UNESCO World Heritage sites in Gujarat, India

This article first appeared in My Travelogue by Bhushavali
 
Gujarat is the home to 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites (plus 3 in tentative list & 1 in buffer zone). Read on to know more about that!


1. Historic City of Ahmedabad: I've been to Ahmedabad thrice and I could visit there again and again. The city was founded by Sultan Ahmed Shah in 15th C  CE. This walled city in the banks of River Sabarmati, is filled amazing architecture of both Hindu & Islamic styles. The most important aspect of the city are its 'pol' neighbourhoods - these are historic, closed communities with 2 main entrances/exits and few secret entrances/exists to protect themselves during war and riots. The best way to experience this historic city is by taking the Heritage Walking Tour through these various pols.
One of the fascinating mosques here are Sidi Saeed Mosque which has some stunning, intricate windows called Jaalis, one of which is the logo of IIM, the prestigious management institute in India. Other important mosques include Jama Masjid, Bai Harir Sultani Mosque, and Sarkhej Roza. In its outskirts are Adalaj Vav and Dada Harir ni Vav, which are historic wells of 15th C CE, complete with exquisite sculptural details. And ofcourse there's the Sabarmati Ashram - the home of Gandhiji, the Father of the Nation of India, which was his base when he lead the freedom struggle when India was a British colony!


2. Rani ki Vav, Patan: Visiting Rani ki Vav (Queen's well) is an experience by itself. As you walk towards it, you won't see a thing and it looks so dull and sad. But as you walk closer and closer and see the architectural beauty of this 'well', and 'inverted building' filled with tons of intricate, miniature carvings, all of a sudden, you're just awe-struck!

This was built in 11 C CE. Filled with such intricate miniature sculptures of Gods, Apsaras, Celestial beings and geometrical decor, this place is such a marvel. The well is in several levels, and one of the levels is filled with the Dasavathara sculptures of Lord Vishnu. Today it is possible to go down upto a certain point and then its barred to protect the monument. Btw, while you're here in Patan, don't forget to visit the weaving centres of Patola and Mashru fabrics. 



3. Pavagadh & Champaner: Pavagadh region is located very close to Baroda/Vadodhara. Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, complete with the Champaner Jama Masjid, various stepwells including Helical vav, Pavagadh Jain Temples, hilltop Lakulisa Temple, and more, are all together protected together under UNESCO. The Jama Masjid is vast and is filled with filigree like relief work. Reaching Lakulisa temple and Pavagadh can be done by foot or the easier way by is by the rope-way car! It was the first one I had ever been on, before Koblenz, Germany!

##. Western Ghats: The good-old Western Ghats that begins at the southern tip of the country, extends into Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat. While the whole of this mountain range is described as a UNESCO Ecological hotspot, there are 39 enclaves (like Silent Valley, Eravikulam, Nagarhole etc) within Western ghats that listed as protected regions as well as listed under Man and Biosphere programme of UNESCO while the rest of the mountain range are in buffer zone. Purna Wildlife Sanctuary, the part of this mountain range in Gujarat is under the buffer zone of UNESCO and this sanctuary itself is not listed. This sanctuary is listed under WWF though!


I've seen quite a few websites list Manas Wild Ass sanctuary and Lothal & Dholavira - the Indus Valley Civilization sites as UNESCO Sites. But it isn't so! They are in the Tentative list. Tentative list only means that these sites have been proposed by Indian committee for UNESCO, to the World Committee to consider them to be included. They have not yet made it to the final listing of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 
Nevertheless, they are some amazing places to see. I'm yet to visit Manas but I've been to Lothal & Dholavira. Dholavira is so stunning that I'd never say no to a chance to visit there again. Its been ages since I've seen so many stars in the night sky as I did in Dholavira. The guest houses there are the traditional, circular pol houses of Gujarat and it was an experience that I'd never ever forget. Its in the middle of nowhere! Its just so so fascinating! 

To Get there:
The largest airport in Gujarat is ofcourse located in the capital city of Gujarat at Ahmedabad called Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport, which is connected with very many domestic flights. Internationally it is connected to a few far-eastern countries including Bangkok, Singapore etc as well as middle-eastern countries including Saudi Arabia, UAE etc with Etihad, Air Arabia etc.

Bhushavali

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

12 comments:

  1. oh my God, look at those UNESCO sites. I traveled in Gujarat for 10 days sometime back and I absolutely loved that state. I have seen some of these sites but not all of them. Looks like I need to plan on visiting the state again.

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  2. I was amazed to see the UNESCO sites in Guarat. Interesting that there are 3 new ones on a tentative list. I am amazed with the detail in the carvings. And the stories they tell. Great to see that they are maintained in such great shape. Hard to believe some were built centuries ago.

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  3. I am from Gujarat and I know there are so many archaeological sites here. Ahmedabad has so many things and I loved the intricate Jali of Sidi Sayed ki Jaali. Visiting Rani ki Vav (Queen's well) must be great thing to do here. I have not visited Rani Ki Vav yet as love to see all intricate sculptures of Gods and Apsaras. Patan is also a great place to visit for knowing about special weaving technique here.

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  4. Wow! Ahmedabad is beautiful! The details in the Queen's well are astonishingly pretty. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Gujarat has so many Unesco World heritage sites! They are all beautiful and so much history! I am especially interested of visiting the city of Ahmedabad! The architecture is amazing and so many details! If I have time I would also visit the Western ghats!

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  6. Gujarat is rich in many ways. UNESCO heritage sites are best to start from. I still haven't done the state beauties really well. My last trip was very short. I have heard a lot about Rani ki Vav. Thank you for reminding that I have to go there.

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  7. I am truly amazed with their unique beauty! Now all I can do is to dream of exploring these UNESCO places while waiting for our lives to be back to normal. I would love to visit the Queen's Well and admire its detailed sculptures.

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  8. Wow, those rock carvings are absolutely amazing. I wonder how many years of hard work the artists spent creating those. How much time do you recommend spending there?

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  9. I love Ahmedabad's heritage and espcially the poles. The Old City used to be my favorite because that is the only place to find amazing non veg food. I love Champaner and Patan, these are some places that are simply gorgeous and worth exploring. I missed Lothal but I'd surely visit the place on my next trip.

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  10. Ive always loved the intricate carvings on temples in India. The handwwork is so amazing and makes temple hopping so much fun.

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  11. WOw the architecture of GUrat is so impressive, I would love to see it for my own eyes. It reminds me a bit of Hampi, if I can compare. Seeing this kind of art I always think how many years it took to acomplish all the details and how many people had to work on it.

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  12. That was an interesting read on the UNESCO heritage sites in Gujarat. The Rani ki Vav is my favourite from this list. It looks really interesting and those intricate sculptures of Gods and Apsaras are worth seeing. I would love going down in that well too.A visit to Patan to learn about special weaving technique will be on our list too.

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