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Gujarat photos

Junagarh (Junagadh) & Girnar mountain photo gallery

Trekking to the top of Girnar mount at 1/10/2007, sunny day
Trekking to the top of Girnar mount at 24/09/2007, in the rain:
From Junagarh to Girnar, 4-8 kms
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Foot of Girnar
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Trekking to the top 9999 steps
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Gorakhnath (Gorakshanath) temple
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Dattatreya temple at the top of the mountain, the end of the trekking of 9999 steps
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Trekking down back
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Junagarh (Junagadh) city
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Trekking to the top of Girnar mount at 1/10/2007, sunny day
   Junagadh city, in the state of Gujarat, lies some 100 km inland from Diu on the southern tip of the Saurashtra peninsula. An ancient fortified city, with a chequered past, it has an interesting mix of mosques, Hindu temples, Buddhist monuments, Gothic archways and beautiful mansions - not forgetting the splendid Jain Temples on Girnar hill (4 km east). The town gets its name from the 'old fort', which encircles the medieval part of the city.
   Junagadh, then called Girnar, was the capital of Gujarat under the Mauryas from the 4th century BC until the reign of Emperor Ashoka who embraced Buddhism. After his death (c 226 BC), it passed into the successive control of the Kshatrapas, Guptas and finally the Chudasanas. Hindu dominance lasted till around the middle ages, when Muslim invaders established their supremacy. It remained under Muslim rule till India's independence. Then, in keeping with the wishes of the local population, and contrary to those of the ruling Nawab of Junagadh, it became part of the Indian Union of States.
   You could start your tour of the city by visiting 'Uparkot', or 'Upper Fort', an ancient fort in the eastern part. It is an imposing monument believed to date back to 319BC when Chandragupta built it. The fort has a long and bloody history and was laid siege to 16 times. The fort was ultimately abandoned in the 7/8th centuries and the surrounding jungles reclaimed it. An ornate triple entrance gateway leads to the ruins inside where lies the 'Nilamtope'- a cannon acquired by the Nawab of Junagadh from a Turkish sultan, the 'Adi Chadi Vav' and 'Naughan Kuva' - two step wells, the latter with a superb staircase winding down to the water level over 52 metres below and 1500-year old Buddhist caves.
   The Jami Masjid is an old mosque whose high roof is supported by 140 pillars many of which were taken from the Chudasana Palace.A visit to the boldly decorated 'Maqbara' on Mahatma Gandhi road would be time well spent. This is a group of mausoleums built for the Muslim rulers in the 19th century. The most opulent of the lot is the tomb of Mahabat Khan I built in 1892. The mausoleum stands out with its imposing carved silver doors, its minarets and its winding staircases. You could also stop off at the Durbar Hall Museum where its collection of memorabilia from the royal courts, silver chains, thrones, crystal chandeliers, palanquins and elephant howdahs makes interesting viewing.
   On the way to Girnar you pass the famous Ashoka's Edicts, a huge boulder engraved with 14 edicts of emperor Ashoka dating back to 250 BC. These are written in the Brahmi script of the Pali language and encourage people to follow the tenets of Buddhism. On the same boulder you also see inscriptions in Sanskrit, which were added by later rulers describing recurrent floods in the area, which destroyed the embankments of the nearby Sudershan Lake (which no longer exists).
   The high point of your stop in Junagadh would be a visit to Girnar Hill. It is one of two hills most sacred to the Jains and is topped by a cluster of 16 beautifully carved marble shrines. Starting from the sacred Damodar Kund, you climb 10,000 steps to reach the summit. The climb will take at least two hours. So do make a very early start (preferably at dawn) and beat the sun! Mercifully, there are several refreshment stalls along the way!
   Junagadh is a good base from which to visit the Sasan Gir National Park (54 km), the only home of the Asiatic lion, Chorwad beach (66 km) and the famous Somnath Temple near Veraval (about 80 km).
   Getting There: Junagadh is connected to Ahmedabad (377 km) by rail and road to most towns in Gujarat like Bhavnagar, Ahmedabad, Surat and Bhuj.