Anjar – Religious Destination

Anjar is a town, a tehsil and a municipality in Kachchh district in the state of Gujarat, India. It is a town of historic importance, located in Southern Kutch, around 40 km away from one of the biggest ports in India – Kandla Port. With nearly 1,400 years of history, founded around 650 AD, Anjar is claimed to be the oldest town in Kutch.


The his­tory of the town is shrouded in mys­ter­ies due to lack of writ­ten ev­i­dences or doc­u­men­ta­tion. Pop­u­lar sto­ries say that a group of early set­tlers led by war­rior Ajay Pal Chauhan (also called Ajepal), brother of King of Ajmer, Ra­jasthan ar­rived and set­tled there around AD 650 or 805 (Sam­vat 862). Slowly the set­tle­ment flour­ished and be­came a cen­tre of trade and com­merce. Due to its pros­per­ity and wealth it was often tar­get of in­va­sion of clan war­riors. As the founder of the set­tle­ment, and later the ruler of the town, Ajay Pal ded­i­cated his life to pro­tect the town. It’s be­lieved that he es­tab­lished the first coastal se­cu­rity cen­tre in Kutch some­where near Anjar. Ajay Pal died due to a mor­tal wound suf­fered while fight­ing Khal­i­fas in Vikram Sam­vat 741 (around AD 685). Due to his ef­forts in pro­tect­ing the town and sur­round­ing area from in­vaders, and his self­less sac­ri­fice, he is wor­shiped as a saint and his tomb (also called Samadhi in Hin­duism) and tem­ple is lo­cated on the out­skirts of the town. He is fondly known as the ruler of the town till date.

In the course of his­tory, Chauhan clan lost the power in Anjar. At dif­fer­ent points of time in his­tory, the town was ruled by var­i­ous clans such as Chauhan, Chaulukya, Vaghela and Chawda lastly to Jadeja who gained con­trol of whole Kutch re­gion. The town was de­clared cap­i­tal of the King­dom of Kutch in 1545 by King Khen­garji I. The town was for­ti­fied by De­shalji II early in the eigh­teenth cen­tury. The fort wall was six­teen feet high and six feet thick. In 1800 the town, port, and de­pen­den­cies of Anjar were granted to Fateh Muham­mad, who bus­ied him­self in ex­tend­ing its trade and es­tab­lish­ing the har­bour of Tuna. The town served as the Cap­i­tal of the Kutch re­gion on and off, until fi­nally a nearby set­tle­ment namely Bhuj per­ma­nently be­came the cap­i­tal city of the re­gion. Anjar then served as sec­ond largest set­tle­ment in the re­gion, and was pushed to the third rank after the rise of the Kandla Port and nearby Gand­hid­ham city which serves as the pow­er­house for the re­gional econ­omy at pre­sent.

On 25 De­cem­ber 1815, Anjar was at­tacked under Colonel East of British East India Com­pany, and Tuna was oc­cu­pied on the next day. In the fol­low­ing year the fort and de­pen­dent vil­lages were made over to the British and held by them till 1822. Anjar suf­fered se­verely from an earth­quake in 1819, which de­stroyed a large num­ber of houses, and thou­sands of lives. The pop­u­la­tion shortly af­ter­wards was about 10,000. In 1822, the com­pany gov­ern­ment trans­ferred the power of the re­gion back to the Jadeja Rulers in ex­change for an­nual fee. The pay­ments were a bur­den on the local trea­sury and the en­tire bur­den (in­clud­ing ar­rears) were paid on its be­half by the British government. The pop­u­la­tion was 18,014 in 1901.

Due to so­cial seg­re­ga­tion, com­plex so­cial struc­ture and cul­tural re­stric­tions in the an­cient times, most of these clans es­tab­lished their sep­a­rate wards or neigh­bour­hoods (lo­cally known as ‘fariyas’) within the town, so that in any neigh­bour­hood of the town you would find houses of only peo­ple of a cer­tain clan. How­ever, today the cul­ture has opened up and you might find peo­ple of dif­fer­ent clans liv­ing side by side.

Kutch re­gion, and specif­i­cally Anjar suf­fered sev­eral big and small earth­quakes in ad­di­tion to the one in 1819. At an in­ter­val of nearly 50 years, there have been small and big earth­quakes in the re­gion. Anjar also ex­pe­ri­enced strong earth­quake on 21 July 1956, which had its epi­cen­tre near the town and an­other major earth­quake on 26 Jan­u­ary 2001, which caused large scale de­struc­tion of houses and pop­u­la­tion. As per records more than 1350 houses were destroyed. Most of the dam­age oc­curred to the older con­struc­tions in the for­ti­fied area of the town where build­ings and houses were hun­dreds of years old. The earth­quake claimed more than 1500 lives, and left many more injured. After a decade of re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion work, the town has now re­cov­ered from the loss and de­struc­tion in­flicted by 2001 earthquake.

Places To Stay: Hotel Empire, Shree Manav Residency, Hotel Shree Maruti

Things To Do: Jesal Toral Samadhi, MacMurdo bungalow, temples, shrines

Places To Visit: Madhavrai Temple, Bhareswar Mahadev Mandir, Jesal-Toral Samadhi

Location: Gujarat

How To Reach: Kandla airport is one of the nearest airports to Anjar. The railway station that is close to Anjar is Anjar Railway Station

Famous For: Ancient temples & shrines

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