Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park

Moving on from Aurangabad, I took a 6am train (suddenly a dubious hotel right by the station seemed an even better idea) back to Mumbai and then another north to the city of Vadodara, formerly Baroda. The archeological park, which I had nearly deleted from my itinerary after reading mixed reviews, is a day trip away by bus.

Champaner mosque

Champaner mosque

It is rather hard to describe this world heritage site, partly because it is huge and covers a bewildering range of remains and partly because I only visited a bit of it as a result of getting a tad lost at one point.

Champaner mosque

Champaner mosque

Areas I didn’t find until too late in the day are spread over the side of Pavagadh hill with a popular pilgrimage temple on the top, accessible via a cable car. There are a lot of unexcavated archaeological pre-historic remains alongside more recent vestiges of structures from the eighth to sixteenth centuries including Hindu temples and water systems.

Champaner mosque window

Champaner mosque window

What I saw were a group of mosques dotted amongst the fields at the bottom of the hill, within and around the ancient walled city. This walled area was originally the royal enclosure of a sixteenth century capital of Gujarat and now contains the  modern village of Champaner.

Champaner fortified walls

Champaner fortified walls

The mosques are attractive, with tall thin minarets, decorative carving and pierced stone windows. The style is apparently a blend of Hindu and Islamic elements. They also seem virtually unvisited; I doubt many tourists make it to the one at the end of a long path through the woods. I wasn’t even sure I was going the right way, I just kept going because it was a lovely day and I was having a delightfully peaceful walk, peace and quiet being hard to come by in India.

Champaner mosque carving

Champaner mosque carving

I still can’t tell if I saw the best bit of this world heritage site whilst avoiding some dull piles of masonry, or whether I missed something wonderful. I do rather wish I’d had the time for the cable car though, maybe another time.

Champaner mosque pavilion

Champaner mosque pavilion

I’ve built the centre portion of this mosque for the Lego model:

Champaner mosque

Champaner mosque

The centre dome is gold because I only have two of the tan ones with me.

Lego Champaner mosque

Lego Champaner mosque

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One Response to Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park

  1. drsnyc says:

    stunning. so glad you visited for us! love the photo with the couple on the bike in the foreground.

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