Information on Bhavnagar :
Bhavnagar lies in the southeast corner of the Kathiawar peninsula in the Saurashtra plains. Bhavnagar was founded by Bhav Singhji Gohil in 1723 AD near the Gulf of Khambhat, on a carefully chosen strategic location having potential of maritime trade. Earlier, Bhavnagar was a flourishing port but today, various activities related to the sea takes place at the Ghogha and Alang port. Bhavnagar grew into one of the 15th richest princely states in India during the early 20th century. Today, the city of Bhavnagar is the home of several lakes and temples. This city is also associated with the Mahatma Gandhi, who went to the Bhavnagar university. Bhavnagar is a busy industrial centre that makes a useful base for journeys to nearby Jain temples at Palitana and the Velavadar National Park.
History of Bhavnagar :
Bhavnagar was founded by Bhav Singhji Gohil in 1723 AD near the Gulf of Khambhat. Till independence, Bhavnagar was ruled by the Gohil Rajput clan. The Gohil Rajputs came to Gujarat from Marwar in 1260 AD and Sejakpur, Umrala and Sihor were their three capitals. Originally, Bhavnagar was the capital of a state of the same name and ruled by the Suryavanshi Rajputs from Marwar. The rulers of Bhavnagar also shifted their residence to Motibag and Nilambag Palace. For almost two centuries, Bhavnagar remained a major port and established trade with Africa, Mozambique, Singapore and the Persian Gulf. Bhavnagar has long been an important cotton trading post, but now supplement its survival on diamonds, plastics and ship parts- Bhavnagar lock gate keeps ships afloat in the port at low tide. The trade resulted in the high rate of urbanization, surplus wealth and cosmopolitan culture of the town. The tangled bazaars and crumbling wooden houses of the old city feel remarkably untouched by the outside world. The present state of Bhavnagar owes much to the vision of the past ruler Sir Takhtsinhji Gohil (1869-96 AD). During the rule of Takhtsinhji, the Barton Library, High Court, Alfred High School and Sir Takhtsinhji Hospital were constructed.
Tourist Attractions in Bhavnagar :
The various tourist attractions in Bhavnagar are the Takhteshwar Temple, Gandhi Smriti and Barton museum, Victoria Park, Gaurishankar Lake etc.
Takhteshwar Temple :
Situated on the hillock in the centre of the city, this popular landmark is a Shiva temple constructed way back in 1893 and named after its patron Takhtsinhji. Sitting on the serene marble courtyard of the temple one can have a panoramic view of the entire city as well as the surrounding landscape.
Gaurishankar Lake :
Gaurishankar Lake is a very popular place for the evening stroll, picnic and bird watching. Ducks, geese, pelicans, cranes and other wading birds can be seen on the banks of this lake. On the banks of the lake, the Bhav Vilas Palace is located which is owned by a relative of the family.
Barton Museum & Gandhi Smriti :
Gandhi Smriti and Barton museum belongs to the 1895 AD. This museum has a fine collection of farming tools, beadwork, wood carvings, religious carvings, weapons, musical instruments, betel nut cutters, coins, stamps, sculpture, skeletons and various folk arts objects which represent the culture of the Saurashtra region. This memorial also houses photographs and some of the items related to Mahatma Gandhi which reminds of the Mahatma Gandhi as a student of Bhavnagar University. This museum also has a library that consists of the books and photographs of Mahatma Gandhi.
Barton Library :
Barton Library is a beautiful two storey building, appropriately designed for a road junction. It has two wings and a central tower, constructed in ashlar stone masonry, with Gothic arch windows and a sloping roof with Mangalore tiles. This library is one of the oldest libraries of Gujarat and also houses a museum.
Nilambag Palace :
Nilambag Palace is a heritage hotel in Bhavnagar. This palace was designed by a German architect, as a royal residence for the erstwhile Maharajas in 1859 AD which was later converted into a heritage hotel. This palace is a magnificent building that is set amidst huge estate of 10 acres. It combines elements of Indian architecture with a modern outlook.
Gangajalia Temple :
Gangajalia temple is dedicated to Ganga Devi. This temple is built in white marble located in the middle of a former tank. This temple has a chhatri, pavilion and bridge, built of white marble. It was designed by Sir John Griffith, principal or Sir J J School of Arts, Bombay.
Victoria Park :
Earlier Victoria park was the famous game reserve. Various interesting wildlife animals and birds are still found in this park. Antelope, jackal, blue bull, hare and hyena are the various animals which are found in this place. The marshes in the park also attracts many ducks and birds.
Aksharwadi Swaminarayana Temple :
Aksharwadi Swaminarayana Temple is also known as Akshar Temple. It is one of the most famous temple in Bhavnagar.
Bhav Vilas Palace :
This palatial property was formerly the club-house for the royal family of the erstwhile princely state of Bhavnagar, now the residence of Maharajkumar Shivbhadrasinhji Krishnakumarsinhji Gohil and his family. It is famous for its wildlife collection and lake-side views.
Khodiyar Mata Temple :
Khodiyar temple, named after the principle deity, venerated by the royal family and the natives around, was built in the year 1911. The temple visited by thousands of pilgrims is located on the banks of the Khodiayar Lake, which attracts tourists from all the surrounding areas. Quite often followers of the goddess walk long distances to revere the goddess.
Lock Gate :
The first of its kind in Gujarat, the seawater here is impounded by the lock gates to keep ships afloat during low tide, which can be seen with special permission.
Samaldas College :
Among Bhavnagars many attractions is Samaldas College, just over a hundred years old, a frontline institution that claims Mahatma Gandhi as one of its students. Do visit the Barton Library, again a place which age has not withered.
A modern wonder of Gujarat, the ship-breaking yard at Alang is a fantastic spectacle in itself. It is located on the coast between Bhavnagar and Talaja. Large ships from America, Europe, and Asia are brought here to be scrapped. The reason behind the selection of this site was the nature of its tide, suitable for such maritime activities and the proximity of industrial zones that could utilize its metal and other scrap. Its Indias largest ship-breaking site. Here super tankers, container ships, warships and other vessels are reduced to scrap by 20,000 workers toiling day and night.
Talaja Hill :
On the confluence of the rivers Shatrunai and Talaji on the hill top the town of Talaja is located. Carved out in the hills are Buddhist caves or monasteries which were built thousands of years ago. A pleasant climb up the hill brings one to magnificently built Jain temples. Located 160 ft. above sea level, the place is famous for a small cluster of temples and ancient caves, believed to be Buddhist origin, carved into the hills. Talaja Teerth is a centre of religious activity.
Gopnath Mahadev Temple :
Located on the shore of the seaside on the Gulf of Khambhat, this Shiva temple is where the devotional poet Narsinh Mehta supposedly had his spiritual experience almost 500 years ago. Set on the seashore, the temple is an ideal spot for all wanting a spiritual and natural trip.
A minor part Mahuva is famous for its handicraft work in wood and ivory. Lacquer work on wooden furniture and toys is its speciality, its fertile land bears Jamadar mangoes similar to the Alphonso. There is an old mosque, Laxmi-narayan Temple and a Jain Dehrasar. The Pipavav project nearby is fast coming up as a major port and coastal industrial centre. It is also addressed as Kashmir of Saurashtra, because of the scenery around. The coconut tree plantations add to the beauty of the town. Tourists also enjoy at the beach of the city. Near the beach is the ancient Bhavani Mata Temple, which is an important attraction of the city of Bhavnagar. The town enjoys an extremely pleasant climate throughout the year. At seashore there is a beach which is mahuva beach. Mahuva Beach is like a pleasurable sea breeze and breathtakingly beautiful views to enthral the tourists.
Ghogha Beach :
Ghogha is a historical town in Bhavnagar. This ancient town is a major religious destination. It is located on the Gulf of Cambay, and attracts thousands of tourist and pilgrims every year. At the Gulf of Cambay, a awesome beach is situated where you can feel calmness, peace etc. Ghogha beach is 19 km away from Bhavnagar.
An interesting excursion from the Vijay Vilas Palace is Shihor, with its historic old palace of the Maharaja of Bhavnagar, featuring gardens, wall paintings and woodcarvings. It can also be used as a base to visit Alang Ship Breaking Yard, the Jain temples of Talaja, the historic town of Valabhipur and the Velavadar National Park.
Brahm Kund :
22 km away from Bhavnagar in the quite locale is situated the town of Sihore which was the ancient capital of the Gohilwad Kingdom. The royal palace and its mural speak about the grandeur of the era in which it was built and the many temples built around the town speak of the spiritual including of its inhabitants. The Gautameshwar temple lake and the Shiva temple built on its bank is one of the most exquisite examples of this region.
Blackbuck National Park :
Blackbuck National Park at Velavadar is situated Near Vallabhipur in the Bhavnagar District of Gujarat state, India. The Blackbuck National Park is located around 45 km from the district headquarter city of Bhavnagar in Bhal region. In 1976, Government on India has declared approx. 34 Sq.Km. of grassland as National Park Blackbuck. The movements of blackbucks and nilgais (Blue bull) increase beauty of this park. The blackbuck is most famous for its jumping over the levels of grass. Since it is grassland, beauty of this park can be seen from long distant. Blackbuck is one of the fastest animals and can outrun most predators over long distances. Its chief predator was the now extinct Indian Cheetah. It is now sometimes preyed upon by wolves, feral dogs, etc.