Planning a trip to the western Indian state of Gujarat wasn’t easy and Junagadh’s name popped up when I was planning my itinerary. Junagadh was the princely state which India and Pakistan fought hard to acquire albeit ultimately came to India. Junagadh is a Gujarati term which translates to “old fort”, given the location of Uperkot Fort in the town. It is the 7th largest city of Gujarat and yet not enough promoted by tourism. We were on a family trip and all of us had picked our must-see spots on literally on opposite ends of the state. My interest was piqued when I read about Junagadh’s history. I wanted to see all the places to visit in Junagadh during my stay there and we covered most of them too.
Gujarat Offbeat – Places to visit in Junagadh
Junagadh Sightseeing: Mahabat Maqbara
As Junagadh was once a princely state, a mausoleum was built for Wazir Bahaduddinbhai Hasainbhai, a chief minister of Nawab Mahabat Khan II. Mahabat Maqbara has stunning architecture with Gothic and Islamic style and the windows derived from The French. The striking attraction in the Mahabat Maqbara is the spiral staircase around the main mausoleum.
The free entry to the Maqbara makes it one of the top places to visit in Junagadh. Though that means the building is in need of maintenance, which is evidently visible in the nooks and corners.
Junagadh Sightseeing: Jammi Mosque
A rather unknown mosque but located right next to the Mahabat Maqbara is the Jammi Mosque. With a beautiful architecture in green and yellow, the mosque is sadly given a miss by most tourists.
Take a walk from Mahabat Maqbara where the mosque is easily noticeable. The entry might be restricted, but it is always nice to take a beat and admire the architecture.
Junagadh Sightseeing: Uparkot Fort
Junagadh town is located on the foot of Girnar Hills and a fort was built in the Mauryan empire. The ruined state of the Fort speaks volume of its history and age. There is no entry charge for the fort, sadly which explains its ignored state.
The fort is spread over a vast area with numerous buildings in the premises including Ranak Devi Palace, Adi Kadi Vav, Buddhist caves and many more. The Ranak Devi was the queen of Saurashtra reign in the 12th century. Her palace is located on the topmost citadel of the fort giving views of the entire city. Adi Kadi Vav is another step well for storing water similar to Agrasen ki Baoli in Delhi. It broke my heart, literally, when I saw the condition of the stepwell. It was extremely dirty, filled with filth that it’s just not possible to go downstairs. The well was quite deep but again filled with dirty water.
The only place which was well maintained in the Fort was the Buddhist caves. The first-century caves were a delight to see in person. The intricate work on the pillars made of rocks is worth applauding. The fort and the caves are indeed some of the best places to visit in Junagadh.
Junagadh Sightseeing: Girnar Hills
Girnar hills are the smaller mountain range on the foot of the Junagadh town lies. The hills are sacred as per the locals and the Jain temples attract many tourists.
The top of the hill can be reached via a trek with various pit stops to Hindu and Jain Temples and Ashokan Edicts. For those who love to trek, I’d suggest include Girnar hills in their list of places to visit in Junagadh. We had to skip because of time constraint.
Junagadh Sightseeing: Sardar Patel Darwaja
This is not much of a tourist place, but a gate to the city. The architecture of the gate is mindblowing, built in Gothic style windows. The main entry tower of the gate also includes a clock. The entire tower is lighted up in the night untill 10:00 PM which is a wonderful sight.
It was visible that the restoration of the gate is in progress, so it might be worthwhile to see when you visit Junagadh next time. Visit the gate early morning when the traffic is less and before 10 in the night to see it in its full glory. Don’t miss this gate as it is one of the amazing places to visit in Junagadh.
Day Trips from Junagadh
Junagadh is located close to many famous tourists places in Gujarat. So if you intend to base in Junagadh, these places can be covered as day trips –
1. Sasan Gir
Sasan Gir or Gir National park is well known for its diverse wildlife and also for being the home to Asiatic lions. Book an early morning or evening safari well in advance so that you don’t miss out trip of a lifetime.
Sasan Gir can be reached within 2 hours from Junagadh, so for a 6 AM safari, you’ll have to leave from your hotel at around 4:00 AM. If this seems too much to bear, I’d suggest booking a resort near Sasan Gir. They also provide cabs till the national park entry gate and you can also sleep well through the night.
Somnath is famous all over in India for its shore temple which is located right on the beach. This temple town is only 1.5 hours away making it perfect for a day trip from Junagadh. The beach in Somnath is not accessible for tourists, not even from the temple. But, the viewpoints with benches on the temple premises gives amazing views of the ocean.
Right outside the temple, there is an open area to sit, relax and admire the sea. Head there when the sun goes down the horizon, it is beautiful to see on the western coast of India. It is indeed one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world.
Diu is one of the 7 union territories of India which was under the Portuguese rule until 1961. Less than 4 hours drive from Junagadh, Diu can be easily covered in a day. Although it will be nice to stay a night there, with the time constraint, it can be covered as a day trip too.
Hire a cab from Junagadh or take a local bus to reach Diu. Laid back in time with a beach in proximity, coconut trees all over and a fort overseeing the town, Diu is a tranquil place.
Where to Stay in Junagadh
Despite being the 7th largest city in the state, there are not many luxury hotels in Junagadh. We were looking for a family room, and it was difficult to find one there. So, we went ahead with Click Hotels, which provided us an extra mattress. I loved the hotel, located right opposite to Sardar Patel Darwaja, a mid-level luxurious hotel, and humble staff. You may book the hotel here.
Where To eat in Junagadh
I couldn’t find Gujarati thali or Kathiyawadi food during my Gujarat trip. Most of the times we had to eat in the hotel which served amazing food. You can try Petals hotel, it is one of the best one in the city.
How to Commute In Junagadh
When it comes to public transport, shared and personal auto-rikshaws are available in Junagadh. If you’re traveling using your own car, then it’s easy to commute in the town. If you like to walk around, then the area near the main railway station is good to start from.
So, this is my Junagadh Travel Guide with all the must-see places to visit in Junagadh.
HAVE YOU CONSIDERED TAKING A TRIP TO Junagadh? DO YOU LIKE MY LIST OF PLACES TO VISIT IN JUNAGADH? WHAT DID YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT IT? TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!
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