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Champaner - Pavagarh Fort

Inscribed by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2004, this amazing heritage site of Champaner- Pavagadh Archaeological Park is built around the historical city of Champaner. This amazing heritage site is full of bastions, extending from the hills of Pavagargh into the city of Champaner. The area with its hills and plateaus has steep rock exposures pointing to ancient volcanic eruptions and lava. It includes archaeological, historical and cultural heritage monuments, including the hill fortress of an early Hindu capital, and the remains of the 16th-century capital 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 century.

History of Champaner - Pavagarh Fort

Located in the Panchmahal district in Gujarat, this fort city was founded in the 8th century by Vanraj Chavda, the most important ruler of the Chavda Dynasty, who named it after his friend General Champa, later known as Champaraj.> The Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located around the historical city of Champaner, and 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. (more in the History section)

The Fort as seen today

Within the fortified walls, the royal walkway leads from the city gate into the palace; the second enclosure consists of unexplored royal structures. The urban planning of the city reveals paved streets leading to the city centre. The residential area consists of houses of both the rich and the poor; houses of the wealthy have scenic gardens and water channels. Public parks and pavilions surround the housing complex. In addition to the sites within the Heritage Zone, there are many sites worth seeing. These include: Kabutarkhana (the Pigeon House), various Maqbaras (memorial structures), Malik Sandal Ni Vav (a stepwell), Hathikhana (the elephant House) and many more.

One of the innovative features are sites used for harvesting rainwater take take the form of tanks or ponds in the Pavagadh hills (called the "hill of hundred pools") and innumerable wells in the city of Champaran, which was nicknamed "city of thousand wells".

The site gained the attention of archaeologists and Heritage Trusts, as was made a World Heritage Site. A master plan for an archaeological park was developed for Champaner City and Pavagadh as a cultural sanctuary. In July 2004, UNESCO approved the proposal and entered the site on the World Heritage List, emphasising its "joint significance as a living Hindu pilgrimage centre, its cluster of Jain temples, its remarkable preserved medieval urban fabric, its exquisite sandstone-carved mosques and tombs and its intangible heritage values."

Tourist Information

About 45 minutes by road from the nearest airport at Vadodara, the world heritage site is a great tourist attraction. It takes about four hours to visit the entire structure, which is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. all days of the week including holidays.

Text by Sammik C Basuu