In Panchmahal District of Gujarat, Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park is Located at the foothill of the Pavagadh. Champaner is 50 km from Baroda in the State of Gujarat. The complete hill is one amongst the oldest stone formations in India and resembles a reddish-yellow shade.
Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park has a concentration of largely unexcavated archaeological, historic and living cultural heritage properties cradled in an impressive landscape which includes prehistoric (chalcolithic) sites, a hill fortress of an early Hindu capital, and remains of the 16th century capital of the state of Gujarat.
These ramparts/fortifications are made of enormous sandstones, with intermediary citadels with striking balconies. Most of them stand in ruins and amid the ruins there are five mosques that are in excellent state. The most significant of them is the Jama Masjid that is positioned east of the regal area. The structures here speak highly of the Indo-Muslim architecture.
Pavagadh hill measures to a height 800 m and was once standing as a fortress of the Hindus under the regime of the Solanki Kings and later under the Khichi Chauhans. The fort was later taken over by Sultan Mehmud Begarah in 1484 and renamed as Muhammadabad. There are many temples dating back to the 10th, 11th, 13th and 15th centuries, all built in the Nagara style. The ruins are stretched over an area of 6 sq km at the foothills of Pavagadh.
Here, you will see fortifications, palaces, religious buildings, residential precincts, agricultural structures and water installations dating back to the 8th and the 14th centuries. The Kalikamata Temple situated atop the Padagadh Hill is an important shrine which attracts large number of pilgrims all through the year.The site is the only complete and unchanged Islamic pre-Mughal city. Champaner-Pavagadh archeological park has established a position in the list of world heritage sites declared by UNESCO in 2004. This place the capital of the 15th century rulers was dug out by Professor R. N. Mehta in the late 1960s.
History of Champaner
It was founded by Vanraj Chavda, the most prominent king of the Chavda Kingdom, in the 8th century. He named it after the name of his friend and general Champa, also known later as Champaraj. By the later 15th century, the Khichi Chauhan Rajputs held Pavagadh fort above the town of Champaner. The young Sultan of Gujarat, Mahmud Begada, captured the fort on 21 November 1484, after a siege of 20 months. He then spent 23 years rebuilding and embellishing Champaner, which he renamed Muhammadabad, after which he moved the capital there from Ahmedabad. The town finally succumbed to attacks from the Mughal Emperor Humayun in 1535.
Sultan Begada also built a magnificent Jama Masjid in Champaner, which ranks amongst the finest architectural edifices in Gujarat. It is an imposing structure on a high plinth, with a central dome, two minarets 30 meters in height, 172 pillars, seven mihrabs, and carved entrance gates with fine stone jalis.