Morbi is situated about 29 kms. from Rajkot. Morbi dominated access to the Peninsula. Making use of the trade route, Morbi developed into a modern state under the leadership of the Thakur Sahib Waghaji. There are two places of interest in Morbi. The older is the Durbargadh Waghaji Palace, with a Venetian Gothic exterior and Rajput, Gothic and Indo-Saracenic features inside. It is approached by a suspension bridge. The New Palace contains some late Art Deco features, like the Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur and similarly includes some subterranean rooms.
Hanging Bridge - Morbi :
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.
Nehru Gate - Morbi :
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.
Mani Mandir :
Mani mandir is famous place in morbi. Mani Mandir is a stunning piece of temple architecture, situated in the courtyard of Wellingdon Secretariat, in Morbi, Gujarat. Built in 1935, this magnificent structure took shape in Jaipur stone, adorned with exquisitely carved elements-arches, brackets, jalis, chhatris and shikhara. The temple enshrines the images of Lakshmi Narayan, Goddess Kali, Lord Ram, Radha- Krishna and Lord Shiva.
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 Kathiawad.
Rampara Wildlife Sanctuary - Wankaner :
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 grey babbler, purple sunbird, yellow throated sparrow are indigenous varieties of birds inhabiting this area.
Tarnetar [Near Rajkot] :
Tarnetar is a small village about 75 kilometres from Rajkot in Saurashtra. 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.