Jamnagar, the erstwhile capital of the princely state of Nawanagar, is considered to be the Jewel of Kathiawar and is located on the coast of the Gulf of Kutch in the State of Gujarat. Jamnagar abounds in virgin islands, pristine beaches, beautiful and serene hill stations and forests. For nature lovers, Jamnagar has bird and marine sanctuaries with a wealth of different varieties of birds, marine life and coral. The rich royal past can be seen in the well preserved palaces that dot Jamnagar. A city brimming with ornate buildings, Jamnagar is rich in cultural heritage and artisans can be seen in the colourful bazaars creating the tie and dye in brilliant colours known as the Bandhini. Yes, it is time to experience the unexploited beauty of Gujarat.
Approach to Jamnagar
Jamnagar can be approached by land, as well as by air.
The airport is located 10 km from the heart of the city with daily flights connecting to Mumbai. If approaching from New Delhi, there are flights to Ahmedabad and Rajkot which are 5 hours and 2 hours away from Jamnagar respectively.
Jamnagar is very well connected to the major cities of India including Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Varanasi and Gorakhpur through the railway network. Major trains such as the Saurashtra Mail, the Saurashtra Express, Rajdhani and Inter City Express make Jamnagar easy to approach from every direction of the country.
Jamnagar has a well-established road link with 4 lanes. Here both public as well as private buses are available. A bus service via Paldi in Ahmedabad connects Jamnagar to New Delhi. Apart from New Delhi, Jamnagar is also well connected by road to Mumbai as well as other major cities within Gujarat including Porbundar, Bhuj, Bhavnagar, Ahmedabad, Baroda and Surat.
Within the city of Jamnagar
Commuting within the city for the purposes of sight seeing is very convenient and economical. The local bus service connects Jamnagar to all villages. There are also auto rickshaws and taxis for long distance travel and bicycles are also available on hire. But if you opt to travel by taxi or auto rickshaw, do not shy away from bargaining.
Chandi Bazaar: Chandi Bazaar lies in the heart of the old city. This part of Jamnagar showcases its rich history in its lovely buildings made of wood and stone. The crumbling wooden balconies, the peeling shutters of these old buildings, the heaving markets selling silver and everything else that represents Gujarat, will make one step back in time.
Jain Temples: The Old Market or Chandi Bazaar houses the three most beautiful Jain temples of Jamnagar, built during the period 1564-1622. Shantinath Mandir and Adinath Mandir were built in the honour of the first and the 16th Tirthankaras, Jain Teachers. The temples are spectacular with the most beautiful murals, mirrored domes and elaborate chandeliers. Shanti Mandir is known for the coloured columns and a gilt-edged dome of concentric circles.
Willingdon Crescent: Also known as the Darbargarh owing to the royal residence across the street, Willingdon Crescent was built by Jam Ranjitsinhji to replace Jamnagar’s worst slum. The edifice is a European-style arcaded crescent. The area is now occupied by an assortment of shops including the Subhas market, a market selling the most colourful and vibrant vegetables which are a feast to the eyes.
Balahanuman Temple: Located on the south-eastern shores of Lake Ranmal, this temple has earned fame from the nonstop chanting of the Ramdhun (Sri Ram Jay Ram Jay Jay Ram) for the last 45 years and even features in The Guinness Book of World Records. The temple faces the Lakhota palace and it is a perfect place to spend a pleasant evening.
Ranmal Lake: With flamingos and other migratory birds frequenting the lakes, the promenades constructed around the lake are indeed a pleasant place to spend some time. The lake also has an island where the Lakhota Palace, a 19th century fort is situated.
Marine National Park: Comprising 42 islands, the Marine National Park is one of the most gorgeous and pristine regions that one must visit while in Jamnagar. The park stretches for 170 Km along the coast and has 33 islands with ringed coral reefs and is rich in marine and bird life. The Pirotan Island and the Okamadhi Beach with beautiful sheltered havens are some of the must-sees in Marine National Park. You can go sailing to any of the 42 islands, or go camping and have an adventurous holiday.
Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary: For nature lovers and bird-watchers, the Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary will seem like heaven on earth with more than 200 bird species to see, including the rare varieties like painted stork and Dalmatian pelican. Located 12 km north-east of Jamnagar, this sanctuary encompasses both salt- and freshwater marshlands attracting the most spectacular birds. The sight of the roosting cranes in the evenings is surely not to be missed. Walking through the sanctuary is the best option as you try and spot birds without frightening them away.
Bandhini, the tie and die art is a 500 year old method practised by the artisans of Jamnagar. Traditional Bandhini sarees, dress materials and gharchoda are a few of the things that you can take back home.
Jamnagar is also very popular for the brass accessories found here. With more than 2000 factories manufacturing brass components, you will find everything that you will require to do up your home, like knobs, swings, bolts and hinges.
Gujarat is a haven for the foodies with some of the most delectable dishes in its cuisine. The locals themselves are foodies and you will find the best of restaurants as well as hawkers selling mouth-watering local dishes that you must try. The favourite food in Jamnagar includes Gathiya Bhajia Pakwan Gughra, Dabeli bread, Bhel puri, Pani puri, Dhokla Ras Patra, Khandvi Daal Puri, Dry Fruit Kachoris among many others. While one is in Jamnagar, one can beat the heat with a Chuski, an Ice Gola, or freshly squeezed fruit juices being sold by hawkers.
The people of Jamnagar are extremely friendly, and Gujarat is considered to be one of the safest states in India. The local language is Gujarati, but people do understand and speak Hindi. English is not very prevalent here. Alcohol is prohibited here but some of the bigger starred hotels with a license may serve an alcoholic beverage.
Best Time to Visit: December to March, when the weather is cooler, is the best time to visit Jamnagar.