Bhavnagar is a city in the Bhavnagar district of the Saurashtra region of Gujarat, a state of India. It was founded in 1724 by Bhavsinhji Takhtasinhji Gohil (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 is now the administrative headquarters of the Bhavnagar district.
Bhavnagar is situated 190 kilometres away from the state capital Gandhinagar and to the west of the Gulf of Khambhat. It has always been an important city for trade with many large and small scale industries along with the world’s largest ship-breaking yard, Alang which is located 50 kilometres away. Bhavnagar is also famous for its version of the popular Gujarati snack ‘Ganthiya’ and ‘Jalebi’.
The Gohil Rajput of the Suryavanshi clan faced severe competition in Marwar. Around 1260 AD, they moved down to the Gujarat’s coastal area and established three capitals: Sejakpur (now Ranpur), Umrala, and Sihor. Sejakpur was founded in 1194.
In 1722–1723, the forces led by Khanthaji Kadani and Pilaji Gaekwad attempted to raid Sihor but were repelled by Maharajah Bhavsinhji Gohil. After the war, Bhavsinhji realized the reason for repeated attack was the location of Sihor. In 1723, he established a new capital near Vadva village, 20 km away from Sihor, and named it Bhavnagar after himself. It was a carefully chosen strategic location because of its potential for maritime trade. Naturally, Bhavnagar became the capital of Bhavnagar State. In 1807, Bhavnagar State became a British protectorate.
The old town of Bhavnagar was a fortified town with gates leading to other important regional towns. It remained a major port for almost two centuries, trading commodities with Mozambique, Zanzibar, Singapore, and the Persian Gulf
Bhavsinhji ensured that Bhavnagar is benefited from the revenue that was brought in from maritime trade, which was monopolized by Surat and Cambay. As the castle of Surat was under the control of the Sidis of Janjira, Bhavsinhji brokered an agreement with them, giving the Sidis 1.25% of the revenue by Bhavnagar port. Bhavsinhji entered into a similar agreement with the British when they took over Surat in 1856. Whilst Bhavsinhji was in power, Bhavnagar grew from a small chieftainship to a considerably important state. This was due to the addition of new territories as well as the income provided by maritime trade. Bhavsinhji’s successors continued to encourage maritime trade through Bhavnagar port, recognizing its importance to the state. The territory was further expanded by Bhavsinhji’s grandson, Vakhatsinhji Gohil, when he took possession of lands belonging to Kolis and Kathis, obtained Rajula from the Navab Saheb Ahmad Khan, and merged Ghogha Taluka into the state.
In 1793, Vakhatsinhji conquered the forts of Chital and Talaja, and later conquered Mahuva, Kundla, Trapaj, Umrala and Botad. Bhavnagar remained the main port of the state, with Mahuva and Ghogha also becoming important ports. Because of the maritime trade, the state prospered compared to other states. During the late 19th century, the Bhavnagar State Railway was constructed. This made Bhavnagar the first state that was able to construct its railway system without any aid from the central government, which was mentioned in The Imperial Gazetteer of India. Mr. Peile, a political agent, described the state as follows: “With flourishing finances and much good work in progress. Of financial matters I need say little; you have no debts, and your treasury is full.” Between 1870 and 1878, the state were put under joint administration, due to the fact that Prince Takhtsinhji was a minor. This period produced some notable reforms in the areas of administration, revenue collection, judiciary, the post and telegraph services, and economic policy. The ports were also modernized. The two people who were responsible for those reforms were E. H. Percival of the Bombay Civil Service and Gaurishankar Udayshankar Oza, Chief Minister of Bhavnagar State Bhavnagar Boroz.
In 1911, HH Maharani Nundkanvarba of Bhavnagar was awarded the Order of the Crown of India, the highest Imperial award for women of the Empire. The former princely state of Bhavnagar was also known as Gohilwad, “Land of the Gohils” (the clan of the ruling family)
Merger with the Indian Union in 1947
Until the independence of India in 1947, Bhavnagar was an independent state ruled by the Rajput Gohil family. In 1947, the Deputy Prime Minister of the newly independent Indian Union Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel undertook the ambitious and complex process of unifying 562 princely states with the Union of India. The last ruling Maharajah of Bhavnagar, Krishnakumar Sinhji handed over the administration of his Bombay State to the people’s representative in 1948.
Honorable Maharaja Krishna Kumarsinhji was the First King of India whom give up his state (all area) to make a United India, due to this reason Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was highly impressed by him and made him Governor of Madras State After Independence of India.
The current royal family of Bhavnagar comprises Maharajah Vijayraj Singh Gohil and Maharani Samyukta Kumari, Prince Yuvraj Jaiveerraj Singh Gohil, and Princess Brijeshwari Kumari Gohil.
The erstwhile royal family of Bhavnagar continues to lead an active role in the public eye as well as in business (hotels, real estate, agriculture, and ship-breaking) and is held in high regard by the population both in the city as well as areas that comprised the former princely state of Bhavnagar.
Geography and climate
Bhavnagar is a coastal city on the eastern coast of Saurashtra, also known as Kathiawar, located at 21.77°N 72.15°E. It has an average elevation of 24 metres (78 ft). It occupies an area of 53.3 km2 (20.6 sq mi) and 5th most populated city of Gujarat. The general slope dips towards the northeast at the apex of Gulf of Khambhat. A small non-perennial river named Kansara Nala passes through the outer area of the city.
Like most of Gujarat, Bhavnagar has a hot semi-arid climate (Köppen: BSh), with hot, dry summers from March to mid-June, the wet monsoon season from mid-June to October, and mild winters from November to February. There is essentially no rainfall outside the monsoon season, whilst during the monsoon the city receives around 655 millimetres or 26 inches of rain on average, though variability is extreme as can be seen from annual totals as high as 1,428.9 millimetres or 56.26 inches in 1970 but as little as 157.2 millimetres or 6.19 inches in 1974. The semi-arid classification is due to the city’s high evapotranspiration. The average temperature from November to February is around 23 °C or 73.4 °F, with low humidity.
The region of Saurashtra is a geologically active part of West India, and falls in the seismic zone 3 of the Zoning Map of the Bureau of Indian Standards. The region as a whole and the area around Bhavnagar, in particular, has been tectonically unstable.
Between 9 August 2000 and 15 December 2000, there was a series of earthquakes in east Saurashtra with epicenters in Bhavnagar. 132 earthquakes between magnitude 0.5 to 3.8 were recorded. There were five earthquakes greater than magnitude 3, with a maximum magnitude of 3.8. These events were confined to an area which covered the southern part of Bhavnagar city and Tarsamiya village on the outskirts of the town. There was no loss of life recorded due to this earthquake.
According to historical records, an earthquake of magnitude 7 occurred near Bhavnagar in February 1705. Earthquake swarm activity also occurred in and around Paliyad (60 km north of Bhavnagar) during July–August 1938 for about two months, with four earthquakes of magnitude greater than or equal to 5 and a maximum magnitude of 6.0
As of 2011 India census,Bhavnagar had a population of 593,768. Bhavnagar has an average literacy rate of 86%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; with male literacy of 91% and female literacy of 80%. 10% of the population is under 6 years of age.Adult males constitute 52% of the population and females 48%.
City planning and architecture
Multiple town planning schemes were designed and implemented under the guidance of the progressive rulers of Bhavnagar. During the reign of Sir Takhtsinhji, the British State Engineer Proctor Sims supervised the construction of Barton Library, Sir Takhtsinhji Hospital.
A few architectural examples include:
- Takhteshwar Temple (1893) 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.
- Gangajalia (1893) is a temple dedicated to Ganga-Devi, with a chhatri, pavilion, and bridge all of 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 (1894), now a heritage hotel, is set amidst a huge estate of 10 acres (4.0 ha). It was designed by a British architect, William Emerson as a royal residence; he also designed the Sir Takhtsinhji Hospital and later Victoria Memorial in Calcutta. It combines elements of Indian architecture with a modern outlook.
- Barton Library (1895) is a two-storeyed building, appropriately designed for a road junction. It has two wings and a central tower, constructed in ashlar stone masonry, 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.
- Town Hall (1932) was formerly a Darbar Hall, where the coronation of Sir Krishnakumarsinhji took place. It is an imposing structure in the colonial style, set in a well laid out garden.
- Modern & Contemporary Architectural services is provided by various leading Architectural firm like SAGA whose work is diverse yet of unified character, not only functional, aesthetic and techno-savvy.
Modern Bhavnagar comprises Takhteshvar Plots, Krishnanagar, Sardarnagar and surrounding area. During 1935–1937, Krishnanagar area was planned and developed by late Shri Virendrabhai C. Mehta, the official town planner for the State of Bhavnagar. In 1961, he extended his Krishnanagar plan towards Sardarnagar. In 1975, he created a master plan for Bhavnagar.
A salient feature of town planning is to have gardens at the junction of roads. Gardens are located at Ghogha Circle, Mahila College Circle, Rupani Circle, Meghani Circle, Shivaji Circle, Sardarnagar Circle, Jewels Circle and Crescent Circle.
The city of Bhavnagar was one of the earliest towns to have underground drainage in Gujarat,and was among the first cities in Gujarat to have a water filtration plant. When set up by Krishna Kumarsinhji Bhavsinhji, the filtration plant was the largest in Asia.
Bhavnagar has various schools and educational institutions. Nanabhai Bhatt, Gijubhai Badheka, Manbhai Bhatt (founder of Shishuvihar), Harbhai Trivedi, and Taraben Modak helped develop the rural and women’s education. Samaldas Arts College where Mahatma Gandhi studied in 1888 is one of the oldest institutions to provide higher education. Some of the other institutions which provide higher education are Bhavnagar University, Shantilal Shah Engineering College, Government Engineering College, Bhavnagar.
- Kendriya Vidyalaya
- Anmol Primary School
- Shree Shantilal Shah High School
- Sanatan Dharm Multi Purpose High School
- Shree M K Jamod High School
- Sheth T B Jain Girls High School
- Shree Dakshinamurti Gijubhai Kumar Mandir
- Shree Daskshinamurti Gijubhai Vinay Mandir
- Shree Dakshinamurti Vinay Mandir
- Shree B M Commerce High School
- Shree Swaminarayan Gurukul, Sardar nagar
- Shree Gyanmanjari Vidyapith
- Amar Jyoti International School
- Silver Bells Public School
- Fatima Convent School[
- Fatima Convent Public School
- Calorx Public School
- The K. P. E. S. School
- Christ School
- Saint Mary’s School
- St. Xavier’s CMI Public School
- Sister Nivedita Vidhyalaya
- Vidhyadhish VidhyaSankul
- Saarathi VidhyaSankul
- Gyanguru Vidyapeeth
- Shree Naimisharanya School
- Shree R.K. Gharshala Vinay Mandir
- Shree Sardar Patel Educational Institute
- Shree Nandkuvarba Kshtriya Kanya Vidyalaya
- Shree B.N. Virani High School
- Shree K.R. Doshi High School
- Shree Ekta High School
- Shree Majiraj Girls High School
- Shree Muktalakshmi Girls School
- Shree Mahalakshmi Girls School
- Chitra Gurukul
- Shree Vishuddhanand Vidhya Mandir
- Shree Kumar shala
- Shree Dolat Anant Valia High School
- Shree Raghukul Vidhyadham
- Shree Dhanesh Maheta High School
- Shree Pranav Bakshi Vinay Mandir
- Mahedi School
- Shree Sant Kanwaram Sindhi High School
- Shamaldas Arts College (Very First College of Bhavnagar)
- Sir P.P. Science College
- The K. P. E. S. College (Management and Science)
- M.J. College of Commerce
- Mahila College (S.N.D.T.)
- Sir Bhavsinhji Polytechnic College (B.P.T.I.)
- Government Engineering College
- Shantilal Shah Engineering College
- L.R. Valia Arts & P.R. Mehta Commerce College (V.A.M.C.C.)
- Shree SwamiNarayan College of Computer & Commerce (S.S.C.C.S.)
- Swami Vivekanand Homeopathic College
- Government Medical College, Bhavnagar
- Jilla Panchayat Aayurved College
- Shree Sahajanand College of Commerce & Management (S.S.C.C.M.)
- Shree Nandkuvarba Mahila College
- K.R. Doshi Group of College
- Gyanmanjari Group Of Colleges
Trust or NGOs
Research and development
Bhavnagar has also centre of attraction to worldwide because of its unique environment for research and development in the area of salt and marine. The centre of research known as CSMCRI-Central Salt & Marine Chemicals Research Institute.
Economy and industry
Industrial development in Bhavnagar district could be attributed to the presence of a large number of diamond cutting and polishing units, salt and marine chemicals, plastics, shipbuilding, and ship-breaking industries. Bhavnagar is an important center for the diamond cutting and polishing industry in Gujarat as well as India. Thousands of skilled diamond-polishing workers are employed in diamond-cutting and polishing firms, whose subsidiary offices are involved in cities like Surat, Mumbai, and Antwerp. Bhavnagar stands second in the diamond cutting and polishing industry after Surat in India, with 6,000 units operating from the district and employing more than 300,000 people. Bhavnagar’s commercial importance is enhanced by its proximity to the Gulf of Cambay and the Arabian Sea.
Bhavnagar is the largest producer of salt, with 34,500 tons of salt being produced annually in the district. The Alang ship breaking yard is the biggest in the world, recycling about 50% of the salvaged ships of the world. This has also helped develop supporting industries, such as oxygen bottling plants, re-rolling mills, and induction furnaces.
Bhavnagar district has various Industrial estates where many MSME industries are growing very rapidly with a great reputation around the world. Many aides from the state and central government helped increase the number of industries in these areas.
- Exports of cotton, ship machinery and dehydrated onions
- Diamond cutting, polishing, and marketing
- Manufacture of diamond jewellery
- Manufacture of plastic rope, yarn, twine
- Re-rolling mills for steel recovered from the ship-breaking yard at Alang
- Manufacture of investment castings with lost wax process (ferrous and non-ferrous)
- Other large-scale manufacturing industries, such as fertiliser, soda-ash, steel casting, etc.
- Groundnut, onion, cotton, and bajra.
- Guavas and pomegranate.and mango
- Sagwadi Farm of Gyr cattle breed
Bhavnagar is well-connected to other cities of Gujarat such as Ahmedabad, Surat and Vadodara by road, with bus services operated by the state-owned transport corporation. buses serves as a local transport in the city. Bhavnagar Terminus under the Bhavnagar railway division, serving the city, connect it to Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Surat, Vadodara, Mangalore, Kochi, Trivandrum, Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Kanpur, Kakinada (Train No. 17203)and other major cities of India by rail road. Bhavnagar airport is connected to Mumbai by air links. Daily flights are currently operated by Alliance Air (India). Private auto rickshaws are other modes of transport within the city and nearby villages.
Bhavnagar has several places and sites of interest to tourists :
- Nilambag Palace is the residence of the current Maharajah of Bhavnagar, HH Maharaol Vijayrajsinhji Virbhadrasinhji Gohil, and his family. It is now also a heritage palace hotel and a restaurant too.
- Seashore at Ghogha features a sea-side palace, about 22 kilometres (14 mi) from Bhavangar, which was once a retreat of the Bhavnagar royal family, and is now a hotel-guesthouse for travellers.
- Barton Library is a two-storeyed building, with two wings and a central tower, constructed in ashlar stone masonry with gothic arch windows and a sloping roof with Mangalore tiles. Opened in 1882, it is one of the oldest libraries in Gujarat and also houses a museum.
- Gandhi Smriti is a memorial library for Mahatma Gandhi. It also has a fine collection of art objects representing the culture of the Saurashtra region.
- Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute (CSMCRI) is the only constituent laboratory of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Gujarat. A significant research effort is being carried out here to develop biodiesel from Jatropha.[relevance questioned]
- Nishkalank Mahadev – 20 km from he city of Bhavnagar a village Koliyak is known for seashore. There is a holy temple of Lord Mahadeva. It is said that Pandvas came here to remove their Sins of killing own brother. They came here and their flag converted its colour to white. that’s why it is called Nishkalank Mahadev. A big gathering to take blessing of Mahadeva at every month of “Bhadrapad” Amavasya
Bhavnagar had trade links with Southeast Asia, Africa, Arabia and ports of Red Sea since the early 18th century. The old port Bhavnagar Harbar was built by the state of Bhavnagar, and hosted a light beacon since 1860. This port was later modernised in 1930 under the supervision of J. Johnston, then port officer of Bhavnagar state. Wharfs, warehouses, and railway transportation were added. A new port, 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) south of the old port, was built and made operational in the 1950s due to heavy silting at the location of the old port. This port also had a lighthouse, which was damaged in the 2001 earthquake.
Bhavnagar lockgate, built in 1963 and the first of its kind in India when built, is one of the oldest port in the state, and is very useful to keep ships afloat during low tide.
Bhavnagar is popular for its fafadiya ganthiya, pav ganthiya and bateta bhungala