Dhoraji is a large and flourishing town on the banks of a
small river Safura, a branch of the river Bhadar. The fortification of
Dhoraji was completed in 1755 AD.
Sir Bhagwatsinhji, the noble ruler of Gondal State was born at Dhoraji Darbargadh. He was a fellow of Bombay University and received honours from Edinborough University. During his extensive travels to europe and england, he was greatly impressed by Paris and got interested in the principles of European town planning. On his return to Gondal, he established a town planning department and in the late 19th century, introduced town planning principles to regularize and monitor the growth of the fortified towns of Gondal, Dhoraji and Upleta.
With the arrival of railways, a new part of Dhoraji town, between railway station and old town, was designed using axial planning, having broad avenues, road junctions, parks, bazaars and public buildings. It is a good example of urban planning of an Indian town during British Raj.
Fort: The massive fort wall has several bastions, 4
main gates and 3 'baris' (small gates). The four main gates are Kathiawadi
Darwaja in east, Porbandar Gate in west, Halar Gate in north and Junagadh
Gate in south. The smaller gates are- Darbari Bari, Bhimji Bari and Sati
Bari. Darbargadh of Dhoraji is located at the highest point in the town
and is approached by Darbari Bari; a beautiful gate adorned with a
jharokha, resting on brackets of 4 elephants statues in different poses.
A finely carved entrance gate leads to the Darbargadh in the middle of a courtyard. Darbargadh is a three storeyed structure on a high plinth. The façade is ornamented with sculptures of musicians, complex geometric patterns, images of sitting lions in different postures on long eaves, profusely carved pillars, horizontal friezes, decorative 'kanguras' and windows framing skyline. It is designed like a jewel box- in the same architectural style of Navlakha Palace at Gondal.
Temple Of Goddess Ashapura: The temple of Goddess Ashapura is located on the left of Darbargadh. At present, the royal campus badly needs conservation. Not very far from the Darbargadh, one can walk into the streets having some of the most beautiful houses of wealthy Memon merchants.
Pani No Kotho: Next to it, an exceptional building,
named 'Pani no kotho', is situated. From a distance, the beautifully
carved balconies on all the four sides with columns and arches, give an
impression of a palace building, but in reality it houses a water tank and
pumping station. It is a perfect example, showing blending of functions
and aesthetics to create a wonderful architecture. A mosque and Jain
temple in the town are beautiful specimens of architecture.
Upleta: (19 kms from Dhoraji) Upleta is a fortified town on the banks of river Moj. The high fort wall with huge bastions, gates and small 'ghats' and the skyline of the buildings, creates a picturesque composition. The Darbargadh (now a police station, is enclosed within a fortified campus.
It is a three storeyed structure (partly ruined), integreting a huge fort bastion as a part of the building. It has a high plinth and a carved arcade of 5 foliated arches and a sloping wooden roof. The windows and 'jharokhas' overlook the river and provide beautiful vistas.
Kutiyana: (53 km from Dhoraji) Kutiyana is located on the banks of river Bhadar. Before independence, Kutiyana was under the rule of the Junagadh Nawabs. The town was inhabited by rich traders of the Memon community, before independence. The houses of Kutiyana reflect the high aesthetic taste of Memon Muslims. Kutiyana is a well-planned town with a central main bazaar street leading to a magnificent mosque with high minarets and impressive façade.
The shops at lower level of arcade form an urban edge. The courtyards within the water tank for 'vazu' and the profusely plaster-decorated architectural elements, painted in yellows, greens and blues make it a perfect representative example of mosque architecture of the late 19th century.
How To Get There
Air: nearest airports are Porbandar (99 km), Rajkot (88 km), Keshod (70 km)
Rail: Dhoraji and Upleta on Ahmedabad-Porbandar line
Road: Motorable roads connect the place to the surrounding areas.
Local Transport: non-metered auto rickshaws
Local guest houses are available.
Rajkot (88 km), Ahmedabad (313 km)