Information on Rajkot :
Rajkot is a city of Gujarat state in India and administrative headquarters of the Rajkot District, located on the banks of the Aji River and Niari River. Rajkot is located at 22.3° N 70.78° E. It has an average height of 134 metres. The city is spread in the area of 104.86 square km. Rajkot was the former capital of the princely state of Saurashtra. Rajkot was once a base for the Western States British government office and rapidly expanded into a prosperous, lively business centre, with an old city. This city is also associated with the Mahatma Gandhi, who lived here for several years. Rajkot was the capital of the Saurashtra state from 15 April 1948 to 31 October 1956 before merging in bilingual Bombay State on 1 November 1956. Rajkot was merged into Gujarat State from bilingual Bombay state on May 1, 1960. Today, the city of Rajkot is the home of several temples. During summers, the temperature ranges between 24°C and 42°C. In winter, the temperature varies between 10°C and 24°C. The best time to visit Rajkot is between the months of October and March. The weather of Rajkot is the most pleasant at this time of the year
History of Rajkot :
Rajkot has been under different rulers since it was founded. Rajkot has large history. Rajkot was founded by Thakur Saheb Vibhaji Ajoji Jadeja of Jadeja clan and Raju Sandhi in 1612 AD. Vibhaji Ajoji was grandson of Jam Sataji of Nawanagar, present day Jamnagar. Rajkot was named in honour of its co-founder Raju Sandhi. Masum Khan conquered Rajkot in 1720 AD. He was a deputy Faujdar of Junagadhs Nawab. Masum Khan changed name of Rajkot to Masumabad. He also built the fortress in 1722 AD. There were Eight Gates to access Masumabad, which were studded with iron spikes on its outer side for defence purposes. Further, there was a gate without spikes called Khadaki Naka near Nakalank Temple. The chief Engineer of British Agency, Sir Robert Bell Booth, renovated Bedi gate and Raiya Naka gate and built the present three storied clock towers in 1892. Masumabad was conquered by Jadeja clan and its name was restored to Rajkot. Bavajiraj Jadeja had built Darbargadh, first palace of this princely state. He was succeeded by his son Sir Lakhjiraj Jadeja. He was most prominent ruler amongst previous Jadeja rulers. He constructed Lalpari Lake and Randarda Lake. His son Dharmendrasingji Jadeja succeeded him, but he died during hunting of Lion in Sasan Gir, so his second son Pradumansingh Jadeja took over his monarchy. Rajkot was merged into Republic of India during his rule. British East India Company founded saurashtra agency in Rajkot to moderate all princely states. The British constructed many impressive colonial buildings and educational institutions, few of them are Connaught Hall and the Rajkumar College. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi spent the early years of his life when his father was a Diwan to the king of Rajkot. He did fasting to ask the people to form peoples council and liberation of people of Rajkot at Rashtriya Sala in 1939. After independence Rajkot became capital of State of Saurashtra headed by U. N. Dhebar as chief Minister. Rajkot was merged into Gujarat State from bilingual Bombay state on May 1, 1960.
Shopping in Rajkot :
Rajkot has quickly developed as a Patola weaving industry. This skill comes from Patan and is a laborious process that involves dyeing each thread. However in Patan, both the warp and weft threads are dyed (double ikat), while in Rajkot only the weft is dyed (single ikat). The workshops in the peoples houses can be visited in the Sarvoday Society Area.
Tourist Attractions in Rajkot :
The main tourist attractions in Rajkot are the Mahatma Gandhi House or Karba Gandhi No Delo, Watson museum, Aji Dam, Jagat Mandir, Rajkumar College, Lang Library, Lal Pari Lake and Randerda.
Kaba Gandhi No Delo/Gandhi Smurti :
It is also known as Kaba Gandhi no Delo. This is Gandhijis 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 Mahatmas life with bilingual captions in both Hindi and Gujarati. An NGO runs classes in sewing and embroidery for young girls within the premises.
Watson Museum :
A pleasant day spent in the Jubilee Gardens is the ideal way to enhance ones body and mind. Nestled within natures bounty are the Watson Museum and the Lang Library. The Museum is named in honour of the British Political Agent in Kathiawad who initiated the documentation of historical artefacts with due patronage of the royal families in the region. The collection houses paintings and artefacts donated by the various royal families, an extensive memorabilia of Colonial rule and influence with textiles and jewellery depicting Bharwads, Ahirs, Darbars and other indigenous people of the province. There is also an interesting collection of Indus Valley Civilization artefacts 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.
Lal Pari Lake and Randerda :
Lal Pari Lake and Randerda is a picturesque picnic spot, situated about 5 kms. from Rajkot.
Aji Dam :
It is situated 8 Kilometres from Rajkot and supplies the towns water.
Rashtriya Shala :
Gandhiji returned back to Rajkot, the place of his former schooling in 1939 to help set up the Rashtriya shala, 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.
Jagat Mandir :
Jagat Mandir is the beautiful carved temple of Shri Ramakrishna Paramhansa. It is made of red stones.
Rajkumar College :
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.
The Lang Library :
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 handmade 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.
Raiya Naka and Bedi Naka Gate :
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.
Ramkrishna Math :
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 centre, plus guest house and a permanent exhibition showcasing the life of Shri Ramkrishna Paramhans.
Bangdi Bazaar :
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 colourful riot of Bangles in every shape, form and colour giving the market the apt title of Bangdi Bazaar. Up close and personal is the bazaar of the Sonic, 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.
Jubilee Garden :
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.
Race Course :
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.
Rotary Dolls Museum :
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.
Swaminarayan Temple :
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.
Mukti Dham :
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.