Photographer's Note

Back to my basics, sharing with you the Heritage of India from places lesser known. In fact the residents of modern Champaner-Pavagadh in the state of Gujarat are also probably unaware of the historical importance of their town.

A little over 6 years ago, Champaner-Pavagadh was given the status of World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is surely one of the lesser known World Heritage sites in India. The ruins of Chamapner (the town that gets its name from the Champa –(Frangipani or plumeria) tree), located at the foot of the Pavagadh Hills, encompasses a fairly varied period in history - from the Rajput rulers of the 8th century to the Muslim kings of the 15th century. Consequently its architecture is quite unique and is one of the best examples of non-Mughal Islamic architecture, influenced by the prevalent Hindu style.
Champaner-Pavagadh was captured by Sultan Mohammad Begada in 1485 after a long battle against the Khichi Chauhan Rajputs & became the capital of Begada's kingdom. During his reign, Sultan Begada built many of the heritage structures notably some magnificent mosques, which rank amongst the finest architectural edifices in Gujarat. In 1535, Champaner was attacked by Mughal Emperor Humayun & soon lost its status as the capital of Gujarat and over the years fell into a state of neglect.

The Jami Masjid is one of the most important heritage structures that stands tall in Champaner. Reports indicate that Jami Masjid was a model for mosque construction that was to follow in the years to come. It is an imposing structure on a high plinth, with a central dome, two minarets 30 meters in height, 172 pillars, seven mirhabs, and carved entrance gates with fine stone jalis (filigree work) . The entire mosque is made by sandstone, except the central mihrab, which is made of marble. This mosque is one of the few that have seven mihrabs (sanctum sanctorum).

The well-maintained lawn surrounding the mosque is dotted with white egrets (you can see one here) and bright flowers. The stone main entrance to the inner courtyard is a beautiful structure marked by intricate carvings. Once inside the courtyard, surrounded by the pillar-lined arched corridors, one can see the beauty of this multi-domed mosque

Thought I also share with you this 140 year old view of the same Jami Masjid, from the North-west side. The photograph was taken in 1869 & is reproduced from the British Library archives

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Additional Photos by Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7851 W: 324 N: 16060] (56760)
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