History of Junagadh


The history of Junagadh chronologically presents the birth and genesis of this small city in the state of Gujarat. A city and municipality, Junagadh is located at the foothills of the sacred Girnar Hills. The city is presently the headquarters of the Junagadh district of Gujarat.

The name Junagadh means Old Fort. Various famous rulers such as the Kshatrapas, Mauryans, Chudasamas, Guptas, Vilabhis, Gujarat Sultans and Babi Nawabs have reigned in this part of the world. The architecture and rich cultural heritage of Junagadh stands as the edifice of the political and religious influences of the various rulers who have ruled the region.

Four major religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam, have left a substantial influence on Junagadh. However, a stronger influence of the rulers of Junagadh was felt on the architecture of the city. During the reign of Babi Nawabs, Junagadh was the capital of the Junagadh State.

Among the two defensive structures, Uparkot in the west is one of the fortifications of Junagadh. Uparkot was a stronghold of Mauryans and Gupta Empire. This place is known to have survived 16 sieges in a span of 1000 years. This is courtesy to the strategic location which makes access to this place very difficult. Buddhist caves, Baba Pyara caves, Adi-Kadi Vav, Navghan Kuvo and Jami Masjid are the major sites here. The former residence of Ranakdevi was converted into the Jami Mosque by Muhammad Begada after his conquest of Junagadh in 1470.

Delving into Junagadh history would reveal the presence of rulers who were great patrons of art and architecture. Massive beautification of Junagadh was done during the reign of Nawab Mahobat Khat II, who was one of the Babi Rulers. Under his patronage, many renowned edifices like Aina Mahal, Circle Chowk with clock tower and Dewan Chowk were built. The Maqbaras or the mausoleums of the royal family are also architectural extravaganzas of the city. Manoranjan Guest House, Bahauddin College, Mahobat Madresa are the other important buildings constructed during the Nawabi period.

The rich culture and heritage of Junagadh is also preserved in the literature of the great poets and litterateurs like Narsinh Mehta.

Last Updated on 06/06/2013