About an hour-and-a-half from Vadodara is this really wonderful Park covering nearly 10,000 acres. The Wikipedia page on the Park has this to say: “The heritage site is studded with forts with bastions starting from the hills of Pavagadh, and extending into the city of Champaner. The park’s landscape includes archaeological, historic and living cultural heritage monuments such as chalcolithic sites, a hill fortress of an early Hindu capital, and remains of the 16th-century capital of the state of Gujarat. There are palaces, entrance gates and arches, mosques, tombs and temples, residential complexes, agricultural structures and water installations such as stepwells and tanks, dating from the 8th to the 14th centuries.”
Easily the most interesting place that I have visited in Gujarat so far, and I have not visited much of Gujarat, the most fascinating thing about the Park is that most of the sites are still inhabited. The fort, for instance, has people living and working within it. So, cheek by jowl with the Mandvi, the old Custom House, we’ll find a small chai shop; next to a masjid, there’s a photocopying store.
My trip was a very short one – merely one day. That’s because I had not planned for it and had not done any research about this place. My next one will be for about a week – the history and the sights of Champaner and Pavagadh are fascinating.
The Jain temples at the top of the fortress, the masjids inside the main fort, the Jama Masjid, the tombs – all really fascinating and worthy of spending time to admire. Also, I’m told that there are some excellent step-wells to be found there!