A delightful place to visit in Gujarat, Jamnagar is a spectacular sight of overflowing colors in the local market, the ancient architectures and the decorations. The most famous product of the city is the bandhani textiles, which involves a very strenuous process. It includes making a thousand little knots in a fabric.
Jamnagar houses the one and only Ayurvedic University in India. Also present here is the Bala Hanuman Temple. It is renowned for the ceaseless recitation of the phrase “Sri Ram, Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram”. The Jadeja Rajputs administered the city of Jamnagar before the independence.
Many layers are there to this city – pearl finishing, bandhani, silver artisans, numerous Jams or rulers, a Nature Conservation Park, numerous temples and ancient relics reciting the history of the city. An island fort inside a lake is situated right in the heart of the city. The Marina National Park is situated in sea shores, where the coasts are being eaten up by the presence of the oil refineries. There are many a number of intriguing places to visit in and around the city. These places have been listed below:-
THINGS TO SEE
Lakhota Talav: As many as 75 species of birds such as pelicans, flamingos, spoonbills, ducks, terns, and gulls come to this lake, each year. For bird lovers, this is a very good spot. In the hustle bustle of a busy city life, this place is a nice distraction. During the evening time, this place gets filled with people. Many people come and enjoy a relaxing time in the calming breeze and had tit bits like chai, kulfi or tasty chaats. During the night time, the place gets spectacularly lit up in bright lights. Boating facilities are available. Apart from these small enjoyments, there are parks, a night time shopping place for vegetables and also a tiny zoo.
Lakhota Palace and Museum: The Lakhota Tower has been built on an island, in the heart of the lake. The structure is circular in shape. For relieving people in waterless condition, this structure has been constructed. Under the commands of Jam Ranmalji, this has been built. The years of 1834, 1839 and 1846 witnesses the drought. The people were in a very problematic position, since they could not find food items and other assistance. After this arduous time, he decided to build this structure. The structure was initially meant for defending the place against the enemy by the soldiers, who were located here. The Lakhota Museum is now present in the tower named Lakhota Palace.
The Museum houses precious items from 9th to 18th century. Items like pottery products made in the medieval villages, situated close by and a whale’s skeleton can be seen here. Initially one would notice the guardroom which houses muskets, swords and powder flasks, which will bring back the memory of the original intention of the structure. Beautiful frescos blanket the wall of the museum. These frescos tell the story of the many fights and wars fought by the Jadeja Rajputs.
Bhujiyo Kotho: Bhujiyo Kotho is located on the southern face of the lake. It is also referred to as the Bhujiyo Bastion. It used to be a place for manufacturing for arms and equipments. A spectacular view of the surroundings can be obtained from this place, especially of the lake. Some portions of this structure had been destructed due to the earthquake of 2001. An intriguing ancient well is located close to the bastion. By blowing into a tiny hole situated on the floor, water can be dug up.
Bala Hanuman Temple: The Bala Hanuman Temple is located on the southeast end of the lake. It is renowned for the ceaseless recitation of the phrase “Sri Ram, Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram”. It has been continuing from 1st August, 1964. For this reason, it has been recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records. One can go to this temple in order to see the devoted act of worship.
Ratan Bai Masjid: The presence of the tall green and white colored minarets included in the architecture of the Ratan Bai Masjid, makes it almost impossible to neglect. It is situated in the heart of the city. The doors of the masjid are made of sandalwood. To gather rainwater, there is inbuilt system of its own. There is also a water tank present for the purpose of washing oneself before performing namaaz.
Jain temple triad: In the time period between 1574 and 1622, three Jain temples have been constructed in the south direction from the mosque. The Raisi Shah’s temple, which has been built in dedication to the tirthankar Shantinath is the most complex of all the three. It has a sacred chamber dome, which has been ornamented with gold carvings. Numerous chambers are there with detailed geometric designs which have been done on the marble floors. The ceilings have been covered in mirrors. The Vardhman Temple has been constructed just adjacent to this temple. It has been in dedication to tirthankar Adinath. It has a more common architecture and also is covered with more bright colors. The number three temple is smaller than the rest two. However it is quite intriguing.
Chandi Bazaar: Chandni Bazaar is the name given to the locality which is situated around the Jain temples. The name means ‘silver market’. Here one can witness artisans creating items out of gold and silver. Other metal products are also been made here thesedays.
Darbar Gadh: In the east direction from the Chandi Chowk, the Darbar Gadh is situated. It is the ancient palace for the royal family. It has been constructed in the 1540s. Time to time, different architectural styles had been added to the residence. It portrays a mix of Rajasthani and European styles. Apart the ones protecting the building, nobody lives there. Outside the building there is a semi circular space, where the previous Maharajas of Nawanagar used to entertain public guests.
Willingdon Crescent: The Willington Crescent is located just on the other side of the road from Darbar Gafh. It has been constructed by Jam Ranjitsinhji in order to remove the overcrowded dirty slum of the old Nawanagar. Influenced by the European style of architecture, he intended to build a more modernized and developed place with all the plush and luxury. Jam Digvijaysinhji riding on a horseback is depicted in the statue, which is located at the heart of this structure.
At the present time, the crescent has been converted into a marketing place. One will find the famous bandhani sari, for which Jamnagar is popular. One can get a wide variety of items here in the market.
Bhidbhanjan Temple and Parsi Agiari: In the west direction of the town hall, close to the Bedi gate, the temple of Bhidbhanjan temple is situated. The time period in which the temple has been constructed, all most all of the structures were built in the western style of architecture, however this temple mirrors that period’s local style. The fine carvings of silver done on the doors speak about the spectacular artistic talent of the craftsmen of Jamnagar. The Parsi Agiari is situated close to the temple. It is a fire temple. This Fire temple is not for public visitations.
Solarium: The Solarium is located in the northern corner of the city. It is called the Ranjit Institute of Poly-Radio Therapy. Jam Ranjitsinhji along with the oversight of Jean Saidman, a French doctor, constructed this structure in the year 1920. The structure of the building is such that the top most floor rotates, in order to get sunlight during the day time for the medical treatment of many skin diseases as well as rheumatism and TB.
Gujarat Ayurved University: The Gujarat Ayurved University is situated near the Solarium. It is considered to be the biggest Ayurvedic learning institution in Gujarat. In the year of 1967, this institution was built due to the immense support given by the kings of the princely state of Nawanagar. Various departments such as Yoga & Naturopathy Education and Research wing are there in the institution. Numerous short term and long term courses are available for the foreign students as well. There are two hospitals inside the university, which does not charge any money for treatments and consultations. Numerous healing herbs are grown by them also.
Pratap Vilas Palace and Peter Scott Nature Park: In between the years of 1907 and 1915, this grand palace has been constructed. This architecture has been built in an assortment of European styles. A nature park had been built out of the land surrounding the palace by jam Singh in the year 1968. In order to start and initiate conservation of living species, he brought here numerous species here. The maintenance of this place has not been done properly since the sequestering of the personal wealth of the rulers. One has to get prior permission from the royal family in order to visit the palace and the park.
Khijada Temple: The original location for the Pranami sect is the Khijada Temple. This sect has been found based on Hindu principles. It advertises unity among all religions. Surrounding two ancient trees, dating back to 400 years, this temple has been constructed. The name of the sect has been derived from the word pranam. Different social services, like HIV/AIDS prevention, are under taken by the priests and other members of this sect.
Bohra Hajira: Chhota Kashi is another name given to Jamnagar. The popular name has been given because of the presence of numerous temple and other sacred spots in and around the city. Many a number of temples belonging to Hindu as well as Jain faith, a temple for Kabir’s sect, ancient mosques and dargahs are there apart from the presence of renowned the Bala Hanuman temple, Ratan Bai mosque, Jain temples, Bhidbhanjan temple, Parsi Agiari, and Khijada temple.
Close to the Rajkot Highway, on the beds of the river, the Dawoodi Bohra community’s dargah is present. The dargah is called Bohra hajira. It is a spectacular mausoleum dedicated to a Muslim saint. Prior permission is needed to photographs of this structure.
Manekbai Muktidham: In one’s trip to Jamnagar, one should definitely visit the holy cremation ground of Manekbai Muktidham. It was constructed in the year of 1940. It is situated in the heart of the city. A congenial aura is created by this place because of the presence of beautiful garden, the sculptures, murals and a library. It makes us feel that death is just a phase of our life, not a thing to fear.
Ranmal Lake: The Ranmal Lake is located at a distance of 8 Kms from the town. It is not a manmade lake. It has been formed with the water from river. For bird lovers, this location is also an interesting one.
Rozi port and Bedi port: For a nice outing during the daytime, these ports are ideal. By taking a ferry boat from Nava Bandar, which is located at a distance of 3 Kms from Jamnagar, one can reach these ports.
Khijadia Bird Sanctuary: The Khijadia Bird Sanctuary covers a land of 6 Kms. A wide variety of ecosystems are present in this region. During the 1920s and 1930s this sanctuary was formed. The sanctuary has been constructed by building two dykes. The function of these two dykes is to make a division between the sea water and the fresh water. Thus one can witness water creatures from both types of water. Mangroves are also present here. Other regions such as the prosopis regions, mudflats, salt pans, creeks, forest scrub, sandy beaches and even agricultural fields are present in and around this place. As many as 220 different species of birds can be found here, such as the Dalmatian pelican, Asian open bill stork, Black-necked stork, Darter, Black-headed ibis, Eurasian spoonbill, and Indian skimmer. It is a paradise for the bird lovers.
No accommodation facilities are there here for night staying; however other enjoyable activities such as watchtowers, trails for trekking and paddleboats are available. Private cars can be hired in order to reach this place; also rickshaws are available, however there are no government buses running to the sanctuary. One can get some more knowledge by getting in touch with Conservator of Forests office.
Ranjitsagar Dam: Water is supplied to the city, from the Ranjitsagar Dam. For enjoying the time here, one can roam around the municipal garden, which is a nice location for having a picnic and can watch birds, especially during their migration.
Beaches: At a distance of 26 Kms from the city, the nearest beach named Balachari is located. At the present time, this place has been converted into a well liked resort, having amenities such as golf course etc.
The son of Jam Digvijaysinhji documents that his father, “was India's delegate to the Imperial War Conference. In 1942 a Polish ship escaped from the German invasion with 1200 children and 20 women on board. The Government of Bombay would not let them land but only gave them fuel, food and water. When they reached our coast, my father sailed out from Bedi port to take off the children, put them in tents and in six months he had built a Polish camp at Balachari, at a personal cost of 10 lakhs, and maintained the camp until the end of the war.” This action of his brings a bit of friendliness into the relation between India and Pakistan in the present time.
Few number of other beaches are located in and around here; however this beach at Balachari has been remained quite intact, undamaged from the human touch. One can roam around here after taking permission from Conservator of Forests Office.
Barda Hills Wildlife Sanctuary: At a distance of 15 Kms from Porbander, the Barda Wildlife Sanctuary is situated. This was a personal property of Ranavav, which was a princely state before and of Jamnagar. So, this place is still referred to as Rana Barda and Jam Barda. The whole area of the forest is a reserve park. The status of sanctuary is given to this forest in the year of 1979. The area of the sanctuary comprises of land from two distinct districts namely, Porbander and Jamnagar. Anyone who goes to visit the place is mesmerized by the undulating landscape dotted with plain land at some locations, the presence of many a number of tiny rivers and streams and already present dams. This is a fertile green region encircled by pastured lands, waste zones and also dense and thick forests.
The area of the sanctuary adds up to a sum of 192.31 square kilometers. The sanctuary has a wide variety of flowers, some having medical and remedial properties which can be used in a wise way; thus this place deserves to be well protected and conserved. The landscape of the place is undulating. The elevation of the land ranges from 79.2 m to 617.8 m above sea level. Bileshvary and Joghri are the two principal rivers. The two significant dams are, namely, Khambala and Fodara.
750 families of the Maldhari community, dwells in this place. The forest region is surrounded by farming areas and wastelands. Here, during the hot months, water shortage takes place. The thick and dense forests of the sanctuary help to establish stability for the environment and the ecology and also the dams help put forming a catchment. The distance between the Arabian Sea and this forest is a mere 15 Kms. The forest helps to protect the land from getting salt in it. Previously, not so long ago, the Asiatic lions used to be found here. A temple, named Kileshwar and a location for camping in the middle of the dense forest, was constructed by Jamnagar’s ‘Jamasaheb’. Some of the endangered species that can be found here are ratel, leopard, wolf, crocodiles and chameleon. Three of the four poisonous snakes that exist, can be seen here. Spotted Eagle and Crested Hawk Eagle are two of the rare birds that can be found in this sanctuary.
Various kinds of colorful butterflies can be found, fluttering in the air. Some of the animals that, once used to dwell here but now are abolished, are lion, chinkara, sambar and spotted deer. Various kinds of forests are found in the small area of the Sanctuary.
Marine National Park: One can go to the island by means of a boat, which traverses across the water body that contains almost 70 percent of the earth. Dolphins can be seen jumping in the waters. Many a number of migratory birds can be seen flying over the ocean during the winter months. A spectacular view of the diving kingfisher is enjoyed by the visitors. The islands is full of mangrove trees, whose roots butts out from the soil and many a number birds hop around these root tips and even more on the branches of trees. When the high tide is over, the water goes back and one can see the ground soil and burst of colors and patterns of the water creatures.
A boat service from the port of Bedi or Nava in Jamnagar is available. In order to catch the boat on should come here an hour prior to the high tide. The timings of the tide vary according to the moon so the schedules also keeps on varying. The people residing here can suggest about the schedules.
Gaga Wildlife Sanctuary: This sanctuary is located in Jamnagar on the seas shores of Gulf of Kutch. It is surrounded in the northern side by the regions of high tides and on the other side by the rural fields and waste zones. It is a well protected dwelling place for the wide varieties of all kinds of animals. The status of a sanctuary was given to this place in the year 1988. The area of this refuge adds up to a 332 square kilometers.
Different species of birds, also migratory birds, dwells here amongst the dense plush grasslands and shrubs. One can find the huge sized bills, white in colour, big pelicans, Spot-billed Ducks with patterns on their feathers and flamingoes on the watersides. The birds form a spectacular view for the tourists. In the winter months, one can find the demoiselle cranes and the common cranes. For the bird lovers, this place is a parade
Many kinds of mammals roam around on the dense grasslands such as the jackals, mongoose, jungle cats, bluebull and many more. One can get fascinated by the colorful butterflies, moths, honeybees and wasps flying around, joyously in the air in a happy buoyant way. Also intriguing, are the wide varieties of spiders.
During the months between autumn and spring season is the best time to make a trip to this sanctuary. Spectacular is the sight of the fusion of orange colors during the sunset and the sunrise against the backdrop of the sea. One can also take a stroll around the grasslands and pastoral fields and discover the many varieties of beautiful butterflies, flying around in the air.
HOW TO REACH
By road: The major cities of Gujarat are connected to Jamnagar by government buses as well as private buses. If one is coming from the direction of Rajkot, then the bus drives through the town; in that case one can get down in front of Bedi Gate.
By rail: Major cities of Gujarat are linked with Jamnagar via the railway station.
By air: An air terminal is situated at a distance of 10 Kms from the town. From the airport one can hire a rickshaw or a cab.