Dhoraji - A tete a tete with the city
Location : Western India, Gujarat
Founded in : 1755 AD
Best time to visit : October to March
Local Transport : Non-metered auto rickshaws
Places to see : Dhoraji Fort, Pani no Kotho, Temple of Goddess Ashapura, Kutiyana.
Dhoraji - The Tale of the city
Situated near the River Safura, the town of Dhoraji saw its completion in the year 1755. River Safura is a branch of the River Badar. The city was established by Sir Bhagwatsinji who was the ruler of the State of Gondal. He was born in Darbargadh and was educated in the Mumbai University; he received further honours from the Edinborough University. He travelled around England and Europe and was influenced by the construction and architecture in Paris and the rest of Europe. He came back to India and reached Gondal, and established a department for town planning. This happened in the latter half of the nineteenth century. This way the rules of planning the town were laid and he began to streamline and oversee the growth of Dhoraji, Upleta and Gondal. This is how the Dhoraji planning started and got developed into a flourishing town.
Dhoraji - Down the Ages
Dhoraji, a municipality in the Rajkot district is in the State of Gujarat in India. When the railways started, Dhoraji developed further. The process of planning axially was used. It had road junctions, bazaars wider lanes, public, and buildings parks. The town of Dhoraji offers the best in planning of urban values of a town in India, when the British ruled. Today, Dhoraji stands tall as an example of organized planning and a combination of both Indian and European planning.
Dhoraji - A Rendezvous
The 17th century saw the town of Dhoraji getting fortified. The great wall had 4 gates, many bastions and 3 gates which are small. These gates were known as baris. The four gates are the Kathiawadi Darwaja in the East, the west had the Porbandar Gate, and the North had the Halar Gate and the Junagadh gate in the South. There were some smaller gates like the Bhimji Bari Darbari Bari, and Sati Bari. The Darbari Bari leads to Darbargadh in Dhoraji. Darbargadh is the point which is the highest in the town.
Dhoraji - Travel kitty
A person coming to this town would be struck by its unique feature of a combination of Indo European kind of architecture. The local artifacts, articles and the regular Gujarat handicrafts find their way into the market here to offer the tourist with a travel kitty. Added to this, the ambience and the unique town planning is a striking feature as a travel kitty.
Dhoraji - Joie de vivre in the city
This city with its beautifully adorned gate is decorated with a window called a jharokha, which rests on brackets. These brackets are made of four elephant statues. Each statue is in a different pose. The entrance is beautifully carved and leads to Darbargadh. The joie de vivre of Dhoraji, the uniquely planned city is in these kinds of intricate constructions. A person coming here would see the following:
Darbargadh : This is a structure with three storeys set on a plinth at a great height. The background is decorated with various sculptures. These are sculptures denoting people interested in music, with a complicated geometric pattern, and have images of lions. These lions are placed in different positions on long caves. There are intricately pillars that are carved, friezes that are horizontal, kanguras that are well decorated and lot of windows that border the skyline. The whole thing is designed with intricate patterns and resembles a jewellery box. The design is the same as the way the Navlakha Places at Gondal has been constructed.
Fort : The Dhoraji Fort has a massive wall with four bastions. There are four main gates and three small gates. These small gates are called the Baris. The four main gates are the Kathiawadi Darwaja in the east, the Porbandar Gate in the west, and the Halar Gate in the north and the Junagadh Gate in the south. The smaller gates are the Darbari Bari, Bhimji Bari and the Sati Bari. Darbargadh of Dhoraji is located at the highest point and can be reached through the Darbari Bari. This beautiful gate is decorated with a jharokha. This jharokha rests on the brackets made out of four standing elephants. These elephants are in different poses.
The Ashapura Temple : The Ashapura temple is situated to the left of Darbargadh. The temple is visited by tourists. A little away from here are the decorative houses of the rich merchants from the Memon family.
Pani No Kotho : This looks like a water tank from afar but in actuality is a water tank and pumping station. With its magnificent balconies that are carved surrounding all over and with its, arches columns it looks like an impressive palace. This palace with its combination of aesthetic life is a wonderful piece of architecture. There is a Jain temple and mosque, which are beautiful pieces of architecture.
Fortified town :
Upleta : This is a protected town along the River Moj. There is a fort with a big wall with enormous bastions, with small “Ghats and gates and is a perfect picture of scenic beauty. The Darbargadh lies in a protected campus and is today a police headquarters. The police station is a building with three storeys, which is partly ruined and has a bastion, which also belongs to the building. It has a tall plinth and has an arcade, which is carved. The arcade has five arches and has a roof made of wood. The roof is slanting. The beautiful vistas are in front of the windows.
Kutiyana : This is 53 km from Dhoraji. It is situated along the Bhadar River. The Nawabs in Junagadh ruled this place earlier. The rich Memon merchants used to live in this town before. The houses here show a lot of aesthetic value and have an impressive structure. There are courtyards inside the tanks for “vazu” .There is also highly decorative elements here, which reflect the taste of the inhabitants here. The architectural elements are painted in yellow, greens, blues and complete the mosque architecture with a lot of grace and glamour. Thus, this town with a well-planned technique has a central market that leads into a stupendous mosque with high minarets and an amazing background.
Thus the city of Dhoraji, the city with four gates with all its magnificent constructions and amazing façade provides the tourist with the best possible entertainment, adventure and knowledge about this small paradise in Gujarat.
As we leave the place we think, “And miles to go before we stop.”