Junagadh - A Tete a Tete With the City :
Location : Western India, Gujarat
Founded In : 1748 by Mohammad Bahadur Khanji
Best time to Visit : October to April
Local Transport : Taxis, auto-rickshaws, tongas, city bus services
Places to See : Juna Gadh Fort, Gir Forest
Souvenirs : Clothing, and local handicrafts
Junagadh - The Tale of the City :
This city is richly immersed in myths and legends. Situated in the region of Saurashtra of before, at the base of Mt. Girnar, Junagadh lies to the north of the famous Gir forest. This was the Mauryan capital and also the capital for the Kshtrapas Greeks, as also the Guptas. The word Junagadh in Gujarati literally means “Old Fort”. The Junagadh fort was built by the Mauryan dynasty by Chandragupta Maurya in 319 BC. The Nawabs and the State officers founded the Junagadh in 1748. Mohammad Bahadur Khanji I owed support to the Sultan of Ahmedabad and found this city. He assumed the name “Zaid Khan” and founded the Babi dynasty. The Babi Nawabs of Junagadh were his descendants and they conquered large areas in southern Saurasthra. They ruled over the State of Junagadh for the next 200 years. They were initially under the Baroda tributaries and then under the British.
Junagadh - Down the Ages :
Junagadh, the fort city gets its name from the Junagadh fort. This is a great pilgrim spot and is a favorite area for nature lovers. Down the ages, after being ruled by many, today this is the place where the Majestic Asian Lion inhabits. This astounding treasure of ancient temples, museums, palaces and caves has down the ages grown into a flourishing town. Gujarat Sultanate found the city and created attractive gardens, stupendous monuments thus giving the city a newfound prestige and respect. In 1818, the city was taken over by the Western rulers. British East India Company controlled the empire except Saurasthra. Down the ages, the present town was developed around the 19th and the 20th centuries. After the British East India Company, the fort came under the Indian control.
Junagadh - A Rendezvous :
A visit to this city brings forth a lot of pleasure and pride. The feeling of excitement and adventure is part of the place. Thus, Junagadh, the old fort city has a historical significance that is attached to it. It was an important trading centre because of the Ashoka edicts in 250 BC. Junagadh also has the prestigious Junagadh fort founded by Chandragupta Maurya in 319 AD.
Junagadh - Travel Kitty :
Junagadh, the Ashok Edict city is a place to reckon with for its past history, legends and the wonderful tales related to it. Any tourist coming here would be struck with the mesmerizing effect that the past has had on this city. The simmering patriotism and the past attacks, coupled with the heroic deeds of the erstwhile heroes is felt in the air. The whole atmosphere is agog with history and the past. This added to the local handicrafts available makes the place worth visiting once. This is the ultimate travel kitty for the tourist.
Junagadh - Joie de Vivre in the City :
Any person visiting Gujarat looks forward to a lot of vibrance and color. Gujarat is synonymous with color. Therefore, when a person is going to a place with an old fort, one might not really expect something spectacular. However, this is not so. The place is completely replete with what you want to do. A person coming here would find the following:
Rock Eddicts :
Ashokan Rock Eddicts : These are sets of inscriptions inscribed by the Emperor Ashoka, which serve as moral lectures. It is written in the Brahmi script and is in a language of those days – Pali. It is as old as 250 BC.
Somnath : this is amongst the twelve holy Indian temples. The shrines are all built revering Lord Shiva. Junagadh is approximately 80 km from Somnath.
Somnath : Somnath holds one of the twelve most holy temples in India, the shrines being dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is situated at around 80 km from Junagadh. This has been built in gold by the mood God Soma, in silver by the Sun God Ravi and in wood by Lord Krishna and in stone by the Solanki Rajputs in the 11th century. The present temple was built in 1951 is the seventh reconstruction of the temple. The temple with its magnificent architecture and intricate carvings, silver doors and a Nandi idol and a main Shivlinga. This is one of the finest pieces of architecture.
Uperkot Fort : This is a fort, which was popular in the ancient times. The Uperkot which is supposed to be the Upper Fort has a wall surrounding it. It is around 200 mhigh. The entrance is decorative with a gateway leading to the wrecked remains of the fort. There is a mosque, which is still here. This mosque was built in the past.
Junagadh Fort : Found at the hills of the Girnar range, this fort lies in the middle of the city of Junagadh. It is a living proof of tales of joy and sorrow. There are 14 rock edicts here that are written in Sanskrit by the Scythian ruler of Malwa. The Khapra Kodia caves are found in the north of the fort and the Babypyana caves in the south. The Saraostos by Indo Scythian kings had a great influence in the Junagadh history. When it was annexed to the Delhi Sultanate, it was renovated with the Mughal architectural expertise. The history of this fort is therefore an interesting tale of succession.
Buddhist Caves : This is an important part of the rock sculptures in Junagadh. It is found in three layers. This is located on the region which is found while we come from Jama Masjid. The floor on the lowest is composed of a huge area which is the hall. One can see the sky from here. The pillars with unique designs and the pillars make this place exquisite. The pillars have beautiful carvings.
Mahabat Maqbara : This is a structure built by the Junagadh Nawabs. It shines with doors made of silver and elegant architecture with towers that are circled by stairways that spiral up.
Gondal : Located on the banks of the Gondili River, the Naulakha Palace is the main attraction here. The Riverside Palace is also famous and the history and legends behind it are interesting.
Durbar Hall : This museum exhibits weapons and armor from the Nawabi days. There are many other articles and artifacts of interest. The museum has chandeliers silver chains, thrones, settees, palanquins, cushions howdahs, a large carpet , gowns, and woven in Junagadh jail.
Tourist Spots :
Sakkarbaug Zoo : This is amongst the old Gujarat Zoos and is the place where the popular Gir lions, leopards and tigers are found. The Nawab found this in the year 1863, this zoo aims at saving the Asiatic lion so that it doesn’t get extinct. Besides lions, we can also find the tigers, , bears leopards, wild ass, jackals, birds and snakes. There is also a zoo with measuring up to 500 acres
Gir Wildlife Sanctuary : This is spread over 1424 sq kms. This forest has deciduous trees with its lush green ecosystem is amongst the best with its unique flora and fauna. There are around more than thirty species of reptiles and many insects and around twenty species of mammals and birds here. Here is where one can see the lion’s natural living region is seen. The other place where this is seen is the African jungle. This was the place where the lions lived and is amongst the most required Indian sanctuaries for wildlife.
Mt. Girnar : This is actually the steep side of an extinct volcano. This lies 4 kms from Nagadh, and is at a height of 1,100 m.It is an important Jain and Hindu pilgrim centre. It was considered sacred from the 3rd century BC. One reaches here from Junagadh and walks up to the mountain from the base.
Chorwad Beach : Located 66 km from Junagadh, this is a lovely tourist spot with a magnificent coast to boast of. This road from the beach leads to Junagadh, Girnar and the Gir Forests.
Thus, Junagadh, the city of Junagadh fort is a place to reckon with and a force to go by.