A UNESCO heritage site, Champaner, and Pavagadh are often linked together as one of the most attractive historical attractions of Gujarat. Pavagadh stands on a hilltop overlooking the spread of monuments at the base in Champaner. The pair form a rich heritage site consisting of forts, mosques, monuments, tombs, arches, temples, step-wells, and forts dating from the 8th to 14th centuries. Today, a large number of pilgrims visit the important Kalikamata temple to worship in Pavagadh, dedicated to the goddess Kali, who sits on the summit. Champaner is the only unchanged Islamic-Mughal city for centuries, providing an authentic taste of the architecture of that era. Along with this is the Kalika Mata temple on the Pavagadh hill, where thousands of people gather during Navratri.
In the center of Champaner is the citadel, whose most impressive features are its 16th-century monumental mosques (no longer used for worship), which have a beautiful blend of Islamic and Hindu architecture. The huge Jami Masjid, just outside the eastern gate of the citadel, boasts a wonderfully carved entrance that leads to a beautiful courtyard that is surrounded by a pillared corridor. The prayer hall has two tall central minarets, magnificent stone carvings at the front, several domes, fine lattice windows, and seven mihrabs (prayer below) with a back wall.
Other beautiful mosques include the Saher mosque behind the ticket office inside the citadel, which was probably the private royal mosque, and the Kevada mosque, 300 meters north of the citadel and about 600 meters west of the Jami mosque. Here you can climb the narrow staircase to the roof, and elevate the minarets, to see other mosques even further into the countryside – the Nagina Mosque, 500 meters north, with no towers, but excellent geometric carvings, Especially at the mausoleum next to it, and the mosque of Leela Gumbaz, 800 m east, on a high platform and with a curved central dome. The twin towers, which resemble factory fireplaces, adorn a rare brick mausoleum, a brick tower mosque, about 1 km west.
Brief History | Champaner & Pavagadh
Pavagadh became the capital of the Chauhan Rajputs around 1300, but was captured by Sultan Mahmud Begada of Gujarat in 18 months after a siege of 20 months; Rajputs committed jauhar (ritual mass suicide) in the face of defeat. After occupying Pavagadh, Sultan Mahmud Begada converted Champaner into a splendid new capital at the base of the hill. But its glory was brief: when it was captured by the Mughal emperor Humayun in 1535, the Gujarati capital returned to Ahmedabad, and Champaner was ruined.
About the place: It is a huge structure built on a high platform with a large open space in front of it. There are towers on either side of the main entrance of the mosque, the minarets are artistically carved and filled with floral designs below. The mosque has three large domes above the main prayer hall supported by ornamental columns and windows.
The two-story central dome of the main prayer hall has a balcony. The premises of the mosque also include some brick structures, wells, etc. The cemetery, located on the northeastern side of the mosque, has openings in all major directions. The facade on the wall of the Cenotaph is beautifully decorated with pillars and niches and exquisitely carved with flowers and geometric designs. A series of beautifully designed projecting corbels adorn the cornice with geometric motifs at regular intervals. These motifs are repeated at the base, both inside and outside. The dome of the cemetery is missing.
About the place: It is rectangular on plan with a two-story main prayer hall. The two minarets on either side of the central arched entrance are beautifully carved and filled with floral and geometric designs below. The windows provided with pillared balconies are beautifully and exquisitely decorated. Originally the mosque had three domes built above the prayer hall but the largest central dome has collapsed.
The complex also includes a well, tanks for bathing, and some ruined brick structures. The square cemetery in front of the mosque has a central dome and a four-cornered dome.
The Jami Masjid
About the place: Jami Masjid, also known as Champaner’s Jama Masjid, is located about 150 feet (46 m) east of the city walls. Dating back to the 15th century, it is widely regarded as one of the finest mosques in Western India.
It is one of the finest mosques in Gujarat. It is a large structure with two grand towers on either side of the central entrance of the prayer hall. Behind the high central screen of the façade the dome is elevated on two additional floors of open arcades. The roof just behind this dome is filled with carved slabs of great beauty and ingenuity of workmanship. The back wall of the main prayer hall has seven Mehrab (prayer below), the middle being more elaborate.
The northern part of the prayer hall was separated by a perforated screen, reserved for women from which an additional entrance was provided. The ogival arch supported by pillars leads to a pillared corridor surrounding the huge courtyard that opens inside. The courtyard of the mosque has three entrances but the eastern verandah is most notable for its intricate carvings and latticework. Outside the mosque, there is an octagonal pool with steps to take a bath. The construction of the mosque dates back to the late 15th century.
About the place: The citadel built by Mahmud Begada has walls in the north-south with many strongholds and gates. All the gates were of two storeys, with rooms for guards. The four gates are still in good condition. The east and south gates (also known as the Halol and Godhra gates) are very large rectangular gates, and are best suited for traveling.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Champaner & Pavagadh
Q. Is Champaner open?
A – The park is open from sunrise to sunset. Champaner has located 45 km from Vadodara, from where you can hire a car and go to the archaeological park. The nearest airport is Vadodara Airport (42 km) and the nearest railway station is Vadodara Railway Station (48 km).
Q. How do I reach the Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park?
A – By Air: The nearest airport is Vadodara Airport, which is about 42 km from Champaner. The domestic airport is connected to many cities in India. from airport; Taxis, buses and private vehicles take about an hour to reach the city of Champaner. The nearest international airport is at Ahmedabad, which is about 145 km away.
Q. Why is Pavagadh famous?
A – It is known for a famous Mahakali temple that attracts thousands of pilgrims every day. It is a tribal area populated mainly by the Rathwaas. The area of this area was marked by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park in 2004.
Q. Is the Pavagadh ropeway now open?
A – The ropeway operates from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. The last return cable car is at 7:30 pm. It takes just 6 minutes to reach from the ropeway. The ropeway is available on all days of the week.
Q. What is Champaner famous for?
A – Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located in Panchmahal district in Gujarat, India. This historic city is located around Champaner, a city that was founded in the 8th century by the most prominent king of the Chavada dynasty, Vanraj Chavda.
Q. How do I reach Champaner?
A – How to reach Champaner by Air. Vadodara Airport is the nearest airport to the city. Located at a distance of 42 km from the place, Vadodara has many domestic flights connecting to major Indian cities. Ahmedabad International Airport is the nearest 125 km from Champaner.
Q. How far is Champaner from Vadodara?
A – At a distance of 49 km from Vadodara, the Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, located in the ancient city of Champaner.
Q. What is Pavagadh Volcano?
A – Pavagadh hill is situated within a plain in Panchmahal district of Gujarat, western India. There was a volcanic eruption in the region about 500 million years ago and the etymology of Pavagadh is associated with this eruption: Pav-Garh means “a quarter hill” or “Agni-hill”.
Q. Where is Champaner district located?
A – The Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park is located in the Panchmahal district of the state of Gujarat in north-western India, which has an impressive landscape of archaeological, historical and vibrant cultural heritage assets.
Q. How many world heritage sites are there in India?
A – Currently, there are 38 World Heritage Sites located in India. India has the sixth largest number of sites in the world.
Q. Who is the king of Pavagadh?
A – Champaner was founded in the 8th century by the most prominent king of the Chavada dynasty, Vanraj Chavda. He named it after his friend and commander Champa, later also known as Champraj. By the end of the 15th century, the Khichi Chauhan Rajputs had captured the Pavagadh fort above the city of Champaner.
Q. Which goddess is Pavagadh?
A – Kali Mata Temple: Worship Goddess Kali in the ancient structure atop the hill. This iconic sacred temple complex embellishes the summit of the Pavagadh hill and is a famous pilgrimage center.