Champaner – A World Heritage Site


Champaner is a historical city in the state of Gujarat, in western India. It is located in Panchmahal district, 47 kilometres from the city of Vadodara. The city was briefly the capital of Gujarat.

It was founded by Vanraj Chavda, the most prominent king of the Chavda Dynasty, in the 8th century. He named it after the name of his friend and general Champa, also known later as Champaraj.

Champaner is today the site of the Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park, which UNESCO designated a World Heritage Site in 2004.

Sahar Ki Masjid is one of the most imposing structures, constructed very close to the royal enclosure. It might be the private masjid of the Sultans with Five Mihrabs. The main entrance is through an arched doorway flanked by two minarets. It is covered by a projecting, sloped chhajja. Two more entries on either side of the central one are flanked by jharokhas, one with stone jali. Corresponding to each arched entry is a large dome, surrounded on all its four sides by smaller domes. A rectangular abulation tank was constructed in its premises. The Mosque was built in later half of 15th century.

A mihrab is semicircular niche in the wall of a mosque that indicates the qibla; that is, the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca and hence the direction that Muslims should face when praying. The wall in which a mihrab appears is thus the “qibla wall”.

Sultan Begada also built a magnificent Jami Masjid in Champaner, which ranks amongst the finest architectural edifices in Gujarat. It is an imposing structure on a high plinth, with a central dome, two minarets 30 meters in height, 172 pillars, seven mihrabs, and carved entrance gates with fine latticed windows called “jalis”.

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