Porbandar TourismPorbandar was the last capital of the Jethwa Rajputs, who ruled this area for about 1200 years- shifting capitals from Ghumli, Ranpur and Chhaya. Present day Porbandar was established as a capital by Rana Sartanji in 1785 AD. Porbandar, originally a fortified town. with high rampart walls, bastions and five gates, lost its fortification by the order of Colonel Lally in 1888 AD. Even today, a ritual to circumambulate the fortification is performed by Hindus.
The prosperity of Porbandar was due to maritime trade and it was a thriving port in the Mughal period. It was attacked by the Portuguese in the wake of achieving supremacy over sea trade in 1531 AD. The Walker Treaty of 1807 AD between the ruling clans of Saurashtra and the British put an end to the feuds and it resulted in a favorable environment for the civic development of the Porbandar State.
The most impressive feature of Porbandar is the city planning and the stone buildings with ashlar masonary and rich carving. The facades of the houses on either side of the streets, with series of windows, carved gateways, using eclectic architectural Rajasthani Language, invites tourists to experience the streetscape on foot. The series of vistas enriched by a skyline of temples and beautiful public buildings and edifices overlooking the sea on Marine Drive puts Porbandar on the list of coastal heritage towns of Gujarat.
Kirti Mandir is built next to the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi, who was born here in 1869 AD. Lacs of Indian tourists visit the house of the Mahatma and Kasturba, his wife. Kirti Mandir has a Gandhian library and a prayer hall.
There is no Indian, who has not heard of the legendary friendship of king and devotee- Krishna and Sudama- starting from the ashram of Sandipani Rishi and culminating at the court of Lord Krishna, in the city of gold, Dwarika. The story comes alive with the sight of a beautiful temple in the middle of Porbandar town. In whole of India, this is the only temple dedicated to Sudama. The maze on the platform in the campus is an interesting feature.
Rana Sartanji built Darbargadh, the fortified palace, with a huge carved stone entrance gate flanked by high turrets and massive wooden doors. It is a typical example of such royal enclosures situated within the town of Gujarat. The nearby edifices on the left of the entrance are also good examples of large mansions with courtyards and intricately carved wooden elements.
Rana Sartanji built the three-storeyed summer pavilion, Sartanji Choro, in Rajput style as a retreat in the midst of the garden, each side representing a different season. The pillars with images of musicians, profusely carved foliated arches and a single dome at the top gives an idea of bygone days, when Rana Sartanji used to compose poems in Braj bhasha, sitting under this pavillion.
Huzoor Palace is located at the end of Marine Drive, in a huge campus. The sprawling palace, built in the European style with sloping roofs is a horizontal structure with several wings and big windows, overlooking the sea. The wings are interspersed with the back and front yards, bringing nature and the building together by gardens and fountains. The semi-circular porticos with neo-classical pillars, decorated entrance gate and commanding view makes it a must for the visitor. Other such examples of Royal and Public heritage buildings from the colonial period are public library, old Raj Mahal (now a college), Victoria Jubilee Madresa, Collectorate, Bhavsinhji High School, Natwarsinhji Sports Club.