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Bhavnagar- a city of literatures..

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so…right I am in Bhavnagar now…thanks to my company which is giving me the opportunity to know Gujarat and India better. The travelling has its own kind of benefits and losses..like you can know different areas better but you feel stressed and lonely as you are living away from your knowns…loving ones..for longer times. But as in our culture and holy scripts it is mentioned…”SADHU TO CHALTA BHALA” ..keep walking..although slow but in forward way….directions..

So please do thank to wikipedia…for some knowledge on Bhavnagar…..enjoy the journey with me….

Bhavnagar (GujaratiભાવનગરHindiभावनगरBhavnagar.ogg Bhāvnagar (help·info)) is a city in the Indian state of Gujarat. It was founded in 1723 AD by Bhavsinhji Gohil (1703-64 AD) and was named after its founder and ruler. It was capital of Bhavnagar State which was the first princely state to merge with the democratic Indian Union in 1948.

It is currently the administrative headquarters of the Bhavnagar District. It is the sixth-largest city of Gujarat, and the third-largest city in the Saurashtra region. Bhavnagar is also known as the cultural capital of Saurashtra.


Map of Gujarat with Bhavnagar marked 

Map of India with Gujarat marked
Location of Bhavnagar
Time zone: IST (UTC+5:30)
Country  India
State Gujarat
District(s) Bhavnagar
Mayor Mrs. Rina Shah
• Density
510,974 (2001)
• 9,586 /km2 (24,828 /sq mi)
• Elevation (AMSL)
53.30 km² (21 sq mi)
• 24 m (79 ft)




[edit]Early history

The Gohil Rajputs of the Surya Vanshi clan, facing severe competition in Marwar, moved down to the Gujarat coast around AD 1260 and established three capitals – SejakpurUmrala and Sihor (then known as Sirohi). [1] In 1822-1823, Sihor was raided by Khanthaji Kadani and Pilaji Gaekwad, but they were repulse by Bhanvsinhji Gohil. After great losses in the battle, he realized the weakness in location of Sihor. In 1823, he established a new capital near Vadvavillage, 20 km away from Sihor, and named it Bhavnagar. It was a carefully chosen strategic location having potential of maritime trade. Naturally, Bhavnagar became the capital of Bhavnagar State. [2]

The old town of Bhavnagar was a fortified town with gates leading to other important towns of the region. Bhavnagar remained a major port, for almost two centuries, trading commodities with AfricaMozambiqueZanzibarSingaporeand the Persian Gulf.

[edit]State of Bhavnagar


Princely flag of Bhavnagar

Bhavsinhji made various far sighted decisions to ensure revenues from marine trade for Bhavnagar. During that period, marine trade was monopolized by Suratand Cambay. Castle of Surat was commanded by Sidis of Janjira. To protect maritime trade of Bhavnagar, Bhavsinhji entered into agreement with them in 1739 AD[3], giving 1.25% of revenues generated by Bhavnagar port. When the English took over Surat in 1856 AD, Bhavsinhji entered into similar terms with them.[2]

During his period, Bhavnagar rose from a small chieftainship to a considerably important state, with large addition of territories to the state as well as from maritime trade. This tradition was continued by successor of the founder who encouraged trade in similar manners.

Vakhatsinhji Gohil, grandson of Bhavsinhji Gohil, expanded the territory after taking possession of localities belonging to Kolis and Kathis. Also, he obtained Rajula from the Navab Saheb Ahmad KhanSultans of Gujarat had given theGhogha Taluka to Babi family. It fell to Peshwa when Ahmedabad was conquered by the Marathas in 1757 AD. After falling under various hands (Momin KhanSher Zaman Khan), it was finally merged into Bhavnagar state byVakhatsinji Gohil. In 1793 AD, Vakhatsinhji took over Chital, and also conquered forts of Talaja. Later, Mahuva,KundlaTrapajUmrala and Botad became part of Bhavnagar state.[4]

Bhavnagar remained the main port of the state. Other important ports were Mahuva and Gogha. It prospered well among other states of the region. During late 19th century the state built the Bhavnagar State Railway, thus becoming the first state in India to build its railway on its own. This was noted by Sir W. Hunter, in his publicationImperial Gazetteer.[5] On one occasion, Mr. Peile, a Political Agent during that time, 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.[5]

Between the years 1870-78, as the prince Takhtsinhji was a minor, an experiment in joint administration was carried out and Bhavnagar was put under a joint administration. This period produced some notable reforms. The two important people who were responsible for these reforms were Mr. E.H. Percival, of the Bombay Civil Service and SriGaurishankar Udayshankar Oza of Bhavnagar.

These reforms were in the areas of administration, revenue collection and judiciaries. Post and telegraph services along with railways were introduced and augmented. The port was also modernized and a new economic policy was introduced.

These reforms and changes in the system caused John Houston to say “”Bhavnagar is the most important and the most advanced of the native states of Kathiawar. From a very early date it became friendly with the British authorities.It was the pioneer of civilization and administrative activity in the peninsula and has ever set an example to the neighboring chiefs in the spread of education, in the prosecution of public works, in the development of commerce and in adoption of measures generally conducive to the welfare of its subjects.” [6]

Region of Bhavnagar state was also known as Gohilwad.

[edit]Merger with the Indian Union in 1947

Till the independence of India, Bhavnagar was an independent state ruled by the Gohil Rajput clan.

In 1947, the Deputy Prime Minister of newly independent Indian Union Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel undertook the ambitious and complex process of political integration of India to unify 565 princely states with the Union of India. The last princely ruler of Bhavnagar Late Sri Krishnakumar Sinhji handed over the administration of his State to the people’s representative in 1948, and Bhavnagar became the first state to join the Indian Union. Krishnakumar Sinhji later served as the Governor of Madras Province.


Bhavnagar is a coastal city in the eastern coast of Saurashtra, also known as Kathiawar, located at 21.77°N 72.15°E[7]. It has an average elevation of 24 metres (78 ft). It occupies area of 53.30 km². General slope dips in the northeasterly direction at the apex of Gulf of Khambhat. Small non-perennial river named Kansara Nala passes through outer area of the city.


Bhavnagar has a tropical wet and dry climate, with hot, dry summers from March to mid-June, the wet monsoon season from mid-June to October where the city receives around 550 mm of rain on average. The months from November to February are mild, the average temperature being around 20°C, with low humidity. Due to proximity to the sea, the climate remains a bit humid throughout the


The region of Saurashtra is a vital geo-dynamic part of the western continental margin of India, and falls in the seismic zone-III of the Zoning Map of 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 which started in Bhavnagar. 132 earthquakes of 0.5M to 3.8M were recorded. There were five earthquakes greater than 3M, with maximum magnitude of 3.8. These events were confined to an area which covered southern part of the Bhavnagar city.

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 maximum magnitude of 6.0.


Culture and Arts

Bhavnagar is considered a city of education and culture, and is known as the cultural capital of Saurashtra. [9] People of Bhavnagar are considered to be easy-going, and art-loving. The artistes 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 poets and writers of Gujarati literature. Just to name few;

  • Narsinh Mehta – a poet-saint, an exponent of Hindu devotional religious poetry, author of the famous Bhajan ‘Vaishnav Jan To‘, born in the village of Talaja in Bhavnagar district
  • Ganga sati – a medieval Gujarati saint and poet who wrote many bhajans on devotional themes, hailed from Samadhiyala village of Bhavnagar district
  • Jhaverchand Meghani – one of the greatest Gujarati poets and writers of Gujarati folk literature, worked as a teacher in Bhavnagar and produced most of his literary works while living in Bhavnagar

[Prahlad Parekh] and [Krishnalal Shridharani] Two notable poets.

[Kismat Qureshi],[Nazir Dekhaiya],[Barkat ViraNi]..writer of Gazals.

  • Kavi Kant – well known poet, served as the royal poet of Bhavnagar, born in Chavand village of Bhavnagar district
  • Prajaram Raval – poet, born in Bhavnagar, worked as principal of Ayurvedic college of Bhavnagar
  • Dula Kag – renowned poet, social reformer and freedom fighter, born in Mahuva town of Bhavnagar district
  • Vinod Joshi – poet, professor in Bhavnagar University, Head of Dept. of Gujarati language

The famous Gujarati novel “Saraswatichandra” by Govardhanram Tripathi was based on locations of Bhavnagar and Sihor. A Few chaptars were written during his stay in Bhavnagar.

[Somalal Shah ] painter did all his active work in Bhavnagar.

[Kishor Parekh] Internationally acclaimed Photographer was born in Bhavnagar.

Bhavnagar has rich tradition of having Educationist like [GijubhaiBadheka] [Nanabahi bahtt] [Mulshankar mo. b

City Planning and Architecture

The town planning schemes were designed and implemented under the guidance of progressive rulers of Bhavnagar. During the reign of Sir Takhtsinhji, the British State Engineer Proctor Sims supervised the construction of Barton LibraryHigh CourtAlfred High School and Sir Takhtsinhji Hospital.[1]

Takhteshwar Temple (1893) is located on a hill, on a high plinth, offering a commanding view of Bhavnagar. The highshikhara rising above the pillared rectangular mandapa makes it an important landmark.

Barton Library (1895) is a beautiful 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.

Gangajalia (1893) is a temple dedicated to Ganga-devi, with a chhatri, pavilion and bridge all in 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, now a heritage hotel, is a magnificent building set amidst a huge estate of 10 acres (40,000 m2). It was designed by a German architect, as a royal residence in 1859. It combines elements of Indian architecture with a modern outlook.

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 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 Krishanagar plan towards Sardarnagar while he planned Congress Adhiveshan. In 1975, he again got involved in planning of Bhavnagar and made a master plan of Bhavnagar.

The city of Bhavnagar was one of the earliest to have an underground drainage in the whole of Gujarat. [10]

Bhavnagar was among the first cities in Gujarat to have Water Filtration Plant.[citation needed]


Bhavnagar is known for pioneering and laudable efforts in the fields of rural child as well as liberal women’s education.

Nanbhai BhattGijubhai Badheka and Harbhai Trivedi were the trinity who experimented and sew new trends in rural and liberal child education. Nanbhai’s Gram Dakshinamutri and Lokbharati have prepared three generations of brilliant workers and leaders engaged in reshaping village India. Gijubhai’s Dakshinamurti became the cradle of new liberal 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 educator-social reformerAmrutlal Dani. What has become a vibrant cluster of women’s schools and colleges today is due to his devoted and pioneer work.

Bhavnagar’s Samaldas College is the oldest institution of higher education in the region. Mahatma Gandhi studied here in 1884 AD. Bhavnagar University is well known in the region having nearly 23,000 students, number of graduate colleges, 17 post graduate departments including MBA, MCA, MSc, engineering, and medical college.

Some of the famous educational institutes are: (This is not a list of all schools in Bhavnagar)

  • Bhogilal Maganlal Commerce High School
  • Ramjibhai Kamani Ghar Shala (AKA the Home School)
  • Shree Dakshinamurti Vinay Mandir
  • Shantilal Shah High School (AKA Alfred High School)
  • Sanatan Dharma Vividhlakshi High School
  • Vishuddhanand Vidhya Mandir

Some famous institutions for higher education:

  • Bhavnagar University
  • Sir Prabhashankar Pattani Institute of Science
  • Shamaldas Arts College
  • Shantilal Shah Engineering College
  • Bhavsinhji Polytechnic Institute (BPTI)

Economy and Industry Profile

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, ship building, and 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 involved in cities like Surat, Mumbai, and Antwerp. Bhavnagar stands second in diamond cutting & polishing industry after Surat in India, with 6,000 units operating from the district and employing more than 3 lakh people. Bhavnagar’s commercial importance is enhanced by its proximity with 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. Alang ship breaking yard is the biggest in the world, recycling about 50% of the salvaged ships of the world. This has also helped developing supporting industries, such as Oxygen bottling plants, re-rolling mills and induction furnaces. Bhavnagar manufactures FRP (Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic) boats and steel vessels at ship building facility of Alcock Ashdown (Gujarat ) Ltd. The prominent industries located in Bhavnagar are Alcock Ashdown (Government of Gujarat Undertaking), Tamboli Castings Limited., Excel, SteelCast Bhavnagar, Investment & Precision Castings etc. Ruvapari Road and Nari Road are areas where most industries are clustered. Bhavnagar has about 150 units manufacturing plastic monofilaments, and more than 400 units manufacturing plastic cloth, twine, ropes, films, and multifilament yarn. Some sections of the society depends upon agriculture for their livelihood. The city is a prominent trading post for cotton products.

There are 112 medium and large scale industries located in Bhavnagar district.

>>Small Scale Industries (SSI) The district has 10,080 SSI units with employment of 49,587 involving a total investment of INR 28,955 lakhs (USD 70.62 million). Around 4,460 SSI units are present in Bhavnagar taluka, witnessing investments to the tune of INR 9,956 lakhs (USD 24.28 million). Maximum number of industries are engaged in repairing & servicing, textiles, chemicals, glass & ceramics, and wood products.

>>Industry Investment Trends As per the Industrial Entrepreneur Memoranda (IEMs) filed, the total investment during 1988-97 was INR 2,693 Crore (USD 657 million), and during 1998-2007 investments worth INR 4,775 Crore (USD 1,164.6 million). Around 87% of the investments during 1998-07 has been contributed by infrastructure projects, cement and gypsum, and chemicals sector, while 89% of the investments during 1988-97 was contributed by industries such as chemicals, cement and gypsum Miscellaneous machinery and engineering sector showed increase in number of units while chemicals, plastic and food processing industries showed remarkable growth in investments during 1998-2007.

>>Investment Trends: 1998-07 Infrastructure sector attracted the highest investment of INR 2,200 Crore (USD 536.5 million) contributing 46% to total investments generated during 1998-07. The next highest investment was generated by cement and gypsum sector of INR 1,637 Crore (USD 399.26 million) growing by 39% and contributing 34% to the total investments. Highest employment was generated by the chemical sector creating 3,997 jobs contributing 36% to the total jobs created Food processing industries grew by over 250 times during 1998-07 with an investment of INR 79 Crore (USD 19 million)

>>Investments in Pipeline

A total of 11 MoUs were signed during Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summits (VGGIS) 2003, 2005 and 2007, in several sectors, such as, ports, power, agro & food Processing, tourism and mineral-based industries. The power sector witnessed investments of over INR 4000 crore (USD 975.60 million) during VGGIS 2003 and 2005 by Nirma Chemicals Limited and Gujarat Petro Chemical Limited respectively. Port sector witnessed maximum number of MoUs during 2003 and 2005 in the district. Gujarat State Petronet Corporation (GSPC), has signed an MoU during Vibrant Gujarat 2007, for the privatisation of Bhavnagar port.

>> Economy Drivers

Major investments were witnessed in infrastructure projects during 1998-07 which would further enhance the image of the district as a commercial region. Recent surge in the growth of food processing industries in the district has increased employment opportunities for the masses. Presence of Bhavnagar port has helped in catalyzing the growth of industries, making it an important terminal for export and import of goods. Proximity with other major industrial hubs of the State, such as Ahmedabad, and Rajkot has helped the district in attracting investments. Small scale industry sectors such as repairing & servicing, textiles, chemicals, glass & ceramics and wood products are the supporting pillars of the economy providing numerous employment opportunities.


Main Crops:


  • Exports of cotton, ship machinery and dehydrated onions.
  • Diamond cutting, polishing, marketing, Diamond jewellery manufacturing.
  • Plasting ropes, yarns, twines Manufacturing.
  • Re-rolling mills due to ship-breaking yard at Alang.
  • Other large scale manufacturing industries like Fertilizer, Soda-Ash, Steel-Casting etc.


As of 2001 India census[11], Bhavnagar had a population of 510,958. Males constitute 52% of the population and females 48%. Bhavnagar has an average literacy rate of 72%, higher than the national average of 59.5%; with male literacy of 77% and female literacy of 66%. 13% of the population is under 6 years of age.


The city offers vibrant shades of traditional Gujarati culture to the traveler. Bhavnagar is also a suitable stopover for tourists who are venturing to the Jain temples at Palitana on the Shatrunjaya Hills, Sihor and the Blackbuck National Park, Velavadar – the home of the famous Indian Blackbuck.


Bhavnagar is well connected to other major cities of Gujarat such as Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Surat and more by road, with bus services operated by state-owned transport corporation (GSRTC) as well as private operators.

The city is also connected to Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Surat and Vadodara and some major cities of Saurashtra by rail road.

It was one of the first cities in Gujarat to have an airport. It is connected to Mumbai by air and railway. Daily flights are operated by Jet Airways and Kingfisher Airlines from Bhavnagar airport.

Intracity bus service is operated by VITCOS. Private auto-rikshaw is other mode of transport within the city and nearby villages.

Points of Interest

  • Takhteshwar Temple
  • Nilambag Palace
  • Seashore at Ghogha (About 22 km. from Bhavangar)
  • Victoria Park – It covers an area of about 500 acres(2 km²) with diverse flora and fauna. This park is a paradise for bird watchers and nature lovers.
  • Nava Bandar (New Port)
  • Barton Library
  • Darbargadh
  • Ganga Deri (Ganga Jalia Talav)
  • Gaurishankar Lake (Bor Talav) – named after a very able 19th century minister of the king, is a reservoir originally planned for water supply to the town. It is a popular picnic spot where one can watch a setting sun over lake and enjoy a stroll on the parapet wall of the lake.
  • Alang Ship Breaking Yard (About 50 km from Bhavangar on way of Talaja)
  • Gandhi Smriti – a memorial, with a library of Gandhian books and photographs about the life of Mahatma Gandhi. It also has a fine collection of art objects representing the culture of the Saurashtra region.
  • Aksharwadi (Saminarayan Temple)
  • Ghogha Beach (19 km away from Bhavnagar, a favorite outing spot around.)
  • Piram Bet (About 20 km away from Ghogha Beach, treasures fossils and old caves)


Bhavnagar had trade links with Southeast Asia, Africa, Arabia and ports of Red sea since early 18th century. The original port (21°48′N 72°09′E) built by the state of Bhavnagar was very important part of the commerce. It also hosted a lighted becon since 1860. This port was later modernized in 1930 under the supervision of J. Johnston, then Port Officer of Bhavnagar state. Wharfs, warehouses and transportation by rail systems were added. But heavy silting affected the old port, and a new port, 8 km south of the original port, was built and was operational in 1950s. This port too had a lighthouse, which was damaged in the 2001 earthquake[12]

Bhavnagar lockgate, built in 1963, is one of the oldest in the state, and is very useful to keep ships afloat during low tides

Sister city

Bhavnagar is twinned with:

Other details

The Central Salt and Marine Chemical Research Institute (CSMCRI)[1] is located in Bhavnagar. It is a well-known laboratory of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.

Bhavnagar state is the first state that established major rail road network and trains in Saurashtra, in 2nd half of the nineteenth century, by the Great King Sir Takhtasinhji Gohil.[citation needed]

The city due to its economy, has noteworthy modern day architectural contributions to the residential bungalows that are prominent and in many a number in the city. Over the years, these will go down in history as well.

Bhavnagri Ganthia is very famous farsan.


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