Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Upperkot Fort, Junagadh

Upperkot Fort, Junagadh

Upperkot Fort
Upperkot Fort also known as the Upper Fort is located on the eastern side of Junagadh. This fort was built in 319 BC by Chandragupta Maurya, though it has been rebuilt and extended many times over the centuries. During the period, various enemies tried to capture the fort but it can not be captured by any of the king for a longer time. The king of Anhilwad Patan once attacked Junagadh to win the Raja’s wife. He won the battle only because one of the Raja’s ministers betrayed him, but he could not win the wife of the Raja as she committed Sati. This fort was the stronghold of the Mauryans and Gupta empire and as such has survived for 16 sieges in the last 1000 years due to its strategic location and difficult access.

Upperkot Fort, Junagadh

The entrance to the fort is formed by an ornate triple gateway. This gateway is a fine specimen of the Hindu Toran, leading to flat land dotted with various archeological sites. In some of the places, the walls of this fort are as high as 70 feet. The fort has many interesting exhibits like the canon guns placed on the western wall and believed to have been cast in Egypt. The two step wells (Adi-Kadi Vav and Navghan Kuvo), a tomb, mosque and some ancient Buddhist caves belonging to 200 BC to 200 AD are located within the fort premises. Now only, some of the ruins of the buildings, Jama Masjid and the Buddhist caves are located within the fort premises.

Adi-Kadi Vav and Navghan Kuvo are the two step wells which are located within the fort. These wells were built by the Chudasama Rajputs and are the unique water structures among the various step wells of Gujarat. Both these wells served as the main sources of drinking water during the sieges lasting for years and were the essential part of the basic need of the fort. The Adi-Kadi Vav has a long flight of 120 steps which lead to the water and was built in the 15th century. While the Navghan Kuvo of 1026 AD is hewn from soft rock and is 52 meter deep, reached by a circular staircase winding around the shaft. The Buddhist caves are fine examples of rock cut architecture. These caves have ornamented pillars, carved entrances, water cisterns, chaitya hall, monastic cells for meditation and chaitya windows.

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