One of the soft power of our country is its culture and architecture. Every state here has its own mesmerism and the blogpost describing the underrated travel destinations quite awesomely proves that. Gujarat, for instance, has always left me in awe with its history and architecture. Who could forget the splendid Adalaj Vav and the sacrifice of the queen who made its completion possible? The trips in this state have taught me so much about life. In the 1800s or before could anyone imagine that the wealthy and significant town like Lakhpat would be forgotten? But it happened. Junagadh which is one of the historical city of Gujarat also has so much in its veils that have elapsed from present times. Journey to the town would be enigmatic and with marvels like Mahabat Maqbara, it would become unforgettable. Let’s explore Mahabat Maqbara with the mysteries of Junagadh.
Now who doesn’t know Greta Thunberg, the teen environmental activist, what you may not know is that recently she was declared to be a time rover having a resemblance with a 121-year-old photograph of three children. Isn’t it illogically insane, when there are so many instances of doppelgangers? Thus, I have an interesting doppelganger to talk about that’s worth of your time. Mahabat Maqbara in Junagadh, Gujarat has a structural resemblance to Taj Mahal with its bubbled dome and four minarets in its corners. This one and a half-century-old complex has not only taken the colour of an old book’s pages but also has the similar which the old books have. Mahabat Maqbara started its journey in 1872 when Mahabat Khanji II started its construction, however, it was completed by his son Bahadur Khanji III in 1892.
Mahabat Maqbara, the mausoleum of Mahabat Khanji II, is a fusion of Indo-Islamic, European and Gothic architecture. Though, this was not always a mausoleum. Previously it was housed by the Babi Nawabs and their families. The marvellous building with floor-to-lintel French windows, Gothic columns and elaborate carvings stand out in the heart of the city of Junagadh. The most amazing part is, when you see the monument you would feel that you are standing somewhere in Europe. Yet it is Indian as you see the work closely. The four minarets in the corners that are encircled by the stairs artistically add to the exquisiteness of this monuments. These minarets in first look appealed to me as if they were the Dandiya sticks embellished with Gota. Yes, seriously, look at it once more. Just behind this mausoleum is its twin brother (though without minarets) mausoleum of Wazir Bahaduddinbhai Hasainbhai one of the court men of Mahabat Khanji II.
Let’s spill some history of Junagadh
If I say Junagadh is ancient than history, then it may not be wrong. From the Mauryan Empire to Vaghela Empire and from the Mughal Empire to the Babi Nawabs, Junagadh has served as the imperative place for many dynasties. Interestingly, there is a riveting account from the folklores about the discovery of Uparkot fort that the city got its name as Junagadh. The Uparkot Fort situated in the foothills of Girnar hills was built by Chandragupta in 319 BCE but it lost its glory when the Maitrakarulers shifted their capital from Junagadh to Vallabhi. Thus, the city was abandoned for 300 years and was covered with forest. It was during Chudasama dynasty, that a woodcutter came across the forest and reached the place made with stones and gate. The woodcutter asked a sage sitting nearby about the place to which he replied, “Juna” which meant old.
The woodcutter returned to Vamansthali and told the rulers about the place. That is when Uparkot fort was discovered and the capital of Chudasama’s was transferred again and the city came to be known as Junagadh.
Hub of Fantastic tales Girnar Mountains
I know Junagadh is a multi-layered place of history and there are so many stories be it political or spiritual. There is so much tell be it about the great Queen Ranakadevi of Junagadh who lived in Uperkot fort and rose to become a deity or of Edicts of Ashoka. But when people say, Girnar mountains are older than the Himalayas, you ought to know them. Once you get a chance to sit with an intellectual of Junagadh and you would be left agape with the tales of the mystical saints living in the caves of Girnar hills
When I said the mysteries of Junagadh in the introduction, mysteries meant the Girnar Mountains. The tallest peak in this group of mountains is said to be of 3600 feet in height. While climbing the steps I was amazed to see so many temples and was inquisitive to know about the numbers. So when I returned and researched about it I was astounded to know that there are 866 intricately carved temples in the five peaks. Isn’t it Amazing? Some say that there are total 10,000 steps from the base to last temple but while climbing I felt they five times of the number. One more interesting thing is that every year there is a race from the base to the peak and then back. It would certainly be a fantabulous experience! So do enquire when you plan the trip.
I wouldn’t end the blog saying that do visit Mahabat Maqbara which is just a kilometre away from Junagadh Railway station, off the MG Road. Rather I would say experience Junagadh as a whole there is so much than many of us don’t know.