Vadnagar is a serene and unpretentious town in North Gujarat, situated 112 km from Ahmedabad. The first thing to catch the eye in Vadnagar is the impressive ancient palace. Further ahead are the old temples, narrow lanes, crumbling small houses, plinths and pillars, and antique architectural elements. Even the brick and mud walls of the humble houses are studded with these sculptural fragments, which are carelessly strewn along the roadside and fields. To an outsider, it is an amazing sight, to the locals it is a way of life. Men use them as seats while playing cards or sunning themselves. Women sit on them doing sundry household chores, embroidering or simply gossiping, and children play with them.
Tana Riri Memorial
From Buddha we jumped over to Mughals and visited the Tana Riri memorial, again half an hour walk away. Tana & Riri were two Brahmin sisters who took away Akbar’s heart with their voice, and this monument was built as a tribute to them The site is a complete disappointment and perhaps can be skipped from the day’s itinerary. Only couples from the local Diploma college visit it and for obvious reasons. There was so much walking to be done still. We started walking again to the Amarthol gate to visit Amarta temple and Gauri Kund. The temple was the coolest and the most welcoming spot, and we spent a sizeable amount of time there. There is also a sun temple within the complex, one reason which drove me to the place. However, the temple is tiny and almost completely destroyed with time. Gauri kund is another twenty minute walk outside the town. Its a nice water-filled pond, with carved stone steps all around.
Hathkeshwar temple – the most prominent in Vadnagar
The most famous landmark of the town is the Hatkeshwar Temple located near the Nadiol gate. The temple is massive with intricately carved walls. We reached there at the golden photography hour and the carvings came out beautifully in these golden pictures.
Through the gates..
The walk from Pithori gate (near the bus stand) to Nadiol gate (near the temple) is right through the town, passing through the Hindu as well as the Muslim areas. The houses on the way are phenomenal, almost each one has its own identity and its own distinct feel. Especially famous are the Nagar Brahman havelis here.
The other historical landmark in the temple are a couple of Kirti Torans (Victory gates) located near the Arjun Bari gate. These torans were constructed by the Solanki rulers in commemoration of a decisive war victory. These are also interestingly located within the houses in the neighbourhood.
Buddhist Monastery in Vadnagar
The recent excavations have brought to light a Buddhist Monastery belonging to the 2nd-7th century AD, within the fortified area of Vadnagar. The monastery had two votive stupas and an open central count yard around which initially nine cells were constructed. The arrangement of cells around the central courtyard creates a swastika-like pattern.
Buddhist Antiquities at Vadnagar : The recent excavations have brought to light a Buddhist Monastery belonging to the 2nd-7th century AD, within the fortified area of Vadnagar. The monastery had two votive stupas and an open central count yard around which initially nine cells were constructed. The arrangement of cells around the central courtyard creates a swastika-like pattern.
The town is famous for its torans, a pair of 12th century columns supporting an arch, about 40 feet tall built in red and yellow sandstone, just north of the walled town. They stand majestically on the bank of Sharmistha Talav, on a road going down from Arjun Bari. They are among the few surviving examples of the entrance gates, once a regular feature of the architecture of Gujarat in Solanki period. The carving style is similar to the Rudra Mahalaya at Sidhpur.
Perhaps erected after a war victory, the architecture is embellished with carvings of battle and hunting scenes. The one to the east is in better condition and has been used as a symbol of Gujarat in recent times. The torans might have served as an entrance to a large temple complex.
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