This very old fort, from which the city derives its name (jirna means
old) stands on the eastern side of Junagadh and has been rebuilt and
extended many times centuries In places, the walls are 20m high and a
ornate triple gateway Forms the entrance to the fort. It's said the fort
was besieged for a full 12 years. In all, it was besieged 16 times.
also said that the fort was abandoned from the 7th to10th centuries and,
when rediscovered, it was completely over grown by jungle. The
plateau-like area formed by the top of the old fort is covered in
lantana scrub. Entry is Rs 1.
The mosque inside
the fort, was built from a demolished Hindu temple. Other points of
interest include the Tomb of Nuri shah and two fine baolis (stepwells)
known as the Adi Chadi and the Naughan. The Adi Chadi is
named after two of the slave girls who fetched water from it. The
Naughan is reached by a magnificent circular staircase. Cut into the
hillside close to the mosque are some ancient Buddhist caves
which are thought to be at least ISOU years old. These eerie
double-story caves have six pillars with very fine carvings. The soft
rock on which Junagadh is built encouraged the construction of caves and
wells, and there are other caves in Junagadh, including some thought to
date back to the time of Ashoka.
This stunning mausoleum of one of the nawabs of Junagadh is resplendent
with silver doors and intricate architecture, including minarets
encircled by spiralling stairways. The mausoleum is generally locked but
you may be able to obtain the keys from the adjacent mosque.
This museum has the usual display of weapons and armour from the days of
the nawabs, with their collections of silver chains and. chandeliers,
settees and thrones, howdahs and palanquins, and a few cushions and
gowns, as well as a huge carpet which was woven in Junagadh's jail.
There's a portrait gallery of
the nawabs and local petty princes, including photos of the last nawab
with his various beloved dogs. It's open from 9 am to 12.15 pm and 3 to
6 pm daily except Wednesday and the 2nd and 4th Saturday of
every month. Entry is Rs 0.50
On the way to the Girnar Hill temples, you pass a huge boulder on which
Emperor Ashoka inscribed 14 edicts in around 250 BC. His inscription is
in the Pali script. Later Sanskrit inscriptions were added around 150 AD
by Rudradama and in about 450 AD by Skandagupta, the last emperor of the
Mauryas. The 14 edicts are moral lectures, while the other inscriptions
refer mainly to recurring foods destroying the embankments of a nearby
lake, the Sudershan, which no longer exists. The boulder is actually
housed in a small roadside building, on the write if you are heading
The climb up the 10,000 stone steps to the summit of Girnar is best made
early in the morning, preferably at dawn. The steps are well build and
maintained and were constructed between 1889 and 1908 from thc process
of lottery. The start of the climb is in scrubby teak forest, one or two
km beyond the Damodar Kund, and the road actually takes you to around.
several refreshment stall on the 21/2 hour ascent. These stall some
times also cell jocks so you can graffiti your name on to the rock
besides the path! If you really can't face the walk, dolis (rope chairs)
carried by porters can be hired; for these you pay by weight so, before
setting off, you suffer the indignity of being weighed on a huge beam
scale, just like a sack of grain. From the summit, the views are superb.
Palitana, the Temple toped hill is of great significance to the
Jains. The sacred tank of Damodar Kund marks the start of the
climb to the temples. The path ascends through a wood to the marble
temples near the summit. Five of them are Jain temples, including the
largest and oldest- 12th century Temple of Neminath,
the 22nd Jain tirthankar. There is a large black image of Neminath in
the central shrine and many smaller images around the temple.
If you are unable to visit the Gir Forest, Junagadh zoo at Sakar
Bagh, 3.5km from the centre of town on the Rajkot road, has Gir lions.
The zoo was set up by the nawab in 1863 specifically to save the lion
from extinction and is surprisingly good with lions, tigers and leopards
being the main attraction. The zoo is open from 9 am to 6 pm and entry
costs Rs 3. There is also fine museum at the zoo with paintings,
manuscripts, archaeological finds and various other exhibits including a
natural history section. It's open daily, except Wednesday and the 2nd
and 4th Saturday of each month, from 9 am to noon and 3 to 6
pm. Take a No 6 bus (Rs 2), or walk there by the old Majevadi Gate on
College at Sadarbag on the western edge of town is housed in of the
former nawab's palaces, and has a small museum devoted to ayurvedic
medicine. The staff are knowledgeable and it's a good place to obtain
information on this ancient form of traditional medicine. Other old
constructions include the gate opposite the railway station on Dhal Rd,
the clock tower near the central post office and the building opposite
the Durbar Hall.