Information on Gondal :
Gondal, a fortified town is located on the River Gondali. Gondal was the capital of the former princely state of Gondal and was ruled by the Jadeja Rajput clan, who ruled the princely states of Kutch, Jamnagar, Rajkot and Gondal for more than 300 years. But in the late 19th century and early 20th century the present state of Gondal saw various developments under the rule of Maharaja Bhagwat Singhji. Maharaja Bhagwat Singhji introduced various social reforms and planned the development of the Gondal town. Due to his reforms, the town of Gondal grow into one of the most progressive princely states in the region with an efficient system of roads, railways, schools, hospitals, highways, sanitary drainage, irrigation and free compulsory education.
Tourist Attractions in Gondal :
Some of the tourist attractions in Gondal are the Naulakha Darbargadh Palace. Naulakha palace was built during the 17th century, and is the oldest palace in Gondal. This palace was constructed in nine lakhs and thus named so. There are stone carvings with exquisite balconies, a fabulous pillared courtyard, delicately carved arches, and a unique spiral staircase in the palace. The Orchard Palace is located in a huge complex of fruit orchards, lawns and gardens, and is a wing of the Huzoor Palace (the present royal residence) where the ruling family of Gondal entertained guests. The Royal Garages have an extensive collection of vintage and classic cars, sports cars and American cars from the World War II and post war period. Gondal is also a paradise for birdwatchers. Various birds like demoiselle cranes, rosy pelicans, flamingos, spoonbills, ibises, ducks, sand grouse, great horned owl, grey and painted partridge, quails, larks and warblers can be seen at the lake in Gondal. In the grasslands various animals like blue bull antelope, jackal, and jungle cat can also be seen. The various tourist attractions in Gondal are the Riverside Palace, Orchard Palace, Royal Garages and Naulakha Palace etc.
Riverside Palace :
The Riverside Palace was built in 1875 AD by Maharaja Bhagwat Sinhji for his son Yuvraj Bhojraji. The palace is set in lawns and gardens beside the river Gondal. There are various sitting arrangements which are furnished in typical colonial style with antique wooden furniture and many pleasant sit-outs are also located on the terraces and galleries overlooking either the river or the garden.
Orchard Palace :
The Orchard Palace is located in a huge complex of fruit orchards, lawns and gardens. This palace is a wing of the Huzoor Palace, where the ruling family of Gondal entertained guests. The room of miniatures is a splendid sitting room with a collection of miniature paintings, brass and antique furniture.
Royal Garages :
The Royal Garages have an extensive collection of vintage and classic cars from 1910 to 1955, limousine and sports cars from 1950 and 1960, American cars from 1940 and 1950, and a fleet of four-wheel drive vehicles from the World War II and post-war period. Most of these cars are restored and some bear the original Gondal State number plates.
Naulakha Palace :
Naulakha Darbargadh Palace was built during the 17th century. This palace is one of the oldest and the most beautiful palace in Gondal. This palace is situated on the banks of the river on a grand masonry base, rising about 30 meter above the river bed. This palace was built in about nine lakhs and thus named so. 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 on the extreme left corner leading to the intricately carved pavilions on the open terrace. There are stone carvings with exquisite balconies, fabulous pillared courtyard, delicately carved arches, and a unique spiral staircase in the palace. The grand Darbar Hall has series of huge windows which open into long balcony supported by intricately carved brackets. The Darbar Hall has large chandeliers, stuffed panthers, wooden furniture and antique Belgian mirrors. The private palace museum displays artefacts and gifts received by Maharaja Bhagwat Sinhji as a ruler of Gondal, on his 50th birthday and various other relics.
Khambhalida Caves - Gondal :
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 sometime in the 4th century AD.
This small town located 60kms from Rajkot is famous for the Jalarambapa temple. It is believed that Virpur is the birthplace of Jalarambapa, a famous saint worshipped by the Lohana community of Gujarat. He is also revered by many other Gujarati communities. It is a tradition here to serve food to devotees and believers who come here. The temple does not accept any donations and the food is provided free of cost.
70 km from Rajkot on the way to Junagadh lies Jetpur, a town renowned in history as a centre for Block printing and dyeing. The very air is laden with the smells of dye stuffs spiralling out of large copper vats with translucent layers of coloured 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.