Junagarh is situated in the western state of Gujarat at the foothills of the Girnar Hills. The city extends from latitude 21°31¢ in the North to longitude 70°36¢ in the East. It is an ideal departure point for visiting the Gir forests.
The city of Junagarh takes its name from the fort that encloses the old city. Junagarh was an important trade center as testified by the Ashokan edicts dating from 250 BC. At the time of partition, the Nawab of Junagarh opted to take his tiny state into Pakistan. However, the predominantly Hindu population forced the Nawab to leave the country instead. The present-day city has many archeological sites and historical monuments that reflect the rich history of the place.
Fairs & Festivals
The Bhavnath Fair in the month of Magha (January/February) is supposed to be organized first by Lord Krishna to honor the Mahabharata hero, Arjuna. The fair is marked by folk music and dancing and is an ideal platform to enjoy the culture of Saurashtra.
Best Time to Visit
The climate of Junagarh is mild with temperature ranging between 20-28°C in winters and 28-34°C in the summers. Although the place can be visited throughout the year, the best season to do so is winter (October-March).
How to Reach
BY AIR -The nearest airport is Ahmedabad, around 300 kilometers from Junagadh. From Ahmedabad, one can take regular flights for other cities of India including Mumbai and Delhi.
BY RAIL -Regular trains run between Junagarh and Veraval, Ahmedabad, Sasan Gir, Delwada, Una, Diu, and Rajkot.
BY ROAD -Junagarh can be reached from most of the important cities in Gujarat as well as neighboring states. One can get to Junagarh from Rajkot (100 km), Porbandar (107 km), Ahmedabad (320 km), Veraval, Una, and Jamnagar (184 km).
Uperkot Fort stands on the eastern side of Junagarh. Although the fort is believed to be built by Chandragupta in AD 319, it was rebuilt several times in the later centuries. Legend has it that the fort was besieged 16 times, the longest of which was for 12 continuous years. The fort is open from 7 am to 6.30 pm daily.
The fort also houses Jami Masjid, Tomb of Nuri Shah, and two baolis (step wells)-Adi Chadi and the Navaghan Kuva. There are some Buddhist caves, which are believed to be 1,500 years old.
Mahabat Maqbara is the mausoleum of one of the nawabs of Junagarh. The structure is resplendent with silver doors and intricate architecture.
The Durbar Hall Museum displays weapons and armor from the days of the nawabs and many other curios and artifacts. A quick foray into the museum will reveal silver chains, chandeliers, settees, thrones, palanquins, howdahs, cushions, gowns and a large carpet that was woven in the Junagarh jail.
On the way to Girnar Hill temples, one can find a huge boulder on which Emperor Ashoka inscribed 14 edicts. Later on, Rudradamana and Skandagupta also added some inscriptions in Sanskrit that are very significant archeologically.
The Girnar Hill houses many temples of the Jains that are quite significant. There are temples of Neminath, Mallinath, Amba Mata, and Damodar Kind. There are 7,000 steps to reach the summit of this hill. Dolis (rope chairs) can be hired by those who are unable to climb these steps.
Places Around Junagarh
The Gir National Park, situated around 59 km off Junagarh, is the last home of the Asiatic lion. This 1,400 sq km sanctuary was set up to protect the dwindling population of the lions.
Chorwad is a new beach resort developed by the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat, near Junagarh.
Somnath is a famous Hindu shrine and a seat of one of the Jyotirlingas. The temple of Somnath was once one of the richest shrines in the country. The temple was looted and plundered many times by the Muslims in the 10th and 11th century because of its wealth.