Legacies, Legends & Folktales – The Monuments of Junagadh

A Saturday afternoon sun was ready to call it a day. The incessant honking and constant flow of vehicles made me cautious to cross the road.
On the opposite side, my friends beckoned me to come quickly otherwise I would miss the perfect shot.

A monument to my left reminded me of the many palaces and buildings that I had visited in Paris. Another monument to my right, bathed in sunshine gold, was waiting to be caught on camera.
Junagadh, has a treasure of incredible architectural monuments, a legacy of several rulers who occupied this city.

The city makes for an interesting side trip, when on the way to the Sasan Gir forest. Read about ‘When The Lions Went Incognito in Sasan Gir’ HERE

Here are some of the top experiences in Junagadh:

Uparkot Fort Complex – has been here since 319 BC. How old is that?

It’s ramparts house a mosque, a couple of stepwells and an ancient Buddhist cave. The infinite stone pillars, corridors and arches are influenced by the ruler of the time. The fort was first built by Emperor Chandra Gupta.

The Mosque – is found inside the fort.

Buddhist Caves – Are located underground, a little away from the fort. The caves have a calming vibe. They would have been a perfect place for meditation.

So how come there are places dedicated to Islam and Buddhism inside a fort? I think, the sands of time have hidden this piece of history.

The twin Stepwells of Adi Kadi Ki Vav (vav – stepwell) and Navghan Kuwo (kuwo – well). They are steeped in legends and folktales.

In India water, has been traditionally stored, in beautifully carved stone stepwells, especially in the dry areas where it is precious and scarce. However the stepwell of Adi and Kadi is carved from a single rock without any of the traditional stonework and carvings.

A legendary tale about two sisters Adi and Kadi who were sacrificed to please the rain gods is often heard from the locals. I can imagine folk songs being sung about these girls.

Navghan Kuwo Stepwell – Has been here for a 1000 years. A stone stairway spirals deep into the underground with the well at the bottom. High above the rockface near the entrance, are pigeon holes carved into the rock. The water in both these wells is unusable due to neglect.

The Twin Maqbaras

Tucked into the corner of a busy street in the main town of Junagadh, are the Mahabat Maqbara and the Bahauddin Maqbara.

The Mahabat Maqbara immediately reminds me of the palaces in France, with its French windows and columns. It was built in the 1800s by Mahabat Khan 2, the then ruling Nawab of Junagadh.

Standing adjacent to it is the Bahauddin Maqbara, built by the Vazir (minister) of the Nawab.

Both monuments have Indo Islamic influences with the onion shaped domes, chattris, jali work and Islamic calligraphy.
Bahauddin Maqbara has four minarets with stairs spiraling around each of them.

The golden hour added a special touch. Even in their state of neglect, they emitted a magical radiance.

Travel Tips

Junagadh is well connected by road, air and rail. A road trip from Baroda will take around 7 hours to Junagadh. Dont miss the local Gujarati thali lunch.

Itinerary Recommendation

  • Begin with the Uparkot Fort Complex which should take around 2 hours
  • Spend an hour being bowled over by the sunset views from the twin maqbaras
  • Drive to Sasan Gir after this which should take around 2 more hours.
  • Best time to visit is Oct to March when the weather is pleasant.

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