01-Feb-2004 -- This is my sixth confluence visit. My previous one of 23°N 73°E was visited last week. As usual I was on an official trip to Rajkot for a couple of days. I had come here on deputation in lieu of my colleague Thrivikraman Elayath who was on a vacation. I told my other colleague Avneesh kumar who is also working there that we will try to visit this confluence in the weekend.
Rajkot was once the capital of the princely state of Saurashtra. It was founded by Vibhaji Jadeja, in the year of 1610. It is the town where Mahatma Gandhi spent the early years of his life when his father was a Diwan or Prime Minister to the king of Saurashtra. This city was also a former British government headquarters, has a number of impressive colonial buildings and educational institutions. It is famous for silver, textiles and a National weaving institute which promotes traditional weaves.
As planned, I and Avneesh left Rajkot on Sunday the 1 February 2004 from his home in his Bajaj Pulsar bike. We started at around 1.30 pm and took the State Highway SH 25 which goes towards the city of Bhavnagar where I work. Though with this bike on steroids we couldn’t utilize its maximum potential, as the road was too much jagged. We had to maneuver through the road to avoid a lot of potholes.
After traveling 27 km we crossed a place called Sardhar. Then we traveled more 25 km and reached a small town called Atkot. Here we took a turn towards west and picked the main road which leads to Gondal. We felt better with this road and the traffic was also scanty. After traveling 17 km we crossed 71°E. Here we stopped the bike immediately and parked it in a shade. The place we intended to go was lying low from the road. We crossed a gully and reached a dry field with lots of furrows. We presumed this field to be a Cotton field as the ripen cotton plants were seen in the adjacent field.
We reached the confluence point at exactly 3.10 pm which was barely 70 meters from the main road. After taking the mandatory photographs of the NEWS direction and also the GPS reading we came back to the place where we parked the bike. Instead of returning back the same way we took the opposite direction which leads to Gondal.
Gondal, the capital of the former princely State of Gondal was ruled by the Jadeja Rajput clan, till the independence of India. It is a fortified town located on the river Gondali. Present day Gondal is a testimony to the great visionary ruler Sir Bhagwatsinhiji, who introduced social reforms, planned the development of Gondal town and created a model state of Saurashtra in late 19th and early 20th century.
Sir Bhagwatsinhji's high education and extensive tours to Europe enhanced his aesthetic taste, which can be seen in the architecture and planning of public buildings, parks, bazaars and the palaces built during his regime. One of the oldest and most beautiful of Gondal palaces, the Navlakha palace complex (17th century), is situated on a river bank, on a grand masonry base. Other two Royal Palaces- the Riverside Palace and Orchard Palace are converted into heritage hotels. The rulers of Gondal were great lovers of automobiles and one can see several vintage and Classic cars in the royal garage.
We reached Gondal after traveling 23 km. We had our lunch at a restaurant and left Gondal and picked the National Highway NH8B towards Rajkot. As it was a four lane highway, we swiftly went through it and reached Rajkot at around 5.30 pm. If we connect the path we went through then it will resemble a right angled triangle. Rajkot is on the top point and Atkot to the right and Gondal to the left. The confluence point is located somewhat to the middle of the base.
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