Located in the town of Junagadh in Gujarat, the owners of the palaces of Gondal are descendants of Lord Krishna and the moon God, who ruled Gondal for more than 300years. But it was in the late-19th and early-20th century under Maharaj Bhagwat Sinhji that Gondal grew into one of the most progressive princely states of the region with anefficient system of a taxless economy.
Under Maharjah Bhagwat Sinhji, Gondal became a progressive state where women were concerned. The Rajput system of 'Purdah' was abolished, education wasmadecompulsory for girls and 'Zananas' (restricted women's wing) were no longer built in palaces. The present owner of the palaces of Gondal is the great - grandson of Maharaja Jyotindra Sinhji.
The oldest extant palace in Gondal, the 17th Century Naulakha palace is a festival of stone carvings with exquisiteJarokha balconies, a fabulous pillared stud courtyard, delicately carved arches and a unique spiral staircase. The privatepalace museum has an impressive display of silver caskets which carried messages and gifts for Maharajah BhagwatSinhji on hills silver jubilee as ruler of Gondal, one of the many golden caskets received by him on his 50th anniversary,the weighing scales on which he was measured against silver and gold on the respective anniversaries, and princely relics.
The Royal Garages, Carriages And Salons
The royal garages, have an extensive collection of Vintage and classic cars a 1935 Mercedes, 1955 Cadillac Limousine, sports cars from the 1950s and '60s like the Mercedes300 SL, Jaguar XK 150 and Chevrolet Camaro, and a fleet of 4 wheel drive vehicles from the WW-2 and post war period, and some contemporary sports cars. Most of thesecars are restored and some bear the original Gondal state number plates.
Gondal city which is the result of great visionary of the ruler Sir Bhagwatshinji, in the 19th century is the most beautiful place where you can witness some of the best palace builtin his era. He introduced social reforms and wanted this city to be most attractive place. This city is located near the river Gondali. The reason behind making this city beautiful with palaces is the tour which Sir Bhagwatshinji done in Europe, where he learned some of the best architectural planning status.
Sir Bhagwatshinji has studied from Edinburgh University, UK and holds 6 degrees and had a royal life. There are many palaces in this city one such is the Naulakha Palacebuilt in 17th century is situated in the river bank. This palace has got a huge entrance with grand staircase on the left corner which will take you to the open terrace. It also has got a Grand Darbar Hall, which has got huge number of windows which open to the balcony and give the best views of river. It has also got wooden furniture, stuffed panthers, antique Belgium mirrors and other such things. There is also private museum where visitors can find displays of old palace stuff and gift that king got in his 5th birth anniversary.
There are two more palaces- The Riverside Palace and The Orchard Palace which are now being converted into hotels.Both these hotels provide luxurious stay with best interior that matches with British palaces. Not only the interior but the surrounding of these heritage hotels offers a beautiful location with many interesting things offered.
Apart from these palaces, you will also witness some vintage cars in palace garages. By looking at this collection of cars you will come to know that ruler where car lovers. Gondal city is also known as education centre as there is a Sangramshinji High School which is built in Gothic way of architecture. There are also some other places to visit like Swami Narayan Temple, Bhavneshwari Temple, Ayurvedic Pharmacy and other such places.
This is the place to be visited if you want to explore royal palaces with educational institutes.
How to Reach Gondal:
BY Air : Rajkot is the nearest airport which is about 39km away
By Rail : Gondal Railway station comes in between Rajkot and Veraval line
By Road : You can reach Gondal from Rajkot and also from Ahmdabad. There are state transports available to this place.