Gujarat: The Journey to the past

5 Best religious sites in Gujarat

Welcome to this blog on 5 best religious sites in Gujarat. Gujarat is the westernmost state of India and is known for its amazing food, Historical sites, intelligent business community, vivid nature, and geographical diversity.

 Now it’s our turn to witness the glory of Gujarat. As Amitabh Bachchan says, “Kuchh din to gujaro Gujarat, me” means “spend some time in Gujarat”.

So Ladies and gentlemen, pack your bag and tighten your seatbelt; we are on a ride to Historical Gujarat.

Gujarat is a state of India located in the western part of the subcontinent. Reachable with Trains/buses and airways from all over the country.

After crossing various weather zones and witnessing the change in the geographical scenery from our Train’s window, we finally reached the City of Ahmedabad. “Locals fondly say it, Amdavad.”

This city is India’s first world heritage city inscribed by UNESCO.

The town evolved from Ashaval of Asha Bhil, Karnavati of Karanadev, Ahmedabad of Sultan Ahmed Shah, to the current Amdavad.

This city is chaotic and calm simultaneously; the river Sabarmati crosses from the center of the town, parting it into two parts. Although this city has places of great interest all around it, the old Amdavad, known as the walled city of Amdavad, is an area abundant with historical sites.

Let’s start the journey of Gujarat with the nearest stop, yes from the “Swaminarayan Temple” in the walled city of Amdavad.

Shree Swaminarayan Temple -First among 5 best religious sites in Gujarat

5 best religious sites in gujarat
Swaminarayan Temple

Swaminarayan sect of Hindusim was founded by Shri Sahajanand Swami, better known as “Swaminarayan,” is a very popular form of worship in the western and northern parts of the country. As per 2001 records, the Swaminarayan sect has more than 50 lakh followers.

On the instructions of the founder, a beautiful and colorful temple was built in the year 1822. Swaminarayan himself installed the deity of ” Nara and “Narayan” at the center of the temple”

This temple is situated in the Kalupur area of Ahmedabad and from here the heritage walk of the city starts too. This is surely one of the 5 best religious sites in Gujarat.

Historical temple

The temple premise is very calm and serene, and the premise contains the deity of Radha and Krishna, Nara Narayan, and Swaminarayan himself. The buildings are decorated with carvings of floral motifs, sculptures of animal and human figures

This place can help you kick-start the journey to Gujarat.

Jami masjid-magnificent among 5 best religious sites in Gujarat

Our next stop, the magnificent Jami Masjid /Jami Mosque, used to occupy the central and most important position in the social and geographical life of the newly built capital city Ahmedabad for Sultan Ahmad shah. Jama Masjid is among the 5 best religious sites in Gujarat.

Some scholars believe that it is one of the most beautiful mosques in the east, while others agree that it is one of the most charming structures in the whole world. 

The Compound of Jami Masjid

Erected by Sultan Ahmad shah I in 1424, this mosque has a wide and vast courtyard and a spacious and well-decorated prayer hall.

This prayer hall is roofed with fifteen principal domes supported by more than 300 tall and graceful stone pillars. This prayer hall is recognized for the colored marbles used in the designing of the beautiful mihrabs with amazing floral designs all over it.

After appreciating this amazing Place, now it’s food time.

Amdavad is well known for its food, especially at “Manek chauk”. After enjoying the amazing Fafda and Khaman now it’s time to move a little away from the city.

We are on our way to the next stop

Adalaj Stepwell or Adalaj ni vav

18 km away from the biggest city of Gujarat, Ahmedabad, on the road towards Patan, we are in the town known as Adalaj. But why we are here.

We are here to listen to a story, a story which is written on the stones, the story once told by the chisel in the year 1498.

Queen Rudabai commissioned a stepwell, as per the wish of his husband and the king of the Vaghela dynasty “Rana Veer Singh”, because of the acute water shortage in that area.

But unfortunately, the king died in the battle amidst the construction of the Stepwell with the Sultan of Gujarat Mehmud Begada.

Sultan  Mehmud Begada was flabbergasted by the beauty of Queen Rudabai and asked her to marry her. Queen agreed to marry, but only after Sultan completed the construction of Stepwell.

Sultan agreed delightfully, and with the help of skilled labor, a five-storied, mesmerizing stepwell was prepared.

Legend says that after completion of the Stepwell, Queen Rudabai ended her life by jumping in the same Stepwell but never married Mehmud Begada.

We are witnessing the beauty of architecture, the mesmerizing motifs, and the sculpture of gods and goddesses; simultaneously, we witness the touch of Islamic architecture in the construction of this Stepwell.

The oblong step well runs from south to north, entry to this vav is from south through stairs on three sides. Walls and pillars of this Stepwell are decorated with beautiful sculptures like A king seated on a stool, scene showing churning of buttermilk, bhairava and female dancers.

It is an archeological site, preserved and maintained by the Archeological Survey of India. Now we will move in the direction to Patan, on the route of Patan we came across to a city known as Mehsana , and from this city Mehsana 25 km from a mesmerizing is waiting for us

Modhera Sun Temple

Now we reached a village, a village which is far from the sparkle of city lights. Once King Bhimdev I, the land of the Solanki dynasty used to rule in the 11th century. As the Solanki kings were Suryavanshi and worshiped Surya as a Kuldevta.

That is why he decided to build this grand sun temple to worship his original deity, but he did not want to build an ordinary temple; he wanted to create a temple unlike others.

This Sun temple of Modhera was built in 1026 AD for deep contemplation and contemplation. According to Historian A.K. Majumdar, during 1024-25 CE, Mahmud of Ghazni attacked Bhima’s kingdom, with a detachment of about 20,000 soldiers unsuccessfully trying to stop him at Modhera. Then to keep this incident in memory, this Sun temple should have been built.

This temple was again attacked by an invader from Ghazni and killed many people. With this, Ghazni destroyed the entire temple and ruined temple, and he even broke the established “Idols of Sun god.”

But later, the Ruined temple was restructured again, but it’s not an active temple now. But as the Sun temple is famous worldwide for its unique architecture and craftsmanship, the surprising thing is that limestone has not been used anywhere to add to the construction of this temple.

From the point of view of its wonderful creation, this temple is the best among the temples built by the Solanki kings.

The temple is divided into three parts, one of which is Ram kund/ Surya Kund

As soon as you enter the courtyard of the temple, you see a Kund, “A water body.” This Kund is in a rectangular shape   (176 feet in length and 120 feet in width) and has beautiful steps all around to reach the water of this pool. You can feel the history breathing here.

There are many small temples all around the stairs. It is believed that at one time, there were 108 temples on these steps of the Kund, which were dedicated to different deities. Of course, some temples are no longer in existence, but the ones that are left bear testimony to a glorious history. The idols of Lord Vishnu and other deities have been installed in these small temples.

We came to the Natya Mandap or Sabha mandap, from this Kunda, which is open from all sides and beautifully crafted Toarn “Entry gates” welcome the visitors.

This Sabha Mandap has 52 pillars that depict the stories from Ramayana and Mahabharata.

Natya Mandap

From this Sabha mandap, now we are moving towards the “Garbh Gruha” or inner sanctum, where once the glorious Statue of Surya, “Sun-god,” used to be.

Although the temple is not a functioning temple now, it is not that difficult how prosperous and famous at one time this must have been.

From this amazing historical site we are coming to our final destination, the destination which is a world heritage site, the destination that is imprinted on new 100 Rs Indian currency.

Also read Places to visit in jambhugoda

Rani ki Vav-Architectural wonder among 5 best religious sites in Gujarat

Rani KI Vav

After a journey of some 40 km, we finally reached one of the fascinating sites of India, “Rani ki Vav” Vav means stepwell. Rani Udayamati of the Chaulukya Dynasty built this amazing stepwell to commemorate Bhimdev I, her husband. This is definitely one of the 5 religious sites in Gujarat.

When we search in the history book A 1304 composition of Jain monk “Merutunga”  writes about that Queen Udayamati, the daughter of King Naravaraha Khangara, wife of Bhimadev I  established this stepwell in the city of Patan. This composition also mentions that this stepwell was commissioned in 1063, and it took more than 20 years to complete this archeological wonder.

 In the decade of early 1890s, when it was completely buried under silt, only the shaft and a few pillars were visible. The stepwell was rediscovered in the 1940s, and the Archeological Survey of India restored it in the 1980s. In the year 2014, UNESCO recognized this place as a World Heritage site.

This vav has nearly 800 artifacts mentioning different stories, tells about the various avatars of Vishnu, and much more.

Hope you enjoyed the journey see you seen please tell me where you want to go first. Please do visit these 5 religious sites in Gujarat in your next Gujarat trip.

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