Drive south from Rajkot to Gondal and you pass Vintage Fords and Buicks taxis of a bygone era still plying the roads of Saurashtra. Gondal, a city state mere 35 km away from Rajkot ruled by a family of car enthusiasts whose royal passion resulted in a fine collection of automobiles which are now part of a museum in the palace premises. Such was the royal passion that Gondal had the best planned and well designed road system in preindependent Gujarat. Gondal like its neighbors has some visually exciting palaces and living spaces; some like the Riverside Palace commissioned in 1875 by Bhagwatsinghji is now a Heritage Hotel. The palace grounds form a private forest reserve with frolicking deers and a variety of birds adding to the tranquil beauty of the place.
A building worth visiting is the old Darbargadh a seventeenth century structure which reputedly cost Rupees Nine Lakhs thus earning the sobriquet ‘Navlakha Palace’. The palace is built on series of arches delicately carved and inscribed in stone with a magnificent spiral staircase leading all the way to the top. The interior of the Darbargadh is open to visitors and for a fee one can experience the opulent living style of the Maharajas of old. Mandvi Chowk. The central marketplace of Gondal is a typical riot of color, the bustle of street cries and hawkers, vendors and beggars and wafting aromas of food stuffs amidst flowing bales of trade cloths in a variety of exotic prints. To experience Gondal is to take a walk down its winding streets inhaling the soul of the city and its people!