- See Junagarh for disambiguation.
Junagadh is a city and a municipal corporation, the headquarters of Junagadh district in the Indian state of Gujarat. The city is located at the foot of the Girnar hills. Literally translated, Junagadh means "Old Fort". It is also known as "Sorath", the name of the earlier Muslim-ruled Princely State of Junagadh.
An impressive fort, Uperkot, located on a plateau in the middle of town, was originally built during the Mauryan dynasty by Chandragupta in 319 BCE The fort remained in use until the 6th century, when it was covered over for 300 years, then rediscovered in 976 CE The fort was besieged 16 times over an 800-year period. One unsuccessful siege lasted twelve years.
An inscription with fourteen Edicts of Ashoka is found on a large boulder within 2 km of Uperkot Fort. The inscriptions carry Brahmi script in Pali language and date back to 250 BCE On the same rock are inscriptions in Sanskrit added around 150 CE by Mahakshatrap Rudradaman I, the Saka (Scythian) ruler of Malwa, a member of the Western Kshatrapas dynasty. Another insciption 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 Babupyana Caves south of the fort.
The Maitraka dynasty ruled Gujarat in western India from 475 to 767 CE The founder of the dynasty, general Bhatarka, a military governor of Saurashtra peninsula under the Gupta empire, established himself as the independent ruler of Gujarat approximately in the last quarter of the 5th century. However, James Tod states Maitraka rule ended as early as 524 CE.
, of the Chalukya
dynasty, ruled Gujarat in the 11th and 12th centuries. The two large step wells (vavs) of Uperkot Fort were both commissioned by Rah Navghan I (1025-1044 CE) Muslims conquered Gujarat in 1299
and the Sultanate of Gujarat
was formed in 1407
. Mahmud Begada
(Mahmud Shah I) invaded Junagadh in 1467
. The city was annexed to the Gujarat Sultanate; the city foundation was laid for Mahmudabad in 1497
. Strong embankments were raised along the river, and the city was adorned with a palace, handsome buildings and extensive gardens. When the Portuguese took over the ports of Diu
in the 16th century, a fifteen-foot cannon, made in Egypt in 1531
, was abandoned at Uperkot Fort by a Turkish
admiral opposing the Portuguese
forces at Diu.
Mohammad Bahadur Khanji I, who owed allegiance to the Sultan of Ahmedabad, founded the state of Junagadh by expelling the Mughal governor and declaring independence in 1748 Mohammad Bahadur Khanji I, who assumed the name "Zaid Khan" when he came to power in Junagadh, was the founder of the Babi dynasty. His descendants, the Babi Nawabs of Junagadh, conquered large territories in southern Saurashtra and ruled over the state for the next two centuries, first as tributaries of Baroda, and later under the suzerainty of the British. Nawabs of Babi dynasty.
- 1735 - 1758 : Mohammad Bahadur Khanji I
- 1758 - 1775 : Mohammad Mahabat Khanji I
- 1775 - 1811 : Mohammad Hamid Khanji I
- 1811 - 1840 : Mohammad Bahadur Khanji II
- 1840 - 1851 : Mohammad Hamid Khanji II
- 1851 - 1882 : Mohammad Mahabat Khanji II
- 1882 - 1892 : Mohammad Bahadur Khanji III
- 1892 - 1911 : Mohammad Rasul Khanji
- 1911 - 1948 : Mohammad Mahabat Khanji III
The British East India Company
took control of the state in 1818, but the Saurashtra area never came under the direct control of the British government. Instead, the British government divided the territory into more than one hundred princely states, which remained in existence until Independence. The present old town, developed during the 19th and 20th centuries, is one of the former princely states
of British India
The Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Junagadh was constructed on the land presented by Jinabhai (Hemantsingh) Darbar of Panchala, and dedicated on Friday, May 1, 1828 A.D.
Accession of Junagadh to India
During the period spanning the independence and partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, the 565 princely states that existed under British rule were given a choice of acceding to either India or Pakistan. Although the states were theoretically free to choose, Mountbatten stated that "geographic compulsions" meant that most of them must choose India. In effect, Mountbatten took the position that only states that shared a common border with Pakistan could choose to accede to it.
On September 15, 1947, Nawab Mohammad Mahabat Khanji III of Junagadh, a princely state located on the south-western end of Gujarat and having no common border with Pakistan, chose to accede to Pakistan ignoring Mountbatten's views, arguing that Junagadh adjoined Pakistan by sea. The rulers of two states that were subject to the suzerainty of Junagadh — Mangrol and Babariawad — reacted by declaring their independence from Junagadh and acceding to India. In response, the nawab of Junagadh militarily occupied the two states. Rulers of the other neighbouring states reacted angrily, sending troops to the Junagadh frontier, and appealed to the Government of India for assistance. A group of Junagadhi people, led by Samaldas Gandhi, formed a government-in-exile, the Aarzi Hukumat ("temporary government").
India believed that if Junagadh was permitted to accede to Pakistan, communal tension already simmering in Gujarat would worsen, and refused to accept the Nawab's choice of accession. The government pointed out that the state was 80% Hindu, and called for a plebiscite to decide the question of accession. India cut off supplies of fuel and coal to Junagadh, severed air and postal links, sent troops to the frontier, and occupied the principaliites of Mangrol and Babariawad that had acceded to India.
Pakistan agreed to discuss a plebiscite, subject to the withdrawal of Indian troops, a condition India rejected. On 26 October, the Nawab and his family fled to Pakistan following clashes with Indian troops. Before leaving, the Nawab had emptied the state treasury of its cash and securities.
On 7 November, Junagadh's court, facing collapse, invited the Government of India to take over the State's administration. The Dewan of Junagadh, Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto, the father of the more famous Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, decided to invite the Government of India to intervene. Bhutto wrote a letter to Mr. Buch, the Regional Commissioner of Saurashtra in the Government of India:
The Government of Pakistan protested, saying that since the Nawab had chosen to accede to Pakistan, the Dewan had no authority to negotiate a settlement with India. Also, if India could acquire Kashmir (with an overwhelming Muslim majority) because its ruler had decided to accede to India, then Pakistan could claim Junagadh.
The government of India rejected the protests of Pakistan and accepted the invitation of the Dewan to intervene. A plebiscite was conducted in February 1948, which went almost unanimously in favour of accession to India. Junagadh became a part of the Indian state of Saurashtra until November 1, 1956, when Saurashtra became part of Bombay state. In 1960, Bombay state was split into the linguistic states of Maharashtra and Gujarat, in which Junagadh was located.
Junagadh is located at . It has an average elevation of 107 metres (351 ft).
The average annual rainfall of the Saurashtra region is about 775.0 mm with a standard deviation of 75.1 mm. Monsoon rainfall averages 680 mm with a variability of 61 %. Rainfall for the months of June, July, August and September averages 194, 338, 187 and 105 mm, with the corresponding coefficients of variation being 150, 69, 87 and 84%, respectively. The monsoon from June to September is received in 33 rainy days with a late season long dry spell.
As of 2001 India census, Junagadh had a population of 168,686. Males constitute 52% of the population and females 48%. Junagadh has an average literacy rate of 73%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 77%, and female literacy is 67%. In Junagadh, 11% of the population is under 6 years of age.
- Shivratri Mela - At the foot of Girnar mountain (Talati) in the month of MAHA 9 starts on mela for next five days. About ten thousand people visit.
- Girnar Parikrama:- Starts from Kartik 11 to 15 thousand people. The periphery of Girnar hills on foot about 40 km. Enjoy the religious and natural beauty.
- Girnar Competition:- Every year, between the 1st and the 10th of January, a Girnar Climbing Competition is held by Gujarat Government. Anyone who climbs up within 2 hours gets a certificate from the Government of Gujarat, and the winner gets lots of prizes.
Places of Interest
- GIRNAR The mountain, 6 km. from Junagadh city, has five principal peaks. It has roughly 8,500 steps. The third peak, Gorakhnath, at above sea level, is the highest. The area of the hills is approximately 10 km. To ascend the hills a stepaway is built UPPER KOT certainly worth seeing Jain tamples. Spots to visit Bhimkund, Satpuda, Gaumukhi Ganga, Pathar chati, Bhairavjap, Bharatvan Sheshavan, Hanumandhara. The peak of Ambaji, with a height of ., is famous for the temple of Ambaji. Kamandal kund; stepway diverts between temples of Gorakhnath and Dattatreya. The path to Dattatreya temple is difficult (photo gallery), but on the top of the peak is a small temple on the padukas of Guru Dattatreya.
- ASHOK SHILALEKH:- About 2km east of Junagadh and 3 km from the foot of Girnar Hill, between the two places, is an edict of Emperor Ashoka inscribed on a rock dating from the 3rd century BC. The Ashokan edicts impart moral instructions on dharma, harmony, tolerance, and peace. An uneven rock, with a circumference of seven metres and a height of ten metres, bears insciptions in Brāhmī script etched with an iron pen.
- SAKKARBAUG ZOO - This is the oldest zoo in Gujarat and the 3rd oldest in India. The rare Gir lions are bred and supplied to other zoos.
- THE WILD MUSEUM - In the same premises as the zoo. Rare specimens of art furniture, stuffed animals, ancient coins, Persian Sanskrit inscriptions and various other articles of interest.
- MAKABARA - Nawabs were buried here. This is a fine specimen of medieval structure.
- JAIN DERASAR - Excellent Temple on Girnar Hill at . There are many temples with excellent design.
- NARSINH MEHTA NO CHORO - This place is said to be one where the great poet Saint and reformer Narsinh Mehta held his assemblies of discovers in 15th century. Some believe that Lord Krishna held a traditional "Rasleela" dance for his devotee Narsinh Mehta.
- UPPER KOT - Uperkot is an impressive fort located on a plateau in the middle of town. It was originally built in 319 BC. It was covered over for 300 years, then rediscovered in 976 AD. It was besieged 16 times over an 800-year period. One siege lasted twelve years, but was not successful. Visitors enter the fort through a large gate. Some parts of the fort’s walls are 20 m high. If, after entering the gate you turn left, you will come to Jama Masjid, which was built on top of a Hindu temple. It has 140 pillars supporting its ceiling.
- Further down the road are what are believed to be old Buddhist caves, said to be 1,500 years old (dating from before 500 AD). They are carved into the rocky hill and have stone carvings and floral work. There are also the Khapra Kodia caves north of the fort, and the Babupyana caves south of the fort.
- There is a huge, fifteen-foot cannon, made in Egypt in 1531. There are also two interesting large step wells (vavs) here. The 11th century Navghan Kuva has a circular stairway that descends over 50 m down into the well. The Adi Chadi Vav descends 170 steps.
- DARBAR HALL MUSEUM - Picture gallery , textiles, arms gallery, the kacheri, the hall which was used by Nawabs of Junagadh to hold their darbar. The Durbar Hall and Museum has an interesting collection of weapons, thrones, silver articles, costumes, paintings, tapestries, and palanquins on display. It is not far from the entrance to the fort.
- GAYATRI MANDIR & VAGHESHWARI MANDIR - On the way to Girnar Talati, are both of the beautiful temples of Maa Gayatri and Maa Vagheshwari. At every navratris, a mela is held.
- SONAPUR - Where many statues of saints are erected. It also has a Sai Baba temple and serves as a cemetery.
- DAMODAR KUND - Built in 500 a.d., this often reconstructed kund (water reservoir) is a check dam. This kund is about a km before the bottom of Girnar Hill. It is a sacred bathing tank. Close to Damodara Kund is Revati Kund. It is said that Revata left Dwarka and moved near Girnar Hill after his daughter, Revati, married Lord Balarama.
- DAMODARJI TEMPLE Near Aswatthama Hill, which is north of Damodara Kund, is the Damodarji Temple, said to have been built by Vajranabha, Lord Krishna’s great-grandson.
- DATAAR HILLS - high stepway is built for going up shrine of Jamiyalshah Datar.
- SCIENCE MUSEUM - Gujarat’s first and the only private science museum. More than 60 working science projects based on science facts. Which can be operated by visitors. Worth visiting attached one small aquarium and evening open air garden restaurant garden café serves south Indian and Punjabi dishes since 1981.
- WELLINGTON DAM - Built by the Britishers near the foot of Datar hill. The three sides and a garden in front it affords an enchanting view.
- MOTI BAUG - The best garden the campus of agricultural university and botanical garden. It also houses the Junagadh Agricultural University Campus which has total land area of 754.62 ha and 2485 ha including 17 sub centers and 1500 manpower with annual budget around 28.5 crores. Having very nice pari talao.
- Mujkund Caves - Famous place where Krishna ran and came from mathura after which he was named as Ranchod Rai
- Ayurvedic Museum- Ayurvedic Museum is located at the Ayurvedic College at Sardarbag in the western part of town. The personnel are helpful to those interested in learning something about this ancient and natural medical treatment.
- NARSINH MAHETA LAKE- A beautiful lake constructed by joint effort of the people of Junagadh near Talav Gate.
- BAHAUDDIN COLLEGE(Arts & Science)- Gujarat's first science college built by the Nawab's vazeer "Bahauddin" who was brother in law of Nawab.
- BEHT - Bhagvatinandji Education and Health Trust [See http://www.beht.org] has been working in the many places of Gujarat, and is well-known for its work in Junagadh since many decades. In junagadh dist, BEHT has boarding school of 1200 capacity in Champarda, an educational institute for girls in Junagadh itself and many elderly houses and Ashrams located throughout the Junagadh.
- KESAR KERI (MANGOES)- Junagadh is famous for Kesar Mangoes (Safaron Mangoes). As name says Kesar mangoes are very sweet and looks like safaron color.
- SHRI SWAMINARAYANA MANDIR, JUNAGADH - Mandir made by Lord Swaminarayan
- SWAMI VIVEKANANDA VINAY MANDIR, JUNAGADH - It is one of the oldest secondary and higher secondary schools of Gujarat. Widely spread in a very big land with a very large playground, gardens and a very oldish dombs. The very special thing about this school's one of the lagendary students named Dhirubhai Ambani. Till date the Birthday of this person is widely celebrated with a verious cultural programs. Every year one of the Ambani family's visit is must. Now a days very famous for 11th and 12th standard (Science Stream).
- Junagadh is also emerging as the Educational hub of the Saurashtra.
How to reach Junagadh
The nearest airports from Junagadh is Rajkot which lies at 105 km.
Rail: The railway station of Junagadh lies on Ahmedabad-Junagadh and Rajkot- Junagadh line and connects it the major cities of the country.
Road: State transport buses link the city with all the major cities of the state.
Best time to visit: August to March; during rainy season to visit Girnar and in winter for many events occurring in city.