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Nagina Masjid Champaner
Located in the heritage region of Champaner Pavagarh Archeological Park which houses many historical monuments and declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, is the well known Nagina Masjid in Champaner, Gujarat. It is really a jewel among other medieval mosques that exist in the area. There are many places that are a delight to see for tourists and students and researchers of history that are found in this area.
The history of Champaner is inter-twined with that of Nagina Masjid. The ancient city of Champaner located in the Panchamahal district of Gujarat and very accessible from Vadodara and Ahmedabad is replete with ancient monuments that bear evidence of a rich cultural heritage from the 8th century AD when the city was first built through the Mughal rule in the 15th and 16th century AD. There are scores of monuments from different dynasties that tell graphically the history of this part of India.
Nagina Masjid is one of the most beautiful monuments in Champaner which was built in the 15th Century AD by the Sultan of this region named Mahmud Bagada. During the Mughal rule, the Emperor appointed Sultans in the provinces that could not be administered from Agra or Delhi because of the distance. Mahmud Shah Bagada was thus appointed as the Governor of Gujarat. It is a beautiful specimen of artistic splendor and the name Nagina Masjid or jewel of a Masjid is very befitting.
This 15th Century monument built in pristine white stone is a feast to the eyes. It is built on a raised platform and has a big court-yard in the front. There is an arched gateway also made in white stone. The main building has pillars on the four corners with a central prayer hall which is 2 storeys tall and over which there are three domes; a central dome and two smaller ones. There is balcony on the upper floor of the prayer hall. There are openings on all four sides. On the four pillars stand minarets of exquisite beauty.
There is elaborate carving on the pillars, arches and niches. There are also beautifully embellished windows and columns exhibiting floral and geometric patterns; a rare and unique union of Islamic and local Gujarati craftsmanship. In the area surrounding the Masjid is a step well and a beautifully decorated mausoleum. There is also a beautiful lake nearby.
Nagina Masjid is one of the three remarkable religious monuments in the Champaner Archeological Park. The other two are the Kajuri Masjid and the Kevada Masjid. All these three masjids are beautiful specimen of our artistic historical heritage. The excellent craftsmanship evident in all the three masjids shows the development of art and encouragement given to artists and talented artisans during the time. The local art mingled with Islamic art is evidence of a very secular atmosphere present during the time.
How to Reach
Champaner is only 50 kms from Vadodara and 150 kms from Ahmedabad the capital city of Gujarat State. Both Vadodara and Ahmedabad are well connected by Air, Rail and Road to the rest of the country. Ahmedabad has an international airport that brings in flights from US, UK, Gulf countries and Africa.
From Ahmedabad or Vadodara, Champaner can be reached by road by State Transport buses and by taxis or private vehicles.
The three famous and awesome monuments Nagina Masjid, Kajuri Masjid and Kevada Masjid in Champaner have been described by many travel writers and now roads have been built connecting all the three monuments.
Restoration work was carried out in the late 19th Century AD as many pillars had deteriorated due to the vagaries of nature. Using chemicals to prevent further damage, treatments were given to remove deposits of salt, excreta of bats and vegetation. The central dome over the prayer hall of Nagina Masjid does not exist anymore.
There are many other places of beauty and grace in the area of Champaner Pavagarh Archeological Park apart from the three beautiful masjids that are a must see for visitors to this area. Some of them are: Amir Manzil, Champaner Fort, fortress of Mahmud Begada , the Sullan of Gujarat, Hissar e Khas, Khapra Zaveri Palace, Tomb of Sultan Sikander Shah