Founded as a port in 1743, Bhavnagar is still an important trading post
for the cotton goods manufactured in Gujarat. The Bhavnagar lock gate
keeps ships a float in the city's port at low tide. On the surface,
Bhavnagar isn't the most exciting place to visit and few travellers get
here. It does, however, have an interesting old bazaar area with
overhanging wooden balconies, countless little shops, lots of local
colour and not a tourist in sight.
Bhavnagar is a sprawling city
with distinctly separate old and new sections. The bus stand is in the
new part of town and the railway station is at the far end of the old
town around 2.Skm away. To complicate matters, private bus companies
usually have their own depots sometimes a long way from the bus stand.
There are no economical hotels around the bus stand so if you're on a budget,
take an auto-rickshaw in to the old town. Even there, the choice is very
-The Indian Airlines office (Q 26503) is north of the taxi stand, near
the Ganga Jalia Tank. There are four flights a week to Mumbai (US$55).
NEPC Airlines (Tel: 411191) flies three times a week to Mumbai (US$60).
- State transport buses connect Bhavnagar with Ahmedabad and other
centres in the region. For Una (and Diu) there are departures almost
every hour from 5.30 am. The trip takes five hours and costs Rs 50. To
Palitana there are departures every hour from 5am for the 11/2 hour
journey (Rs 12). The timetable at thc state bus stand in Bhavnagar is
entirely in Gujarati. The main private bus company is Punjab Travels
(Tel: 24582), opposite the Galaxy Cinema near the municipal office.
It has buses to Ahmedabad every 30 minutes (Rs 55). Bonny Travels (Tel:
29178) has departures for Ahmedabad (Rs 55). They also have a bus to Diu
(six hours, Rs 55). The office is in the Madhav Darshan Complex, a huge
aqua-coloured architectural nightmare near the Takhteshwar temple.
Bonny's sign is in Hindi.
Bhavnagar is 299km by rail from Ahmedabad. The trip takes about 51/2
hours and costs Rs 70/260 in 2nd/1st class. There's one direct train
daily, departing Bhavnagar at 5.30 am. To Palitana there are several
daily trains which cover the 51km in about two hours (Rs 9).