Bhavnagar, in the Indian state of Gujarat, is a port city on the coastal region of the Saurashtra peninsula abutting the picturesque Gulf of Cambay. Once the capital of the princely state of that name, Bhavnagar was founded in 1743 by a Rajput prince, Bhav Sinhji and was lucky enough to have successive rulers who contributed to the development of their kingdom in a major way, to the extent that it became a highly progressive society. Bhav Sinhji, the founder of the city established educational and judicial institutions. Later rulers commissioned European architects to build palaces and administrative buildings. So aware and progressive were the rulers that Bhavnagar was amongst the first of the princely states to join the Indian Union after independence in 1947.
The main places of interest in Bhavnagar are the markets in the old city, alive and full of character, with overhanging wooden balconies and sections reserved for specific trades such as the cloth bazaar, the silver bazaar and so on; the Takhteshwar Temple, which lies on top of a hill from where you get excellent views over the city and the Gulf of Cambay; Ganga Devi Mandir and the Gandhi Smriti Museum. The Gaurishankar Lake, with its well laid out park, is a popular picnic spot.
CLIMATE: The best time to visit Bhavnagar is during winters, as summers tend to be harsh here.
EXCURSION: There are number of interesting tourist places around Bhavnagar. Forty-two kilometers northeast of Bhavnagar is the ancient city of Valabhipur, which is well known for its ruins. Velavadar National Park is 65 km north of Bhavnagar and is famous for its protected species of blackbucks. The town of Palitana, which is 51 km southwest of Bhavnagar, is famous for its Jain temples. It is one of the holiest pilgrim sites for Jains. Palitana has 863 temples on hilltops. Sihor (28 km) and Mahuva shore (150 km) are other places to visit.
Bhavnagar Palace - Bhavnagar
Attractions and Places to Visit in Bhavnagar
Takhteshwar Temple: Takhteshwar Temple (1893 AD) is located on a hill, on a high plinth, offering a commanding view of Bhavnagar. The high shikhara rising above the pillared rectangular mandapa makes it an important landmark.
Barton Library: Barton Library (1895 AD) is a beautiful two storeyed building, appropriately designed for a road junction. It has two wings and a central tower, constructed in ashlar stone masonary, with Gothic arch windows and a sloping roof with Mangalore tiles. It is one of the oldest libraries of Gujarat and also houses a museum.
Gangajalia: Gangajalia (1893 AD) is a temple dedicated to Gangadevi, with a chhatri, pavilion and bridgeall in white marble. It is located in the middle of a former tank. It was designed by Sir John Griffith, principal of Sir J J School of Arts, Bombay.
Nilambag Palace: Nilambag Palace, now a heritage hotel, is a magnificant building set amidist a huge estate of 10 acres. It was designed by a German architect, as a royal residence in 1859 AD. It combines elements of Indian architecture with a modern outlook.
How to Reach Bhavnagar
By Air : flights are available for Bhavnagar from Mumbai
By Rail : railway station on Ahmedabad-Bhavnagar railway line
By Road : Ahmedabad (200 km), Rajkot (178 km), Vadodara(280 km)