The Lakhota Talav in Jamnagar is a lake always resonating with the beautiful chirps of migratory birds. With over 75 species of winged visitors visiting the place every year, the lake is abuzz with people, especially during evenings and weekends.
While one can enjoy boat rides in the calm lake, visitors can even savour some of the tastiest local cuisines and snacks sold in the park's surroundings during dusk. Some of the birds that migrate to the lake include pelicans, gulls, flamingos, ducks and spoonbills.
Located on an island in the centre of Lokhota Talav is the Lakhota Palace, also known as the Lakhota Tower, which has now turned into a museum housing rare collections and artifacts. On orders of Jan Ranmalji, the tower was constructed for drought relief, when it failed to rain in the area during the years 1834, 1839 and 1846.
Present in the museum are art pieces from the 9th and 18th century and poetry from the medieval villages close by. There is also a guardroom within the museum which houses swords, powder flasks, guns and weapons, which show how strong and powerful the military of the area was during those times. The museum is open for public viewing between 10.30 am and 5.30 pm.
There is no dearth of good places for the winged visitors to stop over in Jamnagar. The Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary too is one of them, with various varieties of breeding and migratory birds. Considered a vital place for ecological education and research, the sanctuary that was built during the 1920s consists of two man-made dams, one each for fresh water and sea water, respectively.
The sanctuary is a breeding ground for the great crested grebe, little grebe, coot, pheasant tailed jacana, and purple moorhen to name a few. Some of the migratory birds that visit the sanctuary include wagtails, swallows, waterfowls, martins and more. The places are accessible by rickshaws and private vehicles.
Apart from being an attractive temple, this shrine also holds a distinction. It has gained entry into the Guinness Book of Records for the chanting of the mantra 'Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram' 24/7 by devotees for the last 48 years, since August 1, 1964. Any devotee can volunteer to join the Ram Dhun chanting sessions at this temple located on the southeast of Ranmal Lake at Jamnagar.
Like the Lakhota Lake, Ranmal Lake too attracts towards it, an array of migratory birds from places across the globe. The lake lies about 2 km away from the town and is a natural water body.
A beautiful tall structure in the heart of Old Jamnagar is the Ratan Bai Masjid. With doors of sandalwood and mother-of-pearls inlay and two tall attractive towers, the mosque has a personal rain harvesting system and a tank of water for the ritual cleansing before 'Namaaz'.
A building reflecting a beautiful merger of the Rajput-European architecture, Darbar Gadh Palace is an important historical complex of the town. The palace which once used to be a royal residence was built in the year 1540 but was extended later, because of which, one can find a mix of the Rajput and the European architecture.
The place is beautiful and includes some of the best of wall paintings, stone carvings, etched pillars, ornamental mirrors and sculptures. The building is presently vacant.
Now a popular shopping area selling beautiful bandhni apparels that Jamnagar is famous for, Willingdon Crescent was constructed on instructions of Ranjit Singh who was inspired by the European structures during his journey to the continent. It was constructed in the place of a slum, which was present in the then Nawanagar. Situated in the centre of the Crescent is Jam Digvijaysinhji's statue on a horseback.
This one probably is the only one in the world after the destruction of two similar solaria in France during the second world war. Solariums are rooms built of glass for healthy exposure to sunlight. The solarium is a revolving tower, which rotates slowly throughout the day to treat people with skin diseases, rheumatism and TB.
However, with the passing away of the physician who could operate the system in the year 1996, the solarium or the Ranjith Institute of Poly-Radio Therapy in Jamnagar now remains closed.
The Pratap Vilas Palace in Jamnagar was constructed between the year 1907 and 1915, in the European style of architecture. And with the idea of conservation of nature, Jam Singh in the year 1968 converted the palace ground into a nature park, by bringing in varied varieties of live creatures.
However, following the end of the princely ruler's rein, the palace as well as the nature park's maintenance started waning and are in a poor state today. In order to enter the park or the palace, visitors will have to take permission from the members of the royal family, for which they can approach the Darbar Bagh office.
This is yet another place every birdwatcher would fall in love with. The dam which is the city's water source has a beautiful garden and attracts quite a lot of tourists, especially during the migratory period.
This area where the Jain temples are located is a place where gold and silver artisans sell aesthetic silver articles. These days, apart from the silver craftsmen, the bazaar even has metal workers working on and displaying their works at the place.
This is an interesting place for tourists to visit. On the bank of the Lakhota tank, it is a tall five floor monument believed to be built for protective covering during invasions. While the first floor and its walls are drilled with holes and have rifles placed in each of them, it's up link holds a tank for water storage.
And the Khoto's peak showcases a dancing peacock. The structure makes a perfect spot to enjoy a bird's eye view of the town and is open for public between 10 am and 5 pm.
The Rozi Port and Bedi Port are perfect spots to picnic and enjoy fishing. While the Rozi Port is located on the shore of the Gulf of Kutch, the Bedi Port lies at a distance of 4 km towards the Rangamati river. The ports are accessible by a boat from Nava Bandar.
One of its kind in India, this park is truly worth a visit. Situated on the southern shore of the Gulf of Kutch in Jamnagar district, the Marine National Park is India's first marine sanctuary. Established in the year 1982, it is governed by the Forest Department of Gujarat and includes about 42 islands with a majority of them being covered with reefs.
It is a beautiful but a delicate ecosystem, where one can find a captivating underwater forest full of rare and colourful creatures. Unfortunately, off late, the diversity of the park is under threat, all thanks to the oil refineries, extraction of sand and coral by the cement industries, mechanized fishing boats and increased turbidity of water.