Jamnagar, the Jewel of Kathiawar, is a coastal city on the Gulf of Kutch, in the state of Gujarat, India. It has unspoilt islands and beaches, hills, temples, palaces, forest, fantastic birdlife in the bird sanctuary and marine sanctuaries and fascinating corals and marine life in the Marine National Park. Its metro population was 600,000 in 2018.
The founder of the princely state of Jamnagar was the Great Jam Rawal, who descended on the northern coast of Kathiawar in 1535 AD. Jam Rawal's father Jam Lakhaji ruled in Terabanu in Kutch. Jamnagar was then known as Halar.
According to bardic chronicles, Jam Lakhaji had two cousins Tamachi Deda and Hamirji Jadeja, who envied his reputation for valor. Their envy was heightened by the fame of Jam Lakhaji at the siege of Pawagadh. So largely did he contribute to its capture by Bahadurshah, the Emperor of Gujarat, that he was bestowed 12 villages by him. As Jam Lakaji was going to take possession of his new fef, he was treacherously killed by his cousins Tamachi Deda and Hamirji Jadeja. Jam Lakhaji's son Jam Rawal escaped and on growing up, took vengeance of his fathers murder in the same manner by killing Hamirji Jadeja.
Hamirji's two sons Khengarji and Sahibji fled to Delhi and after twelve months of waiting to meet the Great Moghul Emperor Humayun, they got the chance to join the crowd going along with the Emperor for lion hunting. During the lion hunt, they got the chance to kill the lion just when it was going to attack the Emperor. As a reward, an army of 100,000 was sent with them to regain their kingdom.
When Jam Rawal heard of the two princes coming back to the Kutch with the imperial army, he started getting ready for the battle. On one night, Goddess Ashapura came in his dream and told him that as he had broken the oath taken on her name about not killing Hamirji, even though, he was the person responsible for the death of his father. She should have punished him, but as he had at all other times honored her. So he should no longer dwell in Kutch but cross the sea and take Kathiawar as a dwelling place.
Upon awakening he called his counsellors and discussed the dream, they agreed that he must leave Kutch and found for himself a kingdom across the Gulf. So Jam Rawal along with his soldiers and many traders marched out. On the way he killed and conquered the territory of King Tamachi the other conspirator in the killing of his father, and he also conquered the town of Dhrol and its dependencies and gave them to his brother Hardholji, who was later killed in battle during that period, and the State of Dhrol was given to his eldest son, Jasoji.
Thus Jam Rawal made himself master of a great territory and the need for a capital arose.
The story goes like this, that once on a hunting trip on the land of present-day Jamnagar, a hare was found to be brave enough to turn on the hunting dogs and putting them to flight. Deeply impressed by this, Jam Rawal thought that if this land can breed such hares, if his capital was built on this land, the men born here would be superior than other men.
He consulted his astrologers and wise men, and the day chosen for laying the foundation stone was the 7th day of the bright half of the month of srawan, VS 1956. (August 1540 AD) on the banks of two rivers Rangmati and Nagmati and named it Nawanagar meaning new town.
Nawanagar eventually came to be known as Jamnagar meaning the town of the Jams.
- 1 Jamnagar Airport (JGA IATA) (is located 10 km from the city). Air India operates daily flights from Mumbai.
- There are many flights from New Delhi and other metro cities to Ahmedabad (AMD IATA) (which is about 5 hours from Jamnagar) and there are 5 daily flights connecting Mumbai and Rajkot (which is 1½ hours from Jamnagar).
Both the places are well connected to Jamnagar by excellent roads.
2 Jamnagar Railway Station. This station is well connected with Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Calcutta, Gorakhpur, Varanasi and other important cities of India through regular trains.
The Saurashtra Mail and the Saurashtra Express are the popular trains that run between Jamnagar and Mumbai. The Inter City Train between Jamnagar and Surat leaves in the early morning. There are also trains to Dwarka. Delhi Ahmedabad by Rajdhani and the bus service from Paldi (Ahmedabad) will get you cheaply from Delhi to Jamnagar (22-24 hours).
Jamnagar has a well-established road link to various cities of Gujarat like Rajkot (4 lane), Porbandar, Bhuj, Bhavnagar, Ahmedabad, Baroda and Sura.
The popular bus services are private bus operators. (Shrinath, Patel, Gujarat & Eagle Travels). The cost from Ahmedabad to Jamnagar is approx. ₹300. You can get lavish Volvo bus of Patel travels or Eagle travels @ ₹400. Sometimes they offer you small dish of snacks as well. The fastest bus is at 10PM from Ahmedabad, which reaches at 2:20AM.
ST buses go hourly to Rajkot and every 30 minutes to Junagadh; other buses go to Dwarka, Porbandar, Bhavnagar, Bhuj and Ahemdabad and other places of Gujarat.
There are various private bus companies with modern air conditioned buses in good condition that ply the routes between Rajkot, Ahmedabad, Baroda, Surat, Mumbai, et al. and Jamnagar.
There is an excellent local bus service, and you can catch most of the buses from near the Town Hall.
State Transport Bus Service (ST BUS) connects Jamnagar to all villages and cities of Gujarat.
Auto rickshaw is the preferred transport, locally. Fix the fare before getting on an auto rickshaw. Prices vary by distance but start from ₹7 up to ₹15 within the town.
Taxis are hired to travel longer distance. Everything within the town is covered by auto rickshaw. Again, fix the price and try to bargain a bit!
Almost all areas of Jamnagar can be reached on a bicycle. Wearing a facemask helps - especially if you want to avoid dust/vehicle pollution. This is next best of course to a scooter/mobike.
- 1 Balahanuman Temple, ☏ . This is where Ramdhun Sri Ram Jay Ram Jay Jay Ram is being chanted non-stop since the last 51 years. And it is a world record registered with The Guinness Book of World Records. This temple faces the Lakhota Lake (man made) which is a nice place to spend ones time. At the center of the Lakhota lake is a small museum that has (among other things) photos of Kumar Ranjitsinhji who played Test cricket (for England).
- 2 Lakhota Palace and Museum.
- 3 Pratap Vilas Palace, Swastik Society, Park Colony.
- 4 Shantinath & Adinath Mandir. The two Jain temples in the Chandi Bazaar area are worth visiting. They are historic temples built around 1564-1622.
- Walking at the Bird Park
- Sailing to any one of the 42 islands
- 1 Marine National Park.
Jamnagar is world famous for Brass components. You can buy Brass Builders hardware like Tower Bolts, Hinges, Door Knob, Cabinet Knob, Door Handles, Door Stoppers, Zulla, Elbow, and Tee. There are more than 2000 factories manufacturing various type of Brass components.
Jamnagar is also famous for its Bandhani (Traditional Sarees and Dresses), Kajal, Surama, and Kanku.
- 1 Crystal Mall (Airport Road).
- 2) Lindi Bazaar.
- 3) Limbda Lane (Mobile shopping)
Jamnagar people love to eat, so here one finds quite a many food joints scattered all around the city; they maybe a hawker with foods on display in his lorry or a small shop selling food to the huge waiting list of people.
Sundays are the days when most people go out to have fun in Jamnagar. Fun in Jamnagar means going out for a long drive or making an 8 around the city (going around the lake and Pratap Palace Area). and visiting these lorries and eating the hot & tasty food. On the lake there are so many joints for this kind of snack foods. There are also fresh fruit sellers who juice them in front of you and if you specify, then serve them without adding the spices and ice.
The local favourite snack foods are:
Gathiya Bhajia Pakwan Gughra (which is very very tasty, everybody must taste this food once) Dabeli bread Bhel puri Pani puri American Makaai Katka Bread Jotta Bread (very very spicy) Bhaji Cone Dhokla Ras Patra Khandvi Daal Puri Chana Masale Dry Fruit Kachoris
==> Before eating, one should check the spiciness of the food item.
Plain/Dry Fruit Kachori (a tasty and very spicy namkeen)is a must eat. Also 'Ghughara'(kind of kachori, served with garlic and coriander chutney), again a must-have!
Ice Gola's (chuski) are also very popular. You get different flavours and also various varieties like dry fruit gola, and malai gola.
- Aram Restaurant
- Kalpana Restaurant
- Icy Spicy
- Restaurant at Express Hotel at Sikka Patia
- Restaurant at Vishal Hotel
- Takdeer Restaurant (hidden away in the by lanes of the Muslim quarter of the city (Darabargadh). An experience similar to what one gets at "Bade Mian", Mumbai and "Kake da Dhaba" Delhi).
- There is one small samosa/kebab wala in a lane opp. Anupam Theatre.
- Plus there are many hawkers who sell tasty egg preparations.
- 1 Flavours Restaurant, first Floor, City Arcade, Pandit Nehru Road,, ☏ . 11AM – 11PM. Veg. restaurant
- 2 Madras Cafe, Teen Batti Chowk (Near Hotel President), ☏ . 9:30AM-6:30PM. Sundays closed. Madras Cafe at Teen Batti is a very good restaurant for Vegetarian fare (especially South Indian).
- 3 Maruti Restaurant, 57, Digvijay Plot, Sumair Club Road (opposite Police Station). 9AM – 3PM & 6–11PM. Veg. restaurant
- 4 Paramount Restaurant, 310 2nd Floor, Badri Complex (Oppos. Ambar Cinemax), ☏ , . Non-veg restaurant
- 7 Seas Restaurant (inside Hotel President). 7 Seas Restaurant at Hotel President serves veg and non-veg cuisine (Indian, Continental & Chinese) - operates 24 hours.
- Swati Restaurant. Veg. cuisine
Tea, coffee, fresh juices and Lassi, Nariyal Pani - you get these in any corner of Jamnagar.
- 1 Hotel Ashiana, New Super Market, ☏ .
- 2 Hotel Fortune Palace, Airport Road, ☏ . Luxurious hotel with 45 rooms, Saffron Restaurant.
- 3 Hotel President (Near Town Hall), ☏ . Situated in the heart of the city. 48 rooms, all with attached bathroom & private balcony.
The people of Saurashtra, in general and Jamnagar in particular, are very friendly and helpful. A case in point is when the riots took place in 2002, Jamnagar was totally unaffected though the rioting had spread up to Rajkot.
During the festival months one can find women and young girls walking around even late at night.
The composition of the population of Jamnagar has been changing over the years. This is because of the large number of people employed by Reliance and ESSAR Petrochemical Refineries since mid 90s. There has been a steady influx of Indians from all over which is soon going to give Jamnagar a cosmopolitan look.
The places of interest around Jamnagar are Ranjit Sagar Dam (15 km), Vijerky Dam (20 km), Balachadi beach (25 km), Rozi Port, Marine Park Pirotan Island and the Reliance Mega Mart at Moti Khavdi (35 km).