If you want to explore offbeat Gujarat while having the smell of the raw soil of Gujarat, Vadnagar should be on your list. Vadnagar located in the north part of Ahmedabad is now a famous place to visit as this is the birthplace of our current Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi. Though I was not able to visit his actual house, as it is already sold to someone else, was fortunate enough to visit the tea stall where he used to help his father to sell tea. This is not only one reason to visit Vadnagar but also there are so many other historical places located in VadNagar you can’t skip that. Enriched with Hindu and Buddhist history, Vadnagar in Gujarat is a lesser-known place to visit for sure.
There are many ancient inscriptions mentioned about Anarthapura or Anandapura, now known as Vadnagar, which is situated in Mehsana District. In Mahabharata and Skanda Purana, there is mention of Anarthapura several times. It was also called chamatkarpura or a magical town in ancient history. It was a prominent Buddhist location dating to 640 CE visited by Xuanzang. Archaeological unearthings have established that the settlement of mostly farming local areas existed on the spot over 4,500 years back. Pottery, textile fragments, ornaments, et, were found during these excavations from various sites around the banks of the Kapila river and the surrounding lake Sharmishtha. Some archaeologists suggested that it was one of the many Harappan sites.
You can visualize the hints of the twelfth century, wedged between the interlocking stones of the progression dikes around the lake or carved in the Torans left behind by the Solanki dynasty.
Vadnagar also witnessed a lot of Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism. The presence of Buddhists has surfaced with a sandstone-broken head of Buddha. This ought to have a place in the second century AD. The Buddhist Monastery which surfaced inside the sustained space of Vadnagar had two votive stupas and an open focal yard around which at first nine cells were built.
So, whenever you travel to Gujarat, do not forget to add Vadnagar to your list. Why?
Let’s give you a glimpse of it…
Vadnagar is no doubt famous for its torans of Victory arches. These magnificent pair of 12th century40 feet tall historical monuments supporting an arch, built-in red and yellow sandstone stand majestically on the western bank of Sharmistha lake and are believed to have been erected by the Solanki rulers in the 10th century.
These Torans are really mysterious to see, as some historians believe, that the Toranas are remnants of a large temple or palace. There is no solid logic as to why they were erected side by side in such an irregular way. Also, there are no other ruins visible nearby the torans. But, these Torans are really beautiful and a must-visit spot for sure.
Lord Shiva is the main deity on the Toran arches. Apart from, other gods, goddesses, animals, dancing apsara, planets, Ramayana, and Mahabharata, sculptures are beautifully constructed on the wall of the Torans.
Hatkeshwar Mahadev Temple is an ancient temple in Vadnagar which is believed to be the most ancient temple constructed before Mahabharata (13th Century). Some say it was constructed in the 17th century. The temple’s inner shrine is a Shiva linga said to have self-emerged (swayambhu). The garbha griha is several feet below ground level and only the top portion of the lingam is visible these days.
Few unknown facts about Hatkeshwar Mahadev Temple :
The premises also have another ancient temple called Kashi Vishveshwara Shiva temple, a Swaminarayan temple, and two Jain temples to worship.
Sharmishtha Lake is the best illustration of a water harvesting framework worked during the standard of the Solanki time frame and to date being used. This lake was filled by the waters of the river Kapila moving from the slopes of Aravalli. The lake surrounding places are improved for resting purposes and also one can take a stroll to enjoy the lake view.
Vadnagar railway station is another place to visit as it is said that Narendra Modi helped his father to sell tea here in his childhood. The tea stall is still there. Also, there are prominent ancient Banyan trees standing still to justify the name of Vadnagar (vad = banyan)
I travelled with Gujarat Tourism and explored Vadnagar as a part of the Itinerary. We had very limited time in hand so I didn’t have the time to roam Vadnagar on foot and explore every corner of the city. I had to be content with seeing whatever places I could with the group. With narrow alleys, colourful houses, and amazing carved doors; Vadnagar blends mythology and history, traditional colonial architecture, and modern contemporary styles and amazed me within a short span of time. I would like to visit the city again to discover more of its history and stories in length and breadth.
Watch Vadnagar Virtually
You may read about my experience: Modhera Sun Temple In Gujarat
This post is in collaboration with @Gujarat Tourism