This is part of a series of guidebooks published by the Archaeological Survey of India to showcase World Heritage Sites in India.
Champaner-Pavagadh is situated at 45 km north-east of Vadodara. The site was designated as World Heritage Site by UNESCO in July, 2004 for its stunning range of monuments, having antiquities datable to Stone Age, that include stone tools such as hand axes, choppers and cleavers recovered from the river Jorvan.
The discovery of Maitraka coins from the region suggests that ‘Champaner-Pavagadh’ was under the Maitraka rulers (circa AD 470- 776). Mahmud Begda, the Sultan of Gujarat defeated the Kichhi ruler Patai Rawal in AD 1484 and made Champaner as his second capital and named it ‘Muhammadabad’. Champaner became a flourishing city during the reign of Mahmud Begda but the glory of the town was short lived and it was pillaged by Emperor Humayun during the reign of Sultan Bahadur Shah in AD 1535.
Thereafter, the capital was shifted to Ahmedabad and Champaner rapidly declined. It did not regain its glory even under the supremacy of Marathas or the Britishers.
The Medieval city of Champaner Pavagadh is dotted with large number of historical monuments of various religious faiths as also palaces, forts and water bodies both natural and man-made.
The site of Champaner-Pavagadh was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2004. Stone tools recovered from the region indicate that the antiquity of the site goes back to the Stone Age. The earliest historical monument of Champaner-Pavagadh is the Lakulisha Temple located on the Mauliya plateau. Built around the 1 0th 11th century AD, it is adorned with fine images of deities including Brahma, Vishnu, Gajendramoksha, Dakshinamurti, Indra and Ambika. Other notable structures are the temple of Kalikamata, the remains of many beautiful Jam temples, ruins of palaces and granaries, a number of ponds and water cisterns.
As the 131h century drew to a close, Gujarat came under the Delhi Sultanate and the local architecture increasingly blended with the Islamic. A distinct Gujarat style, however, emerged only after the Gujarat Sultanate was established at the beginning of the 15th century, and reached its zenith during the reign of Mahmud Begda (AD. 1458-1511). He founded Champaner at the foot of the Pavagadh hill, and shifted his capital there in 1485.
Champaner is a magnificent example of a pre-Mughal township. Its elegant monuments stand testimony to the harmonious synthesis of the local tradition of ornamentation and Islamic building traditions. The town was planned as a series of fortifications with the main one housing the Royal Enclosure. Large mosques were built near the city gates. The most imposing and beautiful is the Jami Masjid, a perfect example of Indo-Islamic architecture. Several other mosques survive in Champaner, most notably the Nagina Masjid, Kevada Masjid and Lila Gumbaj ki Masjid.
The World Heritage site of Champaner-Pavagadh is dotted with a large number of monuments. 38 of them are centrally protected and under the care of the Archaeological Survey of India. The Survey has taken up a number of conservation and environmental improvement works to enhance the experience of visitors. We hope that this guide book will help in understanding the history of the site and a better appreciation of its beauty and grandeur.
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