Gondal TourismGondal is a testimony to the great visionary ruler Sir Bhagwatsinhiji, who introduced social reforms, planned the development of Gondal town and created a model state of Saurashtra in late 19th and early 20th century. 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.
Sir Bhagwatsinhji's high education and extensive tours to Europe enhanced his aesthetic taste, which can be seen in the architecture and planning of public buildings, parks, bazaars dn palaces builts during his regime.
One of the oldest and most beautiful of Gondal palaces, the Navlakha palace complex (17th century), is situated on a river bank, on a grand masonary base, rising to the monumental scale of at least 30 meter above the river bed. 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 administrate blocks on height and a grand stairfcase 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, 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 anitique Belgian mirrors. The private palace museum displays artifacts, gifts and messages received by Sir Bhagwatsinhji, on his 50th birthday.
Other two Royal Palaces- the Riverside Palace and Orchard Palace are converted into heritage hotels. 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 ot the palace building bring nature close to the visitors of this heritage hotel.
The Orchard Palace was originally a state guest house, 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 enhances the beauty of the palace. The main sitting room has a collection of paintings, antique furniture, bird eggs and many interesting art objects.
The rulers of Gondal were great lovers of automibiles and one can see several vintage and Classic cars in the royal garage. Two Royal Rail saloons of the Gondal State were renovated, keeping the original decor and are availbale for accommodation in theOrchard Garden palace. The stay at saloons provides a unique experience a nostalgia of the great days of the Indianrailways combined with royal grandeur.
Sangramsinhji High School is built on the model of Eton in England. It is constructed in Gothic style with central clock tower, with beautifully designed spacious lecture halls, carved wooden ceilings, Italian marble flooring and has a laboratory with European equipments. Other intersting places to visit are the Swami Narayan Temple, Bhavaneshwari Temple, Ayurvedic pharmacy and the stud farm of Kathiawadi horses.
Jasdan: (47 km 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 compaining plaster decoration with intricate wrought iron work. The decoration above the arches and jharokhas are noteworthy. Hingolgadh Nature Education Sanctuary int hevicinity of jasdan is a beautiful example combining plaster decoration with intricate wrought iron work. The decoration above the arches andjharokhas 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 nad environment. The royal palace on the hilltop, is now a heritage hotel, offering a nice and comfortable stay amidst natural surroundings.