Pilgrim season has started. Millions of Kalika Mata devotees will now reach Pavagadh, climb nearly 822 meters high peak to an ancient temple, pray the Goddess and seek her divine blessings, for a period of nine nights - the Navratris. While entire state of Gujarat, India and rest of the world celebrates festival of Navaratri by dancing Garba and singing traditional folk songs in praise of Goddess Maa Ambe, I must be - being a rush-avoiding & peace loving person - somewhat out of my mind to have thought of visiting Pavagadh at this time and then writing about Champaner- Pavagadh, a huge topic at its least.
Pavagadh hill about 10 Kms away, and ... almost there !
I had last visited Pavagadh about 10 years back, it was solely for religious reasons and then to relax at a picnic kind of spot, the gardens of an old monument called Jami Masjid. Hardly did I then realize the importance of those beautiful structures and hardly did I notice the presence of some 100 other pre-Mughal medieval monuments including fortifications, wells & water management structures, Hindu & Jain temples, military & agricultural structures, palaces, mosques, tombs, gardens, arches, pillars and residential areas.
Spread around an area of about six kilometers, a world heritage site, 15th century Islamic capital city of Champaner and the holy Pavagadh hill, this is a “living” heritage site with its history dating back to more than 1000 years!
As I write this, I am shocked by a news (14th October, 2007) that several devotees have got killed in a stampede at Pavagadh. May almighty God bless the departed souls. Amen!