A mere forty seven kilometers from Baroda, the archeologically rich heritage of Pavagadh is situated surrounding a lush green mountainous region in the state of Gujarat. In the year 2006, it was decreed as a world heritage site due to its ancient architectural significance, resulting in a gradual increase of tourism and archaeological study. Pavagadh is famous for its picturesque surroundings and various buildings dating as far back as 11th century, making it an ideal location for study of the history of that region. Here are some of the most popular destinations in Pavagadh:
1. Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park
The entire township of Champaner-Pavagadh is essentially an archaeological park that is so vast and scattered that it has grown into a township. Built by the ruler of Gujarat, Sultan Mahmud Begada, this park has religious buildings of both the Hindu and Muslim faith. Other than this, ancient forts and other buildings stand strong till today, including structures like palaces, entrance gates, arches, tombs, residential complexes, agricultural structures and water installations.
2. Mahakali Temple
Pavagadh is abundant in religious buildings that are located throughout this region. Every corner of this small town houses architectural marvels in the form of temples and mosques. The famed Mahakali Temple is the most prominent of all the temples in the region and is situated at 550 meters above ground level. Staircases have been carved into the rocky terrains of the mountain for ease of travel by pilgrims and tourists. On either side of the temple at the mountain base, the twin lakes of Teliya Talab and Dudhia Talab can be seen.
3. Manchi Fort
En route from Baroda, Manchi Fort is one of the first sights that one encounters as a sign of entering Pavagadh. This fort was home to the armed forces of the Solanki Kingdom and is now considered a world heritage site. A lot of work has been carried out in the maintenance and upkeep of this monument. In today’s day, you can observe the enormous gates of this monument and explore the vicinity where the Solanki once walked. Although in ruins, some of the building walls are still intact and can be viewed by the tourists.
4. Navlakha Kothar
Although exploring the scattered expanses of Pavagadh would be a herculean task but going an extra mile is what a traveler passionately seeks in his journeys. A small mountainous trek away from the Old Jain Temple is the Navlakha Kothar. This is a group of dome shaped buildings that were once used as granaries for the Solankian armies. This building is a spot on example of the cultivation and storage practices of the past civilizations. The Navlakha Kothar is surrounded mostly by rocks and sand and is built on the edge of a steep cliff with a panoramic view of the vast valley and open skies.
5. Vishwamitri River
There are many water bodies in the Pavagadh region that provide nourishment to the forests and supply abundant flow for the locals. Besides this, the beauty and serenity one experiences following the trail of river Vishvamitri is unparalleled. Vishwamitri is named after the great rishi Vishwamitra, and it is said that it was by the banks of this river that Vishwamitra had meditated.
Other than this, two of the most prominent lakes in Pavagadh, Dudhia Talab and Teliya talab are located below the Mahakali Temple. The Khuniya Mahadev waterfall is one of the visual marvels that attract tourists throughout the year. Situated between the Kuneshwar Temple and Manchi Fort, this waterfall flows from between the crevices of the mountain and into the forest below.
For tourists and pilgrims who need an alternative route to the Mahakali Temple, the ropeway provides for a comfortable transportation and an awe striking view at the same time. Tourists can board the ropeway at the base station below the hill and ride it all the way up to the Temple for a nominal fee. Started in the year 1986, the ropeway continues to function excellently till date. Funding procured from tourists through this ropeway as well as other amenities in Pavagadh is used for preservation and maintenance of this heritage site.
Pavagadh is, undoubtedly, a destination for families and individuals alike. The town reinvents an aura of humbled beginnings that have been founded around mysteries of the past. In the present day, the government has made efforts in restoring the monuments to their former glory, making them all the more awe striking. The magnificence of this town can only be realized when one beholds it with his own eyes.