Sir Lakhdhiraji Waghji of MorbiMorbi in Gujarat state of India, is situated near river Machhu and is about 60 kms from Rajkot. The entire town of Morbi was planned by Sir Lakhdhiraji Waghji. He was also an able administrator who ruled from 1922 to 1948.
Morbi was a Princely state during British rule and was governed by the Jadeja dynasty of Rajputs --- till India won its independence in 1947. It was classified as a 11-gun salute state! Morbi town was founded in 1698. It was very ably and efficiently administered by Sir Waghji who always gave prime importance to the people residing in the state.
Contribution of Sir Lakhdhiraji Waghji of MorbiShivam Thakor, the grandson of Sir Waghji Thakor, is the Prince of the state and lives in the Royal Palace. Lukhdhirji Engineering College (L.E. College) is one of the oldest colleges in Gujarat and has been named after Sir Waghji.
Contribution made by Sir Waghji during his rule and able administration includes a plethora of constructions which have made Morbi a town rich with heritage buildings, each having its own architectural significance.
- Sir Waghji aided in building of roads and Railway network (connecting Wadhwan with Morbi).
- He also ordered the construction of two small ports of Navlakhi and Vavania for the export of indigenously produced salt and cloth.
- The Morbi Railway Station is a culmination of Indian and European architecture.
- Mani Mandir in Morbi was built by Thakor Saheb Sir Waghji.
Mani Mandir Palace Built by Sir WaghjiSir Waghji built Mani mandir palace to immortalize his love for Manibai --- his lady love and wife. This temple is popular for its exquisite temple architecture and workmanship. This mandir is dedicated to Radha-Krishna, Shri Laxmi Narayana, Lord Rama, Goddess Kali and God Shiva. The Mani mandir is constructed using Jaipur stone and carvings on walls include jali, chhatri, arcs, brackets and shikhara. It symbolizes a harmony of Gothic, Saracenic, Mughal and Rajput style of architecture.
Sir Waghji completed building the temple in 1922 - the year he died! The construction of this temple, situated in the courtyard of Wellingdon Secretariat, cost him an amount of 30 lakhs. In 2001, a severe earth quake hit Morbi and this temple was partly destroyed. However, it was renovated and looks beautiful once again.
The Mani Mandir also served as a hiding place for the King! No one has been able to count the number of cellars in Mani Mandir! Mani Mandir is a rectangular double-storied building with about 130 rooms all around the temple.
Wadhvan (10 kms.), Halvad (48 kms.), Rajkot (167 kms.), Wankaner and Dhrangadhra (75 kms.) are places near Morbi. When you visit Morbi, do visit these cities too, to have a glimpse of palaces where the rulers resided and other tourist places.
Morbi has ancient buildings as well as 'modern temples' that is, industries which include ceramic and tile making industries, paper industries and wall clock making units. You will certainly enjoy your visit to Morbi. Who knows, by that time, the Jhulto Pul (Suspension bridge) in Morbi is functional and opened up for general public and you get another experience of walking on a hanging bridge! Good luck!
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