Junagadh – Perfect For A Short Trip
Junagadh (About this soundpronunciation (help·info)) is the headquarters of Junagadh district in the Indian state of Gujarat. Located at the foot of the Girnar hills, 355 kilometres (221 mi) southwest of Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar (the state capital), it is the seventh largest city in the state.
Literally translated, Junagadh means “Old Fort”.
After a brief struggle between India and Pakistan, Junagadh voted to join India in a plebiscite held on 20 February 1948. It was a part of Saurashtra state and later Bombay state. In 1960, in consequence of the Maha Gujarat movement, it became part of the newly formed Gujarat state.
An early structure, Uparkot Fort, is located on a plateau in the middle of town. It was originally built in 319 BCE during the Mauryan dynasty by Chandragupta. The fort remained in use until the 6th century, when it was abandoned for about 300 years, then rediscovered by the Chudasama ruler Graharipu in 976 CE. The fort was subsequently besieged 16 times over an 1000-year period. One unsuccessful siege lasted twelve years.
Within 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) of Uparkot Fort is an inscription with fourteen Edicts of Ashoka on a large boulder. The inscriptions are in Brahmi script in a language similar to Pali and date from 250 BCE. On the same rock there is a later inscription in Sanskrit, which was added around 150 CE by Mahakshatrap Rudradaman I, the Saka (Scythian) ruler of Malwa, and a member of the Western Kshatrapas dynasty, and which has been described as “the earliest known Sanskrit 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. The Bava Pyara caves contain 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.
Under the Mughal Empire
In 1525, Khengar was succeeded by his son Noghan. Tatarkhan Ghori had now become almost independent. In his time Jam Raval conquered Halar and built Navanagar. In 1551, Noghan was succeeded by his son Shrisingh, who lived till 1586. During this time, Tatarkhan Ghori died and was succeeded by his son Aminkhan Ghori. In his time, Akbar conquered Gujarat, although Sorath yet remained independent under the Ghori rule. The exact date of Tatarkhan Ghori’s death is not known; but from the mention of Aminkhan as his successor, it must have been from about 1570 to 1575. On the return of Emperor Akbar to Agra in 1573, after the defeat and death of Muhammad Husain Mirzah and Ikhtiyar ul Mulk, he gave orders that Sorath should be conquered from Aminkhan Ghori. Vazir Khan attempted it but was unequal to the task. Great confusion existed now in Sorath. The Moghal conquest of Gujarat, the collapse of the power of the Gujarat Sultans, the encroachments of the Jam, and the assumption of independence by the Ghori all augmented the confusion afterwards increased by the escape of Sultan Muzaffar in 1583 and subsequent partisan warfare.
During these disturbances Amin Khan Ghori and his son Daulat Khan Ghori espoused the cause of Muzafar, as did the Jam and Loma Khuman of Kherdi. The exact date of Amin Khan Ghori’s death is not known but it was about 1589–90. Raizada Khengar also warmly espoused Mnzafar’s side. After the siege and capture of Junagadh in 1591–92 by Naurang Khan, Syad Kasim, and Gnjar Khan; Khengar was dismissed to his estate of Sil Bagasra, and the Raizada ceased to rule at Junagadh. Daulat Khan Ghori died of his wounds during the siege, and henceforth Junagadh became the seat of the imperial faujdars (garrison commanders) of Sorath in subordination to the imperial viceroy at Ahmedabad.
The first faujdar of Junagad was Naurang Khan and, next, Syad Kasim. The most famous were (1) Mirzah Isa Tarkhan (2) Kutb ud din Kheshgi, and (3) Sardarkhan. Of these Mirzah Isa Tarkhan ruled Sorath from about 1633–34 to 1642, when he was appointed viceroy of Gujarat. On this occasion he left his son Inayat Ullah as faujdar at Junagadh while he himself conducted the government of Gujarat from its capital, Ahmedabad. In Mirzah Isa Tarkhan’s time the fortifications of Junagadh were entirely repaired. Kutb ud din was another faujdar, and his tenure of office lasted from about 1653 to 1666. In about 1664, he conquered Navanagar and annexed it to the imperial domain. Sardarkhan also distinguished himself while faujdar of Sorath, both by the firmness of his rule and by his construction (1681, AH 1092) of the Sardar Baug (palace) and excavation of the Sardar Talav (main gate). He built a mausoleum for himself in the Sardar Baug, but he died at Thatta, in Sindh, and is said to have been buried there and not at Junagadh. He was faujdar from about 1666 to 1686, but in 1670 he went for a short time to Idar and was replaced by Syad Dilerkhan. The last of the faujdar s was Sherkhan Babi, who became independent and assumed the title of Nawab Bahadur Khan.
Places To Stay: Bellevue Sarovar Portico, Click Hotel, The Byke Suraj Club, Hotel Janki, HOTEL PLATINUM
Places To Visit: Uperkot Fort, Buddhist Caves, Darbar Hall Museum, Wellington Dam
Things To Do: Historical tour, shopping
How To Reach: Junagadh does not have its own airport but one can land at nearby airports that are situated in Rajkot and Porbandar. Apart from this, one can avail of bus services also to reach Junagadh.
Famous For: Exclusive flora and fauna