Travel Trade Journal
Must-visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Gujarat
AUNESCO World Heritage Site symbolises the evolution of humanity and represents the connection between our shared past and future. Gujarat now has four World Heritage Sites – Dholavira in Kutch, Champaner in Pavagadh, Rani ki Vav in Patan, and the historic city of Ahmedabad, each of which represents a distinct cultural moment and unique historical landscape.
Ahmedabad World Heritage City
India’s first World Heritage City is a role model of unity in diversity Gujarat. The city of Ahmedabad is endowed with a rich architectural heritage that is vital to the local identity and continuity of the place. Along with the foremost heritage Indo-Islamic monuments of the 15th to 17th centuries, there are potential heritage precincts in the form of the Pols, the traditional residential clusters of the medieval period, which make Ahmedabad exceptional. Combining these all, the historic walled city of Ahmedabad has it all to be the first city in India to be inscribed in UNESCO’s World Heritage City list of 2017. The city is known for its association with Mahatma Gandhi and, in addition to a complex maze of neighbourhoods called pols, hosts some of the country’s finest medieval Islamic architecture.
Rani ki Vav, Patan
Rani ki Vav is an ancient step-well located on the banks of the river Saraswati in the town of Patan in Gujarat. Added to the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in 2014, Rani ki Vav was built as a memorial during the Chaulukya dynasty. Built in the complex Maru-Gurjara architectural style, Rani ki Vav has a very intricate and elaborate design. One of the most sumptuous structures of its type, it has an inverted temple, seven levels of stairs, and more than 500 principal sculptures. Stepwells have been a unique form of water management system in the Indian subcontinent.
Dholavira Archaeological Site, Kutch
Dholavira archaeological site is located at Khadirbet in Bhachau Taluka of Kutch district in the state of Gujarat. The site, named after Dholavira village for its closeness to the village, includes ruins of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization/Harappan city. Dholavira Site is the most prominent archaeological site in India belonging to the Indus Valley Civilization. The site was discovered in 1967-1968. It is the fifth-largest of eight major Harappan sites across the subcontinent. Inhabited until 2100 BC, Dholavira is one of the oldest inhabited areas of India. It is also counted among the oldest archaeological sites in the country.
Champaner & Pavagadh Archaeological Park, Panchmahal
A UNESCO Heritage site, Champaner and Pavagadh are often clubbed together as one of the most engaging historical attractions of Gujarat. Pavagadh stands on top of the hill that looks over the sprawl of monuments at the base in Champaner. The duo makes a rich heritage site dotted with forts, mosques, monuments, tombs, arches, temples, step-wells and fortresses from 8th to 14th century. Champaner is the only unchanged Islamic-Mughal city over the centuries, offering an authentic flavour of the architecture of the era. Juxtaposed to this is the Kalika Mata Temple on Pavagadh Hill, where thousands congregate during Navratris.