WELCOME TO RAJKOT
Rajkot is a city of Gujarat state in India and administrative headquarters of the Rajkot District, located on the banks of the Aji River and Niari River. Rajkot is located at 22.3° N 70.78° E. It has an average height of 134 metres. The city is spread in the area of 104.86 square km. Rajkot was the former capital of the princely state of Saurashtra. Rajkot was once a base for the Western States British government office and rapidly expanded into a prosperous, lively business centre, with an old city. This city is also associated with the Mahatma Gandhi, who lived here for several years. Rajkot was the capital of the Saurashtra state from 15 April 1948 to 31 October 1956 before merging in bilingual Bombay State on 1 November 1956. Rajkot was merged into Gujarat State from bilingual Bombay state on May 1, 1960. Today, the city of Rajkot is the home of several temples. During summers, the temperature ranges between 24°C and 42°C. In winter, the temperature varies between 10°C and 24°C. The best time to visit Rajkot is between the months of October and March. The weather of Rajkot is the most pleasant at this time of the year.
HISTORY OF RAJKOT
Rajkot has been under different rulers since it was founded. Rajkot has large history. Rajkot was founded by Thakur Saheb Vibhaji Ajoji Jadeja of Jadeja clan and Raju Sandhi in 1612 AD. Vibhaji Ajoji was grandson of Jam Sataji of Nawanagar, present day Jamnagar. Rajkot was named in honour of its co-founder Raju Sandhi. Masum Khan conquered Rajkot in 1720 AD. He was a deputy Faujdar of Junagadh’s Nawab. Masum Khan changed name of Rajkot to Masumabad. He also built the fortress in 1722 AD. There were Eight Gates to access Masumabad, which were studded with iron spikes on its outer side for defence purposes. Further, there was a gate without spikes called Khadaki Naka near Nakalank Temple. The chief Engineer of British Agency, Sir Robert Bell Booth, renovated Bedi gate and Raiya Naka gate and built the present three storied clock towers in 1892. Masumabad was conquered by Jadeja clan and its name was restored to Rajkot. Bavajiraj Jadeja had built Darbargadh, first palace of this princely state. He was succeeded by his son Sir Lakhjiraj Jadeja. He was most prominent ruler amongst previous Jadeja rulers. He constructed Lalpari Lake and Randarda Lake. His son Dharmendrasingji Jadeja succeeded him, but he died during hunting of Lion in Sasan Gir, so his second son Pradumansingh Jadeja took over his monarchy. Rajkot was merged into Republic of India during his rule. British East India Company founded saurashtra agency in Rajkot to moderate all princely states. The British constructed many impressive colonial buildings and educational institutions, few of them are Connaught Hall and the Rajkumar College. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi spent the early years of his life when his father was a Diwan to the king of Rajkot. He did fasting to ask the people to form people’s council and liberation of people of Rajkot at Rashtriya Sala in 1939. After independence Rajkot became capital of State of Saurashtra headed by U. N. Dhebar as chief Minister. Rajkot was merged into Gujarat State from bilingual Bombay state on May 1, 1960.
Shopping in Rajkot
Rajkot has quickly developed as a Patola weaving industry. This skill comes from Patan and is a laborious process that involves dyeing each thread. However in Patan, both the warp and weft threads are dyed (double ikat), while in Rajkot only the weft is dyed (single ikat). The workshops in the people’s houses can be visited in the Sarvoday Society Area.
Tourist Attractions in Rajkot
The important tourist attractions in Rajkot are the Mahatma Gandhi House or Karba Gandhi No Delo and Watson museum. The Mahatma Gandhi House has a good collection of things related to the Mahatma Gandhi’s life and is a family home. The Watson Museum and Library commemorates the work of Colonel John Watson, political agent from 1886 to 1889. The main tourist attractions in Rajkot are the Mahatma Gandhi House or Karba Gandhi No Delo, Watson museum, Aji Dam, Jagat Mandir, Rajkumar College, Lang Library, Lal Pari Lake and Randerda.
Kaba Gandhi No Delo / Mahatma Gandhi House
The Kaba Gandhi No Delo is the house of the Mahatma Gandhi where he lived from the age of six. The Mahatma Gandhi House has a good collection of things related to the Mahatma Gandhi’s life. The Mahatma’s Passion for the handloom is preserved in the form of a small weaving school.
The Watson Museum and Library commemorates the work of Colonel John Watson, political agent from 1886 to 1889. It is a jumbled attic of the collection with the 3rd century inscriptions and a delicate ivory work overseen by a marble statue of Queen Victoria. The Watson Museum has collection of precious objects of colonial period, human history and culture, and History of Rajkot.
Lal Pari Lake and Randerda
Lal Pari Lake and Randerda is a picturesque picnic spot, situated about 5 kms. from Rajkot
Aji Dam is situated about 8 kms. from Rajkot and supplies the town’s water.
Rashtriya Shala was founded by Mahatma Gandhi which has a center of patola weaving.
Jagat Mandir is beautiful carved temple of Shri Ramkrishna Paramhansa. It is made of red stones.
The world famous Rajkumar College is located in the city. This college dates back to the 19th century and is regarded as one of the India’s best private colleges. It was set up by the British for the education of the princes of the Indian state.
The Lang Library has a collection of thousands of documents and books covering every period in Rajkot and Saurashtra (region) history.
EXCURSIONS FROM RAJKOT
Wankaner is situated about 25 kms. from Rajkot. The Raja of Wankaner came to a political arrangement with the East India Company in 1807. It was then left largely to its own devices through the 19th century. Maharaja Amar Singhji introduced wide ranging reforms. He was also responsible for building the Ranjit Nilas Palace, visible from miles across the plains. It is built in a variety of European and Indian styles. Today it is run by Maharaja Rajasaheb Pratapsinghi as a guesthouse.
Morvi is situated about 29 kms. from Rajkot. Morvi dominated access to the Peninsula. Making use of the trade route, Morvi developed into a modern state under the leadership of the Thakur Sahib Waghaji. There are two places of interest in Morvi. The older is the Durbargadh Waghaji Palace, with a Venetian Gothic exterior and Rajput, Gothic and Indo-Saracenic features inside. It is approached by a suspension bridge. The New Palace contains some late Art Deco features, like the Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur and similarly includes some subterranean rooms.