Drive south from Rajkot to Gondal and you pass Vintage Fords and Buick’s taxis of a bygone era still plying the roads of Saurashtra. Gondal, a city-state mere 35 km away from Rajkot ruled by a family of car enthusiasts whose royal passion resulted in a fine collection of automobiles which are now part of a museum in the palace premises. Such was the royal passion that Gondal had the best planned and well-designed road system in pre-independent Gujarat.
Gondal like its neighbors has some visually exciting palaces and living spaces; some like the Riverside Palace commissioned in 1875 by Bhagwatsinghji is now a Heritage Hotel. The palace grounds form a private forest reserve with frolicking deers and a variety of birds adding to the tranquil beauty of the place.
A building worth visiting is the old Darbargadh a seventeenth-century structure which reputedly cost Rupees Nine Lakhs thus earning the sobriquet ‘Navlakha Palace’. The palace is built on series of arches delicately carved and inscribed in stone with a magnificent spiral staircase leading all the way to the top. The interior of the Darbargadh is open to visitors and for a fee one can experience the opulent living style of the Maharajas of old. Mandvi Chowk. The central marketplace of Gondal is a typical riot of color, the bustle of street cries and hawkers, vendors, and beggars and wafting aromas of foodstuffs amidst flowing bales of trade cloths in a variety of exotic prints. To experience Gondal is to take a walk down its winding streets inhaling the soul of the city and its people!
How to get there
By Road: Rajkot is well connected by road to most of the major cities of Gujarat and other neighboring states. State Transport buses are regularly available from Rajkot to other cities of Gujarat. The ST bus stand is 2 km, west of Bedi Gate on the other side of Ranmal Lake. Auto rickshaws are the best way into the town, though one might also choose to walk in. Private buses are also available for Ahmedabad, Baroda, Mumbai, Bhuj, Bhavnagar, Una, Mount Abu, and Udaipur.
By Rail: Rajkot is a junction on the Western Railway Ahmedabad-Hapa broad gauge line. InterCity Express, Saurashtra Mail, and Sau Janata Express are some of the few trains that pass through the station. The railway station is known commonly as the Rajkot Junction is almost 6 km away from the Teen Batti triple gateway. Rajkot is well connected with important cities in Gujarat and India by rail. Trains for Delhi, Mumbai, Cochin, Coimbatore, Kolkata, Amritsar, Patna, and Bhopal are available from Rajkot.
By Air: Reaching Rajkot by air is quite a possible option as the city has a domestic airport linking it to Mumbai. Air India has daily flights from Mumbai, while Jet has daily flights. A rickshaw ride into the city from the airport costs is low.