Situated on the eastern end of the Junagadh district in Gujarat, this fort is established on the foothills of the Girnar ranges during the Mauryan Empire. The fort has a very traumatic history of being besieged 16 times yet it stands tall till the present day and displays remarkable beautiful architecture of the Mauryan as well as the Gupta period. Taking a trip here will be like stepping into history. There are numerous elements here which make it one of the most fun learning historical experience and especially a great way of making the kids learn about the rich heritage and culture of India.
The fort is located in the oldest part of Junagadh and Uparkot literally means the upper citadel. The fort displays remnants dating to 2,300 years back consisting of walls that reach up to as high as 20 metres in some places. There was once a 12 year long siege in Junagadh and due to the presence of this fort it remained intact and preserved. The caves present in and around the cave premises are believed to have been dated back to 1 to 4th century AD and is believed to have been utilised by the Buddhist monks in the area during the ancient times. Every aspect of the fort depicts remarkable work of artistry and creativity complete with gilds with beautifully intricate pillars, chaitya windows etc. One can go through these structures inside the fort complex and feel closer to the ancient times when the fort was in full working conditions.
What to Expect
Uparkot is one of the finest examples of ancient forts in India that are very well preserved. Lying on the eastern end are parapets where the palace is commanded with the help of a higher ground. The entrance goes beyond the town and into the eastern wall and is filled with 3 gateways which is in the form of one inside the other. The walls of the fort rise up to as high as 60 to 70 feet which creates a huge cluster of buildings. The inner gateway of the fort is a wonderful specimen of the Torana that has been topped up by other works of later indo Saracenic styles and architectural designs. The gates are in a beautiful and artistic rampart form and crossing it will open up a beautiful avenue of an orchard of glimmering custard apples. The remains of massive cannons that are as long as 17 feet can also been seen here on display which is said to have been brought in from Diu and was left there by the Ottoman Turks after their defeat. There is a mosque present here which is referred to as the Jama Masjid but only ruins of the structure remain in the form of 1 single tower. Situated close to the mosque is a tomb of Nuri Shah and is created with peculiar door carvings and fluted cupoas that are heavily ornamented. The Nawabi artificial lake within the fort walls is another interesting point of interest.
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How to Reach
By Road – Junagadh is located at a distance of 327 km from Ahmedabad and 102 km from Rajkot. It is easily accessible with the help f ST buses that connects various major and minor cities in Gujarat. It takes you through Veraval and Rajkot. This is the only best and the most cost effectively convenient way of travelling.
By Rail – there are all in all 2 trains that ply between Veraval and Ahmedabad one at night and the other during day time. by train Ahmedabad is located almost 7.5 to 8 hours away from Junagadh. Rajkot is 2.5 to 3 hours way from Junagadh whereas Veraval is 2hours away.
One can easily hire a cab or a taxi service or even book a day tour for Junagadh if they truly wish to check outhits place steeped in ancient history.
Entry Fee and Timings
Opening time – 7 am
Closing time – 7 pm
Entry Fee – Rs 5/- for Indians; Rs. 100/- for foreigners
Places to Visit around Fort
Mahabat Maqbara – This 19th century mausoleum is one of the most renowned and well identified tourist places in Junagadh. It once used to serve as the home for the Muslim rulers and the nawabs and was built by mahabat khan 2 of Junagadh. It boasts of a fusion of gothic and Mughal influences which in turn has created a beautiful structure worth a visit.
Adi Kadi Vav – A Vav literally translated into a stepwell in the local gujaratis language but this stepwell is not like the others. The space for the well is carved entirely out in a stone and it has left the main structure of the well out of the original rock face. It means that no structural construction had taken place here and the entire stepwell is carved out of a piece of stone.
Also Read : Stepwells of Gujarat
Darbar Hall Museum – Ranking among one of the finest museums in Junagadh this place was once the court of the nawabs of Junagadh and is now converted into a well-preserved museum showcasing a picture gallery, costumes, weapons, palanquins and so much more. It sheds light on the lifestyle of the nawabs through the elaborate displays of chandelier, exquisite jewels, woven carpets, pictures, silver items and many more. it is definitely a must visit even if you are not a history buff but only want to know more about this place.
Also Read : Popular Museums of Gujarat