Gondal, the capital of the former princely state of Gondal,
was ruled by the Jadeja Rajput clan, till the independence of India. It is
a fortified town located on the river Gondali. Present day Gondal is a
testimony to the great visionary ruler Sir Bhagwatsinhji, who introduced
social reforms, planned the development of Gondal town and created a model
state of Saurashtra in late 19th and early 20th century.
Sir Bhagwatsinhji's high education and extensive tours to Europe enhanced his aesthetic tastes, which can be seen in the architecture and planning of public buildings, parks, bazaars and palaces built during his regime.
Navlakha Palace: One of the oldest and most
beautiful of Gondal palaces, the Navlakha Palace complex, is situated on a
riverbank, on a grand masonry base, rising to the monumental scale of at
least 30 metres, above the riverbed. 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 with balustrade on the extreme left corner leading to the intricately carved pavilions on the open terrace. The grand Darbar Hall, with a series of huge windows opening onto a long balcony supported by intricately carved brackets, overlooks the river.
Darbar Hall has large chandeliers, stuffed panthers, gilt wooden furniture and antique Belgian mirrors. The private palace museum displays artifacts, gifts and messages received by Sir Bhagwatsinhji, on his 50th birthday.
Riverside Palace: The riverside palace is located at the edge of the Gondali river; built in colonial style of architecture, amidst a garden with huge trees. The living room is decorated in European taste, while the Indian room has brassware, beadwork and paintings in typical Indian style.
The series of galleries and terraces of the palace building bring nature close to the visitors of this heritage hotel.
Orchard Palace: The Orchard Palace was originally a State guesthouse, built in colonial style with an arcade of semi circular arches, set in the midst of fruit orchards. The garden in the front, a beautiful fountain with lily pond and marble statues enchances the beauty of the palace. The main sitting room has a collection of paintings, antique furniture, bird eggs and many interesting art objects.
Vintage Car Collection: The rulers of Gondal were great lovers of automobiles and one can see several vintage and classic cars in the royal garage. Two rail saloons of the Gondal State were renovated, keeping the original décor and are available for accommodation in the Orchard Garden Palace. The stay at saloons provides a unique experience: a nostalgia of the great days of the Indian railways combined with royal grandeur.
Sangramsinhji High School: Sangramsinhji High School is built on the model of Eton in England. It is constructed out of wooden ceilings, Italian marble flooring and has a laboratory with European equipments.
Other interesting places to visit are the Swami Narayan Temple, Bhuvaneshwari Temple, Ayurvedic pharmacy and the stud farm of Kathiawadi horses.
(47 kms from Gondal) The house of Jasdan was ruled by the great
warrior clan of Khachar Kathis. They founded the fortified town of Jasdan
on the banks of Bhadar River. The Darbargadh at Jasdan is a beautiful
example combining plaster decoration with intricate wrought iron work.
The decoration above the arches and 'jharokhas' are noteworthy. Hingolgadh Nature Education Sanctuary in the vicinity of Jasdan is a creation of the nature loving rulers of Jasdan. Here, nature education camps are organised to create awareness about wildlife and environment. The royal palace on the hilltop is now a heritage hotel, offering a nice and comfortable stay amidst natural surroundings.
Other Excursions: Jetpur (Textile town known for yarn dyeing and hand printed saris) 30 kms, Rajkot (Watson Museum, Rajkumar College, Ramkrishna Mission, kaba Gandhi no Delo) 39 kms.
How To Get There
Air: Nearest airport is Rajkot (39 kms)
Rail: Gondal is a railway station on Rajkot-Veraval line.
Road: Connected to nearby cities by road.
Local Transport: non-metered auto rickshaws.
Local guest houses, Heritage Hotels orchard Palace and riverside palace
Rajkot: 39 kms.
Ahmedabad: 264 kms