THE HEADQUARTERS of the Saurashtra region (southwest Gujarat) during the British Raj, modern Rajkot is a commercial and industrial town. The centre of the region’s groundnut trade, it is also reputed for its handicrafts. Rajkot’s many 19th-century buildings give it a distinctly colonial flavour. The Watson Museum in Jubilee Bagh, named after a British Political Agent, has a fine collection of portraits of local rulers, tribal artifacts, archaeological finds from Harappan sites and a large statue of Queen Victoria. The impressive Rajkumar College, established by the British for the sons of the Gujarat nobility, remains a prestigious public school.
ENVIRONS: Wankaner Palace, 39 km (24 miles) northeast of Rajkot, is an eclectic mix of Mughal, Italian and Victorian- Gothic styles. Though still inhabited by the former royal family, a portion is now a luxury hotel. Halvad, 125 km (78 miles) north of Rajkot, has a 17th-century lakeside palace with intricate wooden carvings.