INDIA TRAVEL - A LITTLE KNOWN WORLD HERITAGE SITE - CHAMPANER-PAVAGADH ARCHAEOLOGICAL PARK

Hi guys! I am back with my new post. This time I am going to take you to a place which is a designated UNESCO world heritage site but surprisingly, has been heard of very less. It is a place in Gujarat in western India, which has a big slice of history and boasts of some really incredible historical monuments. I am talking about Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park. 

Located in Panchmahal district of Gujarat, Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park is just 47 km(30 mi) from Vadodara(or Baroda). It is a sprawling complex spread over a huge area of 1329 hectares(3280 acres) and a buffer area of 2812 hectares(6950 acres). Starting from the hills of Pavagadh, it spreads right upto the city of Champaner. It's beauty lies in it's landscape which contains both natural as well as man made environs. This heritage site boasts of so many monuments which include archaeological, historical and even living cultural heritage monuments.


Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, Vadodara
A MONUMENT IN CHAMPANER-PAVAGADH
Image source - mouthshut.com
The heritage site is full of forts with bastions. And along with this, you will see entrance gates, arches, palaces, mosques, tombs and temples of bygone eras, all at one place. Then there are agriculture structures, residential complexes, water facilities like stepwells and tanks which are many centuries old. These structures are of different times between 8th and 14th century.

The city of Champaner was established during the rule of Vanraj Chavda in 8th century(746 to 806 AD). He named the city after his friend and the architect of the city, Champa. Solanki kings and Khichi Chauhans ruled from Pavagadh hill, where they built fortresses. Pavagadh hill is a 800 m high hill which originated from a volcano and till this day remains a pilgrimage site.


Pavagadh Hill, Gujarat
AERIAL VIEW OF PAVAGADH HILL
Image source - thebetterindia.com
CITADEL is the most attractive place of the site and can easily called it's heart. The mosques here are the most eye catching monuments where architects have beautifully blended Hindu and Islamic designs. Each mosque has it's own uniqueness. The architecture of those times is so impressive that it is difficult to take your eyes off them.

Just outside the eastern entrance of Citadel lies Jama Masjid, which is a huge structure. You are greeted by a beautifully carved entrance porch that leads to a courtyard. The courtyard itself is surrounded by pillared corridor and has a grave of a lesser known saint. Intricate stone carvings adorn the prayer hall which has many domes and latticed windows. There are seven Mihrabs or prayer niches and two tall central minarets, which are visible from a distance. The Kalash, engraved on the Mihrabs provide a glimpse of the Islamic and Hindu blend of architecture.


Jama Masjid, Champaner Pavagadh Archaeological Park
JAMA MASJID
Image source - wikipedia.org

Jama Masjid, Champaner-Pavagadh
ANOTHER VIEW OF JAMA MASJID
Image source - indiaheritagesites.com
About 1.20 km(0.75 mi) south of Citadel lies Nagina Masjid and cenotaph, another architectural marvel. It is built with white stones. The entrance to the mosque has minarets which have very intricate carvings which have floral designs. The structure is again huge and is built on a large high rise plinth. As you enter the mosque, there is a large open courtyard. The main prayer hall is a two storied building with balcony. It has large domes resting on columns and the hall has windows. The columns have artistic carvings and stone pulverization. The mosque also has some other structures and a few step wells can also be seen here. Cenotaph is open from all sides and is situated towards the northeast of the masjid. The whole structure, including the front area and columns are carved beautifully with floral and geometrical designs.


Nagina Masjid, Champaner
NAGINA MASJID
Image source - wikipedia.org
You may also want to see:  CHANDERI - THE LAND OF HISTORY, NATURAL BEAUTY AND SILK
Nagina Masjid, Champaner-Pavagadh
NAGINA MASJID FROM FRONT
Image source - commons.wikimedia.com
Next stop from here is Kalika Mata Mandir, which is situated on top of Pavagadh hill. You can trek, drive or take ropeway to reach Kalika Mata Mandir. The main deity of the temple is Kalika Mata, which has been depicted only as a head in red color and is worshiped in this form only. This heat is called Mukhwato. There are two other deities in the temple. They are Goddess Kali and Bahucharamata. In Gujarat, it is the third of Shaktipeeths. In the front, there is an open chowk. The temple is fortified. The temple remains open from early morning till late evening as there is a large number of devotees who throng the temple. There is a rest house available for pilgrims here called Machi Haveli. The pilgrims have been coming here since hundereds of years, even before Champaner town was established.


Kalika Mata Mandir, Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park
KALIKA MATA MANDIR
Image source - wikimedia.com
For the more adventurous, you can walk deep into thick jungle to reach Jand Hanuman temple. Locals believe that Pandavas stopped here during their exile and established the statue of Lord Hanuman. It is believed that Bheem created the structure while Arjun produced a well with his arrow, which never dries.


Zand Hanuman Mandir, Champaner-Pavagadh, Gujarat
JAND HANUMAN MANDIR
Image source - inspirock.com

Zand Hanuman Mandir, Champaner-Pavagadh
ANOTHER VIEW OF JAND HANUMAN MANDIR
Image source - travelmyglobe.com
Jambughoda wildlife sanctuary is situated nearby. It is beautiful forest with bamboo and teak trees. You can see the wildlife in it's natural way here. You can find Jackals, Blue Bulls, sloth bears, wild boars and many species of reptiles. If you are lucky, you may spot Leopards too. There are two magnificent water reservoirs in the sanctuary and you can see many migratory birds chirping there.


Jambughoda wildlife sanctuary, Pavagadh, Gujarat
WATER RESERVOIR IN JAMBUGHODA WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
Image source - champanerheritageresort.com
The Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park contains 11 types of buildings which includes temples, mosques, tombs, palaces, granaries, wells, walls and terraces. There are 114 monuments listed here. It is a one of a kind experience which takes you to ancient times and gives you a glimpse of the centuries old traditions, living and most of all the artistic and architectural caliber of those time.

Also read: 6 MOST BEAUTIFUL BUT LESSER KNOWN ROYAL PALACES OF INDIA

So, if you are a history buff or love to adventure or want to travel to a serene place Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park is for you. Just go and see the beauty of this little known World Heritage Site.

REACHING THERE:

AIR - Nearest airport is Vadodara, which is 42 km(26 mi) away. You can hire taxis from here.

RAIL - Neaqrest railway station is again Vadodara, which is 48 km(30 mi) away. You can hire taxis or ride a bus to reach Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park.

ROAD - Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park is well connected by road and you can easily drive down to this place.

HAPPY TRAVELING!!



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