Anjar is a town, a tehsil and a municipality in Kachchh 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.
Location in Gujarat, India
|Elevation||81 m (266 ft)|
|• Official||Gujarati, Kutchi, Hindi|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Vehicle registration||GJ 12|
The history of the town is shrouded in mysteries due to lack of the 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 AD 650 or 805 (Samvat 862). Slowly the settlement flourished and became a centre of trade and commerce. Due to its prosperity and wealth it was often target of invasion of 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 centre in Kutch somewhere near Anjar. Ajay Pal died due to a mortal wound suffered while fighting Khalifas in Vikram Samvat 741 (around AD 685). 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 Chaulukya, 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 by King Khengarji I. The town was fortified by Deshalji II early in the eighteenth century. The fort wall was sixteen feet high and six feet thick. In 1800 the town, port, and dependencies of Anjar were granted to Fateh Muhammad, who busied himself in extending its trade and establishing the harbour of Tuna. 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.
On 25 December 1815, Anjar was attacked under Colonel East of British East India Company, and Tuna was occupied on the next day. In the following year the fort and dependent villages were made over to the British and held by them till 1822. Anjar suffered severely from an earthquake in 1819, which destroyed a large number of houses, and thousands of lives. The population shortly afterwards was about 10,000. In 1822, the company government transferred the power of the region back to the Jadeja Rulers in exchange for annual fee. The payments were a burden on the local treasury and the entire burden (including arrears) were paid on its behalf by the British government. The population was 18,014 in 1901.
Due to social segregation, complex social structure and cultural restrictions in the ancient times, most of these clans established their separate wards or neighbourhoods (locally known as 'fariyas') within the town, so that in any neighbourhood 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 in addition to the one in 1819. At an interval of nearly 50 years, there have been small and big earthquakes in the region. Anjar also experienced strong earthquake on 21 July 1956, which had its epicentre 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 2001 earthquake.
Later on Muslims, and the African slaves (locally known as Sidis) of the rulers of Jadeja clan also settled in the town.
Anjar is located at  and has an average of elevation of 81 metres (270 ft). The land in Anjar is mainly dry and arid flatland. The town is around 75 kilometres (50 mi) away from the Great Rann (the Desert of Kutch), which is a seasonal salt marshland in the north. At the beginning of the 20th century, the city was only 10 miles (16 km) from the Gulf of Kutch to the south, but it is now 40 kilometres (20 mi) away. 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.
The climate in Anjar is called a desert climate. In Anjar, there is no rainfall virtually in a year. The climate here is denoted as BWh by Koppen-Geiger system, with average rainfall is 368mm.
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.
The Madhavrai temple, god Vaishnav shrine 67 feet by 64 and about 62 high, with a domed hall and black and white marble floor, The image of black marble is placed on a table overlaid with silver. The shrine doors, also plated with silver, bear an inscription dated Samvat 1869 (1812 AD). Some of the eight pilasters that support the dome are carved mermaids and Naga figures. Mohanrai's temple, smaller and plainer, with a neatly carved wooden door, is also a Vaishnav shrine, the idols being Krishna with Radha on his left, and Chaturbhuj, the four-armed Vishnu, on his right. This temple was rebuilt between 1814 and 1824. Amba Mata's shrine and the monastery close by are built of fragments of older temples. Over the enclosure gateway is a door of hard reddish stone, carved all round, which from the repetition of Devi on the jambs and lintels may have belonged to a Vaishnav Shakta temple ; sculptured slabs also lie about, and are built into the walls.
The adjoining monastery belongs to the Atits of Ajepal. Ajepals shrine, outside the town walls, is a small modern domed room, with images of Ajepal on horseback and of Ganpati. At the door is an inscription dated 1842. The Atits are Shaiv, the sacred bull with brass horns holding a prominent place on the platform at the entrance to the shrine. Their headnien, pirs or gurus, are buried around, and the small cells over their remains are marked by the linga. Their patron saint is a Chauhan king of Ajmer, who gave up his throne, became an ascetic, and ended his days by a voluntary death.
Kalya Mahadev's temple, outside the walls, is comparatively modern, with a dancing yogini as its goddess. Vankal Mata's temple, to the north-west of the town, is dedicated to a form of Bhavani. Bhareswar at some distance to the south-east has an old shrine and spire and a modern hall. To the west of the town is a temple of Dvarkanath, and close to it an unfinished one to Bahuchar Mata, with three shrines on as many sides of the entrance hall. On the outskirts of the town is the ancient Hindu temple of Shiva, namely Bhadeshwar Mahadev Temple. There is Swaminarayan's temple located on the outskirts of the old fortress on the Eastern side of the town. Swaminarayan Sect is a relatively modern sect in Hinduism established by Ramanand swami The Guru of God Swaminarayan in the 19th century. It is believed that God Swaminarayan visited Anjar during his lifetime, and a temple was constructed at the place where he stayed.
Trimandir: An idol of Shree Simandhar Swami is in the exact middle of the Trimandir. On the right side of the temple is Krishna Bhagwan while on the left is Shiv Bhagwan. Padmanabh Prabhu, Sai Baba, Ashapura Maa, Tirupati Balaji, Shree Nathji, Dada Bhagwan and other deities also reside within the temple.
To east of Ajepal's monastery, is a small tiled shed with tombs of Muslim pattern sacred to Jesar or Jesal, a Jadeja, and Turi or Toral, a Kathi. The temple is locally known as Jesal Toral ni Samadhi, which literally means 'the tomb of Jesal and Toral'. The shrine at Anjar is under the charge of the Ajepal monastery.
In the middle of the fourteenth century Jesar, grandson of the Jam Lakha Jadeja, became an outlaw, laid waste to fields and villages, killed the people, and carried off the cattle. At that time a Kathi woman, Turi or Toral by name, was famous for her devotion and her skill in making hymns, and still more famous for her beauty. She lived with an ascetic called Savasdhir, who did not regard her as his wife but as one who would bring him salvation. The fame of her beauty reached Jesar, who tried to carry her off by force but failed. Going back in the guise of an ascetic he was well received, and arranged to seize her at some midnight worship. His plans were found out, and, on his confessing, the sect whose rule was to grant the wish of every asker gave him Turi on condition that he became an ascetic. Jesar agreed, but soon tiring of the restraint, again tried to take Turi away by force. She foiled him, and in time changed him into a model ascetic. Settling at Anjar, Jesar died and Turi was buried alive close by his tomb. His descendants, the Jesar' Rajputs have, in each of the twelve villages, a shrine of Jesar and Turi.
Anjar is famous for gher all over India even though the world gher procession only passed in the middle of the city. Anjar is also well known for its cuisine, specifically Dabeli. In Anjar "Bhikha ni 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 town has strong trade and social links with neighbouring Adipur, Bhuj, Gandhidham and Kandla. The GIDC (Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation) estate is situated here. Anjar is known for its ethnic clothes, handicrafts and metal-crafts. Swords and knives made in Anjar and nearby villages are popular and are exported 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, he took leadership during princely state and when Kutch State was administered by Rao Rayadhan III (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 Bar Bhayat ni Jamat.
The most famous schools in Anjar are sahyog saraswati madhyamik vidhya mandir "Twinkle star English and gujarati medium school" "Swami Vivekananda Vidhyalaya", "Smt. K. G. Manek School", "Sheth D. V. High School", Sheth Khatau Mavji Sethia H.S. School. There is also a different school for girls' higher education named 'K. K. M. S. Girls' High School started by Chhagan Bapa, 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. There are 20 primary schools handled by Municipal Corporation of Anjar. And Shree Sahyog Sarswati Vidyamandir. Recently Govt. Started an I.T.I. in Anjar City. Anjar Education society has started one college named Smt Hiraben Bhanukant Palan college of arts and commerce. Second college for P.G.D.H.R.M. Moreover, Cdec centre and M.Sc. I.T. Jamiyate ulema e hind has started college of pharmacy and P.T.C. college for girls. SRK institute of Management and Computer Science
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, Dudhai, 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.