Bhavnagar was founded in 1724 by BhavsinhjiGohil (1703-1764). It was the capital of Bhavnagar State, which was a princely state before it was merged into the Indian Union in 1948. It was the capital of Bhavnagar district. Bhavnagar is situated in the eastern part of Saurashtra, Bhavnagar covers a total area of 9980.9 sq. km. One of the major coastal districts of Gujarat, the place shares its borders with Ahmedabad, Surendranagar, Gulf of Cambay, Amreli and Rajkot. Accessible to all other Indian cities through proper rail, road and air linkages, the place is one of the most easily reachable districts of Gujarat.
The Diamond-cutting industry is one of the major sources of revenue earning of Bhavnagar. Apart from agricultural activities, the place also exports cotton and ship machinery. The ship-breaking yard of the district is famous all over the world. Bhavnagar is linked to all major cities of Indian origin. While intercity bus services provide easy access to the district from all other districts of Gujarat, the place is directly connected to Mumbai through both air and railways.
Culture and arts, socialism and reforms
Home to socialism, reforms, and cultural legacy, Bhavnagar is considered a city of education and culture, and is known as the cultural capital of Saurashtra. People of Bhavnagar are considered to be easy-going and art-loving. The artists and literary luminaries of Bhavnagar have immensely contributed to the culture of the city. Gujarati is the language of normal life, although Hindi is commonly understood. Knowledge of English is limited to the more educated population of the city.
Bhavnagar has produced many reformists, thinkers, socialists’ poets, writers, artists, educationists, and freedom fighters. A few of these are Narshinh Mehta, Gangasati, Kavi Kant, Nanabhai Bhatt, GijubhaiBadheka, JhaverchandMeghani, RavishankarRaval, ManubhaiPancholi, Prahlad Parekh, KrishnalalShridharani, Kismat Qureshi, NazirDekhaiya, Barkat Virani are writers of Ghazals. DulaBhayaKag, MorariBapu, Somlal Shah, Mulshankar M. Bhatt, Ambashankar Bhatt, Kanti Bhatt, etc.
Bhavnagar is known for its pioneering and laudable efforts in the fields of rural children’s as well as women’s education. Nanabhai Bhatt, GijubhaiBadheka, Manbhai Bhatt (founder of Shishuvihar),Harbhai Trivedi, GijubhaiBadheka and TarabenModak were the pioneers who experimented and sowed new trends in rural and women’s education. Nanabhai’s institutions of Dakshinamurti at Bhavnagar, Gram Dakshinamurti became the cradle of children’s education and charted a new direction in the field. Harbhai Trivedi pioneered a similarly new trend in secondary education and his Home school became a model for contemporary educators in Western India. Liberal women’s education was born in Bhavnagar through the efforts of another illustrious educators-social reformer AmrutlalDani. Sheth J. P. Govt. Ayurvedcollege is one of the colleges of the well-known Gujarat Ayurved University, Jamnagar that offers BAMS (Ayurvedacharya) course. The college is situated in Vadva area and is named after ShethJivandasPrabhudas. Tapibhai Ayurvedic Hospital a district level Ayurvedic hospital is part of this college.
Place to visit in Bhavnagar
- Gaurishankar Lake: It is beautiful lake between small hills. It was made by Shree GaurishankarOza, the Deewan of Bhavnagar. There is Balvatika for Children, and temple of Lord Shiva. There is a big palace for highness Family. It is peaceful and lovely place.
- Victoria Park: The Victoria Park, spanning a total area of 500 acres, is a forest conserved by the Indian Government within the boundary of the Bhavnagar city. Rich in flora and fauna, the forest has varieties of Indian birds like waders, raptors and perching birds that attract bird that attract bird watchers and nature admires.
- Nilambag Palace: The palace of Nilambag, now converted into a heritage hotel, highlights the blend of western and Indian architectural style. The palace constructed in 1859 was the personal abode of Sir Takhat Singh.
- Gandhi Smriti: Inaugurated in the year 1955, the complex of Gandhi Smriti situated in the central part of Bhavnagar is attached to a clock tower. The Smriti has a gallery showcasing books, rare photos and memorabilia associated with the life of Mahatma Gandhi. There is also a museum of artefacts displaying items like nut cutters and religious carvings in Gandhi Smriti at Bhavnagar.
- Gopnath Beach:Gopnath Beach being profusely supplied with a dainty and colourful birdlife along with the presence of limestone cliffs and other adjuncts to the Gopnath Beach like a pleasurable sea breeze and breathtakingly beautiful views to enthral the tourists who come down to the Gopnath Beach. It also houses the world’s biggest ship breaking zone and along with that there is the sacred presence of the Talja temple, which is built on a 350 feet high Volcanic hill.
- Barton Library and Museum: The 19th century Barton Library is one of the oldest libraries of the city. The library standing in the central part of Bhavnagar is a hub of historical and cultural significance. The Barton library is frequented mainly by the elderly people, who read magazines, newspapers and dailies to pass their time. The library houses a number of books and manuscripts in different languages.
- Water Lock Gate: The water Lock gate of Bhavnagar is one prime sightseeing attractions of the tourists. The Gate was built with the purpose of maintaining the sea water level in the docks. This aids the ship to remain floating also during the low tide. Prior permissions are required to view this lock gate. The lock gate is located in a city dockyard, built in 100 years ago.
- Takhteshwar Temple:Takhteshwar Temple is one of the prime places to see in Bhavnagar. It is a white marble temple built on hill with full city aerial view. The temple located on top of a small hill, which is near the main railway station of the city. Lord Shiva is worshipped as the main deity of this shrine.
- Gangajaliya:Gangajaliya, a major site of tourist interest in Bhavnagar, is a temple dedicated to Goddess Ganaga. The temple along with the entire temple premise is made of white marbles. The shrine of Gangadevi was built in 1893 under the patronage of Takhtsinghji, a maharaja of the city of Bhavnagar. The temple was built to pay honour to Maharani Majirajba. The temple designed by Sir John Griffits, attracts tourists many tourists.