Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park is a magnificent group of archaeological brilliance located approximately 47 km from the main city of Vadodara, Gujarat. This spectacular site was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park comprises Pavagadh which is a sacred volcanic hilltop and the remnants of a former Gujarati capital along with some of its artistic mosques with their old-worldly charm. The heritage site expands over an area of more than 1,329 hectares with a buffer zone of 2,812 hectares.
The district of Chamapner was established as the capital of Gujarat under the rule of the Capital Rajputs around 1300, but that fame was short-lived as it was conquered by the Gujarat sultan Mahmud Begada in 1484. It was under Mahmud Begada that Champaner was beautified and rose to its splendour.The park complex is a great combination of historical, archaeological, and cultural landmarks. On one hand, the gigantic fort walls and bastions of the fort greet you and on the other, the once operational mosques surround the vicinity and make the landscape grandeur with all their architectural craftsmanship on display. The mosques here are also considered the most striking features of the Champaner’s citadel complex. Jami Masjid with its intriguing carvings, multiple domes, and seven mihrabs, is the icing on the top. Other notable mosques include Saher ki Masjid, Kevda Masjid, Nagina Masjid, Lila Gumbaj ki Masjid, and the Ek Minar ki Masjid, a unique brick tomb.
The Kalikamata Temple, perched upon the hill top Pavgadha, is a famous Hindu shrine which is also the epicentre of the month long Mahakali Festival that takes every place between March and April. The top of the hill also houses the oldest surviving edifices of Pavagadh – the Lakulisha Temple and several other Jain Temples. There are eleven different types of buildings surrounding the Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park including mosques, shrines, tombs, wells, walls, and terraces. The Heritage Trust of Baroda claims a list of 114 monuments in the region, of which only 39 are managed by the Archeological Survey of India, due to limited funding.
For more information, visit the Gujarat Tourism website.
The nearest proper town is Vadodara (Baroda). Regular buses operate between the town and the park. You can also hire a cab if you want to do a day tour.