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Gujarat | Junagadh Fort | A Tourist's Guide
Junagadh (also spelled and always pronounced as Junagarh), famous for an ancient fort, previously was known as Jirnadurga. The history of Junagadh dates back to bygone era. Primeval inscriptions had been excavated in Junagadh a number of times and are still refreshing the old memories of yester years. Junagadh was the capital of Gujarat for few years.
One of the prime and foremost attractions of Junagadh is Junagadh fort, located towards the north- eastern side of the city. Built during 9th century by the Rajput royal leaders, the Junagadh fort, at the Uparkot hilltop, was restructured during 976 to maintain its sumptuousness. Later on, the volume of the fort was also increased each time the fort was reconstructed and modernized. 20 meters tall fortification surrounds the territory of the fort. Tourists can enter into the huge compound of the fort through 3 grand doorways.
52 meters deep Naugarh Vav was built long back in 1060. It shows the talent of the expert architects of that period. Adhi-Chadi Vav is another coveted spot of the fort. The name of this Vav had been derived from the names of the two sisters called Adhi and Chadi. The step-well has a staircase of 127 stairways.
The dotted caves in and around the Junagadh fort were dedicated to the Buddhist monks. Uparkot was said to be a Buddha Vihar. The carvings displayed on the walls of the Buddha Vihar were artistic. Other caves have also been discovered. All these caves belonged to the era of the emperor Ashoka. Tiny Buddha idols are engraved on the walls of these caves with precision. The Junagarh fort and its impressive attractions, however, are in ruins.
Muslim pilgrims assemble here to witness the grandeur of the Jami Mosque, built during 15th century on the Ranak Devi Mahal or the Hindu temple. The water is supplied to the entire city of Junagadh from the water storage of the Junagadh fort.
5.2 meters long cannon namely Nilam Top has a diameter of 25 cm and was built in Mishar in 1531. Kadanal, comparatively smaller cannon, is there as well. If you are interested, then try to ask someone about the associated history of these cannons. You can hire a guide alongside as well.
The array of the holy temples of Girnar can be watched through the Binocular, kept inside the fort.
Apart from the Junagadh fort, there is a cremation ground, surrounded by beautiful orchard. The ambience around is notable. It is believed that the splendor of the cremation ground draws attention of the deities. The idols of the deities had also been shaped using marbles.
Walk through this astonishing garden to watch the inscription of the emperor Ashoka. Stare at the 20 feet tall stone piece which exhibits 14 distinguished orders of the ruler Ashoka. All these were written in Pali Language. Inscriptions, written in Sanskrit way back in 150 and 450, are yet to be read.
The nearby sanctified Damodar Kund or well is there at the roadside. Hindu devotees enjoy the spirituality of the adjoining deity Vishnu who is residing on the hallowed throne of the Damodar temple. A number of small consecrated temples, erected around the main temple (Damodar temple) decorate the entire terrain. You can’t even walk into the temples as some of the doorways of these temples are really small. In order to get into these temples you have to bend your knees and slowly get inside. Tourists can gaze at the neighboring spring as well. Hindu pilgrims take a dip in the well to shed their sins. Local dwellers release the ashes of their deceased ancestors in the water of the Kund.
Stroll around the area to discover many more wonderful places. You can drive your car to the elevated land of the Girnar hill. Hit the Muchkund Gufa on the way to the Girnar hill.
The Nawabi palace or Rang Mahal, built during 19th century, is located right at the heart of the city. Hit the rich museum of the Darbar hall to catch a glimpse of stately bits and pieces, such as, weapons, armor, attires, ornaments, Hawda, feather fan, palanquin, walking stick, pistol, Nawabi Flag, royal throne and expensive materials.
The royal picture gallery of the Rang Mahal is majestic as well. Separate rooms were allotted for each of the 800 dogs of the king. The European clock tower is a prime enticement of the palace. The rooms of the palace, however, are now occupied by the Government offices. For any assistance you can contact the contiguous tourists’ office.
The shrines of the royal emperors of Junagadh are there at the opposite side of the High court. Mahabbat Maqbara demonstrates Indo- Seracanic- Islamic- European architectural flairs on its pretty walls. The silver doorway and the Jali architectures are the charm of this finicky Maqbara. You would get the key of the locked Maqbara in the adjoining Mosque. Ask the responsible person to open its door for you and climb up the minaret through the spiral staircase. You would be entertained thoroughly. Another fascinating pilgrimage for the Muslim community is the neighboring Bahauddin Maqbara, constructed during 1878-1892. The twisting crest of this Maqbara deserves praise.
About 3 ½ km away from the city of Junagadh, the Sakher Baug, is an agreeable grove. The contiguous museum is rich and is exhibiting portraits, archeological items, inscriptions and the collections of natural history. The zoo of Junagadh, amidst the Shakher Baug, entertains all the children who flock to Junagarh zoo to take a look at the animated lions, tigers and leopards.
A number of buses regularly ply to the Sakher Baug from the city of Junagadh.
The shrine of Narsi Mehta, 269 meters long Willingdon dam, Medicinal National Park, Dargah of Jamil Shah (center of leprosy), Ayurvedic College or museum and Rupayatan Handicrafts Museum are the other sought after destinations of Junagadh. Spiritual crowds should not miss the opportunity to take the pleasure in the Ranchodji temple, Swaminarayan temple, Krishna temple, Juma Mosque of 19th century, Maqbara of Nazubiwi, Bada Shahid, Buddha Monastery of 2nd century, Khapra-Kodia cave and Khengar’s palace of 11th century.
Girnar Hill: 1118 meters tall Girnar hill can be accessed crossing 9999 stairways. It takes 3 hours to visit the desired place of the temple. The access way of the Girnar hill is positioned at a distance 2 km away from the Damodar Kund.
The Girnar hill is accessible from the city by bus. Interested holiday makers can easily hire an auto to the Girnar hill.
The pleasing journey towards the peak of the hill starts in the early morning. Countless numbers of shops are there at the roadside. If you are tired, then you can sit on the bench of these shops and take rest before starting the journey once again.
You can hire a taxi from the city to the Girnar Hill as well but it will only carry you till half of your way. You can enjoy your stay at the Dharamshala of the temple of the Girnar hill.
Spiritual crowds would enjoy watching 5 adjoining Jain temples, each of which are placed at 5 neighboring peaks of the Girnar hill. All of these righteous temples were erected way back in 12th century. It’s a holy pilgrimage for Jain devotees. Newly married Hindu and Jain couples visit the holy Hindu temple of Amba Devi, at the top most peak (3rd) of the Girnar hill, with the desire of getting a happy married life. During 1891-92 the spiritual genius Swamy Vivekananda had visited this pilgrimage as well. Gorakshanath is residing on the 4th peak of the Girnar hill where as the footstep of Dattatreya is there on the 5th peak.
22nd Jain Tirthankar, Neminath, is residing on a throne, made up of black stones, in the largest and oldest (1128) Neminath temple. 70 contiguous bays are there in the temple.
The Mallinath temple, built by Bastupal and Tejpal, depicts a class-apart solanki architectural excellence. The whole temple is well ornamented with flanking pearls and valuables. Jain devotees are paying tributes to the 19th Jain Tirthankar in this temple.
Many more holy temples are scattered around the undulating Girnar hill. Some of the renowned temples are the temple of Samprat king, Temple of Avinandan Prabhu and Parshwanath temple. Life of every divine soul of the Girnar hill is enriched during the full moon of the month of Karthik as this is the time when countless numbers of saints and sages step in.
Bhabanath Shiva temple is positioned on another peak of the Girnar hill. Shiva temples have also been erected at the foothills. The best time to visit the place to watch an impressive festivity is during Shiva Ratri. Throngs of tourists and spiritual crowds flock to the place from faraway places. Numerous devotees along with saints walk together in the procession. Bhavnath fair, held during the month of Magh (Hindu calendar year), pulls crowds as well. All the inhabitants and tourists dance with the musical tunes of Gujarat. Gujarati dance performers also assemble on the holy premise to amuse the hordes of cultural people.
How to reach: Junagadh is well connected to Ahmadabad, Rajkot, Jabalpur and many more spots by trains. Buses regularly ply to Junagadh from Rajkot, Ahmadabad, Bhuj, Mumbai, Porbandar, Jamnagar etc.
Where to stay: Lake Guest House, Capital Guest House, Hotel National, Hotel Vaibhav, Hotel Somnath, Hotel Paramount, Dilaram Guest House, Hotel Raj and Hotel Relief. Check our hotel booking links below for photos, rates, options and online bookings.