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Jamnagar District,Gujarat

Jamnagar District is a district of India located on the southern coast of the Gulf of Kutch in the state of Gujarat. Its headquarters are located in the eponymous city of Jamnagar. It hosts the production facilities of several large Indian companie such as Reliance and Essar. Among its attractions are several palaces,a Marine National Park and a Bird Sanctuary, known as Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary.

History

Nawanagar was founded by Jam Sri Rawalji in 1540 as the capital of the eponymous Princely state.Jamnagar, historically known as Nawanagar (the new town), was one of the most important and the largest Princely states of the Jadejas in the Saurashtra region. It was a 13 gun salute state. According to Pauranik literature, Lord Krishna established his kingdom at Dwarka town in Jamnagar district, after migrating from Mathura, and accordingly, it is to the Yadava race that the Jams of Nawanagar trace their ancestry.

According to historical records, Bahadurshah, the emperor of Gujarat, bestowed upon Jam Lakhaji twelve villages in recognition of his role in the siege of Pawagadh. Jam Lakhaji, however, was killed by his cousins, Tamachi Deda and Jam Hamirji Jadeja, after he took possession of the villages. His son, Jam Rawal, thereafter murdered his father’s killers and became ruler of Cutch.

Hamirji’s two sons Khengarji and Sahibji fled to Delhi to pay obeisance to the Mughal Emperor Humayun. During a lion hunt, the two brothers saved the Emperor from being killed by a lion. As a reward for their valor, an army was sent with them to regain their kingdom. When Jam Sri Rawalji heard of the two princes coming back to the Kutch with the imperial army, he prepared for battle.

One night, Goddess Ashapuraji, the supreme deity of the Jadeja Clan of Rajputs, came to Jam Sri Rawalji in a dream and told him that although he had broken an oath taken in her name not to kill Hamirji, even though he was the person responsible for his death, she had refrained from punishing him because he had at all other times honored her, but he was no longer to dwell in Cutch.

Jam Sri Rawalji and his entourage marched out of Cutch, attacked and killed Tamachi deda, the main conspirator in the killing of his father, and conquered the town of Amran and its dependencies. Jam Sri Rawalji bestowed the rule of Dhrol province on his younger brother Hardholji, who was later killed in battle at Mithoi near Khambhalia, whereupon the throne passed on to his eldest son, Jasoji. Jam hri Rawalji conquered parts of Saurashtra and formed his kingdom with 999 villages named it as Halar.

Once on a hunting trip in present-day Jamnagar, a hare was found to be brave enough to turn on the hunting dogs and put them to flight. Deeply impressed by this, Jam Sri Rawalji thought that if this land could breed such hares, the men born here would be superior to other men, and accordingly he made this place his capital.

On the seventh day of the bright half of the month of Shrawan, V.S. 1956 (August 1540) on the banks of the rivers Rangmati and Nagmati, he laid the foundation of his new capital and named it Nawanagar (new town), which after few centuries came to be known as Jamnagar, meaning the town of the JAM’s

Places of interest

Darbargadh (Maharajah’s palace), the old royal residence of Jam Saheb and the most important historical complex in Jamnagar, reflects the fusion of Rajput and European styles of architecture. The semi-circular palace complex consists of a number of buildings with very fine architectural features and detailing. It has some fine examples of stone carvings, wall paintings, fretwork jali-screens, ornamental mirrors, carved pillars and sculpture. The walls outside have carved jarokha balconies in the Indian tradition, a carved gate and Venetian-Gothic arches. The earthquake in 2001 caused significant damage to the Darbargadh.

Lakhota Fort

This small palace, on an island in the middle of Lakhota Lake, once belonged to the Maharaja of Nawanagar. This fort-like palace has semi-circular bastions, turrets, a pavilion with guard-rooms housing swords, powder flasks and musket loops. An arched stone bridge with a balustrade connects the Lakhota Palace with the town. Today it houses a small museum. The fort museum has a good collection of sculptures that spans a period from the 9th to the 18th century and pottery found in ruined medieval villages from the surrounding area. The museum is reached by a short causeway from the northern side of Ranmal Lake and is open daily except on Wednesdays.

Willingdon Crescent

The impressive Willingdon Crescent was constructed by Ranjit Singh, inspired by his European journey. It comprises arcades of cusped arches, larger on the ground floor and smaller on the upper storey, pilasters on the curving walls, and balusters on the parapet. The statue of Jam Saheb is situated in the center of the crescent. Gujarat Earthquake in 2001 caused only slight damage to this shopping area.

Pratap Vilas Palace

The beautiful Pratap Vilas Palace, built during the rule of His Royal Highness Ranjitsinhji, is a distinct place to visit for a variety of reasons. It has European architecture with Indian carvings that give it a totally distinct appeal. It was built as an imitation of the Victoria Memorial Building in Calcutta, but the domes built on it are according to Indian architecture, three of them made of glass. Carvings of creepers, flowers, leaves, birds and animals on the columns make the palace lively. Damage in the 2001 earthquake caused a costly loss of some parapets, and the separation of some upper walls at the roof level in some corners. Visitors are not allowed in.

Kotha Bastion

The Kotha Bastion contains a fine collection of sculptures, coins, inscriptions and copper plates and the skeleton of a whale. One of its most interesting sights is an old well where the water can be drawn by blowing into a small hole in the floor.

Dhanvantri Mandir Gujarat Ayurved University

Dhanvantri Mandir was built under the personal supervision of Dr. Pranjivan Manekchand Mehta, Chief Medical Officer of Guru Govindsingh Hospital. After independence it gained the status of Ayurveda University. It has a good library, workshops and has been a place for research and international seminars on Ayurveda, an ancient Indian medicinal system.

Solarium

Also known as the Ranjit Institute of Poly-Radio Therapy, the Solarium was built by Jam Shri Ranjitsinhji during his rule by bringing in an expert from France. This slowly revolving tower provides full daylong sunlight for the treatment of skin diseases. With the destruction of two similar solaria in France during World War II, this is probably now the only one of its kind in the world, and certainly in Asia. Due to advancement in medicine and treatment it is now obsolete and not in working condition for the treatment.

Bhujio Kotho

Bhujio Kotho is well known among tourists due to its height and circumference. It is on the bank of the Lakhota Tank, near Khambhaliya Gate. This monument has five floors, and is believed to have been constructed for protection during the invasions. On the first floor there were guns placed in each direction, and in the walls, holes for rifles are found. On the upper floor a tank with a dancing peacock on its peak was constructed to store water. Unfortunately, in an earthquake in 2001 Bhujio Kotho partially collapsed and visits are now prohibited due to safety concerns.

Bohra Hajira

The Bohra Hajira is also worth a visit. On entering Jamnagar City by road on the Rajkot Highway, one can see this magnificent structure on the banks of the river. Permission has to be obtained before visiting the place. Many years back boats used to sail on the Rangmati and Nagmati Rivers, but presently the water level is low; often the river dries up and the river bed is used for hosting the Shravan Month Fairs.

Jam Ranjitsinhji Park(RanjitSagar Dam)

The Municipal Corporation of Jamnagar has recently developed a Park near RanjitSagar Dam. The park has a beautiful garden with colorful fountains. There are also rides for children. The park remains open from 10am to 8pm on all days except Sunday and Monday. On Sunday the park remains open till 10pm and on Monday it is closed for maintenance.

Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary

Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary is located approximately 30 kilometres from Jamnagar. It is the largest bird sanctuary in Gujarat. About 300 species of Migratory birds visit this place every year. It is a great place for nature photographers. Visitors from around the world come to Khijadiya every year.

Balachadi Beach

The balachadi beach is located 27 kilometres from Jamnagar. It is a beautiful beach where one can enjoy nature without any hussles of the city. During the World War II, the then ruler of Jamnagar, Jam Digvijaysinh built a summer camp for polish refugee children seeking shelter from the Nazi after they were denied entry at the Mumbai Port. Later it was converted into present day Sainik School, Balachadi

Temples
Mota Ashapura Maa Temple

The Goddess (Kuldevi) of the Jadeja clan of Rajputs who ruled this place. The temple is located in the east part of Jamnagar where the entrance (gate) leads into the city and is close to Darbargadh in the old city area.

Shantinath Mandir

Shantinath Mandir is situated south-west of Bedi Gate in Jamnagar. The temple has intricate carvings and the walls are adorned with fine murals, which depict the lives of Jain saints. The floor is made of marble and decorated with distinctive Jain patterns in yellow, black, white and red.

Vardhman Shah’s Temple

Vardhman Shah’s Temple is a delightful shrine and one of the four main Jain temples in Jamnagar. The foundation stone of this shrine was laid in 1612, during the reign of Jam Jasaji I, and it was completed in the year 1620. Fifty-two very small temples or ‘Deri’ were built around the temple in 1622.

Bala Hanuman Temple

The Bala Hanuman Temple is on the south-eastern side of Ranmal Lake. The temple is famous for the continuous 24-hour chanting of the mantra ‘Sri Ram, Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram’, since 1 August 1964. This devotion has earned Bala Hanuman Temple a place in the Guinness Book of Records. Thousands of devotees visit the temple every year. Early evening is a particularly good time to visit the temple.

Bholeshwar Mahadev Temple

Bholeshwar Mahadev Temple is approx 2 KM away from village murila of Tehsil Lalpur. The temple is situated on the bank of the River Dhandhar. This temple is famous for its fair on Shravani Amas.

Parks and Gardens
Khijadia Bird Sanctuary

Khijadia Bird Sanctuary, located 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) north east of Jamnagar, features a seasonal freshwater shallow lake, inter-tidal mudflats, creeks, saltpans, saline land and mangrove scrub. The place is a known breeding ground of the Great Crested Grebe. Apart from this, the Little Grebe, Purple Moorhen, Coot, Black-winged Stilt and Pheasant-tailed Jacana are also recorded breeding here. Raptors, including harriers, eagles, hawks and falcons are also spotted here. The sanctuary also shelters migratory birds such as swallows, martins, wagtails and various waterfowl. It is considered an important site for ecological research and education.

Marine National Park

India’s first marine sanctuary has various parts open to the public: one of them is Pirotan Island, which is about 16 nautical miles (30 km) away in the Arabian Sea near Jamnagar and spreads over an area of about 458 kilometres (285 mi). Located about 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) from the city center, the Marine National Park and Sanctuary comprises an archipelago of 42 islands noted for their coral reefs and mangroves. It is possible to see dolphins, fin-less porpoises and sea turtles and a variety of colorful tropical fish. The place is very beautiful. The entire forest has various marine life forms. The area also attracts a huge number of birds.

Rozi and Bedi Ports

Rozi and Bedi are two important ports close to Jamnagar, Rozi Port on the shore of the Gulf of Kutch and Bedi Port two nautical miles (4 kilometres (2.5 mi)) inland on the Rangamati River. These attractive waterside picnic spots offer excellent facilities for fishing and angling.

Cremation Park

Cremation Park is situated 10 minutes north of the city centre. The park holds statues of saints and deities, as well as scenes from the Ramayana. This is an interesting place to visit. The Circle of Life, showing the stages in the life of man, is also considered thought-evoking.

Jogger’s Park

This is a new botanical garden in the city beside the Palace Ground, and its official name is Gulab Kunvarbaa Udhyan. It is very much used by the daily walkers and joggers of the city.The joggers park has been closed for public since months.Nothing to see inside the park as you are not permitted for entry