Champaner and Pavagadh hill, these two words I had always heard together. There were very few World Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO in India which I had not visited till now.
Pavagadh was one of them. It was mainly for this reason that I planned a trip to Gujarat and decided to visit Pavagadh recently the Rani ki Vav was included in the list of world heritage sites.
45 KM from Vadodara After reaching the distant Pavagadh hill, I came to know that the village situated at the foot of this hill is Champaner.
Monuments have been built in place around this hill. In the same way, many monuments have been built on its peak and foothills. Many myths, legends, and stories related to this place come to be read and heard. So many sources, so many stories!
Monuments scattered on Pavagadh hill
After reaching the Pavagadh hill, almost everyone advised us to climb the Pavagadh hill before visiting the village at the foothills.
We thought it appropriate to follow his advice. But after reaching the foot of the hill, a small obstacle arose. Due to the Navratri festival,
motor vehicles were not allowed to proceed. Due to this many travelers were reaching the temple situated above by climbing the hill on foot.
Although there were several buses of Gujarat State Transport that were taking passengers to a place called Machi on the hill. To reach the top of the hill from Machi, the facility of ‘rope way’ i.e.
flying on a rope was also available. After descending from the ropeway, about 250 more steps have to be climbed. Then reach the main entrance of the temple.
Pools of Pavagadh Hill
After reaching Machi, we were presented with two options to reach the top of the hill. An alternative was the ropeway, ie Udan Khatola, which covered a high climb and almost reached the peak in 6 minutes.
Another option was the old mountain-climbing route, which circled the hill, passing through several man-made monuments to reach the top.
It may take 1 to 2 hours to reach the peak while passing through these monuments depicting different eras of human civilization. It depends on your ability to walk. As you climb the hill, this lush green hill filled with many ponds and lakes reveals its beauty to you gradually.
We decided to go up Udan Khatole.
Pavagadh Hill Climb
Descending from Udan Khatole, climbing 250 steps reaches Kalika Mata’s temple situated on top of Pavagadh hill.
As we were approaching the temple by climbing the stairs, the hill was slowly getting narrower and narrower. The stairs were decorated with ancient engraved boulders.
The vermilion marks on some boulders were a sign of the fact that they were worshiped at some point in time. But the climb was very frightening as the stairs were studded with irregularities. The foot slipped a little that there was every possibility of a stampede below.
But after a while when we stopped and looked back, the scene there used to forget all the fear. The view from top to bottom was very pleasing to read. The landscape below was changing at each turn of the stairs.
Kalika Mata Temple on Pavagadh Hill
Kalika Mata Temple situated on top of Pavagadh Hill is more than 1000 years old. It is considered one of the 51 Shaktipeeths located in the country.
According to the Puranas, when Goddess Sati, who was humiliated in the sacrifice of father Daksha, gave up her life, then Lord Shiva raised her dead body and performed the Tandava dance.
Then Lord Vishnu cut the body of the goddess with his chakra. Wherever the parts of Goddess Sati fell, there were Shaktipeeths. It is believed that the thumb of the Mother Goddess had fallen in Pavagadh.
In the small temple of Pavagadh, there were statues of 3 goddesses, for whose darshan was an influx of devotees of different sects.
Some women had been holding swords in their hands, demonstrating the incarnation of the goddess in the body. People were unintentionally giving way to them.
It seemed to me as if some women were masquerading as the incarnation of the goddess to avoid the long queue. I held the hand of one of them and asked about her condition. At this, she looked at her side and moved forward.
Although the temple was small, its greatness could be gauged from the reverence of the people. There was also a sacrificial offering in the temple, but at present, I did not see any signs of the existence of the sacrificial system.
Ancient Temples and Pools of Pavagadh
Many Jain temples are also established at the feet of Kalika Mata Temple. Looking at the upper level, they appear to be 400 to 500 years old.
We discussed with the Pandit of one of these temples. He told us some stories related to this place. But we usually could not believe them. So we decided to do some research on our own.
Jain devotees believe that the Pavagadh hill was once full of Jain temples. But later the Muslim rulers captured this place and made their capital at Champaner.
He also built many mosques here. According to some other accounts, tribes like Bhil and Rathwa used to live here. These tribes were worshipers of Shakti.
Mother’s temple also belonged to him. These are all ancient facts and we have not found any proof of their authenticity. However, it is not important.
The element is that it is an ancient prayer place and crores of devotees consider it to be a waking prayer place.
Ponds of Pavagadh Hill
The ponds located on either side of the Pavagadh hill look very attractive from the top of the hill. But on reaching near them, one fact hurts the mind.
That is, we are not doing much to keep the ponds and ponds of our temples clean. An increase in the cleanliness of these two ponds was also necessary. This is the responsibility of both us and the administration.
There were several shops on either side of the path leading to the temple where vendors were selling puja items to be offered to the goddess.
Souvenirs were also being sold here in many shops to be carried by the travelers and tourists. There were also facilities for taking pictures where you can have a picture taken against the background of the picture of the hill.
The best way to experience the beauty and spirituality of this Pavagadh hill is to climb this hill, from bottom to top, on foot.
However, this requires a lot of patience and tolerance. However, we reached the foot of the hill by bus and near the temple by flying khatole.
After that, the rest of the journey was completed on foot. Even after using these facilities, half of the day was spent on our journey.