I haven't been everywhere, but its on list. – Susan Sontag
With distinguished historical and cultural prominence, Gujarat’s diverse tourist interests fit well with one’s quest for wanderlust. Here is the heritage trail I took during my Gujarat trip.
Vijay Vilas palace:
Built in 1929 by Rao Vijayrajji, the palace is an epitome of graceful curves built in the fusion architectural styles. The view of lush green forest around this spectacular monument is breath-taking. It’s nice and breezy at the top and one can spend time before moving on to the Mandvi beach. In the palace estate is the privately-owned beach, which is a unique attraction.
Rani ki vav:
Ever since I had seen the pictures of this vav in a travel magazine I had fallen in love with it and visiting it in person was awe inspiring.
The stepwell bears testimony of queen Udaymati’s love for her husband king Bhimdev I of the Solanki period and was built between 1063 AD and 1068 AD. Barely a two-hour drive from Ahmedabad near Patan town, this subterranean stepwell symbolizes the peak of Gujarat-style architecture.
One would be awed at the intricate carvings of apsaras, the sculpted walls depicting different avatars of Vishnu and the Mother Goddess slaying demons Mahishasur Mardini. The stepwell entered the tentative list of Unesco’s world heritage list in July 1998.
Designed as an inverted temple highlighting the sanctity of water, it is divided into seven levels of stairs with sculptural panels of high artistic quality; more than 500 principle sculptures and over a thousand minor ones combine religious, mythological and secular imagery, often referencing literary works. The fourth level is the deepest and leads into a rectangular tank. The water at this level is quite stinky and the area is now restricted by barricades.
Royal Chatarrdis are one of the very popular sites in Bhuj built of red stones. “Chatarrdi” in local language means Umbrella. Here you will see a number of Royal umbrellas which are constructed by royal kings to protect and provide shade to the dead royals.
These chatarrdi are built in 1770 AD to glorify the tombs of the Royal family. It has polygonal shape with intricately carved roofs and may balconies. Some of the impressive and largest tombs are of Rao Lakha Rao Rayadhan, Rao Desai and Rao Pragmal.
Prag Mahal and Aina Mahal:
Although in a dilapidated state the palace still sings glories of the past. The photos hung in the palace tell the story of the Maharaja and there are various exhibits of their antique furniture.
Inside the palace, you can visit the main palace halls as well as climb stairs of the 45m bell tower for an exhilarating view of the Bhuj city
Sun Temple, Modhera:
The temple at Modhera is the most important of all sun-temples built in the whole of Gujarat. It enjoys the same significance as other two well known sun-temples in Kashmir (Martand) and Orissa (Konark). The remains of the Sun Temples at Modhera are relics of times gone by when reverence of the natural elements fire, air, earth, water and sky were at their peak sharing space with myriad manifestations of Vedic gods. Modhera’s sun temple is positioned in such a manner that at the equinoxes the rising sun strikes the images in the sanctuary.
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