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History of Gondal
Drive south from Rajkot to Gondal and you pass Vintage Fords and Buicks taxis of a bygone era still plying the roads of  Saurashtra. Gondal, a city state mere 35 km away from Rajkot ruled by a family of car enthusiasts whose royal passion resulted in a fine collection of automobiles which are now part of a museum in the palace premises. Such was the royal passion that Gondal had the best planned and well designed road system in preindependent Gujarat. Gondal like its neighbors has some visually exciting palaces and living spaces; some like the Riverside Palace commissioned in 1875 by Bhagwatsinghji is now a Heritage Hotel. The palace grounds form a private forest reserve with frolicking deers and a variety of birds adding to the tranquil beauty of the place.
A building worth visiting is the old Darbargadh a seventeenth century structure which reputedly cost Rupees Nine Lakhs thus earning the sobriquet ‘Navlakha Palace’. The palace is built on series of arches delicately carved and inscribed in stone with a magnificent spiral staircase leading all the way to the top. The interior of the Darbargadh is open to visitors and for a fee one can experience the opulent living style of the Maharajas of old. Mandvi Chowk. The central marketplace of Gondal is a typical riot of color, the bustle of street cries and hawkers, vendors and beggars and wafting aromas of food stuffs amidst flowing bales of trade cloths in a variety of exotic prints. To experience Gondal is to take a walk down its winding streets inhaling the soul of the city and its people!
   Naulakha Palace
The Naulakha Palace was erected around 1748 AD in the Darbargadh or walled palace complex of the rulers, and since then has been extended by successive rulers. The façade is a festival of stone carving with splendid sculpture, relief, carved columns and ornate jarokha balconies. The former living quarters of the palace have been converted into a private museum exhibiting textiles, brassware, royal wardrobes, library, silver caskets
that carried gifts and messages for Maharaja Bhagwat Sinhji on special occasions like his golden jubilee as ruler of Gondal, the weighing scales on which he was measured against gold on his golden jubilee with proceeds going to charity, trophies won by the Gondal princes at motorsports events, and a collection of toys including 1800s wooden pieces hand-painted with natural colours. Guests staying at the Riverside Palace or Orchard Palace are given a guided tour of the Naulakha Palace.
   Orchard Palace
The Orchard Palace was built as an annex of the Huzoor Palace, the family residence, in the late-19th century to host personal guests of the Maharajas. Converted into a seven-room heritage hotel, it is appointed with 1930s and ‘40s art deco furniture, antiques and handicrafts. The property gets its name from the lime, chikoo and mango groves it faces to the rear. More than 80 peacocks and peahens inhabit the gardens, and a variety of other birds can be watched while walking around
the grounds. One of the highlights of the palace is the Rail Saloon of the royal family of Gondal. This saloon has been converted into a suite for a couple or a family to stay with drawing room, dining room and bedroom, beautifully finished with inlaid wood, and English washrooms with a telephonic shower.
   Riverside Palace
Built in the 1880s as the residence of the Crown Prince of Gondal, the Riverside Palace is a colonial-style building set in gardens beside the town's river. It has been converted into a heritage hotel with 11 large and high-ceilinged rooms appointed with four-poster beds, old dressers and other colonial—period furniture from the family's heirloom collection. All the rooms have attached baths with hot-and-cold showers and western
fittings. The galleries are lined with historic photographs, prints and antique beadwork. The jewel in the crown is Indian Room, a marvelously appointed sitting room with beadwork and brassware from the family’s collection. On the rooftop, a glass-walled gallery offers a view of the river. A variety of birds come into the property from the reedy shores of the river.
   How to Reach to Gondal
   By Rail
Rajkot is a junction on the Western Railway Ahmedabad-Hapa broad gauge line. Inter City Express, Saurashtra Mail and Sau Janata Express are some of the few trains that pass through the station. The railway station known commonly as the Rajkot Junction is almost 6 km away from the Teen Batti triple gateway. Rajkot is well connected with important cities in Gujarat and India by rail. Trains for Delhi, Mumbai, Cochin, Coimbatore, Kolkata, Amritsar, Patna and Bhopal are available from Rajkot.
   By Air
Reaching Rajkot by air is quite a possible option as the city has a domestic airport linking it to Mumbai. Air India has daily flights from Mumbai, while Jet have daily flights. A rickshaw ride into the city from the airport costs approximately Rs 25/-.
   By Road
Rajkot is well connected by road to most of the major cities of Gujarat and other neighboring states. State Transport buses are regularly available from Rajkot to other cities of Gujarat. The ST bus stand is 2 km, west of Bedi Gate on the other side of Ranmal Lake. Auto rickshaws are the best way into the town, though one might also choose to walk in. Private buses are also available for Ahmedabad, Baroda, Mumbai, Bhuj, Bhavnagar, Una, Mount Abu and Udaipur.
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