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polo

Tucked away in a forest, there are secrets to be revealed…
An ancient city, a gateway to Rajasthan. A hiding place for rulers, concealed from enemies, citizens, angry wives, even from the sun, tucked between sacred hills on the east and west. And the mystery of abandonment, decay.

Ancient temples, some still performing their pujas deep within this dense jungle, itself the larger temple, the trees themselves the gods.
Adivasi settlements, their lives rooted in their connection to the forest, from whom you might learn to listen to the deep hum of the world that envelops these scattered whispers of human constructions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHEN

mostly from November to February

HOW TO REACH

By road: Vijaynagar, the nearest town is 120 km from Udaipur and 160 km from Ahmedabad, and is accessible by the National Highway 8. Public transport is available, but ask around beforehand, because it is not always reliable.

WHERE

Vijaynagar - Sabarkantha District

HISTORY

The Sultan Ahmed I (the first) established Himmatnager in 1426 AD to put a control on the political Activities of the Rao of Idar. The Sultan loved the place so much that it was renamed as Ahmedanagar from the name of him. Thereafter, in 1848 AD, it was again handed over to the kingdom of Idar and got re-christened to its current name Himmatnagar, derived from the king Himmat Singh ji, the ruler of the state in those times.

Idar is a beautifully established town located at the foothills of the 500 ft high rocky hill on which the Fort of Idar Gadh lies.

The Pahiyar Rajputs are believed to have re-established Idar. These rajputs have ruled over Idar by operating from Chittor. During the 12th century, the king of Idar joined hands with king Pruthviraj Chauhan to fight against the Muslim rulers and eventually got killed in 1193 during the battle of Thanesar, a battle that proved to be a fatal loss for the Hindus. Thereafter Idar went into the hands of Hathi Sord Koli after whose death his son Shamaliyo came into the throne. The Rathod king Sonangji killed Shamaliyo and established his dysnasty in Idar. Thereafter the Rathod dynasty ruled Idar for many decades.

Vijaynagar was the second most important kingdom amongst the merged kingdoms. Most of the people here belonged to the backward communities. The entire area is covered with mountains and forests. The ancient temples of Shiv, Mahavir and Sun are located near Abhapur that lies about 8 km from Vijaynagar. While on his campaign to attack Patan, Alf khan, the brother of Allaudin Khilji, destroyed the Sharaneshwar Mahadev temple constructed in 1100 AD. The temple has beautiful sculptural designs on all of its four sides. The archeological department has taken good measures for its maintenance.

The Prantij was once a part of Ahmedabad district is also merged in this district. During the major division of the Mumbai State in 1956, several subdivisions like Vidarbh, Marathwada, Saurashtra and Kutch were formed. When the bilingual state was divided into two states, the Sabarkantha district also came into its existence just like the Ahmedabad district.

During 1st May 1960, the State of Bombay was divided and the two separate states of Gujarat and Maharashtra came into existence. On this date, Sabarkantha also came into existence as a part of the state. It is again divided into two districts. Aravalli District is a newly formed district from Sabarkantha district, declared on 15th August, 2013

Polo Monument & Vijaynagar Forest

An ancient city, a gateway to Rajasthan. A hiding place for rulers, concealed from enemies, citizens, angry wives, even from the sun, tucked between sacred hills on the east and west. And the mystery of abandonment, decay.

Ancient temples, some still performing their pujas deep within this dense jungle, itself the larger temple, the trees themselves the gods.

Adivasi settlements, their lives rooted in their connection to the forest, from whom you might learn to listen to the deep hum of the world that envelops these scattered whispers of human constructions.

The ancient Polo city was built around the river Harnav, an ancient water body spoken of in the Puranas. It is believed to have been established in the 10th century by the Parihar kings of Idar, and was then conquered in the 15th century by the Rathod Rajputs of Marwar. The name is derived from pol, the Marwari word for "gate," signifying its status as a gateway between Gujarat and Rajasthan. It was built between Kalaliyo in the east, the highest peak in the area, and Mamrehchi in the west, considered sacred by the local adivasis. Together they block sunlight for most of the day, which might provide an explanation for the otherwise mysterious abandonment of the ancient city.

The 400 square km area of dry mixed deciduous forest is most lush between September and December after the monsoon rains when the rivers are full, but at any time of the year it provides a rich wildlife experience. There are more than 450 species of medicinal plants, around 275 of birds, 30 of mammals, and 32 of reptiles. There are bears, panthers, leopards, hyenas, water fowl, raptors, passerines, and flying squirrels (mostly heard, rarely seen), all living under a canopy of diverse plants and trees. During winter, all manner of migratory birds occupy the forest; during the rainy season there are wetland birds.Until recently, this area was not well-known, and saw very few visitors. The numbers have increased dramatically in the last few years, thanks to a few individuals working to promote its beauty. This increased flow comes with a price, however. It is important to remember, as visitors, to approach each destination and its inhabitants, human or otherwise, humbly, openly, and with the awareness that every interaction, no matter how slight, carries its own impact on the area whether we know it or not.

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