Pavagadh is a picturesque hill-station in the Panchmahal district of Gujarat, about 46 kilometres away from Vadodara. It is a two to three hour drive away from Ahmedabad, roughly 146 kilometres in distance. The drive from Vadodara to Pavagadh is absolutely mesmerising. The beautiful landscape, the winding roads against a backdrop of the majestic mountains, automatically transports you to a surreal world.
Pavagadh is a stunning place to be in during the monsoons, if you don’t mind the earthworms all around, that is! As usual I freaked out at the sight of earthworms and they are everywhere. The most important sight of Champaner-Pavagadh is the Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in the historical city of Champaner and spread over an area of more than 1329 hectares, this heritage sight is studded with ruins of ancient forts and bastions, starting from the hills of Pavagadh and extending to the city. The park’s landscape includes archaeological, historic and living cultural heritage monuments. They include ruins of palaces, entrance gates and archways, tombs, mosques, temples, residential complexes and step-wells and tanks, dating back to the 8th century.
The temples and mosques in Pavagadh are worth visiting. The oldest temple dates back to the 10th-11th centuries, and lies mostly in ruins at present. The temples of the Jain religion are also noteworthy. Elaborately carved pillars depict various aspects of Jainism, and the garbhagrihas are enshrined with beautiful stone images of the Tirthankaras. The most visited temple is the Kalika Mata Temple. This temple dedicated to the Hindu goddess is said to be one of the Shakti peethas, and is therefore a major centre of pilgrimage for tourists. This temple also dates back to the 10th-11th centuries. The temple is situated amidst a dense forest cover on a cliff. It is a 5 kilometre walk by foot, and ropeway service is also available.
The Jami Masjid in Champaner is a part of the Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological park, and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The construction of the mosque began in 1513, and was carried out over 25 years. The building is a wonderful amalgamation of Hindu and Muslim styles of architecture, and is considered to be one of the finest mosques in Western India with its elegant interiors.The huge domes and the intricate jali work narrates glorious tales of the past. Another important mosque in Champaner is the Nagina Mosque. Known as the ‘Jewel Mosque’, this monument also dates back to the 15th century. The masjid is constructed in pure white marble, marked by minarets, which have elegant and intricate carvings, and floral motifs in its niches. Within the precincts of the masjid there are a few brick structures and step-wells. The Cenotaph is one of the most famous structures within the premises of the mosque. It has openings on all four sides, and its frontage, coloumns and niches are artistically carved with floral and geometrical motifs.
For people who are fascinated by history, Pavagadh-Champaner is the perfect destination for a holiday. The scenic beauty of the mountains adds on to the rich culture of the place, making it an irresistible destination in the lap of Gujarat.