Monday, January 31, 2011

Junagadh : Catch me if you can!

Don’t feel too guilty if you don’t know - what Junagadh is all about, not many people do (which can be quite a blessing!). Many places in India have thick, multi layered history, but for sheer individuality, era after era, story after story, no place can beat Junagadh. Now it is every tourist’s dream oxymoron – a quiet city!

Walking about Junagadh is like taking a quirky history lesson that got left out the syllabus – may be because it refused to take itself too seriously. Eccentricity embellishes the folklore here in Junagadh. Recently I visited Junagadh with my family to listen to the drumbeats of the history of 16th century, the tenure of Sultan Bahadur Shah who valiantly, perhaps illogically defended his kingdom by opposing the Mughals and the Portugese.

The palatial pastiche of Junagadh city is really awesome. The structure, a mixture of Islamic and European architecture is overwhelming. We visited Girnar Neminath Temple, Junagadh Palace, Durbar Hall Museum, Uperkot. All these sprawling ancient buildings dominate the city that is layered thick with myths. Durbar Hall Museum has an unusual collection of artifacts, associated with Junagadh Nawabs. It has chairs and thrones, arranged to imply an imminent durbar session. Its multicolored pillar is a bit of an eyeful.

Where else would you find the architecture that is straight of a fairy tale, the most unconventionally beautiful mosque possible? Junagadh is the ultimate post-modernist pastiche in many ways. History hides here and it is only because no one has come seeking it.

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