Jamnagar, erstwhile Nawanagar, in Gujarat, is a relatively new city of India. It was built in the late 1920s by Maharaja Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji. It has the Gulf of Kutch to the north and lies approximately 337 km away from the capital of Gujarat, Gandhinagar.
The city has gained recent recognition after Reliance Industries set up the largest refinery of the world here. Apart from that, Jamnagar also houses the oil refinery of Essar Oil. Because of the presence of two of the most important refineries of the country, Jamnagar has come to be called as the Oil City of India.
In the olden days, it was an important part of Saurashtra. Legend has it that Lord Krishna dwelled in Dwarka, which is now a part of Jamnagar, after moving base from Mathura. The religious flavour of Jamnagar can be gauged from the presence of various temples in the region. Some of the important temples of the city are the Ancient Sun Temple, the Ancient Bhid Bhanjan Temple and the Bala Hanuman Temple among others.
Apart from the temples, Jamnagar is also home to a lot of forts and palaces which are in good shape like the Darbargadh Palace, the Lakhota Fort, the Pratap Vilas Palace and the Wilingdon Crescent.
Jamnagar derives its name from the founder of the region Jam Rawal. According to historical data, Jam Lakhaji, Jam Rawals father was gifted 12 villages by the then Emperor of Gujarat. But before he could take possession of the villages, he was killed in a conspiracy.
Determined to take revenge of his fathers killing, Jam Rawal killed the conspirators and took over the control of his fathers kingdom. However, Jamnagar was not established until Jam Rawal went on a hunting trip. Story has it that he saw two hares fighting a group of hunting dogs. That show of bravery prompted him to think of the valour of the people born on that land and thus he set up his new capital, Nawanagar.
Nawanagar later got rechristened to its present name Jamnagar. The city has a majority of Muslim population which traces its origin to Jam Rawal. Prior to being industrialised by Reliance Industries and Essar Oil, brass manufacturing used to be the primary activity of the people of Jamnagar. Thus, it was called the Brass City of India in the times gone by. Today, although the region has got industrialised, it still retains some of its old world charm.