Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park

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Quick Facts

Heritage MonumentChampaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park
LocationChampaner-Pavagadh, Gujarat, India
Heritage TypeArchaeological & Religious Site
Commencement of construction of first monumentMid 8th Century CE
Completion of construction of last monumentMid 16th Century CE
Architectural TypeSandstone monuments with intricate and elegant carvings
Architectural StyleBlend of Hindu-Muslim Architecture from Gujarat
Royal PatronageMahmud Begada (primary for Islamic monuments) and others
Ruling DynastyChavda, Solanki, Khichi Chauhans, Muzzaffarid
Religious AffiliationHinduism, Jainism, Islam
Religious Dedication to
SpecialtyThe site is the only complete and unchanged Islamic pre-Mughal city and ranks amongst the finest architectural edifices in Gujarat.
UNESCO World Heritage SiteYes

About Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park

  • Champaner, is a small town located about 49 km from Vadodara (Baroda) in the west Indian state of Gujarat, at the foothill of the Pavagadh hill, a volcanic formation which rises to a height of nearly 800 m (2625 ft) from the sea level.
  • In the 8th century Champaner was founded by Vanraj Chavda of Patan, the most prominent king of the Chavda Dynasty. By the later 13th century, the Khichi Chauhan Rajputs held Pavagadh fort above the town of Champaner. In late 15th century, Mahmud Begada, Sultan of Gujarat captured the town of Champaner on 4th December 1482 CE and led seize to Pavagadh fort for 20 months before capturing it on 21st November 1484 CE.
  • Mahmud Begada shifted his capital from Ahmedabad to Champaner and the town was completely rebuilt and renamed as ‘Muhammadabad’. This was the most important historic phase for Champaner, till it was abandoned in 1536 CE.
  • While Mahmud Begada died in 1511 CE, his successors continued to rule from Champaner and in 1526 CE after Sikander Shah died, Bahadur Shah became the next ruler of Champaner. In 1535 CE, the Mughal Emperor Humayun invaded Champaner and looted the coffers. Upon Bahadur’s death in 1536 CE, the capital and the court shifted back to Ahmedabad ending the short glorious days of Champaner and the town soon the town was abandoned and fell into ruins till it was discovered by British in the 19th century CE.

Read here: Champaner-Pavagadh beyond the ruins

Attractions at Champaner-Pavagadh


Champaneer, landscape

Champaner-Pavagadh archaeological park’s landscape includes archaeological, historic and living cultural heritage monuments such as chalcolithic sites, a hill fortress of an early Hindu capital, and remains of the 16th-century capital of the state of Gujarat. There are palaces, entrance gates and arches, mosques, tombs and temples, residential complexes, agricultural structures and water installations such as stepwells and tanks, dating from the 8th to the 16th century. Except for the structural remains of the main buildings and forts, most parts of the capital city remain buried and unexcavated, though the planning and integration of the essential features of a city – royal estates, utilities, religious edifices, and spaces – can be seen and interpreted.

Jama or Jami Masjid (Great Mosque):

Jami Masjid, Champaneer

The key attraction of all the mosques in Champaner, Jami Masjid is located about 150 feet (46 m) east of the city walls, near the east gate. The mosque a blend of Hindu and Muslim architecture, preserving the Islamic ethos, and is considered one of the finest mosques in Western India with its elegant interior was built during 1488 CE and 1513 CE.

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Kevada Masjid or Kewda Mosque:

Kevada Masjid

Part of the Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park. This mosque, built in Champaner during the time of Mahmud Begada, is rectangular on plan with a double storeyed main prayer hall and has many mehrabs, all intricately carved.


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Nagina Masjid or Jewel Mosque:

Nagina Masjid

Nagina Masjid is about 0.75 miles (1.21 km) to the south of the citadel, and 1,800 feet (550 m) north of the Bhadr. The Kajuri Masjid is west of the Nagina and the Kevada is to the north-northwest. The mosque is a large monument built on a high-rise plinth with a large open courtyard in front.


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Lila Masjid:

Lila Masjid

Lila Masjid or Lela Gumbaj ki Masjid stands on a high plinth and has a frontage with arched entrance at the center flanked by two lateral arches. The central arch is a structure of well spaced minarets fashioned with horizontal cornices and mouldings; the niches have decorations. There are three mehrabs in the prayer hall and these are decorated with a central suspended kalash carved with floral motifs. Of the three domes, the one at the center has a fluted design and is colourful. The building is situated northeast of Jami Masjid.


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Sahar (or Sehar) Ki Masjid:

Sahar ki Masjid, Champaneer

This was a large mosque for the exclusive use of the Sultans. It has five mehrabs and two minarets. At the front, the entrance has an arched doorway with a large dome, with smaller domes at the four sides and minarets on either side embellished with a projection.


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Saat Kaman or the Seven Arches:

Saat Kaman, Champaneer

There are seven arches (though only 6 are visible) on the edge of the southern side of the Pavagadh hill. One can see the Saat Kaman while going up the Pavagadh hill from Champaner to Machi and the structure is built of yellow sandstone and probably was of military use. The interesting thing to note is that, the stone arches have an interlocking mechanism that holds the stones intact without the use of any building material like cement.


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Lakulisa temple:

Lakulisa temple, Pavagadh

This is one of the earliest temple on the Pavagadh hill, in the Mauliya plateau and is dated to the 10th–11th century CE. Dedicated to Lakulisa, who was the founder of Pashupata Shaivism, one of the oldest and prominent Shaivite schools. However, the temple is in ruins, with only the Gudha mandapa (sanctum sanctorum) and Ardha mandapa part of the Antarala is now present.


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Kalika Maata temple:

Kalika Maata temple, Pavagadh

One of the most popular and another very old (10th-11th century CE) temple in the region and right at the summit of the Pavagadh hill (summit 800 meters (2,600 ft)), Kalika Maata is also a living temple, with number of annual festivals held around it through out the year, which attracts thousands of pilgirms. It has three images of goddesses: the central image is of Kalika Maata, flanked by Kali on the right and Bahucharamata on the left.


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Jain Temples:

Jain Temples, Champaneer-Pavagadh

Along with Hinduism & Islam, Jainism has also been a major religion practiced by the people of the region and Jain temples of Jainism at Champaner-Pavagadh are also noteworthy.


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Sakar Khan’s Dargah:

Sakar Khan’s Dargah or mausoleum of Sakar Khan at Halol is the largest in the old part of Champaner. It has a low plinth and a large dome, with windows in the frontage.

Please scroll down to checkout other nearby attractions.

Geographical Location:

District: Panch Mahal
State: Gujarat
Country: India

Gujarat in IndiaChampaner in Gujarat

Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is spread over an area of more than 1,329 hectares (3,280 acres) with a buffer zone of 2,812 hectares (6,950 acres). It is located at Champaner a small town in Panch Mahal district of the west Indian state of Gujarat, India and located about 49 km east of Vadodara (Baroda), the 3rd largest city in Gujarat.

Champaner is about 1 mile (1.6 km) to the south of Pavagadh Hill, which rises to a height of 800 meters (2,600 ft), has a geological setting of reddish-yellow stone, and is considered to be one of the oldest rock formations in India.

Judging by early archaeological remains and according to records, the area had already been inhabited in the chalcolithic period, however it remained neglected until approximately 400 CE. In the 8th century, the city of Champaner was founded by Vanraj Chavda and he named it after the name of his friend and general Champa, also known later as Champaraj.

The heritage site is studded with forts with bastions starting from the hills of Pavagadh, and extending into the city of Champaner. There are eleven different types of buildings at Champaner-Pavagadh, including mosques, temples, granaries, tombs, wells, walls, and terraces.

Coordinates: 22°48′N, 73°53′E65″E
Elevation: 164 m (537 ft) to 800 m (2,624 ft)
Pin/Post/Zip Code: 389360
Telephone Code: ISD 91; STD 79
Nearest big town: Vadodara

How to reach Champner:

  • By Road: Champaner can be reached by road from Vadodara (Baroda), Ahmedabad or Surat, each of which are between 50 and 2000 km. It can also be easily reached from other popular tourist spot like Modhera, Ujjain, or Omkareshwar.
  • By Air: Nearest domestic airports are at Vadodara, Surat & Indore. Nearest International airports are at Ahmedabad, Mumbai & Bhopal.
  • By Rail: Champaner doesn’t have any railway station of it’s own. Vadodara railway station is the nearest station. Built in 1861, Vadodara Junction railway station is the main station in the Indian city of Vadodara, Gujarat. It is the ninth busiest railway station in India in terms of frequency of trains and busiest in Gujarat state and as well a major stop on the western railway zone of Indian railways. Around 170 trains starts, ends, or passes through the station daily. It is well connected with most major stations across India and is well connected to major cities in South & West India.

Tour Info:

Timing: Open from Sunrise to Sunset
Best time to travel: October to February
Weather: Yearly; Current
Languages spoken: Gujarati, Hindi & a bit of English

Journey & Photography notes:

The mosques of Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park are scattered around Champaner at the base of Pavagadh hill, can be mostly visited by foot. However, the Saat Kaman, the Lakulisa temple, Kalika Mata temple and some of the Jain temples are at the top of the Pavagadh hill or on the way up. Unless you’ve your own vehicle, you can either take public buses or shared jeeps which will take you all the up to Machi, somewhere half way to the top of the hill, beyond which vehicles don’t play. Saat Kaman is half way through this road journey. If you want to visit the temples you can either take the ropeway (considered to be one of the highest in India) or walk all the way up to the top of the hill from Machi. If you are staying at a hotel at Machi on Pavagadh hills or has been visiting the temples on top of the hill, unless you’ve your own vehicle, please note transportation from Champaner at the base of the hill to way up the hill to Machi or the other way round, is not available very late in the evening.

The mosques and other archaeological ruins provide excellent photo opportunities, mainly in the morning or evening sunlight. The views from Pavagadh hills are also excellent. Along with the monuments, there are varieties of birds like Shikra (a kind of falcon), Green bee-eater, Fork-tailed Drongo, Kingfishers etc. which can be of delight to photographers and bird watchers alike.

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Our suggestion:

For Quick Trip: Make a quick tour from Vadodara or Halol by car for a day tour of Champaner-Pavagadh and return by night. It would be preferable to carry your food as Champaner doesn’t provide much choice of food except at Hotel Champaner at Manchi or restaurants at Halol.

For Comfort Tour: Travel by air to Ahmedabad/Vadodara and then hire a car to Champaner. Stay over at one of the hotels/resorts at Jambughoda or Halol for 2 full days at least and checkout the various attractions of Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park. You may want to extend your stay and take a tour of the Jambughoda Wildlife Sanctuary and/or Dabhoi Fort, Chhota Udepur also. Remember to carry your food from your hotel/resort when going to Champaner as too many food options are not available. Hotel Champaner at Manchi is the only decent restaurant in the region. Rest are mostly roadside food joints.

For Budget Tour: Travel by train to Vadodara and take regular buses plying from “Baroda State Bus Stand” near railway station. Unless you’ve made your booking at a hotel at Champaner or nearby, try to reach Champaner early in the day as there are not too many accommodation available in and around and you may have to look for accommodation. Try out “Hotel Champaner” at Manchi which is a decent place to stay and gives beautiful view of the village of Champaner from the hill top. The hotel also provides with delicious vegetarian good. If rooms are not available at “Hotel Champaner” or is not within your budget, then please check with the Jain Dharamshalas at Champaner or else your only option is to go and find some budget hotels at Halol.

For a travelogue of our own tour of Champaner-Pavagadh, please read here.

Near by attractions:

Tomb of Sikandar Shah:

Sikandar Shah’s Tomb, the tomb of the last ruler of Champaner, who was assassinated by Imad-ul-Mulk Khush Kadam in 1526 A.D., is seen near Halol. It is a single-storey building in Muslim architectural style. It consists of a central chamber and entrance porches with fluted domes. The brick dome of the central chamber and the side chamber have collapsed. Sikandar Shah’s brothers, Latifkhan and Nasirkhan, were also buried here. The structure is very simple but the brackets, plinth base and finial of the dome are elaborately carved with floral and geometrical patterns.
7.4 km from Champaner
Dabhoi Fort:

Dabhoi Fort which is about 55 km from Champaner/Pavagadh and 29 km to the south-east of Vadodara is a great Rajput fort located near Darbhavati town. Founded in the early 6th century AD by a King of Gujarat, Siddhraj Jaisinh, is notable for the architecture of its four gateways, particularly Hira Bhagol which is a beautifully carved gate. The other three gates of Dabhoi Fort are Vadodara gate in the west, Champaner gate in the north, and Nandod gate in the south. There is also a Goddess Kali temple inside the fort.
55 km from Champaner
Jambughoda Wildlife Sanctuary:

Situated about 35 km from Champaner (Pavagadh) and 70 km from Vadodara with an area of 130 square kms, the Jambughoda Wildlife Sanctuary comprises dense forests covered with Teak, bamboo, Mahua trees and other similar vegetation. There are various animal species in this sanctuary, including Nilgai (blue bull, the largest antelope in Asia), jackal, hyena and wild boar. Barking deer, sloth bear and chau-singha (four-horned antelope) are few other animals also seen in this sanctuary.

Before Indian independence, Jambughoda was a princely state, filled with valleys and hills, which were home to the tribal community. Hiking is a popular activity in this sanctuary and camping can also be done at nights. There is a forest rest house in the area, which is just next to the Kada reservoir. The nearest bus stand and railway station is situated in Shivrajpur, which is barely 1 km away from the sanctuary.
35 km from Champaner
Chhota Udepur:

65 km from Champaner (Pavagadh) and 100 kms from Vadodara, Chhota Udepur was among the three princely states of eastern Gujarat, founded in 1743 by Rawal Udey Singhji. The original fortification in the town lies in ruins, overgrown with shrubs and creepers and the Darbar hall has burnt down few years back.
65 km from Champaner
Hathini Mata Waterfall:

About 30 km from Champaner, this 100 meter tall waterfall is at its best during the monsoon.
30 km from Champaner
Sardar Sarovar Dam – Narmada:

The largest dam on the river Narmada and is about 100 km from Champaner.
100 km from Champaner
Laxmi Vilas Palace, Vadodara:

The Laxmi Vilas Palace, Vadodara is an extravagant building of the Indo-Saracenic Revival architecture, was built by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III in 1890. It is reputed to have been the largest private dwelling built till date and four times the size of Buckingham Palace.
49 km from Champaner
Maharaja Fate Singh Museum, Vadodara:

The collection of Maharaja Fate Singh housed in a museum within the Laxmi Villas Palace compound, formerly known as the Motibaug School built in 1875 for Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III.
49 km from Champaner
Baroda Museum And Picture Gallery, Vadodara:

Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III founded the museum in Year 1887 and opened it to the public after completion in Year 1894. The museum was built to resemble the Victoria and Albert Museum of London.
49 km from Champaner
Kirti Mandir, Vadodara:

Kirti Mandir was built by Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III to perpetuate the glorious memory of his beloved ancestors. It was built in 1936 as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III. Also known as the Temple of Fame, it is situated near the picturesque Vishwamitra Bridge of the city, in the memory of deceased members of the royal Gaekwad family.
49 km from Champaner

Champaner-Pavagadh Map

Champaner-Pavagadh Map

Local cuisine:

The local cuisine of Champaner and Gujarat in general tends to be neither too spicy nor too sweet compared to dishes of other states. However, many Gujarati dishes are distinctively sweet, salty, and spicy simultaneously. Most restaurants in Gujarat will serve food in steel thalis (plates) or even in big silver platters. This type of ‘Thali’ consists of rotli, dal (lentil soup) or kadhi, rice, and shaak/sabzi (a dish made up of several different combinations of vegetables and spices, which may be either spicy or sweet). The thali will also include preparations made from pulses or whole beans (called kathor in Gujarati) such as mung, black eyed beans etc., a snack item (farsaan) like dhokla, pathra, samosa etc. and a mishthaan (sweet) like mohanthal, jalebi, doodh pak etc.

Art, Craft & Festivals:

Major Cultural Festival: The Kalika Mata temple is one of the biggest tourists and pilgrimage centres in Gujarat, attracting large numbers of people every year. It is a Chodhri tradition to make a pilgrimage here at least once in a lifetime. Devotees of Kalika Mata visiting the temple “worshipped by beating bell-metal symbols”. A fair is held each year at the temple on the full moon of Chaitra, in April, and at Dasara, in October, when this place turns to a large meeting of Hindu pilgrims.

Major Religious Festival: Navratri in September- October is the most important festival. Other important festival includes Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti in January every year, Janmashtami, Bhadra Purnima Fair, Urs, Diwali and Holi are other major Hindu festivals celebrated with pomp and show. For Jains every year on Magh Sukla (around Jan-Feb) a large festival is held in the Digamber Jain temples. Id is the major Muslim festival for Muslims of the local area.

Art & Craft:

Pithora painting

Pithora painting
Pithora painting

Pithora is a highly ritualistic painting done on the walls by several tribes such as the Rathwas and Bhilalas who live in the central Gujarat region, bordering Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh states in India. While the styles vary with every Bhil group, they hold a deep social relevance. The Pithora paintings trail back long into history and find their roots in the cave paintings, thousands of years old. Pithora paintings are characterized by the seven horses representing the seven hills that surround the area, where the Rathwas reside. This is enclosed within a rectangular fence in the painting that defines this geographical area. This rectangle usually extends up to the Arabian Sea in the west, Bharuch in south and Indore in north and east. The wavy line depicting the river Narmada cuts through the painting.

External Links & References

Tour Packages:

Reference Links:


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2 thoughts on “Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park

  1. MOANRA October 21, 2021 / 6:11 pm

    Very detailed and delightful.


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