Posts tagged ‘tourist places in gujarat’

SASAN GIR: THE BEAUTY OF THE BEAST


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STROLLING THROUGH THE COASTAL EDGE OF GUJARAT –PORBANDAR


 

Several great personalities have been born on the land of Gujarat. But for free India, Mahatma Gandhi is one of the eminent names in giving a free life to the Indians. Mahatma started his struggle from the place he was born –Porbandar. Situated between Dwarka and Veraval, Porbandar is a small beach side town. Earlier it was called ‘Sudamapuri’. It was named so because it is believed that Sudama, Lord Krishna’s friend lived here.
Porbandar was a rich port that belonged to Jethwa Rajputs who ruled the vast area of Kathiawad for nearly 2000 years. Many prominent personalities are attached to the ancient city. It is not only the land of Mahatma Gandhi but even Swamivivekand had done much of his research here. Moreover, Rabindranath Tagore visited the city for a considerable period of time. The city used to be a prosperous trading centre conducting much commerce with the Arabian and the Persian countries.

THE CITY

Porbandar is an ancient prosperous town and due to its prosperity, it has several places of attraction. Structures throughout the city display the architectural beauty. Till date on either side of the road one can see magnificently carved windows and gateways which speak the architectural language of the olden era.

Kirti Mandir is the most important attraction of Porbandar. It is a place where Mahtama Gandhi was born in 1869. The mid 19th century Haveli of the Gandhi family has three stories around a courtyard with a kitchen, 17 rooms and a wooden shrine. Kirti Mandir is constructed adjacent to the birth place of Mahatma Gandhi. It contains a library with books on Gandhism, a spinning hall, a children’s nursery and a lovely prayer hall. In the prayer hall of the Kirti Mandir of Gujarat prayers of all faith are regularly organized.

Huzoor palace is perhaps the most impressive structure in Porbandar. The massive structure built in the European style is situated at the edge of the sea. It has several massive windows and wings overlooking the sea. The palace was built by Natwar Shah, the then ruler of Porbandar. Sprawling gardens and fountains add to the beauty of the mammoth structure. Just by having a glance you might take it as some European Palace. The neo- classical pillars and the porticoes with a semi circular design, the terraces with beautiful rails and the slopping timber roof are the notable parts of the palace. The architecture, beauty, and the picturesque view of the sea attract a large number of tourists to the Huzoor Palace. Being located on the sea side it is visited by both residents and visitors of Porbandar.

Daria Rajmahal is another important palace of the city built by Maharaja Bhavsinhji in the 19th century. Standing on the edge of the Arabian Sea the palace shows the influences of the Arabian culture. However, some parts of the palace are Italianate in style with an interesting blend of Renaissance and Gothic touch. The interiors of the palace like chandeliers, painted murals and the European furniture are eye catching. Moreover the town hall and other public buildings are also no less in terms of architecture as they were made under the watchful eyes of the Maharaja. It is crowned by a tall tower that offers a marvelous view of the palace courtyards, the beach beyond, and the sea. The palace has now been converted into a college.

The land of palaces and forts has one more fort depicting its fortune. Darbargadh is a fortified palace built by Rana Sartanji. Stone carved entrances, wooden doors and windows are a part of the attention seeking entrance. The large mansion and courtyard are a beautiful example of Guajarati wooden carving. Moreover, the fort has several bastions, 3 small gates and 4 main gates. The main gates are Porbandar gate in the west, Kathiawar Darwaja in the east, Halar Gate in the North and Junagadh gate in the south. The smaller gates are Sita Bari, Bhinji Bari and Darbari Bari. One can approach the palace through Darbari bari, a beautiful entrance resting on the brackets adorned with four elephants with the jharokhas adding to the beauty. The palace resembles the Navlakha palace in Gondal. The palace is made to resemble a jewel box. It is designed with complex geometric designs, sculptures of musicians, intricately carved pillars decorative kanguras and horizontal friezes.

Everything that was built in the city during the ruling era has a royal touch. Even Grishmabhuvan, a pavilion built by Maharana Sartanji provides the glimpse of the Rajput architectural style. The three-storied summer pavilion has exquisite pillars, impressive domes and delicate arches. It is divided into four parts depicting four seasons. It was a kind of asylum for the Maharaja away from the crowd of Porbandar.

Over and above the palaces and forts, it is interesting to know that Porbandar is the only city in the country which has the temple of Sudama, the close friend of Lord Krishna. The beautiful shrine constructed between 1902 and 1907 is situated in the center of the city. While constructing Sudama Mandir there was a shortage of fund and hence in order to complete the structure people organized drama shows. There is a plaque in the temple depicting this entire course of events. The temple contains a maze. It is believe that crossing the maze washes all the sins of a person.

Another such shrine in the city is Bharat Mandir situated amidst a beautiful garden. There are a number of murals that depict the religious men and preceptors of India. There are beautifully matched mirrors in the temple which depict the Gods and legendary personalities from the Hindu Epics and the Indian Puranas. Here children can enjoy the distorting mirrors present in the temple.

PEEPING AROUND THE CITY

If one has a day or two more than Porbandar offers some beautiful places around the city. Wildlife lovers would not like to miss Kuchdi, a picturesque hamlet situated just 20 minutes away from the city. The place has a bird sanctuary and would be a paradise for bird and photography lovers. This is the only bird sanctuary in the state which is established very near to the city. The area supports good population of Flamingos and other resident and migratory waterfowl. In the past, flamingos had attempted nesting also.

If one is fond of viewing the age old constructions than Ghumli is the right place. It was once the capital of the Jethwas before they moved to Porbandar. The place is famous for its Naulakha temple, considered to be the oldest sun temple in India built around the 8th century, and the 12th century Vikia vav, with numerous flights of steps and string coursed carvings.

A 30-minute drive from Porbandar takes one to Barda Hills covered with forests where one can find the Khambala Dam with its intricate, decorated kiosks.

THE SILVER SCREENS OF GUJARAT


Gujarat is a state which is known all over the world for tourism. Like few places in the world, it is proud of the tall mountains, valleys, water resources, forests, wildlife, desert, palaces, temples and many cultural and diverse places. Gujarat has a rich history and many rulers have touched the throne of Gujarat, hence it is also known for its majestic beauty. Due to the geographical and historical location, Gujarat has been a favorable place for shooting. It attracts film makers, documentary makers and at times even advertisements are shot in the state. These locations have acquired fame and are thronged by tourists round the year.

VIJAY VILAS PALACE

We often get to see this majestic palace in Bollywood films. Vijay Vilas Palace situated at Mandvi was built in 1929 by Vijayrajji. The grand structure is made in Rajput style using red sandstones adding beauty to the monument. The main central dome, bastions, Bengal domes and color glass windows catch the eye of every visitor. The entire lush green surrounding can be observed from the top balcony of the palace. Bolywood blockbusters like ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’ and ‘Lagaan’ are shot here.
Mandvi also has one of the most beautiful beaches in India. Mandvi has a well maintained private beach situated along the palace. Many picturesque villages are situated nearby the palace which can be an appropriate site for a village seen.

GONDAL

Gondal has been a famous location for feature films, fashion shoots, TV serials and Gujarati films. Gujarat is one of the few towns of Gujarat that hold the real cultural heritage of the Rajput kings and the early rulers of Gujarat. Once the capital of a princely state, it was run by the Jadeja Rajputs, later overtaken by the Mughals and again recovered by the original rulers. It is a fortified town located on the river Gondali after which it was named. It was known as a model state of Saurashtra in late 19th and early 20th century.

The town offers a variety of heritage locations for various shoots. The Darbargadh or old palace complex, with its medieval walls and 1740s Naulakha Palace, is ideal for period films and Indian heritage fashion shoots. Riverside palace built by Maharaja Bhagwat Sinhji in 1875 is a famous landmark of the town. The interiors are beautifully decorated with enchanting artwork and the furnishings are one of their kind. The Oxford Palace or the Huzoor Palace is a magnificent palace surrounded by gardens of fruit bearing trees.

The Orchard Palace of the erstwhile Maharajas of Gondal is very famous for film shoots. It has now been converted into a heritage hotel. Many scenes of the bollywood blockbuster ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’ have been shot here. The scene in which Ajay Devgan pulls Aishwarya Rai down a flight of carpeted steps where the actress disturbs the antique wooden table and brass artifacts on the way to the entrance, feature few portions of the grand palace. The palace contains beautiful interiors that show a glimpse of both the British and the Indian culture. The ‘room of miniatures’ is a splendid sitting room with a collection of miniature paintings, brass, and antique furniture. The erstwhile princely family has a huge fleet of vintage and classic cars besides horse drawn carriages and rail saloons. An extensive collection of vintage and classic cars including a 1935 Mercedes, 1955 Cadillac limousine, sports cars from the 1950s and 1960s like the Mercedes 300 SL, Jaguar XK 150 and Chevrolet Camaro, a fleet of four-wheel drive vehicles from the World War II and post-war period and some contemporary sports cars can be seen.


WADHWAN

Rajmahal Palace in Wadhwan is situated in Surendranagar district of Gujarat. The huge palace is spread over an area of fourteen acres. The palace was built in the 19th century by H.H. Bal Sinhji. The most peculiar area of the palace is the Darbar hall with beautifully painted ceiling. The hall contains the royal throne and some portraits. Beautiful murals, rich velvet tapestries, huge chandeliers and antique furniture give it an imperial touch. In the pillared courtyard of the palace, the marble statues draw attention of the guests.
The palace has now been converted into a heritage hotel. The famous fashion feature ‘Lily takes a trip’ by Vogue was shot here in 2005. The famous photograph of a model standing on a spiral staircase with a long hanging gown is the part of this palace. Other historic buildings of Wadhwan include the Darbargadh fort, the Hawa Mahal, Ranakdevi temple and step well.

LITTLE RANN OF KUTCH

It is a delight to see vast open barren land spread kilometers together. The dessert looks splendid in moonlight. It is an extremely popular site for advertisement films, especially advertisements featuring cars and tyres. The advertisements of Tata Safari, Hero Honda and MRF Tyres are a few ads shot here. It also proves to be an exotic location for fashion advertisements and fashion photography. Shoots of Jade Blue’s shirts and Deepkala sarees for their editorial advertisements and hoardings also happened in the Little Rann of Kutch.
Besides the desert area, Rann of Kutch is also known for lakes filled with colorful birds. It also contains wild ass sanctuary and some beautiful traditional villages nearby. All these are a good location for shoots. The Wild Ass Sanctuary in the Little Rann of Kutch has also been featured in the documentaries of BBC, National Geographic, Partridge Films, etc for its variety of wildlife.

BALARAM 

Balaram is situated near Palanpur. It is surrounded by lush green forests. Built around 1922-1936,it was a hunting retreat of Lohani Nawab of Palanpur. The area is spread in 13 acres on a hilly region. The palace is surrounded by lush green gardens having colorful flower beds. The palace is a graceful manifestation of neo classical and ornate architectural style. It is situated near the border of Rajasthan. Many villages, hills and rivers form a beautiful location for film shoots.
Balaram Palace has been a spot for feature films, ad films and TV serials. It is extremely popular for TV serials. Suryavanshi starring Amitabh was filmed in Balaram, which has many attractive locations like the palace, Chitrasani river, Jessore Hill and nearby villages. Now the palace has been converted into a resort.

RAJPIPLA

Rajpipla is a major city of the Narmada district in South Gujarat. Rajpipla is known for its grandeur as it contains beautiful palaces and grand ancient buildings. It is a famous location for the shooting of Gujarati and Bhojpuri films. Gujarati films are shot here since 1971; hence few also call it Gollywood. Now many Bhojpuri films are also shot here. The ‘Ab to Banya Sajanya Hamra’featuring Saira Banu and the first ever cross border Bhojpuri film Saiyyan Chitchor are a few amongst the movies filmed at Rajpipla. The location is often seen in TV programmes and serials.
Rajvant Palace Resort situated into Vijay Palace is most famous for shoots. The palace was built by Maharaja Chhatra Sinhji in 1910. The palace is surrounded by gardens and it has the view of the river from the rear. The drawing room has retained its original character with European settees and elegant tables. The pillars, Gothic arches and European domes are worth a watch. A number of old and new decorative objects and in brass, marble and ceramics decorate the hall. The other impressive palatial building of Rajpipla are the Vadia Palace called Gujarat’s Taj Mahal because of its magnificent architecture ,the Natvar Nivas which has beautiful murals and other works of art inside, and many others.

BEAUTY OF THE BARREN LAND


Places having mountains, valleys, beaches, culture and heritage, excavations, glaciers etc. get famous throughout the world. Apart from these places having tourists round the year, there is a place away from water and greenery and yet cocooned in its own beauty. Yes, it is the desert. Along with varied wildlife, beautiful beaches, mountains and shrine Gujarat is also blessed with the rare beauty of the deserts.

Little Rann of Kutch is situated about 93 kms from Ahmedabad. It lies in Gujarat along Pakistan border. The demography of the Little Rann of Kutch comprises of saline desert plains, grassland, scrubs, lakes and marshes. It is a geographically unique landscape that was once an arm of the Arabian Sea. As the land separated from the sea by geological forces, it became a vast, featureless plain encrusted with salt that is inundated with water during the rains. The land with beautiful sand carpet offers wildlife viewing opportunities, colorful villages, safaris and lakes. It is a unique place on earth with an unending possibility of exploration. It provides varied sites that become a part of an unforgettable experience.

HOME TO THE ENDANGERED

Little Rann of Kutch harbors the last population of Asiatic Wild Ass. The sanctuary was established in 1972 and is known for its herds of the wild ass (Gudkhar). The brown creatures are not found anywhere else in India. Around 3000 wild ass live in this region and most of the time they are spotted in herds, especially during the breeding season. Apart from wild ass, the sanctuary is also a home to 32 animal species. The elegant blackbuck, nilgai, graceful chinkara, jungle cat, fox, wolf and many more species of animals can be spotted in the safari.

The place become a paradise for bird watchers during winters. Houbara bustard, sandgrouse, desert chat, desert wheatear, nine species of larks, quails, gray francolin etc are seen in the saline desert wilderness. One can also have the pleasure of watching Eagles, vultures, harriers and falcons hunt their prey. Thought a desert, there are small lakes surrounding the region like Nawa Talao and Vanod Saran. Flocks of water birds are found in this region like Flamingoes, pelicans, cranes, storks, ducks etc.

The Sanctuary has three main access points: Dhrangadhra, Range Bajana, and Range Aadeshwar. If you are planning to visit it during winter, Range Bajana is the best place as you can get closest to the migratory bird from this point. Whereas, Dhangadhra being a bigger town will provide easy transportation and accommodation facilities.

Exploring nearby villages is a good option apart from the sanctuary as the place is a home to tribal groups. The traditionally built houses, paintings and dresses fill color to the beautiful picture of the desert. The Rabari and Jath women embark various tattoos; wear large beaded necklaces, ornamental jewellery made from lead, white metal, iron and silver.

Zinjuwada, bang on the edge of the Rann, has an old, 11th century fort built during the Solanki era and houses one of the area’s largest salt works. On your way to or from the Rann, you can visit the glorious Sun Temple at Modhera and enjoy the delicately carved stone walls. There are some other national parks in the region including the Marine National Park and Nal Sarovar Park, which are rich in flora and fauna and are really worth a visit.

ACCOMODATION 

You will get many government guest houses. At few places you can also opt for the traditionally build huts and have a feel of the culture of the tribals.