Morvi or Morbi is a city and a municipality in Rajkot district in the Indian state of Gujarat. It was a Princely State ruled by Jadeja clan of Rajputs until Indian independence in 1947. It is situated on the Kathiawar peninsula. In 1981, the city's population was determined to be 73,327. Its chief products are cotton and grain. The town is a railroad junction. The town of Morvi is situated on the river Machhu, 22 miles (35 kilometres) from the sea and 60 kilometres from Rajkot.
The prosperous city-state of Morbi and much of the building heritage and town planning is attributed to the efficient administration of Sir Waghji, who came to the throne in 1922 and ruled till 1948. Sir Waghji acted as a ruler, manager, patron and policemen of the state with great authority, always keeping the interests of citizens in mind. Sir Waghji, like other contemporary rulers of Saurashtra, built roads, a railway network of seventy miles connecting Wadhvan and Morbi and the two small ports of Navlakhi and Vavania for exporting the state's production of salt and cloth. The Morbi railway station is a beautiful example of railway architecture, combining Indian and European architectural elements.
The most important Morbi buildings are: Darbargadh, Mani Mandir, Wellingdon Secretariat, Suspension Bridge, Art Deco Palace and Lukhdhirji Engineering College.
Darbargadh, on the banks of the Machchu, is an original residence of Morbi rulers. It can be reached by crossing an imposing gate arcaded facade. Now it is the only heritage hotel at Morbi.
Mani Mandir is a temple situated in the courtyard of Wellingdon Secretariat. The images of Laxmi Narayan, Mahakali, Ramchandraji, Radha- Krishna and Shiva are worshiped in this temple. Mani Mandir is made out of Jaipur stone with excellent workmanship and exquisitely carved elements: arches, brackets, jalis, chhatris and shikhara. Wellingdon Secretariat is an excellent example of the application of the principles of Rajput architecture by master craftsmen at the turn of the century.
The Suspension Bridge, an engineering marvel built at the turn of the century, reflects the progressive and scientific nature of the rulers of Morbi. This was built to give a unique identity to Morbi using the latest European technology available in those days. It is 1.25 metres wide and spans 233 metres on the Machchhu River, connecting Darbargadh Palace and Lakhdhirji Engineering College. Recently this bridge has been renovated and opened up to tourists.
Green Chowk is a town square approached by a series of three gates. European town planning principles inspired the creation of these gates as landmarks in the town. The Nehru Gate is made out of stone using elements of Rajput architecture with a central clock tower, while another one uses elements of western architecture and is capped by a three-storey cast iron frame structure with a dome.
The Art Deco Palace (1931–1944) is a marvellous example of the influence of the last phase of the European art deco movement. It is poetry in granite, a low two-storey structure with banded horizontal fenestration, curves and bays, which resembles the London underground stations of Charles Holden. The palace has six drawing rooms, six dining rooms, and fourteen bedrooms. The decorated subterranean bedroom, with many erotic murals and a bathroom made from seashells are also noteworthy.
Lakhdhirji Engineering College is housed in Nazarbag Palace, a former residence of Morbi rulers. The other places worth visiting at Morbi are: V C High School, the main Railway Station and the Nazarbag Railway Station.
Excursions in Morbi
The hanging bridge over Machhu river is one of many architectural marvel of Morbi. Others are The Darbar Gardh (Old Palace), the New Palace, the Mani Madir, the green tower, and so on. According to some sources the State of Morvi owned an airport when there were only six airports across India.
Dhrangadhra (royal palaces) 75 km, Wadhvan (Royal Palace, bazaar, step wells) 107 km, Halvad (Ek-dandia Mahal-Zalawzad Darshan, wooden palace, Cenotaphs) 48 km, Wankaner (Royal Palaces, step wells) 29 km, Maliya (Royal Palace) 32 km, Rajkot (princely architecture, Watson Museum, Ramkrishna Mission, Kaba Gandhi no Delo) 67 km