Five ASI monuments you can visit for free in Gujarat till Independence Day

The Indian Express | 5 days ago | 06-08-2022 | 05:50 pm

Five ASI monuments you can visit for free in Gujarat till Independence Day

As part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations on the occasion of India’s 75th Independence Day, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has announced free entry at all ticketed monuments from August 5 to August 15. Besides Indians, the free entry will be extended to foreign nationals as well. Here is a list of five ASI monuments that you can visit for free in Gujarat in the next few days, according to the Ministry of Culture:1. Rani-ki-Vav, PatanOriginally built as a memorial to a king in the 11th century, Rani-ki-Vav or Queen’s stepwell is located on the banks of the mythical Saraswati river at Patan in north Gujarat and was listed as a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 2014. Around 150 km north of Ahmedabad, Rani-ki-Vav was built in the Maru-Gurjara architectural style, reflecting mastery of the complex technique. It is designed as an inverted temple and has seven levels of stairs with sculptural panels of high artistic quality. Hundreds of major and minor sculptures here combine religious, mythological and secular imagery. The well is located at the westernmost end of the property and consists of a shaft, 10 metres in diameter and 30 metres deep. For Gujarat, most of which was arid, stepwells were seen as engineering marvels in conserving water.2. Sun Temple, ModheraThe Sun temple at Modhera in Mehsana district is situated in a village by the same name, close to the Tropic of Cancer and is an architectural landmark, being the earliest Solanki temple of Gujarat, dating back to AD 1026-27. It was constructed during the reign of King Bhimdev I (1022-1063 AD). The temple complex, made in the Chalukyan style of architecture, has three elements – garbhagriha with an ambulatory and attached octagonal gudhamandapa, the detached sabha mandapa with a torana in front, and a large flagged tank. The temple is also the venue of an annual dance festival in January hosted by the tourism department.3. Monuments at ChampanerWith its ancient Hindu and Jain architecture, temples and special water retaining installations, the Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park in Panchmahal district dates back to the 16th century. Champaner is located at a distance of 50 km from Vadodara and at the foot of the Pavagadh hill, which was a famous Hindu fort under the Solanki kings of Gujarat. In 1484, Mehmud Begda took possession of the fort and renamed it Muhammadabad. On top of Pavagadh is a temple dedicated to Kalika Mata, an incarnation of goddess Durga, and is considered a Shaktipeeth. The temple, which did not have a dome, was recently renovated and the garbhagriha is now housed in a temple complete with the shikhara and the dome.4. Buddhist caves, JunagadhThe site consists of three caves located in Junagadh district which is now connected by air through Keshod airport. The Baba Pyare Caves lie close to the Modhimath. Its northern group has four caves. The cave pillars and door jambs suggest a clear impact of art traditions of the Satavahanas period and are believed to date back to the 1st or 2nd century on the basis of the architecture. The Khapra Kodiya Caves are the plainest of the cave groups. On the basis of inscriptions, archaeologists have estimated the caves to date back to the 3rd or 4th century. The Buddhist Caves at Uparkot are the most important caves, situated northwest of Jami Masjid. The cave group is in three tiers, with all parts of each gallery shown in semi-relief, but only two storeys having regular floors. The lower floor has exquisitely carved pillars whose design may have been inspired by Satavahana art as well as exotic Graeco- Scythian trends. These groups of caves are said to date back to the 2nd or 3rd century.5. Ashokan rock edict, JunagadhThe rock edicts of Emperor Ashoka were engraved in the Brahmi script in Pali language on a granite boulder on the foothills of the Girnar mountains. When Ashoka converted to Buddhism and renounced violence, he had edicts carved in stone and placed in sites all across, ranging as far as Kandahar in present-day Afghanistan in the West, modern Bangladesh in the East and Andhra Pradesh in the south. These edicts dating back to 250 BC include 14 rock edicts by Ashoka and later, epigraphs of Saka ruler Mahakshatrapa Rudradaman I and Gupta emperor Skandagupta, which were also recorded on it. The latter two have a common purpose, which was to record the history of the breaking of dams of Sudarshan Lake. It tells the breach of this lake followed by repairs, down from the Mauryan period to the Gupta period, in Brahmi script.

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