History buffs will love the ancient city of Wankaner, which is majestically adorned with the royal palaces and rich historic sites which arouses curiosity in the minds of the people. Located at the mouth of the Machchhu River, it is about 54 kms from Rajkot.
There are many spectacular palaces that beautify the royal charm of the city. The Wankaner royal clan is well known for their great love and passion towards art and architecture. Ranjit Vilas palace, a stunning monument that is beautifully constructed on top of a hill showcases the royal grandeur with pride. This fantabulous structure was planned and designed by the King Amarsinghji himself. The interior and exterior décor of the palace reminds the visitor about the richness of artistic caliber of the by gone generation. The palace is the fusion of different architectural styles. Marble balconies are supported by Gothic style arches, Greek style pillars can be spotted supporting the terraces. Mughal style is adopted in designing a clock tower. Italian window panes adorn the main and banquet halls. Dresses, swords, daggers, vessels, ornaments, paintings, expensive cars and expensive furniture used by the royal members are exhibited in the museum which is located in the palace.
The Royal Residency and the Royal Oasis, the erstwhile royal residences are now transformed into heritage hotels with 5 star amenities and ambience. Royal Oasis is located close to the River and is spectacularly placed amidst the fruit gardens. A leisurely walk amidst the green garden with lovely chirping of birds and intake of fresh oxygen can be relished and enjoyed. A big pool is also located in the hotel to beat the heat.
Wankaner is a must visit place as it carries the great royal legacy and tradition.
PLACES TO VISIT
Ranjit Vilas Palace: In Wankaner one can see as many as five palaces but amongst all the five the most famous palace is the Ranjit Vilas Palace. A magnificent view is offered to the people by the palace and is regarded as one of the loveliest place for sightseeing in the city. It is located on the top of a hill, overseeing the town. One of the favorites among the tourists is this palace. Pieces of information regarding the royal family can be obtained from the museum, which is situated in the palace as well. Things like swords, shields, daggers and other items of interest, which were once used by the members of the royal family are offered by the museum for public viewing. A mixture of architectural techniques was infused into the palace architecture. The design of the building is in itself, one of a kind. All architectural lovers should visit this palace. The palace is built over a vast area of land extending up to 250 acres.
His Highness Amarsinghji designed this palace in 1907. The interest of the Royal Family in engineering and architecture is depicted from the architectural designs of the Ranjit Vilas Palace. Oriental styled balconies are supported by the gothic arches, Doric art, ionic columns and a clock of seven stories, which is capped with a Mughal Dome, is reflected by the terraced porticos of the palace. The marvelous grounds of the palace can be seen through the window panes of the Franco-Italian design. Thorough bred stallions were kept in the stables on the palace grounds. An admirable collection of classic and vintage automobiles are also kept in these stables. The present day members of the Royal Family still reside in the palace. However some portions of the palace was made into a museum, which hosts a number of items like an assortment of armaments, stuffed animals, paintings and portraits, silver wares and luxurious furniture.
The Royal Residency and the Royal Oasis: These are the two palace guest houses which have been converted into Heritage Hotels. On the banks of the Machchhu Lake, the Royal Oasis hotel is situated. The entire surrounding of this heritage hotel is peaceful and full of trees, birds chirping and singing. A blanket of calm and quiet envelops this place. A luxurious pool is situated indoors close to the palace grounds, having an Art Deco style along with a step-well from early twentieth century. The old generosity, warmth and splendor of Kathiawar are mirrored by Wankaner.
HOW TO REACH
By Air: The nearest airport is located at a distance of 53 Km from the city at Rajkot and another one at Ahmadabad which is located 22o Km from the place.
By Rail: The Wankaner Railway Station is situated on the Ahmadabad and Rajkot railway route.
By Road: Many buses and private taxis run between Wankaner-Rajkot, and also between Wankaner-Ahmadabad. The distance between Wankaner and Rajkot is 53 Kms and that between Ahmadabad and the city is 220 Kms.