Gujarat – Day 5

January 17, 2020 : Champaner and Jambughoda

We drive about 90km today from Vadodara to another palace heritage hotel in Jambughoda, stopping along the way to visit the incredible archeological ruins in Champaner. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004, the area is studded with forts, palaces, stepwells, temples and mosques.

After arriving at our Palace Hotel in Jambughoda, we head out to visit the village of Khandi Vav. There we stop in to observe a potter family, and also visit a dwelling with examples of Pithora Paintings on the walls. Enjoy these glimpses of our day.

Some of the staff members at a roadside coffee stop along the way. They are all as enthralled with us as we are with their adorable cap cuteness. We find reasons to revisit this very satisfying refueling depot in a couple of days!
The Kalika Mata Temple is located on top of the 2,600 ft high Pavagadh Hill. Isn’t it reminiscent of Devil’s Tower in Wyoming? (The silent star of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”) The Temple is an important Hindu shrine, attracting large numbers of pilgrims throughout the year. We’ll see many heading up in 4-wheel drive jeeps today.
The first archeological site we visit at Champaner is the the Ek Minarka Masjid (single minaret mosque). The minaret is really all that remains of the mosque.
Another view of the solitary minaret with temple peak in the distance.
Next we visit a helical (spiral) step well which fills up entirely during the monsoon season.
If you know Rich from Texas, you know he isn’t diminutive in stature – yet he is dwarfed by the size of this helical step well.
A troop of monkeys oversee our visit to the step well at Champaner.
Entering the gate of the old citadel at Champaner.
Here I am thrilled to have a tribal woman pose for photos detailing her costume and jewelry. We can tell from her blouse (which is completely open at the back) that she is currently married and not a widow. Her breasts are emphasized with embroidery between them and designs covering them. A widow would not have decorative elements on her breasts. They would be covered with one piece of cloth rather than being differentiated. Notice the three gold earrings at the top of each ear, and the armbands at the base of the sleeves. Quite stunning!
The Shaher Kimasjid Mosque at Champaner
Interior details of Shaher Kimasjid Mosque in Champaner.
Dome details in the Shaher Kimasjid Mosque in Champaner.
Maternal love….
Throngs of pilgrims preparing to ascend the mountain to visit the Temple / Shrine.
Arriving at Jami Masjid – one of the best examples of blended Hindu and Muslim Architecture. With elegant interiors, it is considered one of the finest mosques in Western India.
Colors of India seen entering the Jami Masjid.
Detail of the decor beneath where the dome would have been just inside the first entrance to the Jami Masjid.
Pillars in the interior of Jami Masjid.
Ceiling ornamentation inside Jami Masjid.
Looking up several stories to the main dome of the Jami Masjid.
We enjoy a home-cooked lunch after arriving at our heritage hotel.
Sampling of Gujarati vegetarian cuisine.
Onlookers as we visit a potter family in the village of Khandi Vav.
Brushing her daughter’s hair in the presence of a group of distinguished foreign gentlemen, perhaps hoping a suitable suitor will be amongst us?
Sometimes photography is a game of cat and mouse. She sees me pointing the camera in her direction and immediately covers her face and turns away. I keep the camera focused and wait for her to check on where I am and what I’m doing. My patience is rewarded.
Visiting a Rathwa Tribe member’s home to view an excellent example of traditional Narukot Pithora Wall Painting.
The table is beautifully set with candles and lots of fresh flower petals for our evening meal at our heritage palace hotel in Jambughoda.

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