Pavagadh is a famous Hindu holy place and a key tourist location in the Panchmahal district of Gujarat. The place, which is located about 46 kms from Vadodara, consists of a hilly terrain and a Mahakali temple that gets counted among the 52 Shakti Peeths dotting the whole Indian subcontinent. It also belongs to the Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park - a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a gateway to the eastern Gujarat, where a large chunk of the Gujarati tribals reside. An estimated two and a half million devotees throng this hilly temple site each year.
The Mythological Background
As per the mythological legends, Lord Vishnu had to once intervene after Lord Shiva's other half Sati, on being insulted by her very own father Daksha, immolated herself. This enraged Lord Shiva to the hilt, who then started carrying out a Tandava dance and came very close to destroying the whole of universe. To breach into the cycle of Lord Shiva's anger, Lord Vishnu had to strike down at Sati's body, being held up by the latter, with Sudarshan Chakra, which scatted down at 52 places across the Indian subcontinent. These places - also called Shakti Peeths, or the sacred seats of the Goddess Shakti - later became highly revered among the Hindus.
The Historical And Archeological Significance
Besides the ancient era history of the Shakti Peeth temple at Pavagadh, the area also consists of an archeology, which dates back to over 1200 years. The region came under the rule of the Rajput Dynasty in the early part of the second millennium, before being acceded by Mahmud Begada, the Mughals, the Marathas and finally by the British Raj of undivided India. A tribute to the Muslim Pir, who worked to safeguard the Mahakali temple, could also be paid through the same temple-complex.
A number of archeological sites could be found scattered across the Pavagadh hill today, which belong to the Rajput and Begada times. The same legacy evolved around the city of Champaner as well, where Begada had laid down the foundation of an impressive infrastructure during his 15th century rule. This whole legacy has been declared a world heritage now.
Things You Could Do At Pavagadh
Climbing atop the hill, where the Mahakali temple and the Sadanshah Pir Dargah are situated, by using a ropeway called Udankhatola. It hardly takes you five minutes to complete the journey, although it could take a while before you got to board the cable car on a busy weekend or the Hindu holy festivals. Climbing atop the hill by walking through the passage made of steps through the hilly terrain. It may take up to an hour or more depending on your age and the physical build. A trekking expedition through the volcanic rocks of Pavagadh can also be the additional pull.
Transportation And Accommodation
Pavagadh could be visited by traveling through Baroda (Vadodara), which is very well connected from the various other cities of Gujarat and India. Taxis could be hired for a combined journey of the heritage and archeological sites of Champaner and Pavagadh, with the latter lying roughly 45 kms from Vadodara.
Jambughoda Palace at Jambughoda, and Hotel Champaner at Pavagadh are the nearest two hotels to lodge yourself in. In fact, one could extend their excursion of Pavagadh and Champaner heritage sites to the Wildlife Sanctuary at Jambughoda as well, which lies a mere 15-minute drive away from the city of Champaner and 70 kms from Vadodara. The sanctuary consists of a rich flora and fauna for the wildlife enthusiasts.