History of Bhavnagar

A study of the history of Bhavnagar reveals the birth of the city, which was once governed by the princes of the Gohil Dynasty. The city was founded in the year 1723 and was among the first states to initiate the railway system in India.

History of Bhavnagar traces the origin and growth of this city in the state of Gujarat. As compared to the older cities of the state, Bhavnagar had been founded much later in the year 1723 by the ruler Bhavsinhji.

Foundation of Bhavnagar

The foundation of Bhavnagar was laid when Bhavsinhji, descendant of the Gohil Dynasty, desired to shift his capital city from Sihor, which lies at a distance of 20 kilometers from Bhavnagar.

Way to Progress

Maharaj Takhtasinhji was one of the prominent rulers of Bhavnagar city who had contributed immensely towards the progress of the region. To achieve development, Maharaj Takhtasinhji proposed the construction of railway tracks between Bhavnagar and Wadhwan in the north. He also proposed laying of railway tracks between Bhavnagar and Dhoraji in the western fringe of the state. The 2nd railway construction was funded by the Gondol State. Among his other progressive plans, Maharaj Takhtasinhji constructed the Takhtasinhji annex in the Rajkumar College at Rajkot and the Takhtasinhji Hospital in Bhavnagar.

Railways in Bhavnagar

Bhavnagar was the first state in the Saurashtra province to initiate the railway system. Initially, the proposals of laying railway tracks between Bhavnagar and Wadhwan met with immense opposition from BB&CI Railway official. It was feared that the presence of such facility would rise as a threat to the cotton traffic in Surendranagar. However, after the famine in 1877, the Governor of Bombay, Sir Richard Temple, permitted the construction of the railways in the region as it would help in employing the famine stricken people and also be instrumental in the distribution of relief food and fodder.

Governance in Bhavnagar

It was during the rule of Maharaj Takhtasinhji that Joint Administration was instituted in the state by the British. The Joint Administration of the region started in 1870 and continued till 1878. Gaurishankar Udayshankar Oza acted as the young prince's regent during the period of Joint Administration. It is after this astute minister that the Gaurishankar Lake is named. The Saurashtra region became a part of the Political Agency of Rajkot at 1820.

With the growing powers of the British, Bhavnagar lost Dholera Port, which was under the patronage of the Grassia family. The Port of Bhavnagar was, however, beyond the clutches of the British Empire. Consequently, the port suffered loss of trade, which the British diverted towards the Dholera and Ghogha Ports. To counter the prohibitive measures adopted by the British to stifle Bhavnagar's economy, Maharaja Wajesinhji implemented new orders to retain the trade in the state. The custom receipts payable at the Durbar were reduced and money was lent to the merchants to continue business in Bhavnagar.

Bhavnagar joined the Union of India as a part of the state of Gujarat after independence.

Last Updated on 23 July 2012