a planetarium, which is built by the donation of Shri Nanjibhai. It is also one among the first two planetariums in India that were started by Shri Jawaharlal Nehru. Tara Mandir has an overhead round screen with celestial bodies made on it. Here, the stars and planets are projected with special effects and explained in detail.
Sartanji Choro :
Rana Sartanji built Sartanji Choro, the three storey summer pavilion. This palace was built in the Rajput style as a retreat in the middle of the garden. Each side of the garden represent a different reason. The pillars with images of musicians, profusely carved foliated arches and a single dome at the top gives an idea of bygone days, when Rana Sartanji used to compose poems in Braj language, sitting under this pavilion.
Daria Rajmahal :
At a short distance from Huzoor Palace, there is monument called Daria Rajmahal. It was built by Maharaja Bhavsinhji with the assistance of designs from state engineer Phulchand Parekh, in late 19th century. Daria Rajmahal represents the architecture of Arab and Italy. The Rajmahal has Italian styled facades with amalgamation of Renaissance and Gothic detail. The palace houses chandeliers, European furniture and paintings that reflect the royalty of Maharaja.
Bharat Mandir Hall :
Bharat Mandir Hall is situated in a pleasant irrigated garden. This hall has a large relief map of India on the floor and bas reliefs of heroes from Hindu legends on the pillars.
Porbandars coastal line is just half a kilometre away from the city. Popularly known as Chowpatty, it is one of the main attractions for the local population as well as tourists, to visit and enjoy the beautiful scenery throughout the year.
Porbandar Bird Sanctuary :
Porbandar Bird Sanctuary is located amid the city of Porbandar flaunting the co-existence of man and nature. Spread over an area of 1 square kilometre this unique water dwelling, surrounded by trees and plants was affirmed as a sanctuary in the year 1988. Varied species of birds in all shapes and sizes fly in every year enlivening the area with varied colours; patterns and making this zone a home and their nesting ground. Water birds are often seen splashing in the freshwater lake while the sky touching flights of certain birds bedecks the firmament.
Flamingos, Grebes, Pelicans, Ducks and geese, Avocets, Coots, Cormorants, Herons, Egrets, Bittern, Storks, Ibis, Spoonbill, Cranes, Whistling Teals, Gulls, Terns, Jacanas, Ruff, Red shanks, Indian roller and many other varieties of winged creatures are seen in this area.
Khimeshwar Temple :
The temple of Khimeshwar is located at a distance of 15 km from Porbandar. The temple is standing on Dwarka road, sea side. It is believed that Pandavas lived here. The temple is famous for its fair that is organised in the month of June or July every year.
Barda Hills :
Barda Hills is located at a distance of 15 km from Porbandar. The hill of Barda is famous for its woods, which is spread over an area of 190 square km. The River Bileshvary and the river Joghri flows through the Barda Hills Wildlife sanctuary. There are two dams situated at this place namely Khamdala and Fodara, which are picnic spots. Barda hills is also ideal for trekking. This hilly terrain is with patches of flat plains at places.
Barda Hills Wildlife Sanctuary :
Barda Wildlife Sanctuary is located at about 15 km from Porbandar, which faces Arabian Sea. Barda was a private forest of the ex-princely State of Ranavav (Porbandar) and Jamnagar and, therefore, it is still popularly known as Rana Barda and Jam Barda. Entire area is the reserve forest and had been notified as Sanctuary in the year 1979. The settlement of the area has been completed, but final notification is yet to be issued.
The Sanctuary is distributed in two districts i.e. Porbandar and Jamnagar. The hilly terrain with patches of flat plains at places, the crisscrossing of numerous rivulets and streams and existing dams impart a divine look to the forest. One may hardly abstain from thinking that here is the place, where the saints in ancient times must have attained moksha, the ultimate liberation. The Sanctuary area is a green oasis, surrounded by agriculture fields, wastelands and forest.
The Sanctuary hardly has 192.31 sq. km area, but has one of the most diverse floral compositions and therefore a potential source of remedies of many ailments, and therefore deserves to be safeguarded. The terrain of Barda is almost hilly and undulating with an altitude ranging from 79.2 m to 617.8 m. above sea level. At places, there are gentle slopes with exposed rocks. The two main ephemeral rivers are Bileshvary and Joghri. Khambala and Fodara are important dams in the Sanctuary.
Bileshwar Shiva Temple :
Bileshwar Shiva Temple is an ancient temple since early 7th century, situated at a distance of 15 km to the east of Porbandar Bileshwar Shiva Temple is built in Gujarati architecture style. The building of the temple is multi storied, made in pyramid like shape rather than a spire. The exterior of the temple is embellished with arc like theme.
In the picturesque wooded valley at Ghumli, a few kms. Further inland there are ruins dating back to the Solanki period. The Vikia Vav is one of the largest step wells in Gujarat. The pavilions were constructed over the steps with one at the entrance. All were richly carved. The well also served a religious purpose as a water sanctuary.
Gop is situated about 50 kms. North east of Porbandar and midway on the Porbandar-Jamnagar road. The 6th century temple dates from the Maitraka period (6th - 8th centuries) and is a rare example of an early Hindu temple. The sanctuary is on a raised platform and has a pyramidal roof with an amalaka topping off. The whole is in a dilapidated state.