Uparkot Fort

About the location:  This ancient fort is believed to have been built in 319 BC by the Mauryan emperor Chandragupta, though it has been extended many times. In places, the ramparts reach 20m high. It’s been besieged 16 times, and legend has it that the fort once withstood a 12-year siege. The views over the city and east to Girnar Hill are superb, and within its walls, there is a magnificent former mosque, a set of millennia-old Buddhist caves and two fine step-wells. The fort has two fine step-wells both cut from solid rock. The circular, 41m-deep Adi Kadi Vav was cut in the 15th century and named after two slave girls who used to fetch water from it. Navghan Kuvo, 52m deep and designed to help withstand sieges, is almost 1000 years old and its magnificent staircase spirals around the well shaft. Look for the centuries-old dovecotes.

Brief History:

A fort and town was established at the foothills of Girnar hill during reign of the Maurya Empire and continued to be used during Gupta period, but it lost its importance when the capital of Saurashtra region was moved from Junagadh to Vallabhi by Maitraka. Chudasamas settled around Junagadh from 875 CE according to bards when they acquired Vamansthali (Vanthli) from Chavda ruler.

Chudasama ruler Graharipu (r. c.940-c.982) cleared the old citadel free from the jungle. From the evidence contained in the Hemchandra’s Dvyashraya, it can be concluded that Graharipu laid the foundations of the citadel as it now exists. the legend is told about its rediscovery.


After several Chudasamas of Vamansthali had ruled, a woodcutter one day managed to cut his way through the forest and came to a place where stone walls and a gate existed. Nearby sat a holy man in contemplation, and on being asked by the woodcutter the name of the place and its history, he replied that its name was “Juna” — old. The woodcutter returned by the way he had come to Vamansthali, and reported his discovery to the Chudasama ruler, who ordered the forest to be cleared away. This being done, the fort came into sight. But there was none who knew its history, or who could tell more than the holy man had told the woodcutter. So the place became known as “Junagadh” for want of a better title.

If this story is to be believed, either Graharipu rediscovered an ancient stronghold or else after he had built the fort, it was abandoned and afterwards found again by a later ruler Navaghana who transferred Chudasama capital from Vamansthali to Junagadh.


In 1893-94, Haridas Viharidas, the Dewan of Junagadh State, had restored the fort.

In July 2020, the Government of Gujarat initiated the restoration of the fort and the structures inside it at the cost of ₹44.46 crore (US$5.9 million). The project will be completed in 18 months.

Architecture and places of interest

The Uparkot is one of the most interesting of old forts. The parapets on the east, where the place is commanded by higher ground, have been raised at least three times to give cover against the increasingly long range of projectiles.

The entrance is beyond the town in the east wall, and consists of three gateways, one inside the other. The fort walls are from 60 to 70 feet high, forming a massive cluster of buildings. The inner gateway, a beautiful specimen of the Torana, has been topped by more later Indo-Saracenic work.

On the rampart above the gate is an inscription of Mandalika III, dated 1450. Near this is the Jumma Masjid built by Mahmud Begada.

The Tomb of Nuri Shah, close to the mosque, is ornamented with fluted cupolas, and a most peculiar carving over the door. There are two Wells in the Uparkot — the Adi Kadi Vav, said to have been built in ancient times by the maids of the Chudasama rulers, is descended by a long flight of steps ; and the Navghan Kuvo, cut to a great depth in the soft rock, and with a circular staircase.

Uparkot Caves are 2nd-3rd century Buddhist caves located in the Uparkot. It is double storyed cave complex used by Buddhist monks during ancient times.

Nawabi Lake is a square artificial lake located in the Uparkot.

Best time to visit: The best time to visit is between November and February.

How to get there

By Road: The Nearest Town Vinchhiya (3 km) and the nearest bus station is Jasdan (15 km).

By Rail: The Nearest Railway stations are: Botad 45 km and Gondal 66 km.

By Air: The Nearest airports are Rajkot (77 km) and Ahmedabad (200 km approximately).

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