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Halvad City Guide

"The finest example of wooden architecture"
The PalaceHalvad was a former capital of Dhrangadha State and was ruled by Jhala Rajputs. It is and ancient fortified town at the southern edge of the little Rann of Kutch. The yellow earth of this semi arid area and buildings of local yellow sandstone makes the whole townscape glow vibrant golden yellow during the sunrise

Halvad is famous for gourmet Brahmins and heroic warriors, who fought against past invaders to protect their hometown. Today, one can see several cenotaphs and hero-stones built of sandstone, at the edge of town. The paliyas (memorial stones)remaind the visitors of bloody batles fought at the gates of Halvad. They evoke the memories of women wo committed sati to protect their honour and men who died fighting against enemies. Newly weds come here to perform the ritual of untying of nuptial knots and pay homage to their ancestors. Even today, once a year, an unusual competition of Laddu eating is organised by Brahmins at Halvad.

The chhatris (15th century) resemble the architectural style of the smaller temple structures of Gujarat, with carved columns, high plinths and corbelled roof in a pyramidal shape. The vast arid landscape, dotted with chhatris, makes a pituresque setting.

At the edge of the town, on the bank of the Samatasar lake, stands the finest example of wooden architecture of Royal Palaces of Gujarat. Other similar examples of palaces on the lake-shore, in India are palaces of : Udaipur, Alwar, Datia and Mandu.

The Halvad Palace campus has all the elements of Rajput palaces zenana, hall for public audience, temple of family goddess, pleasure garden and administrative offices.

Samatasar LakeThe entry to the Halvad Palace is from the town-side. The beautifully carved entrance gate leads one to a huge courtyard. The formal square plan of two storeyed palace structure, adorned with exquisitely carved wooden columns, brackets, friezes and jalis with geometric patterns defines the courtyard. Four raised pathways, from the centre of each side, meet in the middle of the courtyard at the base of the seven storeyed, octagonal tower, with jharokhas overlooking all eight directions. From the top of this tower, on a clear day, one can see the surrounding villages, therefore it is popularly known as Jhalawad Darshan or EK-Dandia Mahal.

The long facade, with carved stone jharokhas, brings in cool breeze as it overllooks as lake. The jharokhas were the favourite sit-outs of the royal ladies, while on the full moon nights the terrace is used for private Royal gatherings. Even today, one can see beautiful carved sitouts of sandstone on the terrace. In short, the architecture of the palace is a perfect synthesis of two natural materials,stone and wood.

Halvad has four old step-wells and six Shiv Temples encircling the town. The Bhavani Temple and Bhuteshwar Mahadev at the cremation ground are at least 500 years old and are protected monuments. On the west bank of the Samatasar Lake, a famous pilgrim place of the Davood Bohra community-a dargah of Maula Qazi, is located.

Halvad is a place to visit the wild ass sanctuary at the little Rann of Kutch. The Asiatic Wild Ass is a member of the horse family, with striking white underparts and a deep mane. It is a strong and powerful runner. Other animals spotted here are Nilgai, Chinkara and the birds seen are the Indian Sadgrouse, Hubara Bustard, Lark, Desert Warbler, Desert Wheatear, Indian Courser and Vultures.

Dhrangadhra (royal palaces, bazaar) 27km, Wadhvan (royal palace, bazaar,stepwells) 65km. Morbi(Darbargadh, Wellingdon Secretariat, suspension bridge)48km, Wankaner (Royal Palaces,Stepwell)75km, Maliya(Royal Palaces)42 km, Limbdi(Green Chowk, Gandhi Smriti Mandir, Jain Bhandar, palace, bazaar)89km

Travel Information:

Air: Nearest Airports Ahmedabad (178 km),Rajkot (110 km)
Rail: Railway station on Viramgam-Gandhidham railway line
Road: Ahmedabad(178km), Rajkot 910km) Surendranagar (62 km)
Local transport: Non-Metered Autorickshaws
Accomodation: Various Dharamshalas
Food: Various Local eating Joints.

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