Jamnagar City is an under-rated, little-explored feast for globetrotters. The city encompasses islands, beaches, palaces, hills, temples, a bird sanctuary, the Marine National Park and forests. The child in you will be excited to explore its historical monuments, lavish in its delicious cuisine, indulge in shopping its handicrafts and capturing its true essence from the locals, the architecture and the wildlife. Let me take you on a virtual journey of this charmingly quaint Gujarati city.
1. Lakhota Palace
The main tourist attraction of Jamnagar is a monument built in the center of Lakhota Lake in the 19th century. Since it is surrounded by the lake on all sides, there is a majestic arched stone bridge that connects it with the town so you can cross this lake and enter the palace. This beautiful fort-like palace has now been converted into a museum, which displays relics and artifacts from the 9th to 18th century, pottery from medieval times and the skeleton of a whale. It was designed as a watch tower for soldiers to fend off an invading army, so even today, at the entry to the palace, the first thing you see is the guardroom with musket loops, swords of all sizes, semi-circular bastions, turrets and powder flasks.
The entire essence of this palace reflects the various battles fought by the Jadeja Rajputs. You will find enriching historical and archaeological information inside the museum.
Address: Talav ni Pal, Lakhota Lake
Price: 2 INR or .03 USD for Indian nationals and 50 INR or .76 USD for international tourists
Opening Hours: 10:30am - 2pm & 2:30pm - 5:30pm. It is closed during lunch hours from 2:00pm - 2:30pm. Closed on Wednesdays
Duration: around 1-2 hours required.
Access: From the North Side of Lakhota Lake
Contact: +91 288 2550231
Website: Lakhota Palace
2. Bhujio Kotho
Located on the bank of Lakhota Lake, near the Khambhaliya Gate, Bhujio Kotho was constructed by the then rulers for protection during invasions. Although it is currently closed to visitors ever since a devastating 2001 earthquake, it is famous for its architecture, holes for rifles in its walls and its height.
Address: Shankar Tekri, Jamnagar, Gujarat 361005
Opening Hours: Entry currently not permitted.
Duration: around 30 minutes required.
Access: Near Khambhaliya Gate
Near by Food: Plenty of restaurants within 2 km (1.2 miles).
Website: Bhujio Kotho
3. Khijadia Bird Sanctuary
Jamnagar is famous for hosting more than 300 bird species in its unique Khijadia Bird Sanctuary. It is about 12 km (7.5 miles) from Jamnagar and stretches over an area of 6 square km (2.3 square miles). It encompasses both fresh and sea water marshlands, along with mangroves, creeks, forest scrub and farmlands.
The best time to visit is from October to March in morning or at sunset. If you get lucky, you can come across one of the many endangered species here, such as the Dalmatian Pelican, the Asian open bill stork, the Darter, the Painted Stork or the Black-headed ibis.
There are six watchtowers, two nature trails and paddle boats available to help tourists engage closely with the different bird habitats. Remember to carry your own drinks and food as there are no restaurants nearby. It also houses a small interactive museum where you can explore the various bird varieties that visit here and check out the different bird sounds.
Hiring a private taxi from Jamnagar to drive you around the sanctuary is advisable. Entry to the sanctuary or request for a guide has to be registered with the Conservator of the Forest Office in Jamnagar which closes at 2pm.
Khijadia Bird Sanctuary
Address: Nagnath Gate, Van Sankul, Ganjiwada, Jamnagar.
Price: from 100 INR or 1.53 USD per person and up (nominal pricing for groups)
Opening Hours: 4:30am - 6pm. Always open but can be closed on public holidays.
Duration: around 1 hour required.
Access: On Rajkot Highway
Contact: +91 288 2679357
4. Narara Marine National Park
India’s first Marine National Park is in Jamnagar about 30 km (18.6 miles) from the city center and spreads across the Arabian Sea in an area of about 458 square km (177 square miles). This sanctuary is home to a huge number of birds, various marine life forms, coral reefs and mangroves. It encompasses 42 islands in the Gulf of Kutch where you can see coral of a variety of shapes and sizes, sea turtles, colorful tropical fish, shrimps, eels, octopi and sea urchins. It is an unseen, one of a kind, beautiful example of marine life in their natural environment. It is the only place in the country where you can see coral without diving or snorkeling as the water levels can be as low as 50 cm (20 inches).
Since the islands are part of the protected marine park, not all of them are open to the public. The three of them which are famous among tourists are Pirotan, Narara and Positra and can only be visited with prior permissions from the Forest Department, Customs Department & Ports Department. There is no fixed ferry service to these islands and private fishing boats are also prohibited to carry any tourists on board. It is advisable to get prior permission and hire a boat from the Forest Office at Rozi Port. Speak to your hotel reception about the opening hours of the Forest Office as there have been instances when it has been closed on public holidays.
Most of the beaches around these islands are shallow and hence reaching them is only possible during high tides, so ensure you spare a minimum of four hours for a trip. The best time to visit is from October to February. Please carry your own food and water as there are no facilities there and ensure you do not litter to preserve the biodiversity. If possible, wear Crocs or footwear with hard soles as it is difficult to walk barefoot in the sea.
Narara Marine National Park
Address: Narara, Gujarat 361010
Price: from 150 INR or 2. 29 USD per person. Charges for guide additional.
Opening Hours: Timings based on high tide and change everyday. Closed on Tuesdays and public holidays.
Duration: around 4 hours required.
Access: Contact for Tour/Guides to Forest Office, Swaminarayan Nagar Society, Swaminarayan Nagar, Jamnagar, Gujarat 361008
Contact: +91 288 2679357
Near by Food: Pls carry packed food and drinks. Nothing available in its vicinity.
5. Balachandi Beach
Located 27 km (17 miles) from the city center, Balachandi Beach is a natural retreat where you can lay back and enjoy the brown sand beach, away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Address: Balachandi Beach, Jamnagar, Gujarat
Opening Hours: Always Open
Duration: around 2 hours required.
Access: By road from Jamnagar it is 27 km (17 miles).
6. Shoppers paradise
Jamnagar is a paradise for shoppers. It is famous for its tie-dye which is also known as Bandhani and found mainly on cloth materials. Apart from that, various other handicraft items made from brass and wood are also available in the city.
How to get there
By Air: There is an airport in the city with good connectivity and direct flights to Mumbai International airport.
By Rail: There is a railway station in the city with direct trains to Ahmedabad and Mumbai.
By Road: Jamnagar is connected to all big cities in Gujarat with luxury volvo buses - both of the state government and private operators.
Plan a trip during the months of October to March to best explore the Jewel of Kathiawar - Jamnagar.
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