(Last Updated on : 16-05-2012)
The Princely State of Bhavnagar was one of the native states during the rule of the British Empire in India
. During the early 19th century, the region was appointed as one of the princely states of India
under the indirect rule of the British administration. The state was founded by Bhavsinhji Gohil in the year 1723 and the capital of the state was at the city of Bhavnagar. After the Indian independence, Bhavnagar
state was merged with the Union of India
in 1948. The territory covered a total area of 2,961 sq m in 1941 and 3,740 sq m after the inclusion of the states attached after the year 1943. It comprised of a total population of 618,429 in 1941 and a population of 713,240 after the inclusion of the states attached after 1943. The princely state of Bhavnagar was a part of the Baroda Agency
under the Western India States Agency
and later Gujarat.
At present, Bhavnagar is the 5th largest city of the state of Gujarat
and the 2nd largest city in the Saurashtra
region. It is located 228 km from the Gandhinagar, the capital of the state; and to the west of the Gulf of Khambhat.
The princely state of Bhavnagar comprised of 2 compact districts in the south-eastern corner of Kathiawar. These are bounded by the British district of Ahmedabad
; by Junagadh in the south; the Barodan district of Amreli and several units of Kathiawar
namely, Dedan, Khijadia, Badhli, Jasdan and Paliyad, from north to south. The two districts of Bhavnagar were almost the same size and were segregated by a series of territories like, the British district of Ahmedabad, Palitana and Lathi, along an east west axis. The Vachhani States and the Devani States, along with the Datha and Vala, were enclaves within Bhavnagar. The princely state included 655 villages and 11 towns in the year 1911. In the year 1941, a legislative assembly was set up that contained 55 members. Bhavnagar state paid tribute to the princely state of Baroda
and Junagadh state. The native coinage of the state ceased to exist in 1840. The Bhavnagar state was segregated into 2 divisions between 1802 and 1866. By further agreements in the year 1860 and later in 1866, the native ruler was given full autonomy and power over all of his territories.
According to the 1943 Attachment Scheme, the princely state of Bhavnagar attached 50 states and talukas in Chok Datha and Songadh Thanas that were primarily ruled by Gohel and Sarvaiya Rajputs
. This region was scattered over a total area of 779 sq m and compromised of a total population of 94,811.
The Princely State of Bhavnagar was regarded s one of the salute states of India
with a gun salute of 13 guns. Bhavnagar was initially a First Class state and ranked 5th in order of precedence among the states of Western India, from Porbandar and Nawanagar. The courts of the princely state exercised full civil and criminal jurisdiction and the Diwan was entrusted with the administration of the state. The Gohel Rajputs of the Chandravansi dynasty were the ruling family of the state of Bhavnagar. The native ruler held the title and style of Thakor until 1917, after which it became Maharaja Jam Saheb. In the year 1911, Her Highness Maharani Nundkanvarba of Bhavnagar was honoured with the Order of the Crown of India, which was the highest Imperial award for women of the British Empire.
After the withdrawal of the British Government of India
and Indian independence, the last ruler of the princely state of Bhavnagar, Maharaja Krishnakumar Sinhji, acceded his state to newly formed Union of India
in the year 1948and was amongst first of these states to join the Indian Union. It later incorporated as part of the new Indian state of Gujarat.
Rulers of Princely State of Bhavnagar
Thakor Ratanji II (1660- 1703)
Thakor Bhavsinhji I Ratanji (1703- 1764)
Thakor Akherajji II Bhavsinhji (1764- 1772)
Thakor Wakhatsinhji Akherajji (1772- 1816)
Thakor Wajesinhji Wakhatsinhji (1816- 1852)
Thakor Akherajji III Bhavsinhji (1852- 1854)
Thakor Jashwantsinhji Bhavsinhji (1854- 1870)
Thakor Takhatsinhji Jashwantsinhji (1870- 1896)
Thakor Bhavsinhji II Takhatsinhji (1896- 1918)
Maharaja Bhavsinhji II Takhatsinhji (1918- 1919)
Maharaja Krishnakumarsinhji Bhavsinhji (1919- 1947)
His Highness Maharaja Shri Virbhadrasinhji Krishnakumarsinhji Gohil (Titular) (1965- 1994)
His Highness Maharaja Shri Vijayrasjsinhji Virbhadrasinhji (Titular) (1994- till date)