Orchard Palace Heritage Hotel – Owner / Family BackGround
–Gondal was an 11-gun salute princely state covering an area of about 2,652 square kilometers. Founded in 1634 by Jadeja Rajputs, Gondal Princely State was modernized by HH Maharaja Sir Bhagwatsinhji from the 1880s to the 1940s. Bhagwatsinhji took great interest in education – Gondal became known for its public institutions and schools, and education of the girl child was free and compulsory. He also was the first to start a travelling dispensary and an asylum for the maintenance of the poor. During his long reign, the residents of Gondal State were free from rates, taxes, customs, octroi and export duties. Gondal was noted for its road network and Bhagwatsinhji was one of the pioneers of railway enterprise in the Kathiawar peninsula.
Orchard Palace Heritage Hotel – BackGround
–The Orchard Palace was built during the reign of Bhagwatsinhji as accommodation for personal guests of the Maharajas adjoining their residence, the Huzoor Palace. The property gets its name from the lime, chikoo and mango groves it faces to the rear. Peacocks abound in the gardens and a variety of other birds can be watched while walking around the grounds.
–The Orchard Palace is appointed with colonial period furniture, antiques, heirloom pieces, miniature paintings and handicrafts. The seven bedrooms are large and high-ceilinged with 1930s and 40’s art deco and other period furniture, and feature long bathrooms. All of them open onto galleries with views of the gardens.
–Orchard Palace offers set meals comprising British/Anglo-Indian/European food keeping with its colonial heritage, and Indian food including Kathiawar’s regional cuisine. Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes are on offer.
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–The Swaminarayan temple of Gondal has some interesting murals. The Bhuvaneshwari Mandir is another old temple – it is said that MK Gandhi was first called Mahatma by Charantirth Maharaj when he visited this temple. The Bhuvaneshwari Ayurvedic Pharmacy is among the oldest in Gujarat, making medicines according to ayurvedic principles. The Bhuvaneshwari Gaushala and Ashwapalak support indigenous breeds of cattle and horses. The Khadi Plaza is a handloom factory with a handicraft shop. Handicrafts can also be bought at Udhyog Bharati and in Gondal town. Gondal also has a number of silversmiths.
For birdwatchers, Gondal’s lakes and grasslands are excellent places to watch birds and small mammals.
HERITAGE PROPERTY ATTRACTIONS
–In the forecourt of the property is one of the original railway saloon carriages of the royal families. Beautifully finished with wood, the interiors of the saloon retain original furniture and fittings.
–The palace grounds also hold the Royal Vintage and Classic Car Collection, garages housing the family’s excellent collection of cars from a pre-1910 New Engine, 1920s and 30s European vintage models and imposing 1940s and ‘50s American cars to sports cars.
HERITAGE PROPERTY OTHER ATTRACTIONS
–Guests staying at the Orchard Palace also get to visit the Darbargadh, the old palace which is a festival of stone carvings. Within this palace are museum collections of silverware, textiles, turbans, toys, furniture and other memorabilia.
HERITAGE PROPERTY IN FILM SHOOTING
–The Orchard Palace can be booked for film shoots.
–Some of the films shot on location at Gondal are Bollywood blockbusters like Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, R… Rajkumar and Prem Ratan Dhan Payo, The Memsahib starring Emily Hamilton, Parvin Dabas, Glenn Fitzgerald, Sweta Keswani, Murli Sharma and Denzil Smith, and Hawaaizaada. Gondal palaces have also been the backdrop of fashion shoots for advertisements and catalogues, and locations for TV series and Gujarati films.
–14km from Gondal, the Jalaram temple of Virpur is an important pilgrimage.
–A short distance from Virpur, Khambalida has a cluster of Buddhist caves dated to the 4th-5th century. The highlights of the cave complex are superb carvings of Bodhisatvas.
–31km from Gondal, Jetpur is a textile town best known for its screen and block printing workshops.
–61km from Gondal, Junagadh is one of the most historical cities of India with Emperor Ashoka’s 3rd century BC rock edicts, ancient Buddhist caves, the imposing Uparkot Fort, flamboyant royal mausoleums and 19th century palaces. The museums of Junagadh are worth a visit.
–Dhoraji, 48km from Gondal, was the second important town of Gondal Princely State. The Darbargadh, now housing government offices, has a richly decorated façade. Nearby are other elegant buildings. The town has old mansions of the Memon families, mercantile Muslims of Gujarat.
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ORCHARD PALACE – HERITAGE HOTEL
ADDRESS: The Orchard Palace, Huzoor Palace Complex, Gondal, GUJARAT.
TELEPHONE: +91-02825 24550
RESERVATION: 113 Kamdhenu Complex, Ground Floor, Polytechnic Road, Ahmedabad 380015
EMAIL ID: [email protected]