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CHAMPANER TOURS

CHAMPANER TOURS

THE DESERTED CITY of Champaner is situated at the foot of Pavagadh Hill. Originally the seat of a Rajput Chauhan dynasty, Champaner was conquered by the Muslim ruler Mahmud Begada in 1484. He spent 23 years rebuilding the citadel, adding mosques, palaces and tombs within its massive walls, guarded by huge gateways. Champaner remained the capital of Gujarat until 1535, when it was conquered by the Mughal emperor Humayun. Thereafter, it fell into gradual decline. Much of Champaner lies in ruins today, with the remains of many old mosques and palaces reflecting a blend of Islamic and Jain traditions. The Jam Masjid, built in 1523, is a large, symmetrical structure with a perfectly proportioned dome. Its richly ornamented exterior with 172 pillars and 30-m (98-ft) high minarets, makes it one of the finest Islamic monuments in western India. Another elegant mosque here is the 16thcentury Nagina Masjid.

The Pavagadh Fort, at the crest of the 820-m (2,690-ft) high Pavagadh Hill, is 4 km (2.5 miles) to the southwest of Champaner. It has a cluster of Muslim, Hindu and Jain shrines, and the ruins of an ancient fortification, reflecting its chequered past. On the way up the hill are the ruins of the Sat Mahal, the sevenstoreyed palace of the Chauhan kings. The kings were slain when they refused to embrace Islam after the Muslim conquest, and their women and children committed jauhar There are also two domed granaries, the Makai Lothar and the Naulakha  Lothar.

. ENVIRONS: Dabhot Fort, 75 km (47 miles) south of Champaner, was constructed in the 13th century by the Solanki Rajputs (10th-14th centuries). It is an interesting example of Rajput military architecture, with four gates, a water tank fed by an aqueduct and fields within the fort to provide food during a siege.

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