The Junagadh city is the 7th largest in Gujarat, in western India, located at the foot of the Girnar hills. Literally translated, Junagadh means “Old Fort”. After a brief struggle between India and Pakistan Junagadh joined India on 9 November 1947. It was a part of Saurashtra state and later Bombay state. In 1960, after the Maha Gujarat movement, it became part of newly formed Gujarat state.
An impressive fort, Uparkot Fort, located on a plateau in the middle of town, was originally built during the Mauryan dynasty by Chandragupta in 319 BCE The fort remained in use until the 6th century, when it was abandoned for about 300 years, then rediscovered by Chudasama ruler Graharipu in 976 CE. The fort was besieged 16 times over an 800-year period. One unsuccessful siege lasted twelve years.
There is an inscription with fourteen Edicts of Ashoka on a large boulder within 2 kilometres of Uparkot Fort. The inscriptions carry Brahmi script in a language similar to Pali and date back to 250 BCE. On the same rock there is an inscription in Sanskrit added around 150 CE by Mahakshatrap Rudradaman I, the Saka ruler of Malwa, a member of the Western Kshatrapas dynasty. This has been described as “the earliest known Sanscrit inscription of any extent”. Another inscription dates from about 450 CE and refers to Skandagupta, the last Gupta emperor. Old rock-cut Buddhist “caves” in this area, dating from well before 500 CE, have stone carvings and floral work. There are also the Khapra Kodia Caves north of the fort, and the Bava Pyara caves south of the fort. Bava Pyara caves contains artworks of both Buddhism and Jainism.
The Maitraka dynasty ruled Gujarat from 475 to 767 CE. The founder of the dynasty, General Bhatarka, military governor of Saurashtra peninsula under the Gupta empire, established himself as the independent ruler of Gujarat around the last quarter of the 5th century.
Junagadh is situated at the foot of Mount Girnar.
PLACE TO SEE IN JUNAGADH:
Also known as Mausoleum of Bahaduddnbhai Hasainbhai, this place is a mausoleum and its unique architecture makes it one of the most important attractions of Junagarh.
It houses the tombs of Mohabbat khanji in the Mohabbat Maqabra and tomb of Bahaduddin Hasainbhai in the Bahaduddinhassainbhai Maqabra and it was built in the late 19th century. This monument is a unique example of Indo-Islamic and Gothic architecture with finely designed arches, elaborate stone carvings on the walls and windows, silver-decorated portals, the winding staircases encircling its four tall minarters, the old step-well in the grounds and its onion shaped dome. Jama Masjid is also located nearby.
Uperkot Fort, Junagadh
Over 2300 years old, with walls up to 20m high in some places, there used to be a 300 ft. deep moat inside the walls which reportedly used to be inhabited by crocodiles for the fort’s protection.
These are two step wells inside the Uperkot Fort. Usually wells are dug into the ground through layers of soli, stones, etc. and the construction is like that done above the ground.
Just 5 km from Junagadh town, Girnar Hills are a collection of hills, whose origins can be traced back to the Vedas. It has been considered to be a religious place even as long before in the Mohan-jo-daro period.
Edict? You may be wondering what an edict is. An edict quite literally means an order or decree issued by an official authority. King Ashoka is one of the most revered figures in Indian history. After a lifetime of war and violent pursuits, he renounced his throne and took up the virtues of Buddhism in spirit. Mindfulness, meditation, kindness, and gratitude became his new mantra, along with the renunciation of greed and animal sacrifice. To spread this message of peace, he inscribed edicts across the region, from the coasts of India to Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. One such edict is at the foot of Girnar Hill in Junagadh, Gujarat.
Ashoka’s rock edicts are an off the beaten track tourist spot, which would be mainly of interest to history buffs. The edicts are a gem from the past, symbolic of ancient wisdom and virtues that form the foundation of India which makes it a must-visit for almost every Indian as well as any enthusiast who truly wishes to absorb the knowledge legacy of India.
These aren’t exactly caves but rooms carved out of stones and were used as monk’s headquarters. The oldest, the Khapara Kodia caves belong to 3rd-4th century AD and are plainest of all cave groups.
Situated on the Junagadh Rajkot Highway, Sakkarbaug Zoological Gardens aka Junagadh Zoo aka Sakkarbaug Zoo is a massive zoological park in Junagadh popular for the purebred Asiatic lions. Besides a variety of birds and animals including wild boar, blue bull, antelope etc.; the park also has an in-house natural history museum and a veterinary hospital. Sakkarbaug Zoological Garden known as Sakkarbaug Zoo established in 1863 in the area of around 200 hectares. The zoo provides purebred Asiatic lions for the Indian and the international endangered species captive breeding program for the critically endangered species. Currently, it is the only zoo in the country to hold African cheetahs. The zoo also has museum of natural history.
Shri Damodar Hariês Temple, Junagadh
At the base of Ashwatthama Hill in the Girnar Mountain range in Junagadh, Gujarat, there is a sacred Hindu temple called Shri Damodar Hariês Temple alongside a holy water pond called Damodar Kund. The temple is enshrined by Lord Krishna and is surrounded by natural beauty lush greenery. The premises also have a gaushala to tend to cows.
Jama Masjid, Junagadh Overview
Located in Uparkot area of Junagadh in Gujarat, Jama Masjid is a trademark monument of the city. Built in yellow sandstone, the mosque boasts of a spacious courtyard covered in white marble and a huge ablution tank in the premises. The inner walls have intricate carvings and the central dome is carved in the shape of a lotus flower.
How to Reach Junagadh ?
Junagadh is connected to other places of Gujarat like Ahmedabad, Bhuj, Bhavanagar, Dwarka, Somnath and Rajkot regular by bus service. Both private and state owned buses can be availed to travel to Junagadh from these cities.
Junagadh Junction Station, which is located around 1 km away from the city centre, has train service from places like Mumbau, Rajkot, Ahmedabad, Thiruvananthapuram, Pune and Jabalpur. Availability of trains has improved rail connectivity between Junagadh and other Indian cities.
Junagadh does not have an airport of its own and the nearest airport are Rajkot and Porbandar airports. Direct flights from Mumbai are available at these airports. Taxis and buses can be availed from outside the airports to reach Junagadh.
Where to Stay ?
Many good hotels are available in Junagadh