The Ancient Town: Junagadh, Gujarat

On the western coast of India and in the state of Gujarat lies the ancient town of Junagadh. The town of Junagadh is of historical importance to the state. The town is surrounded by the Girnar and Dataar Hills on three sides and the Arabian Sea on the other.

The town is easily accessible by multiple modes of transport. The nearest airport is located at Rajkot which is about 102 km away from Junagadh. The Junagadh railway station is well connected to all major cities in the country. State buses as well as private sleeper buses ply between Junagadh and the surrounding places.

Junagadh was ruled by Muslim Nawabs before India’s independence and hence its overall culture has a blend of both the Hindu and Muslim communities. The town is dominated by the Gujarati community and the local language spoken by the people is Gujarati. Other languages like Hindi and English are understood and spoken by many of the people in the town.

Once in the town of Junagadh one will immediately get a feel of an ancient city lost in time, which is not by the attire of the people but by the architecture of the old buildings and houses which are very ominous in the town. The uniqueness is very evident from their large arc shape doors and windows. Many of the elders in the town claim that these ancient buildings have their foundation anchored in with pure gold and this has been seen on numerous occasions when these structures were uprooted.

There are plenty of transport options for getting around the town from auto rickshaws to tuk-tuks and the town also has their very own unique vehicle which is a motor bike connected to a cart. This unique vehicle is used to ferry both people as well as other goods including animals to neighbouring villages.

But the best way of getting around the town of Junagadh is on foot, since the town is not very big and also has plenty of narrow lanes and bi-lanes which can only be accessed by foot and gives one a very good insight into the daily life and culture of the people of Junagadh.

A walk through the Junagadh bazaar area is a must. On sale in the bazaar is a variety of food products ranging from sweets such as jalebees and also different kind of biscuits which are handmade. Bargaining is a good skill to have while shopping in this bazaar.
The must visit sites in the town of Junagadh are the fourteen edicts of Ashoka which is found on a large boulder within 2 km from Kaiwa Chowk and the inscriptions carry Brahmi script in a language similar to Pali and dates back to 250 BC.

Mahabat Maqbara is located near the post office and is about 1 km from Kaiwa Chowk. It is a typical palace-mausoleum of the late 19th century royal monuments of Junagadh.

Damodar Kund is another historical site which was built in 500 AD., this often reconstructed kund (water reservoir) is a check dam. This kund is about 3 km from Kaiwa Chowk and is a sacred bathing tank.
The town of Junagadh has plenty of accommodation options that will meet the needs of all kinds of travellers from backpacker lodges to luxury hotels for the business traveller. All the hotels and lodges are located around Kaiwa Chowk which is the main four way junction in the town.

Junagadh is famous for a food type known as Kathiyawadi which is an unlimited vegetarian food thali (food plate) which is served with chaas (butter milk). The thali is very affordable and the food is very tasty. The thali generally comprises of dal and a couple of vegetable dishes served with chapattis and rice. This thali is a must have while in Junagadh.

The best time to visit Junagadh is during winter i.e. from the months of November to February when the temperature dips well below 10°C.

Junagadh is a very beautiful place to visit for anyone in search of the culture and heritage of Gujarat. It is a place suited more for a traveller and less for a tourist.

 

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