Kankaria Lake

Kankaria_Carnival_1_Ahmedabad

Kankaria Lake, formerly known as Hauz e Qutub, is the second largest lake in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. Kankaria Lake is a multisided lake that was built by Sultan Qutab-ud-Din in the year 1451 A.D. It is basically an artificial lake with thirty four sides, which was then used by the Kings to bathe. The lake and the surrounding areas drew families from all over the city as well as its surrounding areas and the sight of families relaxing and enjoying quality time together has never been rare in this landmark. A lakefront is developed around it, which has many public attractions such as a zoo, toy train, kids city, tethered balloon ride, water rides, water park, food stalls, and entertainment facilities. 

Kankaria_Lake_at_Ahmedabad Kankaria visited by hundreds of visitors was an urban chaos characterized by unclean ghats, traffic Chaos on the 2.4 miles periphery road, unorganized street life including a congested eating area on one corner thriving with street food vendors. The periphery wall was in a dilapidated state, and lake precincts presented somewhat unclean and disorganized environment. Kankaria Lake is one of the most favorite picnic spots of the people of Ahmedabad. Adjacent to the lake, lies a beautiful garden called Nagina Wadi. For people seeking peace, there can be no better place than Kankaria Lake. The pleasing view of the lake, the humming and chirping of birds and the greenery bordering the lake will make you fall in love with this place. You can also avail the boating facility. Kankaria Lake provides a beautiful view of the sunset. There is also a zoo and children’s park located nearby the lake.

History : 

Kankaria Lake was built by Sultan Qutbuddin in the 15th century. The work was completed in 1451 CE and was known as “Qutb Hauz” or “Hauz-i-Qutb”. It is a 34 sided polygon with a 1.25 km circuit and steps leading down to the water level. It was used for bathing by the kings. It had a water purification system but it has been lost with the time. At one point of the circular lake, there opens a walkway which later merges into a garden called Nagina Wadi (which means beautiful garden in Urdu) that is located in the centre of the lake. 

Attractions : 

Kankaria Zoo :

Ahmedabad2007-325 Kankaria Zoo, officially Kamla Nehru Zoological Garden, was established by Rueben David in 1951 spread over 21 acres. It was rated the best zoo in Asia in 1974. With 140 reptiles, 450 mammals, 2,000 birds, the park is a pleasure to visit. Some exotic flora seen in the zoological park are lions, python, anaconda, snakes, elephant, albinos (white), rhesus monkey, peacock, spotted deer, white blackbuck, chinkara, elephants, emu, jungle babbler, bush-quail and common palm civet. Reuben David was awarded Padma Shri in 1974 for it.

Amusement Park : 

Kankaria_Carnival Netherlands based company installed five rides in the amusement park in 2014. It includes the Boomerang Roller Coaster, the Flipping Arm, the Torching Tower, Disk ‘O’ pendulum and the merry-go-round. It will also have a kids play zone for computer games. 

Kids City : 

Atal_Express_-_Kankaria A dream world for the little ones, for the children of the children by the children. Its near to gate no 7 they have fees of Rs 100 for children and Rs.150 for adults.  This is a one of its kind place for children offering a unique experience of 18 human activities ranging from wearing the majestic robes of a judge, running police stations or extinguishing fire.  It is spread in 4240 sq.metre area having 18 activity centres including banks, fire station, science lab, radio station, police station, court room and prison, dental as well as medical hospital, theatre, BRTS, heritage gallery, town governance, IT centre, News room, ice-cream factory, etc. Parents can register and leave their kids in Kids’ City under the guidance of Supervisors for as long as 3 hours per batch or 9 hours in a day. It is a very educative, extremely exciting, exceptionally interactive and totally safe service that is now available for the first time in India. 

Balloon Ride: 

Tethered_helium_balloon_Ahmedabad Ahmedabad Eye is a tethered balloon ride set up near Kankaria Lake after renovation.  India’s first tethered helium christened ‘Balloon Safari’ was inaugurated by Hon Chief Minister Mr.Narendra Modi on 8th September 2010 at Kankaria Lake Front, Ahmedabad. The exhilarating feeling of riding high above the clouds in a hot air balloon is certainly on the bucket list of all adrenaline junkies.  The tethered balloon complex spread over 3000 square yard, is divided into four sections including a restaurant, tethered balloon, heritage exhibit and an exhibition displaying the making of the Ahmedabad Eye. Balloon Safari has featured in popular soaps like Tarak Mehta ka Ulta chasma , Chidiya Ghar and various travel channels.

Nagina Wadi : 

Nagina_Wadi It is beautiful island in the middle of the lake which houses a small summer palace and a musical fountain.The garden can be accessed by grass-covered looping walkway traversing half of the lake. In this garden, fountain shows are organized during the night hours by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC).  Naginawadi also offers Speed Boat, Jet SKI and Other Lot many Water Sports attractions.

Other attractions include historical Dadu Dayal temple, Natural History Museum, desert safari, aquarium, gardens like One Tree Hill garden, Butterfly Park, football ground, water sports and rides, open-air theatre, Jaldhara water park, boating and small amusement park. It is a good place for yoga, walking, and running, especially early morning. There is also a gym on campus known as Ambubhai Purani Vyayamshala.

The best time to visit Kankaria Lake and Ahmedabad is during the winter months of October to March when the climates is extremely pleasant. It is open on all days from 4:00 am to 11:00 pm.

How to Reach : 

By Air : The Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport caters to both domestic and international flights to and from Ahmedabad. It is located around 14 kilometres away from the city and is connected to all major cities of India. 

By Rail : Ahmedabad’s railway station is well connected to all the cities in Gujarat and major cities of India like Delhi, Mumbai, Jodhpur and Jaipur with trains running several times in a day.

By Bus : Ahmedabad is the place where all types of transportation systems are planned in a well-connected and strategic method. 

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Lakshmi Vilas Palace

Laxmi_Vilas_Palace_-_Vadodara

Lakshmi Villas Palace, an extravagant building of the Indo-Saracenic school, was built by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III in 1890 at a cost of GBP180,000 was the magnificent residence of the royal family of Baroda. The term Maharaja Palace actually refers to a series of palaces in Vadodara, Gujarat, India, constructed since the Gaekwad, a prominent Maratha family, started ruling the Baroda State. Laxmi Vilas Palace is Baroda’s famous historical monument. Laxmi vilas palace is constructed in Indo-Saracenic architecture style. It is reputed to have been the largest private dwelling built till date and four times the size of Buckingham Palace. People visiting Vadodara make it a point to visit Laxmi Vilas Palace in Vadodara. 

Indian_royal_palace_laxmi_vilas The first one was a building known as the Sarkar Wada. This building, not really a palace, was given up for the Nazarbaug Palace built in old classical style. The structure was completed in 1890, 12 years later and is named after Sayajirao Gaekwad’s third wife, Rani Laxmibai from Thanjore. The interiors of this palace are reminiscent of a large European country house, and feature modern amenities like elevators. One of the most important aspects of Laxmi Vilas Palace is the magnanimity of the rooms, each room having its significance in the artwork and craftsmanship. Besides the main building, there are plenty of other areas of interest in the complex of this palace. Laxmi Vilas Palace was one of the costliest palaces of its time. It is, today, considered one of the largest private resident homes in India. Maharaja Ranjitsinh, great grandson of Sayajirao Gaekwad continues to live in the Laxmi Vilas Palace until this day along with other members of the royal family. 

Description of Palace :

Laxmi_Vilas_Palace_(Maratha_Palace),_Vadodara It was built in the Indo-Saracenic tradition, with an eclectic mix of Indian, Islamic, and European elements, as if, as Philip Ward writes, “an architectural Paul Klee had taken solid lines for a walk”. The complex of Laxmi Vilas Palace is spread over an area of 700 acres, where there are various other structures.  The palace houses a remarkable collection of old armory and sculptures in bronze, marble & terracotta by Fellici. The grounds were landscaped by William Goldring, a specialist from Kew Gardens.  It had taken twelve years to build and had cost around £180,000. It was designed by Major Mant, who also designed palaces at Kolhapur and Darbhanga, but completed by Robert Fellowes Chisholm. The palace houses 170 rooms and was built just for two people, the Maharaja and the Maharani. The palace features a grand Durbar Hall that boasts of an Italian mosaic floor. The walls of the Durbar Hall are beautified with brilliant mosaic decorations. The palace ground encloses many other buildings within its premises including a golf course. Another popular highlight of Laxmi Vilas Palace is the zoo. Today nothing remains of the zoo except a pond that is inhabited by a number of crocodiles. If you are lucky enough you might also find peacocks strutting about the palace compound or langoors hanging from the tree branches.

Laxmi_vilas_palace Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum is located at the entry point of the palace from where tourists get their tickets for entering into the palace. The museum, among other displays, showcases original paintings by the royal painter, Raja Ravi Varma. It is remarkable that the museum was constructed for educational purpose, for Maharaja’s children. Large halls, stately dining rooms, apartments for European guests, recreation rooms .. everything was added to this 20th century marvel, and the huge size of the building made sure that all this was incorporated without creating ‘stylistic havoc’. Besides, the 700 acres compound of the palace also houses other buildings such as the Moti Baug Palace and the Maharaja Fateh Singh Museum.

Maharaja Fatesingh Museum :

The collection of Maharaja Fatesingh Museum Trust is in the school building situated in the Lukshmi Villas Palace compound, formerly known as the Motibaug School built in 1875 for Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad. The museum exhibits a rich collection of art works that belong to the royal family, including paintings of Raja Ravi Varma and others depicting Hindu mythology. In 2000, the Maharaja Fatesingh Museum Trust displayed the Gaekwad collection of the works of Raja Ravi Varma to celebrate its centenary year. Entrance of this beautiful museum is marked by a refurbished train engine of what was once a miniature railway line. Laxmi Vilas Palace is one of the most interesting tourist attractions in India with an architectural structure that was meticulously designed to match the stature of the royal Gaekwad family.

The museum is open from 10:30am – 5:30 pm from Tuesday to Sunday and the entrance fee is Rs. 25/- for Indians and Rs. 100/- for Foreigners. Photography is NOT allowed (strictly Prohibited). The ticket charges include a free audio tour in Hindi or English.

Laxmi_Vilas_Palace,_Vadadora_(Baroda)_-_India_(5129060735) Raja_Ravi_Varma,_Maharaja_Sayaji_Rao Raja_Ravi_Varma,_Krishna_Drishta_(1888)

One can visit the Lakshmi Vilas Palace any time of the year. However, the best time to visit the palace and Vadodara is during the winter months from October to February, as the weather is cool and pleasant, unlike the scorching summer heat.

How To Reach :

By Air : Vadodara airport is located at a distance of 6kms from the city centre. which is well connected to other city of India

By Rail : Vadodara, a major railway junction is located on the Western Railway, which connects Mumbai, Delhi and Ahmedabad. 

By Road : The well-maintained roadways make the Baroda (Vadodara) visit by bus easy. Both government and private bus services operate in this region. 

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Sabarmati Ashram

Gandhi_home

Sabarmati Ashram also known as Gandhi Ashram, Harijan Ashram, or Satyagraha Ashram is located in the Sabarmati suburb of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, adjoining the Ashram Road, on the banks of the River Sabarmati, four miles from the town hall. Gandhi stayed at the Ashram from 1915 to 1933 later on the Ashram was disbanded. The Ashram is a witness to many important historical events. Originally it was called the Satyagraha Ashram, reflecting the movement toward passive resistance launched by the Mahatma. It was also from here on 12 March 1930 that Gandhi launched the famous Dandi March 241 miles from the Ashram (with 78 companions) in protest of the British Salt Law, which taxed Indian salt in an effort to promote sales of British salt in India. Generally called Mahatma Gandhi, who lived there for about twelve years along with his wife, Kasturba Gandhi. In recognition of the significant influence that this march had on the Indian independence movement the Indian government has established the ashram as a national monument. 

Today, this ashram is basically a museum, known as Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya. Along with the museum, this ashram houses a library, auditorium and photo galleries depicting the life of Mahatma Gandhi. Consequently the exhibits on view depict the vivid and historic events of Gandhiji’s life. There are books, manuscripts and photocopies of his correspondence, photographs of Gandhiji with his wife Kasturba and other ashram associates, life size oil paintings and actual relics like his writing desk and spinning wheel.

Gandhi_Ashram Sabarmati_Ashram Sabarmati-Ashram-12

History : 

Upon returning from South Africa on January 9, 1915, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was in search for a place to settle himself and a small group of relatives and associates who were with him in the African struggle. Gandhi’s first Ashram in India was established in the Kochrab area of Ahmedabad on 25 May 1915. The Ashram was then shifted on 17 June 1917 to a piece of open land on the banks of the river Sabarmati because Gandhi wanted to carry out various activities such as farming and animal husbandry, in addition to other pursuits which called for the need of a much larger area of useable land, the ashram was relocated to an area of thirty-six acres on the banks of the river Sabarmati, and it came to be known as the Sabarmati Ashram. It was believed that this is one of the ancient ashram site of Dadhichi Rishi who had donated his bones for a righteous war, but his main ashram lies in Naimisharanya, near Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh; it is between a jail and a crematorium, and he believed that a satyagrahi has invariably to go to either place. Mahatma Gandhi said, “This is the right place for our activities to carry on the search for truth and develop fearlessness, for on one side are the iron bolts of the foreigners, and on the other the thunderbolts of Mother Nature”.

Sabarmati-Ashram-2 images (1) photo_at_Gandhi_Memorial_,_Sabarmati_Ashram_,_Ahamadabad

The Sabarmati Ashram (also known as Harijan Ashram) was home to Mohandas Gandhi from 1917 until 1930 and served as one of the main centres of the Indian freedom struggle. The first struggle Gandhi headed from the Sabarmati Ashram was for the textile workers strike. There was a complete deadlock between the mill owners and the inadequately paid workers. It was difficult for the workers not to become angry, as they were starving. However, Gandhi joined with them in fast, and later used the strikers to found a Weavers School at Sabarmati. It was also from here that on 12 March 1930, Gandhi marched to Dandi, 241 miles from the ashram, with 78 companions in protest at the British Salt Law, which increased the taxes on Indian salt in an effort to promote sales of British salt in India. On 12 March 1930 Gandhi had vowed that he would not return to the ashram until India had gained independence. Although India was declared a free nation on 15 August 1947, Gandhi was assassinated on 30 January 1948.

Present Day : 

The ashram now has a museum, the Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya. This had originally been located in Hridaya Kunj, Gandhi’s own cottage in the ashram. It is a place of great historic value, where even today visitors find some of the things which Gandhiji used- a writing desk, a khadi kurta, a yarn spun by him and some of his letters.  It is developing into a Resource Centre for the Gandhian and allied Studies and Research. It also processes the information, data, audio-visual materials, etc., for the use of different categories. One of the important activities undertaken is the establishment of a Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya. The exhibition in the museum consists of 8 life-size painting and around 250 photo-enlargements historic events of Gandhi’s life. Visitors can also see the archive of letters written by Gandhi, displayed in the galleries of the museum. Visitors can explore the ashram in the 90 minutes guided tour that is organised by the trust, which runs this ashram. Today, the Ashram serves as a source of inspiration and guidance, and stands as a monument to Gandhi’s life mission and a testimony to others who have fought a similar struggle. 

Museum  features  & Activities

  • “My life is my message” gallery, consists of 8 life-size painting and around 250 photo-enlargements historic events of Gandhi’s life.
  • Library holds a collection of 35,000 books, all of which are based on the life of Mahatma Gandhi and Indian freedom movement. 
  • Life-size oil painting gallery.
  • An important landmark of the ashram is Gandhi’s cottage ‘Hridaya Kunj’, where some of the personal relics of Gandhi are displayed.
  • Microfilming, lamination and preservation of negatives.
  • Collecting, processing, preserving and displaying archival materials such as writings, photographs, paintings, voice-records, films and personal effects. 
  • Arranging exhibitions on aspects of Gandhi’s life, literature and activities.
  • The Ashram Trust funds activities that include education for the visitor and the community and routine maintenance of the museum and its surrounding grounds and buildings.

How To Reach :

Ahmadabad is well connected to all major cities like Bombay, Delhi, Calcutta, Madras, Trivandrum, Varanasi, Madras, Jaipur, Indore, and Calcutta by Air, Train and buses. 

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Tithal Beach

1280px-Sun_Down_at_Tithal_beach

Tithal has beautiful natural scenes. It’s a peaceful place. You can experience nature over there. It’s really a recommendable place for nature lovers. It is beautified by the beach, swami narayan temple, sai baba temple,shantidham temple etc.

1280px-Shri_Swami_Narayan_Temple_Tithal Tithal Beach is a tourist attraction in the coastal region of valsad, overlooking the Arabian sea. It has many tourist attractions including some grand temples such as Shri Sai Baba and Shri Swami Narayan. The Indian government has funded in the development of the area, due to its popularity with local and foreign tourists alike. There are plenty of stalls and shops selling various wares, such as Bajiya, Dabeli, Bhel Chat Coconut water and a variety of souvenirs. You will also find places to eat both indoors and outdoors with plenty of choice from a full meal to traditionally prepared snacks. There is also a play area for children, public toilets and hotels. The road from Bulsar town to Tithal branches into two around a kilometer after crossing the Wanki river. The road to the left goes to the Sai Baba temple located along the coast of Sea to the gulf of Cambay and the road to the right goes to Tithal beach and further continues along the seashore up to Swaminarayan Temple located 1.6 km ahead along the sea coast. The temple is built in stone with exquisite hand carvings. Adjacent to the temple, there is a food outlet serving a variety of vegetarian snacks. The Shri Sai Baba Temple is adjacent to the shore of the Tithal Beach and the daily prayers are attended by many devotees from all over the world. The Shantidham Temple is also a popular religious destination being close to the sea shore, providing a good view of the Sea to the gulf of cambay.

Situated on the coastline of Valsad, Daman(a union territory) is divided into two areas, Moti Daman, Split by the Damanganaga River.After the Portuguese successfully infiltrated Goa, they searched for a coastal territory in Gujarat to conduct trade. They landed in Daman, and 1531, the Guajrat Sultan agreed to hand the territory over to the Europeun power in exchange for a share in their customs revenue. The port thrived in trade and was more important than Diu for the Portuguese. Daman became part of the Indian Union in 1961.

The town is worth a day trip if you are interested in seeing the ligering influences of Portuguese colonialism,especially in moti daman.The beaches hoewer, are far from paradise and often packed with drunken local tourists who flock to this popular drinking destination. Of the two former Portuguese territories touching Gujarat, Diu is no doubt the more attractive destination.

The imposing Moti Daman Fort was built from 1559-93 over an area once occupied ny a small Muslim citadel.It spreads over three hectares in a polygonal layout.Just outside the fort is Church of our Lady of the Remedies,built at the begining of the 17th c. Although outwardly simple, the interior is stunning with golden cherubs, rose petals and excellent woodwork. The Badrapore District retains a Portuguese influence in its winding lanes ans small house.

In Nani Daman, the Fort of St jerome, completed in 1627, covers 12 ha with a striking gateway facing the river. A status of St jerome crowns the entrance with two imposing human figures standing guard.You can walk along the ramparts and get a view of the surrounding area. Another prominent building is the church of our Lady of the Sea. The local claim that an underground passage conects this fort to the one in Moti Daman.

This beach is famous for its black sand. It is a popular tourist destination in south Gujarat. The main beach has several shops selling Indian snacks like Bhajiya, Dabeli, Bhel chaat, sweet corn roasted on charcoal, and also freshly prepared sugar cane juice, coconut water and souvenirs.

How to get there

By road: Surat lies 234 km from Ahmedabad, 131km from Vadodara, and 297 km from Mumbai. Bus stations, both ST and private, are on the eastern edge of the city.

By rail: Train stations are also on the eastern edge of the city.

By air: Various domestic flights connecting metros and other major cities are operational from the Surat Airport.

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Dakor

Dakore_temple_-_By_Ashesh_Shah

The city of Dakor is a mythological cauldron, and being there is like taking a drink from fabled waters.

Once a sleepy village, it used to crackle with a large number of khakhra (Butea monosperma) trees and was therefore often called a ‘Khakhariu gaam’. It is said that Rishi Dank had his ashram here, so the temple and the village are named after him as Dankpur or Dakor, and the Danknath Mahadev temple stands on the banks of Gomti Lake. As you approach from faraway you see the swaying flag on the tall and beautiful shikhar of the Ranchhodrai Dakor Temple inviting pilgrims. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Mirabai have both come here to pay homage to its idol.

On purnima (full moon) every month this temple town awakens to thousands of visitors in colorful festivity. Inspired by the revered legend of Bodana, many devotees even today come on foot from great distances. But remember, your Dakor adventure is complete only after tasting its lip-smacking gotas accompanied by tea or dahi (yogurt).

The legend of Bodana

13925198467_e72a21d8ae ‘Vijayanand Bodana’, a Rajput of Dakor, walked every six months to Dwarka to worship Lord Krishna. He did this tirelessly and unfailingly until he was 72 years old, at which point the long journey became increasingly difficult for him. Feeling compassion for this faithful devotee, the idol of Krishna directed him in a dream to bring a bullock-cart on his ensuing visit to Dwarka. At midnight, the Krishna idol broke open all the doors of the Dwarka temple, awoke Bodana and told him to take him to Dakor. Near Bileshwar Mahadev on Dakor-Nadiad road, they rested for some time. Sri Krishna touched the branch of a Neem tree, and to this day that tree is said to have one sweet branch, though the rest of the branches are bitter.

In Dwarka, the angry Gugli brahmins, finding the idol of Krishna missing, chased Bodana and accidentally killed him. The Guglis were not ready to return to Dwarka without the Krishna idol. At last, Krishna asked Gangabai, the poor widow of Bodana, to give gold equivalent to the weight of the idol and ask the Guglis to return to Dwarka. The Guglis agreed, but all she possessed was a gold nose-ring. Miraculously, when weighed, the idol became as light as the nose-ring. The Guglis were disappointed but Krishna mercifully directed that they would find after six months an exact replica of the idol in Sevaradhan Vav at Dwarka. The impatient Guglis looked for the idol sometime earlier than they were told and as a result, found an idol which, though similar to the original one, was smaller. The original idol remained in Dakor. Even today on every purnima (full moon), pilgrims walk here from far away places to commemorate Bodana’s devotion.

Hidimba Van and Rishi Dank

In the past, Kheda district was known as ‘Hidimba Van’. This is where the Mahabharata hero Bhimsen killed a demon and married Hidimba.

Rishi Dank had his hermitage in the fertile lands of Dakor, then called Dankpur after the name of the rishi. It is said that Shiva, pleased by the rishi’s devotion, granted his wish and stayed in his hermitage in the form of a linga. At present the linga stands as Danknath Mahadev temple on the bank of the holy pond Gomti.

How to get there

By road: Dakor is in Thasra taluka of Kheda District, 43 km northeast of Anand, and 35 km east of Nadiad. Private and ST buses are available from Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Anand.

By rail: Nadiad and Anand are the nearest major railway stations. There is also a slow-train branch line terminus at Umreth, 7 km away.

By air: The nearest airport is in Vadodara- 78 km south, but the Ahmedabad airport- 90 km to the northwest, is not much further and has far more flights.

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Champaner – Pavagadh

Top_of_Pavadagh_hill

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. The site also includes, among other vestiges, fortifications, palaces, religious buildings, residential precincts, agricultural structures and water installations, from the 8th to 14th centuries. The Kalikamata Temple on top of Pavagadh Hill is considered to be an important shrine, attracting large numbers of pilgrims throughout the year. The site is the only complete and unchanged Islamic pre-Mughal city.

The Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park with its ancient Hindu architecture, temples and special water retaining installations together with its religious, military and agricultural structures, dating back to the regional Capital City built by Mehmud Begda in the 16th century, represents cultures which have disappeared.

Jama_masjid_in_Champaner The structures represent a perfect blend of Hindu-Moslem architecture, mainly in the Great Mosque (Jami Masjid), which was a model for later mosque architecture in India. This special style comes from the significant period of regional sultanates.

The Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park is an outstanding example of a very short living Capital, making the best use of its setting, topography and natural features. It is quite vulnerable due to abandonment, forest takeover and modern life.The Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park is a place of worship and continuous pilgrimage for Hindu believers.

Interesting facts

The Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, located in the Panchmahal district of the Indian state of Gujarat. Centred around the city of Champaner or Muhammadabad built by Sultan Mahmud Begada of Gujarat, it’s a very significant place historically and culturally. This place is the only complete unchanged Islamic pre-Mughal city. Also deemed to be of mythological significance, a larger part of Champaner- Pavagadh is still unexcavated.

Online Booking for Champaner Monuments Asi Monuments : http://asi.payumoney.com/#/Common/Booking/Index

How to get there

By road: Champaner is 45 km from Vadodara, accessible by bus or private vehicles. Cars can be hired in Vadodara to drive to Champaner-Pavagadh, which is the best option if you want to combine the journey with other sites like Jambughoda.

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Dholavira

Dholavira-1

At the height of our civilization, our technological development, our social and material complexity, all signs point to progress, we often think. And yet, all is not as it seems and once in a while it occurs to us to look into the past to discover our future.

Dholavira is the larger of the two most remarkable excavations of the Indus Valley Civilization or Harappan culture, dating back to 4500 years ago. While the other site, Lothal, is more exhaustively educated and easier to reach, a visit to Lothal only complements, rather than replaces, a visit to Dholavira. What this site offers you, in the intense environment that comes with being surrounded by the Great Rann of Kutch, is a unique insight into the pioneering Harappan mind, with one of the world’s earliest and best planned water conservation systems and what might be the world’s first signboards, written in ancient Indus script.

The excavation also tells the story of the 7 stages of the civilization, from development to maturity to decay, the last of which hints at a strange piece of history, with more questions than answers. After the peak of the civilization Dholavira was temporarily abandoned, after which it seems that the settlers returned with a markedly de-urbanized culture. There are hints that they willingly chose to simplify their lives, rather than try to ride the collapse of their once glorified civilization. Here, on the ruins, you will have a chance to contemplate what progress and civilization mean and what, if anything, is truly permanent.

Background

Dholavira Dholavira, known locally as Kotada (which means large fort), sprawls over 100 hectares of semi-arid land at the north-west corner of the island of Khadir, one of the islands in the Great Rann of Kutch that remain above the flood-plains in months when the rest of the desert is submerged by the monsoon. Dholavira has two seasonal nallahs, or streams: Mansar in the north, and Manhar in the south. The journey to Dholavira itself is beautiful, taking you through the saline desert plains of the Great Rann, where you can spot wildlife such as chinkara gazelle, nilgai (blue bull, the largest antelope in Asia), flamingos and other bird life.

The site was unearthed by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) in 1967, but has been systematically excavated only since 1990. Artifacts include terracotta pottery, beads, gold and copper ornaments, seals, fish hooks, animal figurines, tools, urns, and some imported vessels that indicate trade links with lands as far away as Mesopotamia. Also found were 10 large stone inscriptions, carved in Indus Valley script, perhaps the world’s earliest signboard. These are among the most important discoveries about the Indus Valley Civilization, but remain tantalizingly undeciphered.

The remains show an imposing citadel in the center, with a middle and lower town, each fortified separately, built with pleasingly smoothed structures of sun-dried brick and stone masonry, and with remarkable town planning. Well laid out lanes lead outward systematically from the citadel, with a well-constructed underground drainage system for sanitation. There is a large stadium with a complex structure and seating arrangement.

Finally, Dholavira has one of the world’s earliest water conservation systems ever excavated. Satellite pictures show a reservoir underground, an expertly constructed rainwater harvesting system extending from the walls of the city, without which the settlement would not have thrived in the sparse rainfall of the desert.

DHOLAVIRA_SITE_(36) Dholavira is one of the two largest Harappan sites in India, and 5th largest in the subcontinent. Like Lothal, it passed through all the stages of the Harappan culture from circa 2900 BC to 1500 BC, while most others saw only the early or late stages.

The excavation found a decline of the civilization in the 5th of 7th stages, after which were signs of a temporary desertion of the site. Settlers returned later in the late Harappan stage, with a change in their pottery, influenced by cultures found at sites in Sindh, South Rajasthan and other parts of Gujurat, but they did not bring the return of the civilization. Their houses, for example, were built in an entirely new form that was circular (bhungas), and the material signs were strikingly deurbanized and simplified. Perhaps the last stage of the powerful civilization had become aware of its future, and was preparing itself for a gradual end.

Online Booking for Archeological Site Museum Dholavira Asi Monuments : http://asi.payumoney.com/#/Common/Booking/Index

How to get there

By road: Dholavira is 250 km from Bhuj and is reached via Bhachau and Rapar. A bus leaves from Bhuj at 14:00 and arrives at Dholavira at 20:30. It leaves at 05:00 the next morning and returns to Bhuj by 11:30. It is also possible to rent a vehicle.

By air: The nearest airport is Bhuj. Bear in mind that an on-site guest house allows the possibility of a more leisurely experience, rather than a day trip.

Image copyright by Rahul Zota & Lalit Gajjer 

Lothal

Archaeological_Museum_of_Lothal

The museum was setup in 1976 in order to display the artifacts recovered from the excavation conducted from 1952 to 1961. The Museum has three galleries. In the front gallery depicts an artist’s conjectural idea of Harappan town of Lothal. There are also introductory write-ups and maps about the site. The gallery at left side has showcases with beads, terracotta ornaments, replicas of seal and sealings, shell and ivory objects, copper and bronze objects, tools and potteries yielded from excavations. The gallery at right has game objects animal and human figurines, weights, painted potteries, objects recovered from burials and ritual objects, miniature potteries, bricks besides a replica of a joint burial and a scaled model of Lothal site. Out of the 5089 objects unearthed during the excavation, 800 objects are on display in the museum.

1280px-Lothal_(2) Apart from the exhibited antiquities, the most fabulous antiquities of Lothal are beads, steatite seals with unicorn motif and inscription, terracotta sealing with an elephant motif, Persian Gulf type seal, gold necklace copper / bronze fish hooks, bangles, dish on stand, perforated jar, jar painted with the stories of thirsty crow and cunning fox, terracotta bull, horse, model boat, model of mummy, ivory scale and shell compass, chess dice, etc.

The museum has a small reference library and a publication counter for selling publications of the Archaeological Monuments.

Opening Hours : 10.00 am to 5.00 pm
Closed on – Friday

Rs. 2/- per head
(Children up to 15 years free)

Online Booking for Archeological Site Museum Lothal Asi Monuments : http://asi.payumoney.com/#/Common/Booking/Index

How to get there

By road: Lothal is 78 km from Ahmedabad. Buses from Ahmedabad take 3 hours.

By rail: Ahmedabad is the nearest railway station.

By air: Ahmedabad is the nearest airport. The site is open from dawn to dusk, and entry is free.

The Gir National Park

Lion(parRickBayok)

In Gir you touch the history of India before humanity itself. Before monuments, temples, mosques and palaces. Or rather, a history as humanity was emerging, when humans coexisted with lions, before the former had overrun the continent (and the world) and pushed the latter to the brink of extinction.

Many come to Gir because, outside of Africa, it is the only place with wild lions. But to truly experience Gir and the lions, you must explore their natural habitat, with everything from tiny wild birds, not easily seen, but heard singing in the forest canopy, to crocodiles floating in the marsh waters.

Driving around, you are uncommonly aware you are in someone else’s territory. You stay in your vehicle because you are in the home of lions, leopards, hyenas, crocodiles; you remember that humans do not rule the world, and however “advanced” we think we are, most of us would not survive very long on our own in a place like Gir.

That is not to say that all humans are out of place. The local Maldhari community has lived here for generations and coexists magnificently with the wilderness. They sustain themselves by grazing their livestock and harvesting what they need from the forest. The sizeable portion of their herds lost to lions and other predators is considered prasad, offered in exchange for living in another’s homeland.

How many of us are aware, let alone as concientious as the Maldharis about the impact of our lifestyle on other species? How can we be, if we so distance ourselves from the habitats that are ravaged to feed our material appetites? When you visit Gir, try to see the Maldharis not with nostalgia for a picturesque past, but as crucial teachers for a better present and future. You don’t have to be a shepherd living with wild lions to learn from their way of life. Ask yourself why we have reached the point where National Parks like Gir are necessary; what happened to these lions who used to inhabit everywhere from Greece to Bangladesh. If you begin to understand the deeper implications of these questions, you will return home, whether home is a hut in the countryside, or a high-rise apartment, whether in Mumbai or Berlin, charged with new inspiration for evolution in your own life.

Gir is a place that deserves time and involvement. Your chances of spotting wildlife in a few hours is small, especially in the middle of the day; to truly experience the wonders of the Gir forest, and hopefully see a wide variety of its diverse wildlife, three or four days is recommended, particularly with a knowledgeable guide. This will vastly improve the depth of your visit.

While Gir is most famous for its lions, the park is one of the most diverse places in Gujarat, both in flora and fauna.

Flora

Gir_National_park_Jungle Most of the area is rugged hills, with high ridges and densely forested valleys, wide grassland plateaus, and isolated hilltops. Around half of the forested area of the park is teak forest, with other trees such as khair, dhavdo, timru, amla, and many others. The other half is non-teak forest, with samai, simal, khakhro and asundro jambu, umro, amli, vad and kalam; mostly broadleaf and evergreen trees. The river Hiran is the only one to flow year-round; the rest are seasonal. There are also areas of the park with open scrub and savannah-type grassland.

Deer and Antelope

Gir_National_park_Crown_deer_candid_shot This variety of vegetation provides for a huge array of animals. The most-sighted animal in the park, the chital, or Indian spotted deer, inhabits the dry and mixed deciduous forest, with a population of over 32,000. The more reclusive sambar, the largest of the Indian deer species, weighing 300-500 kg, lives in the wetter western part of the park. Both the sambar and the chausingha, the world’s only 4-horned antelope (chau= four, singha= horns), are very dependent on water, and rarely found far from a water source. Another one-of-a-kind is the chinkara, the only gazelle in the world with horns in both males and females. The fastest of the Indian antelopes, the blackbuck, also lives in Gir, but has a relatively small population here compared to Velavadar National Park (near Bhavnagar), as it prefers open grasslands to forests.

Wild Cats

The_Feisty_Lion_Cub_01 Along with the famous lions, who number around 350, the park is also home to four other wild cats. There are around 300 leopards, though they are nocturnal and thus harder to spot. Of the three smaller wildcats, the jungle cat is the most widespread, and lives in deciduous scrub and riverine areas. The mysterious desert cat is almost never seen. The rusty spotted cat, previously thought to only live in the Dangs of southeast Gujarat, has only recently been found in Gir.

Other animals and reptiles

The top and middle canopies of the dry, mixed and riverine decidous forests are home to troops of hanuman langur monkeys. The striped hyena is usually seen scavenging alone in the grasslands and scrub forest, far more solitary than the African hyena. Wild boars rooting into the ground for tuber provide aeration of the soil. If you look closer, you may see smaller mammals like pangolins, pale hedgehogs, Indian hares, or grey musk shrews. The ratel or honey badger is renowned for its snake-killing exploits, earning it the “most fearless animal” title in the Guinness Book of World Records. Another snake-killer in Gir is the ruddy mongoose; the snakes they contend with include the common krait, russell’s viper, and the saw-scaled viper. The Kamaleshwar reservoir now houses the largest population of marsh crocodiles in the country. Other reptiles include the soft-shelled turtle, star tortoise, Indian rock python and monitor lizard (which grows to over 1.5 m long; don’t look for the lizards that live in your yard.)

Birds

Gir_National_park_Bird Gir is also home to more kinds of birds than any other park in Gujarat, yet somehow is not known for its birdlife. While it may not have the half-million flamingoes found in Kutch during breeding season, Gir is home to over 300 species of birds, many of which can be seen year-round, from the Malabar whistling thrush to the Paradise flycatcher, from the crested serpent eagle to the king vulture, from pelicans to painted storks. The noted ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali said that if there were no lions here, Gir would be well-known as one of the best bird sanctuaries in western India.

The Asiatic Lion

AsiaticLionMale Until the early 19th century, Asiatic lions roamed an immense area of South and Southwest Asia, as far east as Greece and as far west as modern Bangladesh. As humanity has lived in this region for millennia, people coexisted with lions for thousands of years, but in the last few centuries, the growth of the human population has come at the cost of the lions’ habitat. Like the Bengal Tiger and the Asiatic Cheetah, lions saw a dramatic decline in population as their preferred habitat of grasslands and semi-forested areas became overrun with humans. Beyond just habitat reduction, though, once guns arrived and became widespread, from 1800-1860, nearly all the lions remaining outside Gujarat were hunted and killed. The last Asiatic lions in India outside of Gir forest were killed in 1886 at Rewah, and the last wild lion sighted the world outside Gir was in Iran in 1941.

In 1901, Lord Curzon was offered to be taken lion hunting while visiting Junagadh. Noting that these were the only lions left in Asia, he declined, and reportedly suggested to the Nawab of Junagadh that it would be better to conserve the lion population than to hunt it. The Nawab began what was probably the first institutional wildlife conservation effort in India and one of the earliest in the world (though various human societies have been operating in ways that conserve wildlife throughout the ages), banning all lion hunting entirely. From a population reported to be as low as 20 in 1913 (considered exaggerated by some wildlife experts, noting that the first official census in the 1930s found over 200 lions), the lions have rebounded to now number 359 in the most recent census of 2005. This is due almost entirely to the Nawab’s conservation efforts, and the Indian Government’s post-independence ban on lion killing in 1955.

Though the lions have maintained a small healthy population, their habitat continues to shrink, and they remain a critically endangered species. The Gir forest area, which covered over 3000 square km in 1880, was reduced to just over 2500 square km by the mid-20th century, and only 1400 square km today. Of that, a mere 258 square km make up the National Park itself. While the population has grown due to successful conservation programs in the park, the park is too small for the number of lions it now houses, and lions are straying outside to seek further living space, often not surviving well in the other areas.

Locally called sher or sinh, the Asiatic lion is over two and a half meters long, weighs 115 to 200 kg, and can run short distances at 65 km/h to chase down the sambar, chital, nilgai, and chinkara that are its preferred prey. However, when not hungry, it will never attack an animal; after a lion makes a kill, it will gorge itself on up to 75 kg of meat, and then not worry about eating for a few days, so it is not unusual to see a well-fed lion lounging calmly beside a herd of grazing deer. The lions prefer open scrub and deciduous forest areas, and are very bold, not shy around humans. So even if they seem tame or timid, do not approach them, they are still very powerful wild animals.

Humans and Gir

53164849 Humans’ relationship with Gir is long and mixed. The very existence of a sanctuary is testament to the dire need of a protected area, given the rapid expanse of civilization that has completely taken over everywhere else around (see above section on the lion.) After India’s independence in 1947, the rapid push for food independence led much wild grassland to be converted to agriculture. This had major effects on the wildlife of Saurashtra, but also on the human population; as large-scale farming spread across the region, those peoples who traditionally herded livestock in wild grasslands were pushed further and further into much more limited regions. Faced with this situation, the Maldhari community migrated into the Gir forest despite obvious dangers and a total lack of infrastructure, in order to maintain their way of life. When the park was declared, they were allowed to remain and continue their traditional practices; in fact, Gir forest is now virtually the only area where the Maldharis still live as they wish.

As herders, they shepherd their cattle and buffalo around the park, which opponents (including the Forest Department) claim overgrazes the area and makes it harder for the wild deer, antelope, and other species to graze as well. However, recent studies have shown that between 25 and 50% of the Gir lions’ diet is made up of Maldhari livestock, meaning that the presence of the Maldharis is vital to the survival of the lions. In fact, the Maldharis apparently consider livestock lost to predators as payment for living in their territory. Furthermore, as vegetarians, the Maldharis are never poachers.

Compare this attitude with that of farmers near the park, who have killed many lions who they say “encroached on their land,” not realizing that they have in fact encroached on the lions’ land, and the lions of course cannot know where people have drawn the park boundary line. The humans who do know this, however, often graze cattle illegally inside the park adding further pressure on the ecosystem from the 97 villages within 5 km of the park. For these reasons and many others, the Gir forest and the critically endangered lions are under increasing threat from human activity.

Tourism itself is a growing threat to Gir. Clearly, the genuine visitor is beneficial, but tens of thousands of people visit the park every year simply as an afterthought to their trip to Somnath or Junagadh, stopping in for a few hours to snap a photograph of the lions in captivity. These visitors create a huge demand for infrastructure but do little of benefit to the park or the lions, not even staying long enough to really experience it or learn much at all. The presence of several temples inside the park also puts strain on the ecosystem, as visitors to them also demand accommodation and infrastructure that often conflicts with the park’s conservation goals, leading to great controversy and political tension between park management and temple management.

While all of these threats may have distinct immediate origins, they are in fact all the result of having reached a point where wild natural environments are confined to extremely limited areas, and human civilization, industry and economy has overtaken everything else. The problem is not, in fact, that the lion population has grown “too big for the park,” but that the park is far too small for the lions. As a visitor, let this be an opportunity to spark your imagination on the question of shifting the priorities of humanity towards re-integrating ourselves with the rest of life.

For shorter visits, the Gir Interpretation Zone, at Devalia, 12 km west of Sasan Gir, has some lions in captivity, but this is not the same as visiting them in the wild. After all, to see a lion in captivity you can visit a local zoo; come to Gir to see them in the wild. Entry fees for the Interpretation Centre (different from the park itself) are, for Indians Rs. 75/- Mon.-Fri, Rs.95/- Sat.-Sun, Rs. 115/- on Holidays and for foreigners US$20, payable only in rupees.

Use official guides.

  • Do not rouse, feed, or disturb wildlife
  • No smoking whatsoever (cigarette butts cause many forest fires.)
  • No flash or intrusive photography
  • Picking plants or insects prohibited; do not remove anything from the park
  • No walking or hiking allowed in the park, for safety; always travel in vehicles, preferably with a guide.
  • No quick or sudden movements to scare off wildlife.
  • No pets.
  • No littering. Trash is only to be disposed of in proper receptacles.
  • No picnicking or camping, use only designated areas.
  • No hunting devices or other weapons.
  • Carry lots of water.
  • Carry field guides to learn about your surroundings.

A permit for entering the park can be obtained at the Sinh Sadan Orientation Centre, Open from 07.00 am to 11.00 am and 03.00 pm to 05.30 pm

For more information, contact the Forest Dept. at Sasan Gir 02877 285541.

The online booking web site is : http://www.girlion.in/

How to get there

By road: A permit for entering the park is obtained at the Sinh Sadan Orientation Centre, Visit Gujarat Forest Department Website for timing. A 35-40 km driving route through the park is maintained for visitors. (IMPORTANT NOTE: Unless traveling with an official and experienced guide, you must not leave your vehicle at any time, for your own safety as well as the well-being of the park and its inhabitants.) Entry fees, per vehicle with up to 6 occupants, are, for Indians- Rs. 400/- Mon.-Fri., Rs. 500/- Sat.-Sun., and Rs. 600/- for holidays. Entry for foreigners US$40 (must be paid in rupees.) For more information, contact the Forest Dept. at Sasan Gir, Tel: 02877 285541. Gir National Park is 60 km from Junagadh, the most common base for making a visit, and 360 km from Ahmedabad. The main centre is at Sasan Gir, and has a forest guest house maintained by the park, just opposite the railway station.

By rail:One can travel by rail to Junagadh from Ahmedabad or Rajkot and then take a 65 km road trip on bus or taxi to Sasan Gir.

Image copyright by upload.wikimedia.org 

Sardar Sarovar Dam

Sardar_Sarovar_Dam

Near Rajpipla, 1163 km away up the river from the sea, is Sardar Sarovar dam. At the reception center there is a map and an interpretation center. You can book a guided tour which will take you through six points around the dam site: a garden; the foundational stone laid by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1961; a site with a side view of the flow of the water from the dam; a lake where boating takes place; the first lock gate of the main canal; a trekking site with a nature education camp for students. Near the site is also the Surpaneshwar Shiva temple that the Government had built to replace the original ancient temple that was submerged by the dam. At the foot of the dam is the Kevadia colony, where the employees of the dam live and where there are also places for visitors to stay. For more information http://www.sardarsarovardam.org/

1280px-Sardar_Sarovar_Dam_2006,_India At a height of 128 m and growing, Sardar Sarovar dam is the largest dam on the Narmada. The dam builders state their mission as “harnessing the untapped waters of the Narmada for survival of millions of people and environmental sound sustainable development of the western India by providing the essence of life-Water and Energy.”. The dam provides water for irrigation and drinking water supply, hydropower, and flood protection across the state of Gujarat.

Contact for Dam Visit Site :02640-232051
For Permision(Gandhinagar) : 23252381 Fax : 23223056

Narmada Canal

The dam will irrigate 17,920 km2 (6,920 sq mi) of land spread over 12 districts, 62 talukas, and 3,393 villages (75% of which is drought-prone areas) in Gujarat and 730 km2 (280 sq mi) in the arid areas of Barmer and Jalore districts of Rajasthan. The dam will also provide flood protection to riverine reaches measuring 30,000 ha (74,000 acres) covering 210 villages and Bharuch city and a population of 400,000 in Gujarat. Saurastra Narmada Avataran Irrigation is a major program to help irrigate a lot of regions using the canal’s water.

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How to get there

By road: The Narmada river runs through Narmada district, along the border of Vadodara district, and through Bharuch district, emptying near the city of Bharuch into the sea. There are various sites along the way, and therefore various ways to visit the river. By road: Bharuch, Rajpipla, Chanod, and Dabhoi are accessible by buses. The Sardar Sarovar dam site can be reached by private vehicle.

By rail: Bharuch is the nearest railway station.

By air: The closest airport is at Vadodara.

Image copyright by upload.wikimedia.org 

Dwarkadhish Temple


Dwarkadheesh_temple

Dwarka is a municipality of Devbhoomi Dwarka district in the state of Gujarat. Dwarka is one of the foremost Chardhams, four sacred Hindu pilgrimage sites and is also known as the kingdom of Lord Krishna. And is one of the Sapta Puri, the seven most ancient religious cities in the country.The Dwarkadhish temple, also known as the Jagat Mandir.  Dwarka is often identified with the Dwarka Kingdom, the ancient kingdom of Krishna, and is believed to have been the first capital of Gujarat. The city of Dwarka is regarded as the ‘Gateway to Moksha (Salvation)’. The term ‘Dwarkadish’ refers to Lord Krishna, who is regarded as the “Lord of Dwarka”. The city’s Dwarkadhish Temple dedicated to Krishna was originally built around 2,500 years ago.

Dwarka is well connected to the rest of India by air, rail, and road transport. It is 131 kilometres  by State Highway 947 from Jamnagar, where there is a domestic airport. The Dwarka railway station is on the broad gauge railway line that runs from Ahmedabad to Okha at a distance of about 137 kilometres from Jamnagar. Dwarka is 217 kilometres  away from Rajkot and 378 kilometres  from Ahmedabad.

dwaja_arohan-23-07 Besides the ruling place of Shree Krishna, Dwarka is the place where Lord Vishnu killed the demon named Shankhasura. Besides this historic event, the Puranas one of the 12 JyotirLingas (columns of lights) specifically manifesting Lord Shiva named Nageshwar Mahadev is in the sanctified place of Dwarka. Original temple dwarkadheesh was built by Lord Krishna’s grand son Vajaranabhji in 400 BC after the end of Historical city Dwarka,  but current temple was built in 16th century. Dwarkadheesh temple is built in Chalukyan style of architecture. This beautiful temple has 51.8 meters height, Covers area of 27 metre by 21 metre with east-west length of 29 metre and north-south width of 23 metres, with a 24 m long multi-colored flag, with symbols of sun and moon. 

In the temple, worship or puja is conducted by Aboti Brahmins Every day, Arti is performed at regular intervals and ‘abhishek’ is done. The Lord is decked in new clothes, jewels and flowers. Janmashtami is the major festival that is celebrated at Dwarkadhish Temple. At the time of festival, the entire temple is festooned with lights. Every year, the temple witness millions of devotees and pilgrims, who come to seek salvation, with the blessings of the Lord. The importance of Shri Krishna’s life and teachings was not limited to his contemporary period but is equally so to the posterity. That is why his birthday is remembered and celebrated today even after five thousand years. 

Dwarkadheesh Tempe has two entrance one from north and one from south.Entrance from north is also known as Moksha Dwaar and Entrance from south is also known as Swarg dwaar. If you step down from south entrance then you will reach at bank of river gomti. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA In 1241, Mohammad Shah invaded Dwarka and damaged the temple. During this battle, five Brahmins  fought against him, died, and were honoured as martyrs. A shrine was built near the temple in their honor and is known as “Panch Peer“, which is a name of Muslim origin. In the year 1473, Sultan of Gujarat, Mahmud Begada ransacked Dwarka and damaged the temple which was again rebuilt. In the year 1551 when Dwarka was invaded by Turk Aziz, the idol of Lord Krishna was moved to Bet Dwarka Island in an attempt to protect it.The Okhamandal area plus Dwarka used to be ruled by Gaekwad of Baroda at the time of the time of the revolt of 1857. In the year 1858 a warfare took place between British forces and the Vaghers natives. The Vaghers emerged victorious and ruled the region until the year 1859. In 1859, Vaghers were overthrown by the joint forces of Gaekwads, British and many other troops of adjoining princely states. During that time too the temple of Dwarka as well as Bet Dwarka underwent damage. Later on the locals of the region reported about the atrocities hurled by the Britishers and that eventually led to the temples’ restoration. Later, Baroda’s king Maharaja Gaekwad offered the temple Shikhara with a charming golden pinnacle around 1958. Since the year 1960, the responsibility of the temple’s maintenance is being shouldered by the Indian government.

Dwarka had always been the fond hub for archaeologists due to its close association with the great epic Mahabharata and the mythical claims about the sunken city. Numerous explorations and excavations have been carried out off shore as well as on shore in the mighty Arabian Sea. The first excavations were undertaken around the year 1963 and it brought to the fore, many ancient artifacts. Archaeological excavations that were conducted on Dwarka’s seaward side at two places un-earthed many interesting things such stone jetty, few submerged settlements, triangular three-holed stone anchors etc. The settlements that were discovered consisted in shapes similar to fort bastions, outer and inner walls etc. Typographical analyses of the anchors of the unearthed anchors tell that Dwarka had been a flourishing port city during India’s middle kingdom era. Archaeologists opine that coastal erosion could have resulted in the destruction of this busy, rich port.

Between 1983 to 1990, the well-fortified township of Dwaraka was discovered, extending more than half mile from the shore. The township was built in six sectors along the banks of a river. The foundation of boulders on which the city’s walls were erected proves that the land was reclaimed from the sea. The general layout of the city of Dwaraka described in ancient texts agrees with that of the submerged city discovered by the Marine Archaeology Unit

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There is a lighthouse at the Dwarka Point on the Dwarka peninsula, which provides a panoramic view of the city. It is a fixed light situated 70 feet (21 m) above the sea level, and the light is visible over a distance of 10 miles (16 km). The lighthouse tower is 40 feet (12 m) in height and is 117 yards (107 m) away from the high water level in the sea. The radio beacon provided on this lighthouse tower is powered by a solar photovoltaic module

The underwater ancient city off the coast of Bet Dwarka has been proposed to be developed as a scuba diving site. This project is a joint initiative of Adventure Sports Ltd (ASL) and the Government of Gujarat, with investment of ₹13 crore. This is believed to be the first effort anywhere in the world to exploit a submerged city for tourism. Water and beach sports are also being promoted by the state government, and there are proposals to further promote aero and submarine sports

The temple is open from 6.00 am to 1.00 pm and 5.00 pm to 9.30 pm.

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