Heritage sites are unarguably the most important physical components giving a unique identity to a destination. The strategic locations, the lived-in architecture, and their amazing elements speak volumes about the destinations’ eventful past, rich heritage, cultural legacy, and architectural brilliance. Gujarat is home to some of the most stunning heritage sites. These heritage sites in Gujarat foster a sense of community and home while serving as a reminder of the state's historical legacy. Besides unique landmarks, Gujarat is home to four UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Vibrant Gujarat is known for its amazing culture and wealth of heritage. Let us look at the top heritage sites in Gujarat that successfully create unique and exciting experiences for discerning travellers.
Gujarat is peppered with magnificent heritage sites that are symbols of its rich cultural, historical, and architectural past. Soak in the beauty of these marvels that reveals interesting stories about their past. Know more about these sites and what makes them unique.
This heritage site is located on the side of River Saraswati in Patan. Rani Udayamati, the daughter of King Khengara in the Saurashtra region, built this step-well in the 11th century. As per historians, the step-well was a life saviour for the people of the region as the region is known to face severe water issues during the hot, dry season. The step-well was covered in silt when excavated in the 1940s by the Archaeological Survey of India. It got its world heritage site title in 2014. It is seven-storeyed deep, built to represent an inverted temple. The walls, roofs, and columns all across the site bear archaeological displays of intense and intricate artwork.
Besides showcasing the highest regard for water as a lifeline for mankind, the architectural richness of the site embodies about 500 major sculptured works and thousands of minor sculptures. All of these have mythological or religious significance. Another noteworthy feature of the step-well is that it indicates the engineering faculties of those times, with water conservation at the core of its design.
Also Read - 40 UNESCO World Heritage Sites In India
One of the most significant spiritual sites and famous monuments of Gujarat, Dwarkadish Temple, is also known for its architectural splendour. Dedicated to Lord Krishna, this temple is called Jagat Mandir. This temple is the epitome of structural brilliance. This five-storeyed temple is supported by intricately-carved 60 columns and is approximately 2200 years old. The temple attracts a lot of devotees, especially during Janmashtami.
Also Read. Famous Temples in Gujarat
Built by Rao Vijayraj Ji in 1929, this opulent palace is located close to the famous Mandvi Beach. It is an erstwhile summer palace of the royal family of Kachchh rulers. It is one of the most prominent and worth-visiting monuments in Gujarat. This palace also showcases the eclectic blend of Mughal, Rajput, and Victorian architectural styles. Sprawled in a vast expanse of 450 acres, the palace is beautifully surrounded by manicured gardens and a private beach. A part of the palace has been converted into a luxury heritage property where you can stay and live a life like royalty!
This is one of the world heritage sites in Gujarat that was inscribed by UNESCO in 2004. It is located in the Panchmahal district, on the outskirts of Champaner, an 8th-century historical city founded by Raja Vanraj Chavda from the Chavda Dynasty.
The entire site echoes the rich ethos of ancient India, with forts and bastions covering it from the Pavagadh hills to Champaner city. The entire landscape bears vivid testimony of a cultural past, from the hill fortress, chalcolithic sites, palaces, temples, tombs, mosques, arched structures, entrance gates, step-wells, tanks, residences, agricultural sites to remnants of a city that was once the capital of Gujarat. All the structures date between the 8th and 14th centuries.
One of the places still frequented by visitors is the Kalika Mata Temple, built at the height of 2,600 ft on Pavagadh Hill. Besides, a blend of Hindu and Muslim architectural essence highlights how the site has survived through different eras. The Jama Masjid built on the foothills of the Pavagadh Hills is now abandoned.
The Sun Temple is an architectural masterpiece, one of the most sought-after historical and spiritual places to visit in Gujarat. It is a prominent Hindu Temple dedicated to the Sun God. Located by the banks of the serene River Pushpavati, the temple was built during the Chalukya Dynasty in 1026 AD. Today, this temple has primarily become a place of tourism interest, and no prayers are offered. The Archeological Survey of India maintains the site. Beautifully constructed in Maru-Gurjara architectural style, the Sun Temple is one of the Seven Wonders of India.
The city of Ahmedabad was inscribed as one of Gujarat's heritage sites in 2017. With a rich historical and cultural past, the old city is home to ‘Pols’ or the residential clusters typical of the medieval era. These ‘Pols’ existed as gated communities with the entrance gate open from the morning till sunset and fortified during the night. Several Pols together made the ‘Purs.’ These Purs exist today and are examples of peaceful co-existence between people of different faiths and ethnicities like Hindus, Muslims, and Jains. Other than these, Gandhiji’s Sabarmati Ashram is another great attraction. The Havelis of Ahmedabad also hold a significant place in the city’s history and are one of the key reasons behind the heritage city inscription.
Also Read - Famous Historical Monuments Of India
A spiritually prominent and architecturally renowned building, Sidi Saiyyed Mosque is known for its intricately carved windows, lovely jaali work, and more. The mosque was up in 1573 by Sidi Saiyyed, a slave of Sultan Ahmed Shah. Well-chiselled marble work adds grace and elegance to the building.