Champaner succeeded Ahmedabad as the seat of the local sultans in the 16th century before Akbar swept through to annex Gujarat for the Mughals. Inscribed with exquisite calligraphy and elaborate, Hindu-inflected motifs, its ruined mosques, palaces, fortified gateways and tombs are scattered over 4 miles of scrubland – now classed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Much of the archaeological park, which welcomes only a handful of foreign tourists each year, remains unexcavated. Above it looms the sandstone escarpments of jungle-covered Pavagadh mountain, on whose summit a whitewashed Kali temple affords a stupendous view of the surrounding plains. A flight of stone steps winds to the top – a lung-stretching hour’s climb – or you could join the pilgrims and daytrippers on the popular cable car ride.
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