Pavagadh – the religious and historic hill
Pavagadh is a picnic spot 46 km away from Vadodara, having religious as well as historic importance.
It is known for its Mahakali temple that draws thousands of pilgrims every day. Pavagadh, along with the neighboring village of Champaner, is now an archaeological park and has been declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 2004.
Pavagadh is of religious importance to Hindus as well as Muslims. The Kalika Mata temple is believed to be one of the 51 Shakti Peeths. The journey from the bottom of the hill till the top where the temple lies can be covered in an UdanKhatola or on foot. The UdanKhatola at Pavagadh has been in operation since 1986 and takes around 6 minutes to cover the whole climb. The hill is very steep and climbing it on foot takes well over one hour, but gives an opportunity to revel in the natural beauty and pristine sceneries. The total distance of the journey on foot is about 5 km and takes you through a jungle footpath and steps. The total height of the hill is 1523 feet or 550 meters, and it lies 762 meters above the sea level.
At the summit of Pavagadh, the temple has large fortifications and an open chowk in the front, with two altars for sacrifices also incorporated in the temple premises. There are also an array of lights laid out all around the temple, specially meant for special occasions and festivals.
The idol in the inner sanctum is only the head of Kalika Mata, the mukhwato that is painted in red.
A little above the Kali temple, lies the SadanshahPirDargah and there are various folk tales and stories about the Dargah. It is said that Kalika Mata had once got furious and tried to go down into the Earth in her fit of rage. But that would have meant destruction of the Earth, and a Muslim saint held her by her hair and saved the Earth. That is why, only the head of the Goddess is there in the temple, while the rest of the body is believed to be underground. Symbolically, it is the same reason why the dargah lies above the Kali temple.
At the foot of the hill are two beautiful lakes – TeliyaTalav and DudhiyaTalav.
There are also various monuments like Jama Masjid, Jami Masjid, etc. A ticket of Rs.20 per person has to be purchased and the same holds valid for all the monuments.
The remains of Raval Palace also make an interesting spot. The palace remains are located at Machi,a village at the base of the Pavagadh Hill.At Machi, one can also find various rest houses, holiday homes and small hotels.Pavagadh is accessible by bus as well as by car. During the monsoon,the place becomes all the more beautiful as the entire hill gets enveloped in clouds. It makes for a great picnic spot and ensures a fun-filled as well as spiritually fulfilling day.