The Royal house belongs to the Jethwa clan of Rajputs, the earliest settlers of Western India, and claim descent from Pawan, ancestor of Hanuman. The last head of the house was deemed to be the 185th of his line, but Colonel Watson, noted one genealogy with 1048 regular descents and another of 178. So many additions and stories were added by the bards that it is impossible to determine the genuine from what is not. Nevertheless, it is safe to say that the dynasty arrived in Western India over 2,000 years ago. They established their capital at Mayurpuri (now Morvi) named after a former ruler Raja Mayurdhwaj. The family were from there in 1193, moved firstly to Nagnah, with colonies at Miani and Shrinagar on the coast. Later still, they established their capital at Ghumli, under the leadership of Sal Kumar, 18th head of the tribe. The ruling clan, however, take their name from a later chief named Jethaji.
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Fourteenth in descent from Jethaji was Sangaji, who received the hereditary title of Rana, in reward for defeating a large Waghela army which had been sent against Morvi. Ghumli, which had remained the capital for a century or more, was besieged and reduced to rubble by a large Sindi army in 1313. Rana Bhan Jethwa escaped to Ranpur, where he established his new capital and set about founding a new principality. The capital moved to Chhaya in 1574 and finally transferred to Porbandar in 1785.
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The state came under the protection of the HEIC during the early years of the nineteenth century. Contests for power between the rulers and their heirs, and frequent episodes of financial mismanagement, resulted in interventions by the British authorities in 1811, 1869 and 1886. Nevertheless, the reigns of Maharaj Ranas Bhavsinhji and Natwarsinhji restored good government to the state. Progress was rapid, with a steady improvement in the state revenues and finances enabling increased expenditure in education and health, judicial, administrative, police and military reform, and investment in improving the infrastructure. The efforts of Bhavsinhji being rewarded with the restoration to the status of a first class state, with full judicial and administrative jurisdiction, which had been lost under his predecessor, Vikramatji.
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Maharaj Rana Natwarsinhji was able to advance the state much further, given the inheritance he received from his able father. He received the title of Maharaja after the conclusion of the Great War. An able administrator, soldier, author, musician, painter and sportsman, he captained the first Indian cricket team to tour England in 1932. At British withdrawal, he signed the instrument of accession to the Dominion of India, then merged his state together with other rulers to form the United State of Kathiawad, early in the following year. Despite his two marriages, he failed to sire any sons, so adopted and able though distant cousin as his son and successor. Alas, Udaybhansinhji, though full of promise and successful in several fields, died apparently without during his lifetime. Consequently, since the death of Maharaja Natwarsinhji in 1979, the succession and headship of the clan is uncertain. The son of the late Maharaja's second wife, Mr Harendra de Silva, QC, an eminent criminal barrister and Recorder of the Crown Court in London, inherited his stepfather's properties. Most of the palaces in Porbandar are now luxury hotels.
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Porbandar is best known as the birthplace of Mohandas Karimchand Gandhi, the Mahatma. He came from a family of state civil servants who supplied several ministers and Dewans, including the Mahatma's own father. The family home in the city serves as a museum to his early life, education and family background.
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Copyright©Christopher Buyers
Tenne, on an inescutcheon between three eastern gallions argent, a Hanuman statant armed proper.Crest: A bull couchant proper. Supporters: Bison. Motto: "Sri Vusubh dwuj ya numah" (I bow to him whose sign is the bull). Lambrequins:Tenne and argent.
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Elongated triangle in light orange with a purple variegated edge; near the pole, a red triangle with a double triangular red flag on its shaft, a long inscription in red.
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The ruling prince: Maharaja Rana Shri (personal name) (father's name) Sahib Bahadur, Maharaja Rana Sahib of Porbandar, with the style of His Highness.
The consort of the ruling prince: Maharani Shri (personal name) Kunverba Sahib, with the style of Her Highness.
The Heir Apparent: Patvi Namdar Maharajkumar Shri (personal name) (father's name) Sahib.
The younger sons of the ruling prince, and other male descendants in the male line: Kumar Shri (personal name) (father's name) Sahib.
The daughters of the ruling prince: Ba Shri (personal name) Kunverba Sahiba.

None known.
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Male primogeniture, with the right of adoption by the recognised head of the family, on the failure of natural heirs.
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Administration Report of the Probandar State. Durbar Press, Porbandar. 1890/91, 1892/3-1897/8, 1909/10-1918/19. IOR/V/10. India Office Records, The British Library, St Pancras, London.
Rana Bhavsinhji Madhavsinhji, Rana of Probandar. A Winter Tour in India and Ceylon with a Kathiawar Prince. Times of India Steam Press, Bombay, 1890.
Report on the Administration of the Porbandar State. Durbar Press, Porbandar. 1919/20-1925/26, 1927/8-1928/9, 1931/32, 1933/34-1943/44. IOR/V/10. India Office Records, The British Library, St Pancras, London.
The Ruling Princes, Chiefs and Leading Personages in the Western India States Agency, 1st edition. Rajkot, 1928.
The Ruling Princes, Chiefs and Leading Personages in the Western India States Agency, 2nd edition. Manager of Publications, Delhi, 1935.
J.W. Watson (comp.). Statistical Account of Porbandar, being the Porbandar contribution to the Kathiawar portion of the Bombay Gazetteer. Education Society Press, Bombay, 1879.
Capt. H. Wilberforce-Bell, The History of Kathiawad, from the earliest times. William Heinemann, London, 1916.
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Copyright©Christopher Buyers
I would be grateful to hear from anyone who may have changes, corrections or additions to contribute. If you do, please be kind enough to send me an e-mail using the contact details at:
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Copyright©Christopher Buyers, November 2006 - July 2012