General Information about Jamnagar
Jamnagar is a small 16th century pearl fishing town was the capital of the former princely state of Nawanagar and was ruled by the Jadeja Rajput clan, who ruled the princely states of Kutch, Jamnagar, Rajkot and Gondal for more than 300 years. Jamnagar was founded by Jam Raval in 1540 AD. originally as a fortified town with several gateways, on the confluence of two rivers – Nagmati and Rangmati.
Jamnagar is built around the Ranmal lake, which has a small palace at its centre. The famous cricketer Ranjit Singhji was its ruler from 1907-33 and his successor, Jam Sahib became the President of Saurashtra until it was absorbed into Bombay state in 1956. When Ranjit Singhji became the ruler, he undertook the developments of new parts of the city on European town planning principles, under the guidance of Sir Edward Lutyens – architect of New Delhi.
The city was planned using the urban design elements of axial roads, arcades, markets, entrance gates, clock towers, town squares, parks, gardens and residential plots. Jamnagar is also known as the Chhoti Kashi as the whole town is dotted with several Hindu and Jain temples. Jamnagar is famous for its bandhani (tie-dyed) fabrics, embroidery and silver ware.
It is an ideal city for exploring the surrounding coastline that stretches to Dwaraka, where rare birds flock to ankle deep islands and fine beaches are empty all year round. Jamnagar is best known for the India’s only Ayurvedic University where you can learn the techniques of ancient medicine and yoga and a temple that has hosted nonstop chanting since 1964.
How to reach Jamnagar
There are daily flights to Mumbai and Bhuj from Jamnagar. The aiport is situated 10 kms. west of the city.
There is a railway station at Jamnagar which is located on the Jamnagar – Ahmedabad line and connected with Ahmedabad and Mumbai.
Jamnagar is connected with good roads from Rajkot, Ahmedabad and Porbandar.
Tourist Attractions in Jamnagar
Lakhota Palace and Ranmal Lake
The Lakhota Palace is situated on an island in the middle of the Ranmal lake in the shape of the large bastion. This palace once belonged to the Maharaja of Nawanagar. An arched stone bridge with balustrade connects the Lakhota Palace with the town. It was constructed as a famine relief work in 1839-45 AD.
The elaborate entrance gateway with carved jharokhas at upper level, overlooking the lake, the stark blank wall at the base, give it a look of invincible fortification. This palace now houses a museum and is a striking building with some fine woodcarving, good collection of sculptures, pottery found in the ruined medieval villages, coins, copper plates and inscriptions.
The walls are adorned with frescos depicting scenes of battle fought by Jadeja Rajputs against various enemies. The Renmal lake itself is a scenic breath of fresh air.
The Kotha bastion has an old well from which water can be drawn by blowing into a small hole in the floor.
Jam Ranjit Singhji constructed the Solarium under the supervision of the French Doctor Jean Saidman. The motorized movement was synchronized with the movement of the sun to provide maximum protection to the patients of TB, skin diseases and rheumatism.
Bala Hanuman Temple
At the Bala Hanuman Temple on the southeastern side of the Ranmal lake, there has been continuous chanting of the prayer Shri Ram, Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram since 1 August, 1964. This devotion has earned the temple a place in the Guiness Book of World Records. Early evening is a good time to visit as the temple and whole lakeside gets busy.
In the thick of Chandi Bazaar are four beautiful Jain temples. The larger two, Shantinath Mandir and Adinath Mandir, dedicated to the 16th and first Tirthankaras, in front of the post office near the Darbar Gadh, explode with fine murals, mirrored domes and elaborate chandeliers. The Shantinath Mandir is particularly beautiful, with coloured columns and a gilt-edged dome of concentric circles.
Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary
The small Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary is unique bird sanctuary. This small bird sanctuary encompasses salt and freshwater marshlands. There are lots of cranes here from September to March. The best time to visit this sanctuary is during sunrise.
Marine National Park
The Marine National Park is situated offshore from the southern coast of the Gulf of Kutch in the Jamnagar district of Gujarat. The Gulf of Kutch, located on the west coast of India is an arm of the Arabian Sea, and separates the Saurashtra peninsula from the Great and Little Rann of Kutch. It is about 58 km wide on the seaward (western) side, and 170 km wide in the eastern side.
The Marine National Park was established in 1982 under the provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 for the protection of threatened marine flora and fauna in the area. This park was declared as the first marine national park in India in 1982 and covers an area of 458 square kms. The Park consists of an archipelago of 42 islands. Some of the best known islands are Pirotan, Karubhar, Narara, Poshitra.
Wildlife attractions in the Marine National Park
Colourful coral reefs, mangrove swamp forests, mudflats, sea grass, sea weeds, Saag, Sesam, Kheru, Limda and rocky shoals form the landscape of the shallow waters of the Marine National Park. These plants prevent the land based predators from penetrating and also provides shelter to the birds for nesting and roosting purposes.
Coral lichen, Coral sponge, Green sponge, Puffer Fish, Crabs, Prawns, Sea anemones, Jelly Fishes, Octopus, Sea hare, Shelled mollusks, Sea slug, Star fish, Dolphins, Sea turtles and various coastal birds like painted storks, herons, egrets, ibises, spoonbills, darters, flamingoes, avocets, ducks, terns, gulls, little cormorants and stints can be seen feeding on the mudflats and rocky shores, nesting on the mangrove canopies and wading in shallow coastal waters.
Dugong or sea cow, a marine mammal that looks like sea and breed in the Arabian sea and rare species of Bonnalia, an undivided worm, was also found here. During the monsoon season, 30 different species of migratory birds make their home among the mangrove forests. One of the most threatened birds, the great Indian bustard and Chowsingha, the world’s only four-horned antelope is also found in certain protected areas in this island.
In the Marine National Park, corals create fantasies in stone and are the master builders of the Park. Their limestone fortresses come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, from the convoluted brain coral to corals that look like horns. There are some plants that look like animals and animals that look like plants.
There are various varieties of turtles, shrimp, sponge, eels, sea urchin lurk, fishes and octopuses that create a brilliance of colours that can be unknown, unseen and unimaginable to us. Gobies are also there which clean parasites from other fish and fishes who burrow so deep that only their eyes can seen. The Marine National Park also maintains a hatchery at Madhopur near Porbandar and also some temporary hatcheries on islands near Okha and Dwarka.
Best time to visit the Marine National Park
The best time to visit the Marine national park is from end of October till end of February. You can also hire boats at jetties near Jamnagar for a trip to the Marine national park.
How to reach Marine National Park
The nearest airport is located at Jamnagar, about 7 kms.
The nearest railway station are located at Jamnagar and Rajkot.
The nearest bus stand is located at Jamnagar.
The India’s only Ayurvedic University runs many courses in Ayurvedic medicines, including a full time 12 week introductory course teaching basic theory and medicine preparation, as well as diploma and degree courses. These courses are set up for foreign nationals with medical qualifications. Hatha Yoga, Massage, Steam bath and mud therapy can also be had here. It also has a good library and workshop and had been a place of research and international seminars on Ayurveda.
Bardar Sanctuary is situated 16 kms. south of Jamnagar. Bardar Sanctuary is a gentle mountain range filled with crumbling temples and ancient town settlements. It makes for a fabulously isolated, out of the way road trip.
The Darbargadh is the original residence of Jam Sahibs and has evolved over centuries. It reflects the fusion of Rajput and European architectural styles. Jam Rajit Singhji patronized two important urban design projects in front of the Darbargadh, namely Wellingdon Crescent and Chelmsford Market. The market in front of the Darbargadh – Wellingdon Crescent is a two storeyed arcade with semi-circular arches at both levels and decorative plasters terminating in balustrade