Champaner is a historical city (UNESCO World Heritage Site) located around 50 kms from Vadodara. It was founded by Vanraj Chavda, the most prominent king of the Chavda Dynasty, in the 8th century. It was once a thriving flourishing capital of rulers in 15th Century.
The base village is called as Champaner & the hill as Pavagadh. There are lots of monuments in both places, together called as Champaner – Pavagadh Archaeological Park. All the monuments in Champaner exhibit an Indo-Islamic architecture with regards to the carvings.
There are regular buses from Vadodara Central Bus Stand located outside Vadodara Railway Station with minimum fare. There are lots of staying options too at Champaner.
We took bus from Vadodara Bus Stand to Champaner (Rs. 32/-). The road is very good. Hence, the journey was bump-free. We reached Champaner around 4:00 PM. I had booked Shiv Shakti Nivas Dharamshala at Champaner Base (Walkable from Champaner Bus stand). We checked in, rested for some time, before leaving for Pavagadh. We walked a bit towards the road leading to Pavagadh. After waiting for some time, we got an empty bus, swaying from one side to another because of zig-zag roads. We were dropped midway (Machi) near the Ticket Counter. We were told that the ropeway would close down at 08:00PM and return won’t be possible through ropeway (ropeway ticket includes both ways).
We anyways bought the ticket, covered 3/4th of Pavagadh Hill, rest of the way was stone steps, till the temple at the highest point. We explored the temple came back it was already 08:30 PM, we did not check out other temples on the way (No point in dark). Although, I had seen them in my previous trip, 3 years ago. We were already hungry (since, few of us were fasting), had snacks for dinner. While returning to the bus stop, there was huge crowd watching the traditional Dandiya which was being played with live Singer.
We watched for some time, then boarded the bus back to Champaner Base. We took an auto to the Dharamshala, on the way again there were traditional Garba being played in every lane. We retired for the day.
Next day, we started with Champaner Monuments, we hired an auto for same to save time in between. Otherwise, one can walk around.
Monuments visited were:
- Jami masjid
- Kevada Masjid and Cenotaph
- Nagina masjid and Cenotaph
- Saher Ki Masjid
- Khajuri Masjid alongwith Bada Talav
- Kamani Masjid
- Lila Gumbaz
- Ek minar ki Masjid
- Geban Shah’s Vav – Champaner, closeby Helical Stepwell
First was Jami Masjid, details in below pic. The unfinished dome part is carved minutely.
Since the area is big and too many angles for good photo-ops.
Later, we proceeded to Kevda Masjid. The auto dropped us almost 1 km away from the place. We walked through the muddy path amidst hordes of yellow butterfly on the way. The path to Kevda & Nagina Masjid bifurcates in between with right leading to Kevada and Left to Nagina, we first explored the Kevada Masjid and later Nagina Masjid. Kevada Masjid has a Cenotaph. The area is green and Pavagadh can be clearly seen from here.
Nagina (Jewel) Masjid is almost 1.5 kms from main road, with muddy path. But worth visiting. The area is huge and well maintained. There are two structures, one Cenotaph with dome missing and the walls are carved intricately. It is constructed in white marble. The minarets are intricately designed. The main structure (Prayer hall) has three domes. The craftsmanship is amazing. Iteri Masjid was another way. It was afternoon and we had exhausted our water resources. Hence, we skipped that and moved ahead.
We walked back through the muddy path back to the Auto and went ahead to visit Saher Ki masjid, almost similar in structure, we hardly took 10 minutes here.
Later, we went to the Khajuri Masjid which was near Bada Talav, since it was on another direction.
On the way back, we stopped at junction, where in, on one side there is Lila Gumbaz and on other side there is Kamani Masjid. We first explored the Kamani Masjid, there was pool of water around it, we managed to cross over to view Kamani (Pillared) Masjid.
On the way back to main road, we went straight to Lila Gumbaz.
We had hired the auto for the whole sightseeing as well as dropping us back to Halol.
Since, Ek Minar & Helical Stepwell are on the way to Halol, we first picked our bags from the Dharamshala and on the way, we halted at Helical Stepwell, gates were closed.
Instead of going back, my three friends climbed the gate and went in. I stayed back, didn’t want to perform the stunt. Later visited the Ek Minar Masjid, it was just one minaret and gates were closed.
We were dropped to Halol, from there we took the bus to Ahmedabad. We booked Hotel Grand Marshall. We reached in the evening and later went out to check out the Law Market displaying various Garba dresses (for next year). After dinner, we rested for the day.
Next day, we first went to the Adalaj Vav. This was second visit of mine to this place. There was local Garba with Dhol and ladies singing. Being holiday, it was crowded, we managed to check out the Step well and get out.
We hired Ola to get back to the City and drop us at Sidi Saed ki Jalli.
Clicking the jallis, we had our lunch at nearby hotel called Lucky. The hotel is built surrounding the century old graves. It was a bit bizzare experience for us.
We hired an auto to visit the Dada Hari ni Vav and Jama Masjid. Dada Hari ni Vav is another wonder with Sultani Mosque, which is behind the Stepwell and can be accessed by going towards backside of the well.
Sultani Mosque has amazing carvings.
Jama Masjid of Ahmedabad – Built by Bahamani Ruler Ahmad Shah I. It was considered to be a largest Mosque on the Indian subcontinent at the time. To the east of the mosque are the tombs of Ahmed Shah, his son and grandson. A further adjacent enclosure, Rani Ka Hazira, houses the tomb of the Shah’s Queen and other royal ladies.
It was almost evening 06:00 PM and we had to catch the Bus back to Mumbai. We reached next day early morning, perfectly in time for the Office.