We spent a long time in taking interest in the leading city of Gujarat, i.e. Ahmedabad. As we move on towards south from here, the first step leads us to Kheda district. It is a land of fanners and peasants. A land that is full of rich Patidars who farm the fertile land. Besides agriculture, this district also is important in the field of education in Gujarat. As we enter the land from where came Sardar Patel, Ravishankar Maharaj and Bhaikaka, let us first visit Nadiad.
The main town of this district is Nadiad, the land of birth of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The Santram Mandir here is even today known for the public services it has rendered since a long time. In the latter half of 19th century and early 20th century, Nadiad was considered 'Sakshardham', Land of Litterateurs. Govardhanram Tripathi, the author of 'Sarasvatichandra', Ranchhodram Udayram, Manilal Nabhubhai and many others were gifted by Nadiad to Gujarat. The house of Govardhanram is maintained as his memorial and a statue also graces a street of the town. The town has grown into a city now and we find a number of hospitals and colleges located here. The Gujarat Kidney Hospital is also in this city and so is the Dharamsinh Desai Technical Institute that has now achieved the status of an independent University, besides the Ayurvedic College as well.
Along with the mention of Nadiad, another name that comes to our mind is that of Pujya Mota. Originally named as Chunilal from Bhavsar caste, he was a great spiritual force and he undertook many social activities too. The notable among them wa.sof 'Dan Yojanas'. He made use of the donations that were received for the Ashram in a unique manner. He gave donations for adding rooms to schools, for the development and publications like 'Gyangangotri', 'Vignan Kosh' etc. He declared rewards for people who undertook welfare services and instead of setting up an institution for this he left the funds with the institutions an universities that undertook similar activities.
The main place of the district is Kheda (or Kaira)it must have been at a crossroads of some important routes and that is why the British made it into an important town. Though, at present, except for the headquarters of the offices of the district, nothing much is seen here. It is Nadiad, with its entrepreneurs, activists and workers is a major center. Next to Anand, at Karamsad, two very important persons were born, i.e. Vallabhbhai and Vitthalbhai Patel. The services rendered to the nation by these two brothers made Gujarat famous in the world. Apart from their Memorials at Karamsad, Vallabh Vidyanagar and Vitthal Industrial Estate, we find their memorials and statutes and busts not only in nearly all villages and cities of Gujarat but also in many other places in India
In this land another memory is that of the Kheda Satyagraha movement, a glorious chapter in struggle for freedom. Here Gandhiji discovered a promising volunteer, Ravishankar Vyas, who later came to be called Ravishankar Maharaj. A silent worker of Gandhiji, he was one of the best Gandhian, and came to be revered for his great service not only in Gujarat but also in the entire nation. The center of his activity is at Bochasan and is still going on. This religiously active, frank and fearless person transformed the hearts of the outlaws or 'bahrvatias' who came to lay down their weapons at his feet and took oath of returning to normal civil life. His non-violent method in this change of heart was an unusual event in history. These people's characters indicate the heights that human beings can attain and our heads naturally bow to them
Near Nadiad is another small town, Vaso. Although a small principality, it was a rich area. But the most notable thing was that it was also the motherland of Motibhai Amin who began the Library movement, and of Darbar (ruler) Gopaldas who gave up his throne for the nation. Vaso boasts of a beautiful Derasar or a Jain temple, and its image is said to belong to 12th century AD. A dilapidated building here reminds us that Shrimad Rajchandra had lived here for some time. We can see beautiful wall paintings in Dharnath-Kotesvar Mahadev temples that are nearly 150-200 years old. In the place ('Haveli') of Darbar Gopaldas we find excellent samples of wooden carvings of art of Gujarat. It is also said that during his travel in Gujarat Swami Vivekanand had visited Nadiad to meet Manilal Nabhubhai.
As we move futher down south from N adiad, we come to Mehmadabad, Utkanthesvar and Kapadvanj as the other three
important places of Kheda
Situated at about 28 km away from Ahmedabad and 10 km from Nadiad, Mehamdabad is a town set up by Mehmud Begda. Here this Sultan of Gujarat built 'Bhammariao Kuvo', a fort and several palaces.
Among the places of interest here is the large well, called Bhamario Kuvo. It is 22.5 m deep and 7.5 m wide. It has eight halls and there are steps all the way down to the level of the water. In this very large well the lower level halls are aQsolutely amazing as we look at the stories built here. In Gujarat, nay in.India, there is only one other such well, and that well is Navghan Kuvo of Junagadh (again only in Gujarat). The remains of the 'Chando-Suraj' (moon and Sun) Palaces that the Begum of Begda built in his memory at the banks of River Vatrak, Roza of Mubarak Sayyed, some of the tombs of the Begda's son, some of his nobles and their relatives, an ancient step-wellof much earlier times, the Shaiva temples of Vaijnath and Bhimnath, Jain temples, Jumma Masjid, two Christian churches, the Vasant Rajab Seva Dal Center and Madhavanand Ashram are other places of interest here.