Junagadh Knowledge Guide


Early history

An early structure, Uparkot Fort, is located on a plateau in the middle of town. It was originally built in 319 BCE during the Mauryan dynasty by Chandragupta. The fort remained in use until the 6th century, when it was abandoned for about 300 years, then rediscovered by the Chudasama ruler Graharipu in 976 CE. The fort was subsequently besieged 16 times over an 1000-year period. One unsuccessful siege lasted twelve years. Within 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) of Uparkot Fort is an inscription with fourteen Edicts of Ashoka on a large boulder. The inscriptions are in Brahmi script in a language similar to Pali and date from 250 BCE. On the same rock there is a later inscription in Sanskrit, which was added around 150 CE by Mahakshatrap Rudradaman I, the Saka (Scythian) ruler of Malwa, and a member of the Western Kshatrapas dynasty, and which has been described as "the earliest known Sanskrit inscription of any extent". Another inscription dates from about 450 CE and refers to Skandagupta, the last Gupta emperor. Old rock-cut Buddhist caves in this area, dating from well before 500 CE, have stone carvings and floral work. There are also the Khapra Kodia Caves north of the fort, and the Bava Pyara Caves south of the fort. The Bava Pyara caves contain artworks of both Buddhism and Jainism. The Maitraka dynasty ruled Gujarat from 475 to 767 CE. The founder of the dynasty, General Bhatarka, military governor of Saurashtra peninsula under the Gupta empire, established himself as the independent ruler of Gujarat around the last quarter of the 5th century.

Chudasama dynasty

The early history of the Chudasama dynasty – which ruled Saurashtra from Junagadh – is almost lost. The bardic legends differ very much in the names, order, and numbers of early rulers; so they are not considered reliable. According to tradition, the dynasty is said to have been founded in the late 9th century by Chudachandra. Subsequent rulers – such as Graharipu, Navaghana, and Khengara – were in conflict with the Chaulukya rulers Mularaja and Jayasimha Siddharaja; and Saurashtra was briefly governed by Chaulukya governors during this period. These events are recorded in contemporary and later Jain chronicles. After the end of the rule of the Chaulukyas and their successors, the Vaghela dynasty, in Gujarat, the Chudasamas ruled independently, or as vassals of successor states, the Delhi Sultanate and the Gujarat Sultanate. Mandalika I was the first Chudasama ruler known from inscriptions; and during his reign, Gujarat was invaded by the Khalji dynasty of Delhi. The last king of the dynasty, Mandalika III, was defeated, and forcibly converted to Islam, in 1472 by Gujarat Sultan Mahmud Begada, who annexed the state.The Uparkot Fort of Junagadh was occupied by the Chudasamas during the reign of Graharipu. It is said to have been later rebuilt by Navaghana, who had transferred his capital from Vamanasthali to Junagadh. He is also credited with construction of the stepwells Navghan Kuvo and Adi Kadi Vav in the fort. His descendant Khengara is attributed with building a stepwell, Khengar Vav, on the way to Vanthali from Junagadh.

Gujarat sultanate

Sultan Mahmud Begada changed the name of Junagadh to Mustafabad and built the fortifications around the town and the mosque in Uparkot Fort. Under the Gujarat Sultanate, Junagadh was governed by an official, styled thanadar (commander), appointed directly by Ahmedabad. This official collected the tribute and revenue of the crown domain. The first thanadar was Tatar Khan, an adopted son of the Sultan and after him Mirza Khalil, the eldest son of the Sultan who afterwards succeeded him under the title of Sultan Muzaffar. Prince Khalil during his tenure of office founded the village called Khalilpur. The Sultan also installed Bhupatsingh, the son of the last Chudasama king, Mandalika III, in Junagadh as a jagirdar (feudal lord). The jagir allotted to Bhupatsingh was the Sil Bagasra Chovisi; and his descendants were known as Raizada. They continued to rule there. Bhupatsingh was succeeded by his son Khengar.After the accession of Sultan Muzafar, and indeed during the latter part of Sultan Mahmud's reign, the seat of government was removed from Junagadh to Diu owing to the importance of that island as a naval station and to check the ravages of the Portuguese. Tatarkhan Ghori was left at Junagadh by Malik Eiaz who himself resided at Diu. After the disgrace and death of Malik Eiaz, Tatarkhan Ghori became independent at Junagadh; and after the death of Sultan Bahadur, the Ghori family reigned independently at Junagadh, though still owing a nominal allegiance to the successive Sultans at Ahmadabad. This state of affairs continued until the first conquest of Gujarat by the Mughal emperor Akbar, when Aminkhan Ghori had succeeded his father Tatarkhan at Junagadh.When the Portuguese took over the ports of Diu and Daman in the 16th century, a fifteen-foot cannon, made in Egypt in 1531, was abandoned by a Turkish admiral opposing the Portuguese forces at Diu, which is now at Uparkot Fort.

Under the Mughal Empire

Ghori ruleIn 1525, Khengar was succeeded by his son Noghan. Tatarkhan Ghori had now become almost independent. In his time Jam Raval conquered Halar and built Navanagar. In 1551, Noghan was succeeded by his son Shrisingh, who lived till 1586. During this time, Tatarkhan Ghori died and was succeeded by his son Aminkhan Ghori. In his time, Akbar conquered Gujarat, although Sorath yet remained independent under the Ghori rule. The exact date of Tatarkhan Ghori's death is not known; but from the mention of Aminkhan as his successor, it must have been from about 1570 to 1575. On the return of Emperor Akbar to Agra in 1573, after the defeat and death of Muhammad Husain Mirzah and Ikhtiyar ul Mulk, he gave orders that Sorath should be conquered from Aminkhan Ghori. Vazir Khan attempted it but was unequal to the task. Great confusion existed now in Sorath. The Moghal conquest of Gujarat, the collapse of the power of the Gujarat Sultans, the encroachments of the Jam, and the assumption of independence by the Ghori all augmented the confusion afterwards increased by the escape of Sultan Muzaffar in 1583 and subsequent partisan warfare.During these disturbances Amin Khan Ghori and his son Daulat Khan Ghori espoused the cause of Muzafar, as did the Jam and Loma Khuman of Kherdi. The exact date of Amin Khan Ghori's death is not known but it was about 1589–90. Raizada Khengar also warmly espoused Mnzafar's side. After the siege and capture of Junagadh in 1591–92 by Naurang Khan, Syad Kasim, and Gnjar Khan; Khengar was dismissed to his estate of Sil Bagasra, and the Raizada ceased to rule at Junagadh. Daulat Khan Ghori died of his wounds during the siege, and henceforth Junagadh became the seat of the imperial faujdars (garrison commanders) of Sorath in subordination to the imperial viceroy at Ahmedabad. Imperial ruleThe first faujdar of Junagad was Naurang Khan and, next, Syad Kasim. The most famous were (1) Mirzah Isa Tarkhan (2) Kutb ud din Kheshgi, and (3) Sardarkhan. Of these Mirzah Isa Tarkhan ruled Sorath from about 1633–34 to 1642, when he was appointed viceroy of Gujarat. On this occasion he left his son Inayat Ullah as faujdar at Junagadh while he himself conducted the government of Gujarat from its capital, Ahmedabad. In Mirzah Isa Tarkhan's time the fortifications of Junagadh were entirely repaired. Kutb ud din was another faujdar, and his tenure of office lasted from about 1653 to 1666. In about 1664, he conquered Navanagar and annexed it to the imperial domain. Sardarkhan also distinguished himself while faujdar of Sorath, both by the firmness of his rule and by his construction (1681, AH 1092) of the Sardar Baug (palace) and excavation of the Sardar Talav (main gate). He built a mausoleum for himself in the Sardar Baug, but he died at Thatta, in Sindh, and is said to have been buried there and not at Junagadh. He was faujdar from about 1666 to 1686, but in 1670 he went for a short time to Idar and was replaced by Syad Dilerkhan. The last of the faujdar s was Sherkhan Babi, who became independent and assumed the title of Nawab Bahadur Khan.

Junagadh state

In 1730, Mohammad Sher Khan Babi, who owed allegiance to the Mughal governor of Gujarat Subah, founded the state of Junagadh by declaring independence after the invasion by the Maratha Gaekwad dynasty. Babi founded the Babi Dynasty of Junagadh State. His descendants, the Babi Nawabs of Junagadh—who were Babi or Babai pashtuns from Afghanistan—conquered large territories in southern Saurashtra and ruled for the next two centuries, first as tributaries of Marathas, and later under the suzerainty of the British, who granted the honor of a 13-gun salute. 1730–1758 – Mohammad Bahadur Khanji or Mohammad Sher khan Babi 1758–1774 – Mohammad Mahabat Khanji I 1774–1811 – Mohammad Hamid Khanji I 1811–1840 – Mohammad Bahadur Khanji II 1840–1851 – Mohammad Hamid Khanji II 1851–1882 – Mohammad Mahabat Khanji II 1882–1892 – Mohammad Bahadur Khanji III 1892–1911 – Mohammad Rasul Khanji 1911–1948 – Mohammad Mahabat Khanji III



Established in 1863, Junagadh's Sakkarbaug Zoological Garden, also known as the Sakkarbaug Zoo, is around 200 hectares (490 acres) in size. The zoo provides purebred Asiatic lions for the Indian and international critically endangered species captive breeding programs. Currently, it is the only zoo in the country to house African cheetahs. The zoo also has museum of natural history. Junagadh's many ruling dynasties—such as Babi Nawabs, Vilabhis, Kshatraps, Mauryas, Chudasamas, Gujarat Sultans—and its religious groups have influenced the architectural syles of Junagadh. The Junagadh Buddhist Cave Groups, with their intricately carved gateways, Chaitya halls, sculptured pillars, and sanctums are classic examples of rock-cut architecture. The Chudama Rajputs left specimens of their architectural style in Nabghan Kuvo and Adi Kadi Vav. Religious monuments such as the Jami Masjid remind us of Muslim architectural patterns. The Ashokan edicts is a classic example of old rock engraving styles. The Maqbaras and numerous age-old palaces in Junagadh tell the story of its rich historical and architectural past.About 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) east of Junagadh and 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) west of the foot of Girnar Hill is an edict of Emperor Ashoka, inscribed on an uneven rock and dating from the 3rd century BC. The Ashokan edicts impart moral instructions on dharma, harmony, tolerance, and peace. The rock has a circumference of seven metres (23 ft), a height of ten metres (33 ft), and bears inscriptions in Brāhmī script etched with an iron pen.The people of Junagadh celebrate both Western and Indian festivals. Diwali, Maha Shivaratri, Holi, Janmastami, Muharram, Navratri, Christmas, Good Friday, Dussera, Muharram, and Ganesh Chaturthi are some of the popular festivals in the city.The Shivaratri Mela is organized at the foot of Mount Girnar (Talati) in the month of Maha (9th day of the month of Maagha). The mela lasts for the next five days. About 500,000 people visit Junagadh on this occasion. The Girnar Parikrama is also organized annually. It starts in the month of Kartik and draws 1 to 1.5 million people. People walk the periphery of the Girnar Hills on foot (about 32 kilometres (20 mi)). Muharram is celebrated by Muslims. The sej, which belonged to the peers or gurus of the nawabs, has been taken out; and a fair is been organized. Apart from these religious and national festivals, Junagadh annually celebrates its accession to India on 9 November 1947 as the independence day of the city. 1 May is Gujarat day, to celebrate the formation of Gujarat state on 1 May 1960.