General Information about Porbandar
Porbandar, the coastal heritage town of Gujarat is located on the Saurashtra peninsula, on the Arabian Sea. This city is described in Skanda Purana as Sudamapuri and Ashmavati and had a flourishing trade with Africa and Arabia. According to the legends, this city was the main link of the great friendship between Lord Krishna and Sudama. Porbandar was established as a capital by Rana Sartanji in 1785 AD.
Porbandar was the former capital of the Jethwa Rajput petty princely state. 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 most impressive feature of Porbandar is the city planning and the stone buildings with ashlar masonry and rich carving, the facades of the houses on either side of the streets, with windows and carved gateways. Porbandar is also associated with Mahatma Gandhi, the father of nation as he was born here. Today, fine quality silk and cotton are manufactured here. There are also chemical factories and cement works.
History of Porbandar
Porbandar was the last capital of the Jethwa Rajputs, who ruled this area for about 1200 years. Porbandar was a prosperous town due to the maritime trade and 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. Porbandar is also associated with the Mahatma Gandhi as at this place Mahatama Gandhi was born in 1869 AD.
How to reach Porbandar
Porbandar is connected by air to Mumbai.
The nearest railway station is located on the Porbandar – Ahmedabad railway line.
Porbandar is connected with various cities of Gujarat like Ahmedabad, Rajkot and Jamnagar.
Tourist attractions in Porbandar
Darbargadh, the fortified palace was built by the Rana Sartanji. This palace has 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.
Kirti Mandir was the house of the Mahatma Gandhi and Kasturba, his wife. This place is situated near the place where the Mahatma Gandhi was born. This place is now a small museum and also has a Gandhian library and a prayer hall.
Rana Sartanji built Sartanji Choro, the three storey summer pavilion. This palace was built in the Rajput style as a retreat in the middle of the garden. Each side of the garden represent a different reason. 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 language, sitting under this pavilion.
Huzoor Palace is located at the end of Marine Drive, in a huge campus. This sprawling palace is built in the European style with sloping roofs, several wings and big windows, overlooking the sea. The wings are interspersed with the back and front yards which bring nature and the building together by gardens and fountains. The semi-circular porticos with neo-classical pillars, decorated entrance gate and the commanding view makes this palace, a worth visiting place.
Bharat Mandir Hall
Bharat Mandir Hall is situated in a pleasant irrigated garden. This hall has a large relief map of India on the floor and bas reliefs of heroes from Hindu legends on the pillars. Excursion from Porbandar
Bileshwar is located about 15 kms. east of Porbandar in Gujarat. The Siva Temple dates from the early 7th century and is one of the finest examples of early Hindu temples architecture in Gujarat. The enclosure is later but the temple itself has a multi storey tower which is more like a pyramid than a spire. The exterior is decorated with arch like motifs but much of the detail has been obscured by a plastic coating.
In the picturesque wooded valley at Ghumli, a few kms. further inland there are ruins dating back to the Solanki period. The Vikia Vav is one of the largest step wells in Gujarat. The pavilions were constructed over the steps with one at the entrance. All were richly carved. The well also served a religious purpose as a water sanctuary.
Gop is situated about 50 kms. north east of Porbandar and midway on the Porbandar-Jamnagar road. The 6th century temple dates from the Maitraka period (6th – 8th centuries) and is a rare example of an early Hindu temple. The sanctuary is on a raised platform and has a pyramidal roof with an amalaka topping off. The whole is in a dilapidated state.