Population : 200,000
Languages : Gujarati, Hindi, and English
Best Time to Visit : October to March
STD Codes : 02825
Gondal is situated in the Indian state of Gujarat around
60 km from the district headquarter of Junagadh. A good road
network connects Gondal to Rajkot, a major transport hub.
The climate of Gondal is generally pleasant. The summer
season extends from March to June with daytime temperature
reaching to around 42°C. The monsoons are from July to September.
Winter season sets in during October and extends until February.
In association with cyclonic storms or depressions in the
Arabian Sea in the post-monsoon months and to a lesser extent
in May and June, Gondal experiences strong winds and widespread
rain. Thunderstorms occur in June and July. In the cold season
occasional fog occurs. The summer temperature ranges from
24°C to 42°C and winter temperature ranges from 10°C to 24°C.
Places of Interest
Gondal has much to offer by way of sightseeing to the
visitors. Built in 1875 AD by Maharajah Bhagwat Sinhji for
his son Yuvraj Bhojraji, the Riverside Palace is set in lawns
and gardens beside the river Gondali. There are two marvelously
appointed sitting arrangement—the living room furnished in
typical colonial style with chandelier, antique wooden furniture
and sofas, and the Indian room decorated with beadwork, brassware
and paintings—and many pleasant sit-outs on the terraces and
galleries overlooking either the river or the garden.
The oldest extant palace in Gondal, the 17th-century Naulakha
Palace is a festival of stone carvings with exquisite
jharokhas (balconies), a fabulous pillared courtyard, delicately
carved arches, and a unique spiral staircase. The large chandelier-lit
durbar hall has stuffed panthers, gilt wooden furniture, and
antique mirrors. The private palace museum has an impressive
display of silver caskets which carried messages and gifts
for Maharajah Bhagwat Sinhji on his silver jubilee as ruler
Located in a huge complex of fruit Orchards, lawns and gardens,
the Orchard Palace is a wing of the Huzoor Palace (the
present royal residence) where the ruling family of Gondal
entertained personal guests including relatives from other
princely states of Gujarat. The ‘room of miniatures’ is a
splendid sitting room with a collection of miniature paintings,
brass, and antique furniture.
The Royal Garages have an extensive collection of vintage
and classic cars.
Then there is the Bhuvaneshwari Ayurvedic Pharmacy,
which still makes traditional herbal medicines according to
ancient principles. The Bhuvaneshwari Stud Farm has remarkable
specimens of Kathiawadi horses, Gir cattle and other ethnic
breeds of livestock, which have won prestigious awards at
national level and prizes at local horse and cattle shows.
The Swaminarayan Temple has an awesome aura of devotion
and some lovely wall murals of the various Swamis who preached
this faith. The Sangram Sinhji High School is a model of Eton
in Gondal, with some fabulous Gothic architecture, Italian
marble floors, old European laboratory equipment, an antique
clock tower, and intricate wooden ceilings. Spinning, weaving,
brass boxes, silver smithy, beadwork, woodcarving, etc., are
some crafts of Gondal.
WHAT TO DO
Gondal is a paradise for birdwatchers, Peacocks, tree pies,
cuckoos, sun birds, bee eaters, peafowl and other birds abound
in the lime-and-chickoo groves of the Orchard Palace, and
owlets, ibises, water hen, egrets, herons, waders, brahmini
kites and vultures can be seen from the Riverside palace itself.
The lake attracts demoiselle and common eastern cranes, rosy
pelicans, flamingoes, spoonbills, black, white and glossy
ibises, myriad species of ducks and many kinds of wading birds,
often in flocks of over 1,000 each. The royal grasslands are
populated by herds of blue bull antelope, jackal, jungle cat,
sand grouse, great horned owl, gray and painted francolin
partridge, quails, larks, warblers, and pipits. Harriers roost
here in winter and floricans nest in monsoons.
Jeeps for game viewing at the grasslands and boats for birdwatcher
at the lake can be arranged. Bird watching camps at both sites
Gondal is the staging post for many interesting day excursions.
Junagadh, 60 km south of Gondal, is one of India’s most historic
cities, known for its third-century BC Ashoka rock edicts,
the magnificent Uperkot Fortress, splendid royal mausoleums,
Darbar Hall Palace Museum, Junagadh Museum, and Sakkarbagh
The 3,660-ft-high Girnar Peak has exquisite 12th-century Jain
temples on the summit and holy Hindu temples in the foothills.
Dhoraji, which was the second most important city of the erstwhile
Gondal state, has the Darbargadh Palace, which is a fabulous
maze of traceries and sandstone sculpture.
The textile town of Jetpur, 30 km from Gondal, is known for
its screen printing, block printing, and yarn dyeing workshops.
Rajkot, 40 km from Gondal, is known for the Watson Museum,
Mahatma Gandhi’s old residence, and its handicrafts and textiles.
WHERE TO STAY
Some heritage as well as regular hotels are available for
accommodation in Gondal. Restaurants are available at most
of the good hotels.
HOW TO REACH
Rajkot (40 km) is the nearest airport from Gondal. There are
regular flights from Rajkot to Mumbai.
Rajkot is the nearest railway station situated on the Western
Railway broad-gauge network.
Gondal has good road connection to other cities in western
India including Ahmedabad, Rajkot, and Mumbai.
(11 nights/12 days)
Mumbai - Ahmedabad - Little Rann of Kutch - Gondal - Sasangir
- Ahmedpur - Mandvi - Diu - Bhavnagar - Mumbai.