Bhavnagar is a town in the Saurashtra district of Gujarat, a state in India. Established in 1724 by Bhavsinhji Takhtasinhji Gohil (1703–1764). It was the capital of the state of Bhavnagar, a principality before its merger with the Indian Union in 1948. It is currently the administrative seat of the Bhavnagar district.
History Of Bhavnagar
In 1260, King Sejakji (1250-1290) went down towards the coast of Gujarat and established three capitals known as Sejakpur, Umrala, and Sihor. In 1722-23, forces under Khanthaji Kodani and Pilaji Gaekwad attempted to attack Sihor but were repulsed by Maharaja Bhavsinhji Gohil. After the war, Bhavsinhji realized that the reason for the repeated assault was the location of Sihor (old Bhavnagar). In 1723 he established a new capital near the village of Vadva, 20 kilometers from Sihor, and called it Bhavnagar. It was a strategically chosen location due to its potential for maritime trade. The city of Bhavnagar became the capital of the state of Bhavnagar.
Nowadays Bhavnagar owes much to the vision of former leader Sir Takhtasinhji Gohil (1869-96 AD). The town planning plans were conceived and implemented under the leadership of the progressive rulers of Bhavnagar. Under Sir Takhtasinhji, British state engineer Proctor Sims oversaw the construction of the Barton Library, Upper Court, Alfred Secondary School, and Sir Takhtasinhji Hospital.
Takhteshwar Temple (1893 AD) is situated on a hill, on an elevated pedestal, offering a dominant view of Bhavnagar. The great shikhara overlooking the rectangular Mandapam pillar is an important monument.
Evolution of the city
The old town of Bhavnagar was a walled city with gates leading to other important towns in the region. The Darbargadh (royal residence) stood in the center of the city. The leaders of Bhavnagar eventually passed to Moti Sac and Nilambog Palace. For nearly two centuries, Bhavnagar remained an important port, trading goods with Africa, Mozambique, Zanzibar, Singapore, and the Arabian Gulf. This flourishing maritime trade has brought about a high rate of urbanization of excess wealth and the city’s cosmopolitan culture.
The former Vadwa settlement benefited from various village chariots such as Gam (Gan-gajalia) talao, Prabhudas talao, Brahman talao, and other miniature chariots. Most of these reservoirs have now been absorbed, but their names do not change. The religious places on these reservoirs survived and played a significant role in structuring the city of Bhavnagar.
- The main routes of the new capital of Bhavnagar were oriented to deal with the cardinal points of the compass.
- These roads were boarded gates. There was a wall with moats around the town.
- The Darbargadh or palace is located at the center and the hierarchy of institutions and street design has been established for this important institution.
- The town was divided into four main neighborhoods. Each enclosure had 11 sets of streets that belonged to a particular caste of persons.
The Neelkanth Mahadev was a temple on the Bhagga tale outside the original settlement of Vadwa. This tank was recovered at the foundation of the city of Bhavnagar. The surviving temple played a major part in the structure of the city.
The walled town was structured in three main parts which were SHERI (main access) – KHANCHO (secondary access) – DELO or Faliyu. The main center has been recognized as Haluriya Chowk because it links Sir Alfred High School and Ruvapari Chowk and Barton Library at the crossroads near the harbor.
The institutions were characterized by an enclosure surrounding an open space. In a heavily frequented residential area, the institution has acted as an open community space. With the new administrative policies of the British, it appeared a new class of persons was the educated elite of the city. This new class of people had become imbued with certain values of the British colonial culture. This new class of bureaucrats and trustees was called the “Divans” or ministers.
The Darbargadh or Palais is situated almost centrally on the confluence of the two main roads of the city. The resort was surrounded by business homes from the time. The two major roads divided the fortified city into four major neighborhoods/sectors. The street hierarchy has thus been established in this fortress, Darbargadh. The area adjacent to the resort had business homes and residences for the nobility.
The Darbargadh region provides a shining example of urban change and transformation. At the same time, it can be considered a primary component in its ability to order and structure the city of Bhavnagar.
The Barton Library was built close to the former Ruvapari Gate. This building has a significant place in the new “planned” areas of Bhavnagar. It is housed in the ancient position of a prominent footbridge of the city. It announces the arrival of a new era of modernism.
Maharaja Saheb Takhtasinhji of Bhavnagar instructed the German architect, Simms to design the palace of Nilambog which for generations remained the home of the royal family of yesteryear of Bhavnagar. A stony structure Rajula imposing, the palace was built with influences of colonial architecture. The hotel is an intoxicating blend of superior charm and modern luxury.