General Information on Monuments in Gujarat - India  
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Monuments | Forts | Caves | Pilgrimages | Temples | Beaches | Lakes | Museums


Monuments

[ Aina Mahal | Prag Mahal | Lallubhai Haveli | Khapra Zaveri Palace | Laxmi Vilas Palace | Kusum Vilas Palace | Kali Niketan | Palaces at Danta | Bhavani Villa | Dabargadh | Navlakha Palace | The Riverside Palace | Halvad Palace | Lakhota Palace | Uparkot | Vijay Vilas Palace | Art Deco Palace | Rani Ki Vav | Grishmabhavan | Huzoor Palace | Bohra Havelis | Digvir Niwas Palace | Raj Mahal | Hawa Mahal | Ranjit Vilas Palace | Darbargadh ]

Aina MahalAina Mahal
Rao Lakhpatji (1707-61 AD) constructed Aina Mahal in 1750 AD. He was a great patron of art, architecture, music and literature. Aina Mahal is a unique example of an Indian palace built in the mid-eighteenth century with European influence. Ramsinh Malam designed it. Ramsinh stayed in Holland for 17 years. He was trained in the crafts of clock making, cannon fabrication, enameling, tile making and architecture. On his return, he undertook the mirror work, tile work and fountains at Aina Mahal. Aina Mahal is a part of a large palace complex- it is a two storied building with Darbar Hall, hall of mirrors, and suites for royal family.

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Prag Mahal
Prag MahalRao Pragmalji II (1838-76 AD) undertook the construction of Prag Mahal. He appointed a famous architect- Colonel Henry Saint Wilkins to design Prag Mahal. Colonel Wilkins had designed Deccan College, Sasoon Hospital, Ohel David Synagogue, St. Paul's church at Pune, Frere Hall at Karachi and secretariat at Bombay.

Prag Mahal was built in 10 years at a cost of 20 lakh rupees. It is built in the Italian Gothic style, having a large Darbar hall, big rooms, wide verandahs and a 45-meter high lofty bell tower. The palace was built using a variety of Indian artisanship combined with European architectural design.

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Lallubhai Haveli
Built in 1791 A.D., by Lallubhai, an ex-Divan of the last Nawab of Broach, it is mainly a one-storied building with a small bungli (room) on the second floor. Lallubhai used to hold his court here. It has a front of carved wood, very richly designed. On the second floor, there are arrangements for placing matchlock guns. According to local tradition, there are underground passages in the haveli.

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Khapra Zaveri Palace
The ruins of Khapra Zaveri Palace are located on the way from the base to Machi. From its terrace, one can have a fabulous view of the origin of Vishwamaitri River. Atak gate is one of the nine gates that lead to the hilltop. It has two catapult stands for hurling stones at the enemies. Other monuments from Machi to hilltop are- Makai Kothar, a granary with the fort, Kalikat Temple and a shrine of Muslim Saints Sadanshah.

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Laxmi Vilas Palace
One of the largest and, perhaps the finest, specimen of Indo-Saracenic architecture in the country, the Laxmi Vilas is home to Ranjit Singh Pratap Singh Gaekwad, heir to one of the wealthiest princely houses in India. Maharaja Sayaji Rao Gaekwad III (1875-1939) is a legend in the State and he was the adopted son of Queen Jamnabai, he took Baroda to a wonderful era. Sayaji Rao began constructing the Laxmi Vilas Palace in 1878 naming it after his first wife, a princess of Tanjore. The dancers, whom the princess brought with her as part of the dowry, are said to be responsible for making Bharatanatyam popular in the North. Beautiful statuary, marble fountains, Moorish arcades and stained glass windows adorn the structure. It is quite a long drive from the huge wrought iron gates, mounted with the royal emblem, to the doorway of the palace.

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Kusum Vilas PalaceKusum Vilas Palace
The Kusum Vilas Palace was design by a famous architectural firm of Bombay - Bhatkar & Bhatkar, in the early 20's. The design concept was to create a palace in a harmonious fusion of the architectural style of Champaner with modern amenities of an elevator and other functional requirements. A large porch, arcaded facade and balanced architectural treatment of the 5 storied central wing with receding volume, capped with a dome lends majesty to the palace. The British-made elevator has a foyer at ground level, enclosed by series of exquisitely carved stone jalis bringing in an ethereal light effect.

The interiors are a blend of east and west. The carved pilasters, friezes gilded with real gold are replicas of such architectural elements at Champaner. The grand reception room on ground floor has large doors, carved false ceiling, French furniture, Belgium mirrors and superb Italian marble statues. The wall paintings by an Indian artist, depicting the picturesque settings of Chhota Udepur and previous capital Mohan, are most remarkable.

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Kali Niketan
Kali Niketan, originally called Nahar Mahal, the palatial mansion was built about 100 years ago as the summer residence of the royal family along the River Orsang. Attractively set in fruit orchards, the mansion has fountains in the forecourt and in the courtyard. The palatial mansion has terraces with good views of the gardens. Other architecturally beautiful royal buildings now used, as public buildings and government offices are Collector's office, Rani Mahal, college and ITI building.

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Palaces at Danta
The two palaces are located at the lower end of the hill, but higher than the town. The entire old royal palace campus was fortified in the past, housing several buildings within it. The huge impressive gate leads one into the royal campus. The old palace is clustered around a series of courtyards, interconnected by a series of gates. The first court is surrounded by a low height structure, originally acting as an administrative block.

In the same court, the other interesting structure is the family shrine of Goddess Ambaji built in the Rajput style of architecture, inspired by the royal architecture of Rajasthan. This four-storied structure has the shrine in one corner, but instead of a temple-like structure, it resembles the small Darbargadhs of Rajasthan. The opaque and plain structure at the lower level becomes more decorative at the top by the sensitive use of several architectural elements like horizontal friezes, carved brackets, deliberately carved stone jalis, jharokhas, decorated parapets and domes.

The second gate leads to another courtyard of the residential wing. The profusely carved floral pattern on the red stone entrances is in the style of the royal palaces and havelis of Bikaner. Arcades and a dome surround the inner courtyard - a typical feature of Danta palaces- caps the stair tower.

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Bhavani VillaBhavani Villa
Another palace, Bhavani Villa, the present residence of the royal family is located on a higher elevation than the old palace. The palace is built at several levels on a hill edge with a skyline of domes, offering a fantastic view of the Aravalli hills. The ex-ruler of Danta is a great wildlife enthusiast and also runs a stud farm of Marwadi horses.

 

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Dabargadh (Dhoraji)
The massive fort wall has several bastions, four main gates and three Baris (small gates). The four main gates are - Kathiawadi Darwaza in east, Porbandar Gate in west, Halar Gate in north and Junagadh Gate in south. The smaller gates are- Darbari Bari, Bhimji Bari and Sati Bari.

Darbargadh is located at the highest point in the town. Darbari bari is the beautiful gate leading to Dabargadh adorned with a jharokha, resting on rackets of 4 elephant statues in different poses. A beautifully carved entrance gate leads to the Darbargadh in the middle of a courtyard. Darbargadh is three-storied. There are images of sitting lions in different postures on long eaves, profusely carved pillars, horizontal friezes, decorative kanguras and windows framing skyline. It is designed like a jewel box-in the same architectural style of Navalakha Palace at Gondal.

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Navlakha PalaceNavlakha Palace
One of the oldest and beautiful of Gondal palaces, the Navlakha Palace complex (17th century), is situated on a riverbank. It is built on a grand masonry base, rising the monumental scale of at least 30-meter above the riverbed. The high gateway with the clock tower from the town side leads to the palace. The entrance opens to a huge space with administrative block on the right and a grand staircase with balustrade on the extreme left corner. The staircase leads to the intricately carved pavilion on the open terrace.

The grand Darbar Hall, with a series of huge windows opening onto a long balcony supported by intricately carved brackets, overlooks the river. Darbar Hall has the large chandeliers, stuffed panthers, gilt wooden furniture and antique Belgium mirrors. The private palace museum displays artifacts, gifts and messages received by Sir Bhagwatsinhji on his 50th Birthday.

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The Riverside PalaceThe Riverside Palace
The Riverside Palace is located at the edge of the Godali River. It is constructed in colonial style of architecture, amidst a garden with huge trees. The living rooms are decorated in European taste, while the Indian rooms have brassware, beadwork and paintings in typical Indian style. The series of galleries and terraces of the palace building bring nature close to the visitors of this heritage hotel.

The rulers of Gondal were great lovers of automobiles and one can see several vintage and classic cars in the royal garage. Two royal rail saloons of the Gondal State were renovated, keeping the original decor and are available for accommodation in the Orchard Garden Palace.

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Halvad PalaceHalvad Palace
The Halvad Palace campus has all the elements of Rajput palaces- zenana, hall for public audience, temple of family goddess, pleasure garden and administrative offices. The entry to the Halvad Palace is from the town-side. The beautifully carved entrance gate leads one to a huge courtyard. The formal square plan of two- storied palace structure, adorned with exquisitely carved wooden columns, brackets, friezes and jails with geometric patterns defines the courtyard. Four raised pathways, from the center of each side, meet in the middle of the courtyard at the base of the seven-storied, octagonal towers. These towers are with jharokhas overlooking all eight directions. From the top of this tower, on a clear day, one can see the surrounding villages. Therefore, it is popularly known as Jhalawad Darshan or Ek-Dandia Mahal.

The long facade with carved stone jharokhas brings in cool breeze as it overlooks the lake. The jharokhas were the favorite sit-outs of the royal women. On the full moon nights, the terrace was used for private royal gatherings. Even today, one can see beautifully carved sit-outs of sandstone on the terrace. In short, the architecture of the palace is a perfect synthesis of two natural materials, stone and wood. This Royal Palace at the edge of the town, on the bank of the Samatasar Lake is the finest example of wooden architecture of royal palaces of Gujarat.

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Lakhota PalaceLakhota Palace
The Lakhota Palace in the shape of large bastion is situated on an island, in the middle of the Lakhota Tank. An arched stone-bridge with balustrade connects the Lakhota Palace with the town. It was constructed as a famine relief work in 1839-45 AD. The elaborate entrance gateway with carved jharokhas at upper level, overlooking the tank and the stark black wall at the base, give it a look of invincible fortification. It has been converted into a museum in 1946. It has a fine collection of sculptures, coins, inscriptions and copper plates and the skeleton of a whale. Jadeja Rajputs adorns the walls with frescos depicting scenes of battle fought against various enemies. On the bank of the Lakhota Tank, near Khambholiya Gate, another interesting bastion like structure is Bhujiyo Kotho.

 

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UparkotUparkot
There are two fortifications: the fort walls surrounding the town and Uparkot in the west. Uparkot, an ancient citadel located on the higher level of the town, was a stronghold of Mauryans and Gupta Empire and is said to have survived 16 sieges in the last 1000 years due to its strategic location and difficult access. The entrance of Uparkot has a fine specimen of Hindu Toran, leading to flat land dotted with archeological sites. The major sites are Buddhist caves, Baba Pyara caves (2nd century), Adi-Kadi Vav, Navghan Kuvo and Jami Masjid.

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Vijay Vilas PalaceVijay Vilas Palace
The center of attraction at Mandvi is the Vijay Vilas Palace. It is set in the middle of well-laid gardens with water channels and marble fountains. The architect and artisans from Jaipur designed and constructed the palace in 1920 AD. The palace has all the elements of Rajput architecture. It is largely designed on the plan of palaces of Orchha and Datia. The central high dome on the pillars, the Bengal domes on sides, the windows with coloured glass, carved stone jalis, domed bastions at the corners, extended porch and other exquisitely stone-carved elements, make the palace worth visiting. This is an example of the traditional skill of artisans of early 20th century.

The Vijay Vilas Palace has its own private beach, maintained in an Eco-friendly manner to preserve its pristine beauty. For these reasons, this palace has been used as the setting in many Hindi films. It has now become a popular tourist destination. Mandvi has some very beautiful houses belonging to rich merchants with stone carving and plaster decorations. Their architectural style reflects the fusion of Indian and European styles of architecture.

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Art Deco Palace
Art Deco Palace (1931-44 AD) is a marvelous example of influence of last phase of art deco movement of Europe. It is low and two storied in banded horizontal fenestration, curves and bays, which resemble the London underground stations of Charles Holden. The palace has six dining rooms, and fourteen bedrooms. The decorated subterranean bedroom, with many erotic murals and a bathroom made from seashells are also noteworthy.

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Rani Ki Vav
Rani Ki Vav is an excellent example of subterranean architecture of Gujarat. This Vav was constructed by Udaymati, the queen of Bhimdev (1022-63 AD). The exquisitely carved sidewalls, pillars, beams, series of steps and platforms lead to the elaborately carved water well. Finely chiseled sculptures of maidens and Hindu deities, religious motifs and geometrical patterns beautify every corner. Rani Ki Vav represents the finest of the Indian sculptures and architecture.

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Grishmabhavan
Grishmabhavan is an impressive pavilion built for the eighteenth-century poet Raja Sartanji Choro. It is built in Rajput style in the midst of the garden. Each side of the garden represents a different season. The pillars with images of musicians, profusely carved foliated arches and a single dome at the top gives an idea of bygone days, when Rana Sartanji used to compose poems in Braj bhasha, sitting under this pavilion.

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Huzoor PalaceHuzoor Palace
Huzoor Palace is located at the end of Marine Drive, in a huge campus. The sprawling palace, built in the European style with sloping roofs is a horizontal structure with several wings and big windows, overlooking the sea. The wings are interspersed with the back and front yards, bringing nature and the building together by gardens and fountains. The semi circular porticos with neo classical pillars, decorated entrance gate and commanding view makes it a must for the visitor. Other such examples of royal and public heritage buildings from the colonial period are public library, old Raj Mahal (now a college), Victoria Jubilee Madresa, Collectorate, Bhavsinhji High School, Natwarsinhji Sports Club.

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Bohra HaveliBohra Havelis
Sidhpur is a major center of the Bohra Muslims from few centuries. The Bohras are a rich and cultured community spread all over the major cities of the world. They are deeply attached to their native town of Sidhpur. They regularly visit the town for important social ceremonies. About a century ago, they built very beautiful mansions in a typical architectural style, from the wealth earned abroad. The well laid out paved streets, services lanes, mosques, perfect arrangement of row houses with profusely decorated facades using a common architectural style is a direct outcome of the collective vision of the Guilds of Bohra merchants. It will be a wonderful experience to visit Boharwad. It is a perfect example of urban design in the middle of chaotic Indian urbanization.

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Digvir Niwas PalaceDigvir Niwas Palace
The Digvir Niwas Palaces is one of the finest examples of royal architecture in the early 20th century. The approach to the palace is through a beautiful plaster decorated gate and the octagonal chhatris on both sides of the entrance gate give it an imposing look.

The Digvir Niwas Palace is a low profile linear building, with ashlar stone masonry. All the openings are defined by white decorative plaster, creating interplay of textures. The entire façade has several architectural elements like carved balustrade, arches, brackets, pediments, columns, and semi circular and octagonal verandahs, curved overhangs protecting windows with stained and coloured glass, with a steep sloping Mansard roof on the top arranged in a creative design scheme to create an appealing edifice. The setting of the palace building and the campus layout seem to have been inspired by British castles and French chateaux of the European aristocracy.

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Raj Mahal
The late H. H. Balsinhji built the Raj Mahal in the 19th century. The sprawling campus of 14 acres has cricket pitches, tennis courts, gardens, fountains and lily ponds. The palace is designed around a central pillared courtyard with marble fountains, statues and carved marble furniture. The Darbar Hall has many life-size paintings of past rulers and the royal throne. The drawing room is decorated with crystal chandeliers and the Shish Mahal has Belgian mirrors. Every nook and covered by intricate decoration.

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Hawa MahalHawa Mahal
The Hawa Mahal literally means 'wind palace'. It was an ambitious project, abandoned halfway by the Wadhvan rulers. The incomplete structure stands outside the fort and is a building worth studying for its architecture, showing different stages of construction. Even today, around the Hawa Mahal, one can see Sompura artisans carving stones for various Hindu and Jain temple projects in India and abroad.

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Ranjit Vilas PalaceRanjit Vilas Palace
Ranjit Vilas Palace is a very eclectic building, a bold attempt to synthesize various architectural styles. The front and back facades are appropriately designed in response to its location. The receding volumes, on the front, creating a series of terraces culminated in two beautiful designed pavilions with gothic arches. The back facade, on the town side, really establishes the palace as in impressive landmark. The seven-storied central clock tower capped by a Mughal dome and two five storied high bastions, at the both corners, culminate in hexagonal chhatris. The facade has arcades of arched Victorian windows, Italianate pillars, Gothic arches and classical parapets. A massive Dutch roof spans the central wing of the palace. A double staircase is the unique feature of the interior of this palace, where the royal women could ascend and descend without being seen by men. A similar double staircase at Chateau de Chambord, Loire, France, dating to the Renaissance period, inspired this staircase.

Ranjit Vilas Palace has memorable collection of swords, shields and daggers, 95 species of stuffed animals, dueling pistols, pig-sticking spears, silve- lined chests, silver-platted howdahs, thrones, painting and portraits. The palace has magnificent spiraling marble staircase, stained glass galleries, and chandeliers and period furniture. The garage, on the grounds of the palace complex, has Vintage cars like the 1921 Rolls Royce Silver, Ghost, some imposing American cars and horse drawn carriages. The palace also has a stable of Kathiawadi horses. There are large grounds with beautiful Italian fountains.

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Dabargadh(Porbandar)
Rana Sartanji built Darbargadh, the fortified palace, with a huge carved stone entrance gate flanked by high turrets and massive wooden doors. It is a typical example of such royal enclosures situated within the town of Gujarat. The nearby edifices on the left of the entrance are also good examples of large mansions with courtyards and intricately carved wooden elements.


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General Information on Monuments in Gujarat - India
 
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