Jasdan Royal Family Undertakes Restoration: 17th-Century Rajkot Castle Will Face Left

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The weather-beaten 17th-century Hingolgadh Castle is set to regain its luster as its owners – the royal family of the former princely state of Jasdan – undertake restoration and repair of the historic building and works are nearing completion.

Located 78 km east of Rajkot, Hingolgadh Castle stands on top of a 1,100 feet high hill overlooking Hingolgadh village in Vinchhiya taluka of Rajkot district. The castle is surrounded by the Hingolgadh Nature Education Sanctuary, a protected forest area known for its birdlife and floral diversity.

Vika Khachar, the founder of the princely state of Jasdan, had the castle built in 1665 and named it after the goddess Hinglaj. The three-storey castle, famous for its Italian mosaic roof tiles imported from Italy, was once the monsoon retreat of the rulers of the Jasdan state.

“The castle is an old building. It is built at a height of 1,100 feet from mean sea level. Therefore, weather forces like winds and rains affect it more than other normal buildings. Therefore, it requires repairs from time to time. We used to periodically carry out such repairs inside the castle. But this time we have undertaken a complete restoration and repair of the castle by plastering the outer walls of the building wherever necessary and applying a fresh coat of paint as well as the interior of the castle,” Satyajit Khachar , the patriarch of the royal family of Jasdan said.

Satyjajit Khachar, the 11th generation descendant of Vika Khachar, took the family title of “Darbar” – as the rulers of Jasdan state were known – in 1989.

The castle has a temple of Goddess Hinglaj. Satyajit Khachar said that Vika Khachar went on pilgrimage to the temple of Goddess Hinglaj in the Balochistan province of present-day Pakistan and founded the state of Jasdan after winning the territory on her return from the pilgrimage. Vika Khachar had the castle built as a defensive fortress against attacks from the princely states of Bhavnagar and Nawanagar-Jamnagar. Therefore, it has an attic, huge water tanks, an armory, tunnels serving as escape routes, Ranivas (Queen’s chamber) with windy balconies, a hall serving as the audience hall of the king, a prison, etc.

There is a small garden inside the castle which has Gothic windows and arched doorways. Water reservoirs are filled by harvesting rainwater as well as pumping from a well at Bavalvadi, a farm about two kilometers away, and from newly dug tube wells at the foot of the hill.

“The building is a stone and mortar structure and therefore we use the same material in the restoration work. Also, the interior, such as upholstery and furniture, needs repairs, and we are doing this as part of the restoration. We hired local craftsmen for the work,” says Satyajit Khachar, adding that his eldest son Raviraj is handling the restoration project.

Hingolgadh Castle is among the tallest residential buildings in the Saurashtra region. The royal family turned the castle into a heritage museum 11 years ago. “On average, 20,000 people visit the museums every year,” says Satyajit Khachar, adding “We keep the castle open for tourists from July 1 to December 31. However, this year we have kept it closed due to construction works. restoration in progress,” says Khachar, adding, “We started the restoration works in 2020 but not much could be done due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, now the works are in full swing. and should be completed within the next six months.Once the restoration work is complete, we will reopen the museum to visitors.

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