The long-neglected Champaner is a perfect example of the rich historical heritage that India represents.
Many great cities of antiquity around the world were the centre of their civilization for centuries, only to be lost to the ages. Centuries or millennia later, they were rediscovered after being reduced to rubble and ruins, with only the largest structures still standing and the rest mere shadows.
Other cities continued to grow and change, leading to eclectic mixes of 1000-year-old forts and temples, medieval streets and markets, government buildings put up by colonial powers and modern high-rises, offices and strip malls cluttering everything in between. Champaner is such a place where you can find an old palace, fort, several mosques, and can walk the ancient streets just as its inhabitants did, five centuries ago.
Old is Gold
Champaner, which was an out-of-the-way pilgrimage site for hundreds of years, became the capital of Gujarat, and was then abandoned to be overtaken by the jungle. The city rose and fell almost as fast as the modern stock market, but left behind far more aesthetic remains. It is remarkably well-preserved, with 1000-years-old Hindu and Jain temples, mosques from the time of the Gujarat Sultanate, and the working of a well-planned capital city still in evidence, from granaries and fortifications to stepwells and cemeteries.
Champaner is believed to be founded by King Vanraj in the 8th century. Later, after passing through the occupation of Khichi Chauhan Rajputs, in 1484, it was captured by Sultan Mahmud Begada of Ahmedabad. Some attribute the name “Champaner” to his desire to name then city after his friend and minister Champa, while others say it comes from the igneous rocks of Pavagadh, whose light-yellow colour tinged with red gives the appearance of the champaka, or “flame of the forest” flower.
The city and surrounding state of pavagadh because an important buffer area between Mandu and Gujarat, as well as a key station on trade routes leading from Gujarat to both North and South India. Pavagadh and the city of Champaner were captured by the Chauhan Rajputs around 1300 AD, and they ruled the area for almost 200 years.
Through many of the Gujarat Sultans had attempted to capture Pavagadh for the strategic reasons mentioned above, it was Mahmud Begada who succeeded in 1484, after laying siege to the city for 20 months. He renamed the city Muhammadabad, spent 23 years renovating and enhancing the city, and moved his capital there from Ahmedabad. Champaner’s time as capital was not long, however, as the Mughal Emperor Humayun conquered the city in 1535.
A Declining City
Because the Mughals had captured both Gujarat and Malwa, the city no longer had any strategic value as a buffer, and the capital was moved back to Ahmedabad. For the next four centuries or so, the city was in decline. While at one point it was occupied by the Marathas, it was never given any importance, and some records from this period indicate that while some inhabitants remained, much of the city was overrun by the surrounding forests as the centuries passed.
Only scant references exist from a few Islamic writers of the period. Hindu pilgrims continued to climb the Pavagadh hill to pray at the temple to Mahakali, but took little notice of the ruined city at the foot of the hills.
Thai Airways, Jet Airways, Qatar Airways, Air India, SpiceJet and Emirates are has flights to Gujarat from all metropolitan cities in India and other countries.
Hotel Sarvottam, Hotel Heritage, RICHA’S Hotel gs and HOTEL MAITRI are the hotels which resides near to the Champaner.Use the search window to Book your accommodation.
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