Pritam Rohila Travels

Reports of my travels along with some pictures

Aug 23, 2009

2008 Gujarat, Junagarh
December 18-21, 2008

December 20

Junagarh was the capital of Gujarat under the Maurya and the Gupta dynasties. In the 15th century, it went under Muslim rule for the next several centuries, until around India's Independence, when its majority Hindu population forcibly prevented the Nawab from uniting it with Pakistan.

The Babi Nawabs of Junagarh built several impressive structures of the newer town, which is situated in the foothills of the Girnar. These include the Jami Mosque...

and the Mausoleums of Nawab Mahabat Khan...

and his prime minister, all built between 1878-1911.

The oldest part is the fort of Uperkot on the sacred hill Girnar. A stronghold of the Mauryan and Gupta empires, it is said to have withstood 16 sieges, in the course of 1000 years. But the place is not very well maintained.
Still it attracts a lot of student groups and other tourists.

A boy offered t0 serve as our guide for 20 Rupees.
A Hindu palace was converted by a Muslim ruler to the present-day Jami Mosque in a celebration of his conquest of Junagarh in 1470.

With a long flight of 120 steps, Adikadi Vav is an impressive step-well, which helped the city people survive during several of its sieges. Our guide said, two slave girls were bricked up alive to please gods to ensure good water supply. Now the water surface is covered with empty water bottles and a lot of other trash.

These days, Junagarh is like many other overcrowded Indian towns.

After lunch at a local restaurant, we left for Gondal, 37 miles further to the northeast.

Aug 22, 2009

2008 Gujarat, Gondal
December 18-21, 2008
December 20
Capital of a former princely state, Gondal is located on the banks of Gondali River.

During the British period, the state of Gondal became known for its progressive, affluent and efficient administration. Its Judeja rulers introduced free compulsory education for children (including girls), sewer system, accessible irrigation for farmers, and banned veiling of women, and abolished taxes. The state earned its revenue from railway lines, which connected it with Rajkot and other inland cities with port towns of Pobander and Veraval.

We reached Gondal around sunset. We decided to go around downtown to get a few pictures before it got too dark.

We started at the Gateway to the Inner City.

The gateway opened up to a variety of vendors, shops, and offices.
The same was true outside the gateway.

There were als0 quite a few temples and mosques.

And there was a billboard with the picture of Prachi, a well-known Indian TV actress.
We then proceeded to the Swaminarayan Temple located just outside the town. It opened in 1934. An important pilgrimage site, hundreds of thousands of devotees visit the temple every year.

The temple has several rooms for pilgrims. We decided to spent the night there.

Aug 21, 2009

2008 Gujarat, Rajkot & Lothal
December 18-21, 2008
December 21
After breakfast next morning, we left for Lothal, 136 miles east of Gondal.
On the way, we stopped briefly at Rajkot, to take pictures of the house, where my wife and her family once lived.

Located about 440 miles southeast of Mohenjodaro, in Sindh, Pakistan, one of the most famous Indus Valley Civilization sites, Lothal is one of the several Indus Valley sites in Gujarat. Below is an artistic reconstruction by Indian archaeologists of Lothal, as it might have looked in its heydays, about 4000 years ag0.
This picture is displayed at the Lothal Museum. The Museum also displays objects discovered at the site - mirrors, seals, weights, and articles made from stone, chert, shell, and bone as well as those from Baharain, Sumeria, and Egypt, the countries with which Lothal had active trade relations. Unfortunately for us, the museum was closed that day.

But it is the only known Indus Valley seaport, and an important center of its bead industry, Also it has some of the most substantial remains of the Indus Valley culture dating from 2400-1500 B.C.

Indus Valley was unique among all contemorary and most subsequent civilzations of the world. Indus Valley settlements were characterized by advanced urban planning, with streets intersecting each other at right angles, and a system of underground drains and sewers. Lothal was no exception.

But unlike Mohenjodaro, the defensive wall at Lothal enclosed the Lower as well as the Upper Town. The wall probably protected the town from floods.

The Lower Town or the Workers' Area had a commercial as well as a residential area. Shops, artisan workshops, and probably homes of merchants lined the main streets, which ran north to south. Other streets, which had east-west orientation, led to individual residences.

The administrators and the upper class lived in the Upper Town, also called by some arcaheologists "the Citadel" or "the Acropolis." Homes here had private baths, which had slping floors for better drainage.
Also the Warehouse was located here. The Warehouse was built on a 12-ft high platform to protect goods from floods and tides.

The Warehouse was connected by a long wharf to the Shipping Dock, which was a unique feature of Lothal. It measured approximately 120 x 70 ft. A ship entered it through an inlet channel during high tide. Lock gates were then closed to allow the water level to rise an dfloat the ship.

Lothal was the last stop, before we returned to Anand, 38 miles away.