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Gujarat ~ Saurashtra - Part II

The Somnath Temple stands magnificently by the Arabian Sea, one of the 12 most sacred Jyotirlingas or Shiva shrines in India. Ransacked and destroyed by invaders in the medieval ages, phoenix-like it resurrected from the ashes. The Somnath temple has been successively re-built, its splendour only suffering in the material used : from gold to silver, wood and, now, finally stone.

It is said that the temple was originally built by Soma, the Moon God, in penance and worship of Lord Shiva who had laid a curse upon him. Located as it is, it is widely believed that if one were to sail from here in a straight line, the end of the journey would be at the North Pole, without having to travel over land. The present structure is a recently built temple that duplicates its original. It is believed too that Lord Krishna lies cremated here, at Triveni Ghat. Close by is a Sun Temple, Surya Mandir. There is a museum in the temple that contains relics of the old Somnath shrine.

More on Gujarat
Saurashtra - Part I
Ahmedabad, Baroda
Gir Sanctuary

Sabarmati Ashram
Sun Shrine Modhera


How to Get There

Air: The nearest airport is Keshod, 47 km, which is connected with Bombay.
Rail: Veraval, 5 km,is a railway station.
Road: state transport buses and Gujarat Tourism conducted tours link Somnath with prominent towns around.


This retreat by the seaside is a royal one, for it was the summer palace of the Nawabs of Junagadh. Located scenically on the beach, Chorwad Palace was built in 1928, and possibly resembles most an European dowager hotel. Today it has, in fact, been resurrected and converted into a hotel run by Gujarat Tourism, with further rooms provided in an annexe, and in cottages. A conference hall makes it ideal for working holidays.

The sea sweeps all around the palace, and the waters beat a tattoo against the high rocks, while a wide beach becomes an excellent promenade. Should visitors wish to go out to sea, the fishermen's catamarans make ideal fishing trips possible.

How to Get There
Air : The nearest airport is at Keshod, 40 km, which in turn is connected with Bombay.
Rail :Chorwad Road railway station on the Ahmedabad-Veraval line.
Road :393 km from Ahmedabad, connected by state transport buses.

Where to Stay
Chorwad Palace Beach Resort.

A fast developing city, Rajkot is a former capital of a princely state of the same name located in the Saurashtra peninsula. In pre-Independence days, it was the headquarters of the British Government resident for the western Indian states. As early as in 1870, the state had become known for Rajkumar College, built for the education of the princes of the Indian states. The college still exists today, albeit with it's gates open for everyone.


Mahatma Gandhi spent the early years of his life here, and was a student of the Gandhi High School.

Rajkot is the main seat of the Saurashtra University. The Library, Museum and Public Hall in the Jubilee Gardens offer an insight into Saurashtrian culture.

How to Get There
Air :Connected with Bombay.
Rail :Rajkot is junction on the Ahmedabad-Hepa broad gauge line
Road :State transport buses connect it with major towns.

Where to Stay
State transport buses connect it with major towns.

Ahmedpur Mandvi
Close to the sea, providing an idyllic option of entertaining oneself lazing on the beach, swimming, or enjoying a veritable host of watersports facilities, the Samudra Beach Resort at Ahmedpur Mandvi is the ideal place for a holiday. The waters here are a deep blue, and across from the resort is Diu which can be visited by ferry or by bridge. Ahmedpur Mandvi has one of the country's finest beaches, and is increasingly becoming more popular.

Swing on the hammock here, dine by the seaside restaurant where once the Nawabs came for their private holidays, reside in cottages that resemble those in the villages around but ensure all the comforts you want.


How to Get There
Air :The nearest airport is at Keshod, 145 km, which in turn is connected with Bombay
Rail :Delwada railway station, 9 km, connected on the Ahmedabad-Veraval line.
Road: 298 km from Ahmedabad, connected by state transport buses.

Where to Stay
Samudra Beach Resort..

If Jamnagar reminds you of cricket, you are not entirely to be blamed, for the sport was a passion in this erstwhile princely state, and the famous cricketer, Jamsaheb Ranjit Singh in fact ruled over the territory from 1907 to 1933. The state was ruled over by Jadeja Rajputs known as Jams. They built Jamnagar as their 16th century capital and with their progressive thinking, made it one of the foremost Saurashtrian states.

In the centre of the city is a lake around which stand two majestic buildings that are approached via a stone bridge. One of them, Kotha Bastion is an arsenal and the other, Lakhota Palace houses a museum. Celebrated for its tie-and-die fabrics in their cheerful colours, Jamnagar is also known for its brocade embroidery (zardozi), and for it's pearl fisheries. The ports Rozy and Bedi make for delightful excursions. The city also has the distinction of having an Ayurvedic university to impart training in the traditional Indian system of medicine.


How to Get There
Air : Linked with Bombay and Bhuj.
Rail::Jamnagar is directly connected with Ahmedabad as well as Bombay (825 km) via Rajkot. Hapa is the broad gauge terminus linking it with other major cities of India.
Road :State transport buses link Jamnagar with major Gujarat cities. It is 308 km from Ahmedabad, 148 km from Dwarka and 92 km from Rajkot. .

Where to Stay
Hotels Aram, Ashiana, Dreamland, Ashoka, Atithigrah.

Information: Courtesy Government of India

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Editor: Romola Butalia       (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.