||This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. The specific problem is: Poor grammar, many spelling and punctuation errors, fails to explain terminology unfamiliar to most English-speakers. (October 2010)|
|Elevation||81 m (266 ft)|
|• Official||Gujarati, Kutchi, Hindi|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Vehicle registration||GJ 12|
Anjar (Gujarati: અંજાર) is a town, a tehsil and a municipality in Kutch district in the state of Gujarat, India. It is a town of historic importance, located in Southern Kutch, around 40 km away from one of the biggest ports in India - Kandla Port. With nearly 1,400 years of history, founded around 650 AD, Anjar is claimed to be the oldest town in Kutch.
The origin of the name "Anjar" remains unclear due to lack of any written evidences. Some people believe Anjar is named after one of the historic Warrior Rulers (locally called Kshatriya) Ajay Pal Chauhan, who played important role in protecting the town from invaders. The town was originally named Ajay Vas to commemorate warrior Ajay Pal Chauhan, but gradually became Anjar. There are also stories that the name Anjar was derived from "Ann Jaar" (which could literally mean a "warehouse of grain" in Gujarati language), due to the prospering agriculture, and abundance of food in the surrounding area. However, these stories can't be verified, and the history behind the name of the town remains unclear.
The history of the town is shrouded in mysteries due to lack of written evidences or documentation. Popular stories say that a group of early settlers led by Warrior Ajay Pal (also called Ajepal), brother of King of Ajmer, Rajasthan arrived and settled there around 650 AD. Slowly the settlement flourished and became a center of trade and commerce. Due to its prosperity and wealth it was often target of invasion of Khalifa clan warriors. As the founder of the settlement, and later the ruler of the town, Ajay Pal dedicated his life to protect the town. It's believed that he established the first coastal security center in Kutch somewhere near Anjar. Ajay Pal died due to a mortal wound suffered while fighting Khalifas in Vikram Samvat 741 (around 685 A.D.). Due to his efforts in protecting the town and surrounding area from invaders, and his selfless sacrifice, he is worshiped as a saint and his tomb (also called Samadhi in Hinduism) and temple is located on the outskirts of the town. He is fondly known as the ruler of the town till date.
In the course of history, Chauhan clan lost the power in Anjar. At different points of time in history, the town was ruled by various clans such as Solanki, Vaghela, Chawda, before finally it went to the more powerful warrior clan Jadeja who gained control of whole Kutch region. The town was declared capital of the Kingdom of Kutch in 1545 AD by King Khengarji I. The town served as the Capital of the Kutch region on and off, until finally a nearby settlement namely Bhuj permanently became the capital city of the region. Anjar then served as second largest settlement in the region, and was pushed to the third rank after the rise of the Kandla Port and nearby Gandhidham city which serves as the powerhouse for the regional economy at present.
The town and the whole region was conquered by British East India Company Government around 1816 AD. Later on the Company Government transferred the power of the whole region back to the Jadeja Rulers in exchange for annual fee. After India gained independence in 1947, the Jadeja Rulers decided to join the Indian Union and the Kingdom of Kutch was declared a "District" with Anjar being a Tehsil.
Among the early settlers who arrived in Anjar with warrior leader Ajay Pal were people from Rajput clans like Chauhan, Chawda, Chudasama, Jethwa, Rathod, Vadher, Vaghela, Sawaria, Solanki, Khodiyar, Parmar, Bhatti. More people from several clans listed above joined this flourishing settlement between 7th and 12th century. A major group of settlers arrived in 12th century AD and settled at a nearby village Dhaneti. Later on they moved out of Dhaneti and spreaded between Anjar and Bhuj.
Anjar continued to serve as a major hub of trade and commerce in the region, and attracted people from several clans and social orders from around the region. Some of those clans were:
- Warriors of Rajput and Jadeja clan
- Mestri (or Mistry) clan, who were originally warriors, but then became architects and builders
- Brahmins - the Hindu priests in Indian society
- Nomad clans of Ahirs and Rabaris
- Lohanas who engaged in commerce and business
Later on Mulsims, and the African slaves (locally known as Sidis) of the rulers of Jadeja clan also settled in the town.
Due to social segregation, complex social structure and cultural restrictions in the ancient times, most of these clans established their separate wards or neighborhoods (locally known as 'fariyas') within the town, so that in any neighborhood of the town you would find houses of only people of a certain clan. However, today the culture has opened up and you might find people of different clans living side by side.
Kutch region, and specifically Anjar suffered several big and small earthquakes. At an interval of nearly 50 years, there have been small and big earthquakes in the region. Anjar suffered severely from an earthquake in 1819, which destroyed a large number of houses, and thousands of lives. Anjar also experienced strong earthquake on 21 July 1956, which had its epicenter near the town and another major earthquake on 26 January 2001, which caused large scale destruction of houses and population. As per records more than 1350 houses were destroyed. Most of the damage occurred to the older constructions in the fortified area of the town where buildings and houses were hundreds of years old. The earthquake claimed more than 1500 lives, and left many more injured. After a decade of rehabilitation work, the town has now recovered from the loss and destruction inflicted by 2011 earthquake.
People following Hinduism and Jainism dominate this small town, whereas Muslims make the second largest religious group in Anjar. These religions are further divided into several sub-groups, communities, clans, based on their historical roles in society (warriors, farmers, chefs, tailors, priests, etc.), region, etc. called Jātis. Some of the Jātis found in Anjar are:
- Vaniya - the Jain community mainly engaged in trade and commerce
- Brahmins - the Hindu priests
- Mistris - the masons and architects
- Lohanas - Hindu community engaged in trade and commerce
- Rabaris and Ahirs - the nomad Hindu communities that reared livestock
- Darjis - the tailors
- Sonis - the goldsmiths
- Kansaras - the metal smiths
- Rajputs and Jadejas - the warriors
- Sorathias - who did farming and also engaged in trade and commerce
Anjar is located at  and has an average elevation of 81 metres (265 feet). The land in Anjar is mainly dry and arid flatland. The town is around 75 km away from the Desert of Kutch, which is a seasonal salt marshland in the north, and just 40 km away from the Gulf of Kutch in the south. There are 3 small lakes in different parts of the town which often dry up in the long harsh summers. On the eastern side of the town there's a river named 'Saang' which often dries up in the summer, too..
Climate in Anjar is very dry due to its vicinity to the Desert of Kutch. There are three distinct seasons observed in Anjar: Winter, Summer, and Rainy Season (locally better called monsoon). Winters in Anjar could be harsh with temperatures dropping down to 4 degree Celsius, and summers could be equally harsh with scorching temperatures soaring up to 47 - 48 degree Celsius, whereas rain-fall is very scarce with average annual rainfall of around 400 mm only. Anjar often experiences droughts.
Summer is the longest season, which lasts from around mid-March to July or sometimes until mid-August. Brutal heat-waves in summer often claim lives of humans and animals in this region. Rainy season lasts from around July to September. During the rainy season the sky is mostly cloudy, with bursts of brief showers or sweltering hot days with highly humid air blowing from the Gulf of Kutch in south. Winter starts from November and may last up to February.
Temples of Anjar
Hinduism is the dominant religion in Anjar since ancient times, and hence there are lots of temples of Hindu gods all over the city. You could easily find a small or big temple in any neighborhood of the city. Hindu temples of local-historic importance are scattered in and outside the old fortress, however, the fortress itself has now disappeared completely due to demolition, earthquakes, and wear and tear of the time. On the outskirts of the town is the Hindu temple of Lord Shiva, namely Bhadeshwar Mahadev Temple. This temple is believed to be the oldest temple in the town. Some people claim it to be more than 1000 years old, whereas some believe it to be only a few hundred years old. There are no written evidences that could prove the age of the temple. However, the architecture of the temple, the material used in construction (primarily sand stone), and especially the carvings and sculptures on the outer walls of the main temple resemble a lot to that of world-famous Khajuraho temples of Central India. Since Khajuraho temples were built around 10th century, it is very likely that this temple was built around the same time. Hence we can safely conclude that the temple of Bhadeshwar Mahadev could be around 1000 years old.
On the western side of the town is the temple of the revered warrior ruler Ajay Pal who is believed to be the founder of the town.
Close to the temple of Ajay Pal is another historic temple of Saint Jesal and Saint Toral, which is built around the tombs of the two saints. The temple is locally known as 'Jesal Toral ni Samadhi', which literally means 'the tomb of Jesal and Toral'. Story goes that nearly 500 years ago (around 1500 CE), there was a fierce robber named Jesal, who was attracted by a lady Saint Toral due to her astonishing beauty. However, the lady saint converted the robber to a religious person who later on got acknowledged as Saint Jesal. The two saints chose the 'samadhi' ritual, which means they willingly chose to get buried alive while meditating - a highly common practice among Hindu saints in ancient India, which is believed to grant nirvana. The temple of Saint Jesal and Saint Toral became an identity of the town since then.
Yet another historic temple located on the outskirts of the old fortress is Lord Swaminarayan's temple on the Eastern side of the town. Swaminarayan Sect is a relatively modern sect in Hinduism established by Lord Swaminarayan in 19th Century. It is believed that Lord Swaminarayan visited Anjar during his lifetime, and a temple was constructed at the place where he stayed.
Whereas all of the temples listed above are of historic importance locally, they are not so popular or important outside Kutch or Gujarat.
Apart from the temples of significant importance listed above, there might be around another hundred temples all over the town, some of them dating back to 200–300 years, and some of them recent addition.
Anjar is famous for gher all over India even though the world gher procession only passed in middle of the city. Anjar is also well known for its cuisine, specifically Bhikha ni Dabeli. This Dabeli is so revered that its fans stretch out all the way to the state of Maharashtra and even outside India to certain countries in the Persian Gulf. Moreover, one can find the real taste of Kesar Keri called Kesar Hagu in Anjar. Anjar is also well known for the Kharek. Local people love to drink buttermilk locally known as Chhash. Other local famous items are Kutchi Pakwan, Kutchi Khaja, Pedas and farsan, etc. Pedha, Gulab Paak and Kharibhat are famous in local as well Mumbai region.
The GIDC (Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation) has extended the towns borders making it look like a city. The GIDC has attracted many big name businesses to set up in Anjar and throughout Kutch, this is turn has created thousands of new jobs in the area.
Anjar is also very well known for its ethnic clothes, handicrafts and metal-crafts. Swords and knives made in Anjar and nearby villages are famous and are exported even outside India.
The people of Anjar come from many different backgrounds and have lived in peace for centuries. Cultural programs held many times in Anjar. Festivals like Holi, Sharad Purnima, Ram Navami, Navaratri, Hindola Mahotsava, Diwali, Eid are celebrated in town
Meghaji Sheth of Anjar, took leadership during princely state and when Kachchh was administered by Rao Raydhan (i.e. in 1786 A.D.) Rao Raydhan was keen to covert all Hindus. At that time, Meghaji Sheth went to Bhuj and imprisoned Rao and gave administration in the hands of 12 persons called Barbhaya Raj i.e. first Democracy in India.
Among the many persons of Kutch Gurjar Kshatriya or Mistri community of Anjar, who were noted for Sea-trading, architect & Railway Contracts. Manji Daya Vegad of Anjar and Lakhu Devji Vegad of Anjar during 1887-1912 built Pamban Bridge & lines from Rameshwaram. Narshi Bechar Khodiyar son of Bechar Hardas of town was given title of Rai Sahib by British for Railway Engineering in 1920.
Jagmal Pitambar Rathod of Kutch Gurjar Kshatriya of Anjar was Gaidher of Kutch Raaj in 1750. His son Gajdhar Jagmal Rathod & his son Ruda Gajdhar Rathod & his son Jairam Ruda Gajdhar Rathod all of Anjar were for four generations Gaidher for the Kingdom of Kutch and all constructions of Kutch Raaj the forts of Anjar, Bhuj, Mandvi, Aina Mahal, Prag Mahal, Vijay Vilas Palace, Sharad Bag Palace, Ashapura Temple, Dhrang Temple, Suralbhit Mahadev Temple, etc. have been done by Mistris of Kutch under their super-vision. The Assistant Gaidher to them were from Khedoi.
Chhaganlal Parekh alias Chhagan Bapa was also a social worker, today K.K.M.S. Girls High School is the best gift given to Anjar by him.
Vrajlal R. Vora was an astrologer of Kachchh. He written two books on astrology. Sheth Khatau Makanji Sethia, one of the founder of Khatau Group also hailed from the city.
The most famous schools in Anjar are "Swami Vivekananda Vidhyalaya", "Smt. K. G. Manek School", "Sheth D. V. High School", Sheth Khatu Mavji Sethia H.S. School. There is also a different school for girls' higher education named 'K. K. M. S. Girls' high school Welspun Vidya mandir,Muralidhar High school,Dungrasi Gangaji Thacker vidyalay,Rabari samaj school. St. Elizabeth's School is an English medium school, which is affiliated to Gujarat State Board and is situated in Nagalpar village way to Mundra. There are 20 primary schools handled by Municipal Corporation of Anjar. And Shree Sahyog Sarswati Vidyamandir. Renowned play school chain Shanti Juniors opened a branch in the city. Recently Govt. Started an I.T.I. in Anjar City.Anjar Education society has started one college named Smt Hiraben Bhanukant Pala college of arts and commerce. Second college for P.G.D.H.R.M. Moreover Cdec center and M.Sc. I.T. Jamiyate ulema e hind has started college of pharmacy anda P.T.C. college for girls.SRK institute of Management and Computer Science ( BBA, BCA, MSW, MLW, MBA, Msc(IT)
Anjar as Taluka
The following villages belong to this taluka: Nagalpar, Nani Nagalpar, Sinugra, Pantiya, Khedoi, Lovariya, Chandiya, Chandroda, Mindiyana, khambhra, Sinugra, Devaliya, Vidi, Meghpar, Bhadroi, Varsamedi,Chandaroda,Bhalot,Lovariya, Pantiya,Didhai, Lakhapar,Satapar,Ambapar,Tappar,Bhimasar,Modvadar,Ajapar,Bhadroi,Ratnal,Modsar,Sugaria Jaru,Khokhara,Chandarani,Vidi,naga,Bita and Vira valadia,Devaliya,Kumbhariya, Joganinar,Sanghad,RAmpar,Tuna,Sapeda,Maringana,Ningal,Kotada,Hirapar,Navagam,Amarapar,Dhamadaka, etc.Total there are 67 Villages.
- Now looking back into the history of our KGK Samaj and information available from certain researchers and very old preserved documents of Barots (Bhats) keeping track of our ancestors in their books, our ancestors (true warrior khatriyas) arrived into Kutch from Rajasthan in the 7th (seventh) century to fight and repel the unwanted alien's attack from middle east to save the dignity of our mother land
- Gurjar Kshatriyas : Dhaneti, Clans
- Another earthquake in Rann of Kutch took place on July 21, 1956 at a place called Anjar 80 miles south east of Allah Band and caused great damage to life and property.
- he impact of the 2001 earthquake was particularly spectacular in the city of Anjar in certain well-defined areas of the city, and striking differences were observed in the damage distribution. The most damaged area was the old Anjar city (Gamtal area; see Figure 1), which was completely destroyed, while recently constructed buildings located across the street from the old city limits (mainly to the east and northeast) experienced only slight or no damage (AFPS 2001)
- Some cities were completely destroyed, like Anjar or Bachau. The city of Bhuj, located at around 20 km from the epicenter, suffered important losses.
- More than 5 percent of the populations of Anjar and Bhachau died
- Falling Rain Genomics, Inc - Anjar
- Nanji Bapa ni Nondh-pothi published in Gujarati in year 1999 from Vadodara.It is a diary of Railway Contracts done by KGK community noted by Nanji Govindji Tank of Hajapar/Jamshedpur, complied by Dharsibhai Jethalal Tank of Nagalpar/Tatanagar. This book was given Aank Sidhhi award by Kutch Shakti at Mumbai in year 2000. Railway Contractors from Anjar, Lakhu Devji Vegad & Manji Daya Vegad (Pamban Bridge), Moti Murji,etc and Life-sketch of Bechar Hardas Khodiyar & Narshi Bechar Khodiyar
- Nanji Bapa ni Nondh-pothi published in Gujarati in year 1999 from Vadodara.It is a diary of Railway Contracts & architects built by KGK community noted by Nanji Govindji Tank of Hajapar/Jamshedpur, complied by Dharsibhai Jethalal Tank of Nagalpar/Tatanagar. This book was given Aank Sidhhi award by Kutch Shakti at Mumbai in year 2000.Pages:3-5 On Gaidhers of Anjar :Pitambar Sava, Jagmal Pitambar, Gajdhar Jagmal, Ruda Gajdhar & Jairam Ruda Gajdhar (Rathor) became Gaidher during reign of Rao Pragmalji & continued till reign of Maharao Shri Khengarji Bawa...