Champaner Pavagadh Archaeological Park
Champaner Pavagadh Archaeological Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is located in Panchmahal (Vadodara) district in Gujarat, India. It is located around the historical city of Champaner, a city which was built by Sultan Mahmud Begada of Gujarat. The Champaner Pavagadh Archaeological Park-Vadodara includes an ancient fortress, a palace, plenty of military structures and buildings, and water mechanism. These sites together once formed the capital region of the empire of Mahmud Begda.
The restoration of the capital region was started in 1484 AD, on the foothills of Pavagadh. The restoration took 23 years to complete. Later, Mahmud Begda moved his capital from Ahmadabad to Pavagadh.
History of Champaner Pavagadh Archaeological Park
The name Champaner is derived from Champa, who built this city during the rule of Vanraj Chavda of Anhilwad Patan. In the 11th century, Ram Gaur Tuar ruled, and Champaner was under the Anhilwad until 1297 when they were defeated by Alauddin Khilji. The Pavagadh Hill was where the Solanki kings and Khichi Chauhans built fortresses and ruled from.
The Reign of the Emperors:
Champaner was famous for mangoes, sandalwood trees, and colorful silks. Merchants and craftsmen flourished from here. Mahmud Begda died in 1511 and his successors, Sikander Shah continued to rule from Champaner. The city of Champaner had been very well planned with streets and whitewashed stone houses. In 1526, young Sikander Shah died and Bahadur Shah became the next ruler of Champaner and upon Bahadur’s death in 1536, the capital and the court shifted back to Ahmadabad. The city fell into rapid decline, was largely abandoned and for several centuries was neglected and almost deserted.
The British Invasion:
The British visited the town of Champaner in 1803, at which time there were only 500 people residing there. The old city was in ruins and wildly dense. They reconstructed it and it became a great exporter of silk, with facilities for washing and preparing raw silk. A cholera epidemic hit the city which reduced the population to 400 families by 1812. When the British finally took over the area on 13 July 1829, it was almost deserted. In 1879, a few Bhil and Naikda tribes resided there.
After the British:
In the last decade, the site received attention by archaeologists and Heritage Trusts. The Baroda Heritage Trust took the initiative in this direction and in July 2004; UNESCO approved their proposal and celebrated the site on the World Heritage List.
Inside the Champaner Pavagadh Archaeological Park
In Champaner Pavagadh Archaeological Park, there are lots of Jain and Hindu temples, mosques, and other historical constructions. The ‘antarala’ and ‘gudhamandapa’ of the temple dating back to the 10th century are the oldest scraps of this archeological park. Many other Jain and Hindu temples of 13th – 15th century are found in Champaner Pavagadh Archaeological Park. These temples are constructed in Nagara style of architecture.
Some of the ancient monuments of this archeological park comprise a chain of walls, which are spread from the grasslands to the hilltop of Pavagadh. These fortresses have lovely outwork with verandahs in the middle. The Jama Masjid located inside the park area is a fine example of Hindu-Muslim architecture.
In Champaner Pavagadh Archaeological Park, there are four other Mosques, which are still in the decent state.
Monuments in Champaner Pavagadh Archaeological Park
Helical stepped well
Sakar Khan’s Dargah
City Gate near Kasbin Talao
City walls at southeast 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
Stepwell north of Jama Masjid
Kevda Masjid and Cenotaph
Tomb with a big dome in the center andsmall corner domes on way to Khajuri Masjid near Wada Talao
Cenotaph of Kevda Masjid
Cenotaph of Nagina Masjid
Lila Gumbaz ki Masjid, Chapaner
Kabutarkhana Pavilion on the north bank of Wada Talao near Khajuri Masjid
Pavagadh hill (Atak Gate)
Moti gate, Sadanshah-Gate
Sat Manzil between gate Nos. 4 and 5 right up to bastions on top
Gate No. 5 near Machi (Gulan Bulan Gate)
Gate No. 6 (Buland Darwaza)
Palace of Patai Rawal with tanks
Gate No. 7 near iron bridge (Makai Gate)
Gate No. 8 (Tarapore Gate)
The fort of Pavagad and ruined Hindu and Jain temples on the top of Pavagad hills
Walls of fort on top
Timings: 8:30 AM to 5 PM