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World Heritage Sites :- Champaner Pavagadh Archaeological Park

Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park is located in Indian state Gujarat’s Panchmahal district. It is featured in UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Site. This site is ideally located in the city of Champaner which has an historical significance. This city was developed by Sultan Mahmud Begada belonging to Gujarat. The heritage site begins on hill top of Pavagadh with forts and citadel extending up to city of Champaner. This heritage site offers excellent areas of interests for historians, archeologists and all types of tourists. The park consists of monuments with historical significance, Fort on hill top which was capital of a Hindu kingdom, chalcolithic sites and ruins of a city which was capital of Gujarat state. This mystique, mesmerizing site is a centre of fine 16th century architecture and contains mosques, temples, arches, entrance gates, palaces, tombs, residential areas, water bodies like tanks and step wells. All these are valuable creations of architects between eighth to fourteenth centuries. Temple of Kalika Mata is situated on Pavagadh Hill top at an altitude of 800 meters. This temple is one of the prominent Hindu temples in this area which attracts millions of devotees from within and outside Gujarat.
The archeological park depicts variations in Muslim and Hindu culture during the fifteenth and sixteenth century. The architecture has influence of pre-Mughal and Islamic cultures also. UNESCO has included this site in its list of world Heritage Site in year 2004.

History
Champaner town was first visited by British in year 1803. The total population of this area during that time was five hundred. The city was on verge of ruins and had large wild growth. British developed this area into the largest silk exporting place with excellent facilities for preparing, washing and drying of raw silk. But in year 1812 it witnessed mass deaths in this area due to outbreak of cholera epidemic and resultantly population came down drastically to four hundred. Finally when British once again took over this area on 13th Jul 1829, complete area displayed a deserted look. British took various steps to enhance population of Champaner by introducing incentives for people who were willing to develop lands. However, it did not succeed. After 5 decades some of the tribal people belonging to Naikda and Bhil tribes settled there for few years. Since then this area is being visited by people for its Historic importance and to witness the grandeur of rulers who ruled the region.
The last decade has witnessed remarkable effort by people from all walks of life to earn a place in UNESCO World heritage site list for this ancient monument. The monument received remarkable support from archeologists and Heritage trusts. The Baroda heritage trust took initiative and devised a master plan for Champaner city, archaeological park and submitted same to UNESCO for approval of site. UNESCO took its time and in the month of July 2004, it included this archaeological museum in list of World Heritage sites. The justification that UNESCO considered was that this site was a culmination of Hindu temple, Jain temple, tombs and mosque. The site as per them also helped in conserving the medieval urban fabric. Reputation of this area and image of tourism was tarnished after Hindu-Muslim riots in Godhra. This incident sparked clash of interest among various communities while even led to slow progress of basic amenities like road, accommodation, and other facilities near monuments.

Monuments of Champaner- Pavagadh Archeological Park
The Champaner Pavagadh Archeological Park is full of monuments and buildings which include Walls, mosques, tombs, temples, granaries, wells and terraces. All these monuments are located on foot as well as in and around Hills. The Baroda Heritage Trust has identified one hundred and fourteen monuments in this area. But only thirty nine of them are maintained and looked after by Archeological Survey of India due to shortage of funds. Approximately ninety four percent of land in Champaner region is under forest department. The trusts of temples provide accommodation and basic amenities for devotees visiting these temples. On the foot of hills towards southern direction we can find few ram shackled houses and remains of a Jain temple.

The monuments include
  • Helical stepped well
  • Sakar Khan's Dargah
  • City Gate near Kasbin Talao
  • Citadel walls
  • City walls at south-east corner of the citadel going up the hill
  • East and South Bhadra Gates
  • Sahar ki Masjid (Bohrani)
  • Three cells inside the citadel wall between Sahar ki Masjid the local fund Dharmashala
  • Mandvi or Custom House
  • Jami Masjid
  • Stepwell north of Jama Masjid
  • Kevda Masjid and Cenotaph
  • Tomb with a big dome in the centre and small corner domes on way to Khajuri Masjid near Wada Talao
  • Cenotaph of Kevda Masjid
  • Nagina Masjid
  • Cenotaph of Nagina Masjid
  • Lila Gumbaz ki Masjid, Champaner
  • Kabutarkhana Pavilion on the north bank of Wada Talao near Khajuri Masjid
  • Kamani Masjid
  • Bawaman Mosque
Pavagadh hill
  • Gate No. 1 on Pavagadh hill (Atak Gate)
  • Gate No. 2 (with three gateways, Budhiya gate)
  • Gate No. 3 (Moti gate, Sadanshah-Gate)
  • Gate No. 4 with big bastion with cells in the interior
  • Sat Manzil between gate Nos. 4 and 5 right up to bastions on top
  • Mint above Gate No4
  • Gate No. 5 near Machi (Gulan Bulan Gate)
  • Gate No. 6 (Buland Darwaza)
  • Makai Kothar
  • Palace of Patai Rawal with tanks
  • Gate No. 7 near iron bridge (Makai Gate)
  • Gate No. 8 (Tarapore Gate)
  • The fort of Pavagadh and ruined Hindu and Jain temples on the top of Pavagadh hills
  • Navlakha Kothar
  • Walls of fort on top

Best Time to visit Champaner
City of Champaner experiences typical Indian weather like any other major Indian city. The summers are very hot and not advisable for visiting these areas. Winters are mild and are best season to visit.
Temperature during hot summer months in Champaner remains extreme and goes beyond 40°C. If you plan to visit the area during this season it is advisable to take adequate precautions against blazing sun. May is considered as the hottest summer month. The onset of south west monsoon brings relief from the scorching heat.
The monsoon season starts from June and lasts till September. The months of October and Novembers are the post monsoon periods and temperature comes down drastically during this period. Period between December and February remain very pleasant and the area experiences mild winter with temperature going as low as eleven degree. Temperature is at its lowest during the December month.

How to Reach
By Road
Champaner is well connected with flights, trains and buses. Champaner has good connectivity with majority of cities in Gujarat with extensive roadways.
By Flight
Champaner has good air connectivity and the nearest airport is Vadodara which is located at a distance of forty two km from Champaner city. The airport is well connected with many of the Indian cities. Many low fare airlines operate from this airport. Taxi facility is available to reach Champaner from Vadodara airport. The driving time is approximately I hour and fare is usually Rs 600. Ahmadabad is nearest international airport from Champaner located at a distance of one hundred and twenty five km.
By Railway
The station of Champaner is located on main line between Vadodara and Gandhara rail route. The main railway junction which is located near to Champaner is Vadodara which is at a distance of fifty three km. Facility of taxis and buses are available from the railway station to reach Champaner.

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