Saturday, 27 May 2017

Gates of Vadodara

An old photograph of old Baroda around Mandvi

Vadodara (Baroda), a cultural capital of Indian state of Gujarat, was once a walled city. The old walled city has four gates on four sides for entering the city and the old city is settled inside those gates. Each gates has its own story to tell. Let me take you through the brief history of 'Gates of Vadodara'.


Mahmud Begada (reigned May 25, 1458 – November 23, 1511), was one of the prominent sultan of Gujarat. He was the great-grandson of Ahmad Shah I, the founder of the Muzaffarid dynasty, and of the city of Ahmedabad (Ahmed Aabad) in the present-day state of Gujarat, India. He was named Begada because he won two "Gadh" at a time which was Pavagadh and Junagadh. He gave Baroda as a jagir to his son Khalil Khan. After the death of Mahmud Begada in 1511 AD, Khalil Khan became Sultan, he assumed the name Muzaffar Shah II. He built a new town to the east of the old Vadapadraka and called it Daulatabad. The old town had suffered at the hands of Mohammed Khiliji of Malwa, 1451, prior to the ascent of Muhamud Begada, and its population was shifted to the comparative security of the walled city.

Story goes that all these gates closed in the night to open only early morning, so nobody could venture out of the fort and safety of residents was ensured. Renowned archaeologist late R N Mehta in his book ‘Vadodara – Ek Adhyayan’ has mentioned the popular description of this town by a German traveller Johan Albrecht de Mandelslo: ‘The city of Brodra (Baroda) is seated in a large sandy plain upon a river called Wasset (Vishwamitri) about fifteen league from Broitschia (Bharuch). It was built of late year by Rasia ghie, son of Sultan Mahomet Begran (Mehmud Begada) the last king of Gassuratte (Gujarat) out of the ruins of the old Brodra which was half a league thence. It is indifferently well fortified after the antick way and has five gates, one where of is dammed up."

Present day old walled city still has these five gates. On the West is the Laheripura Gate, on the South is the Champaner Gate, on the East is the Pani Gate and to the South is the Gendi Gate. The centre of the city has the pavillion called the Mandvi. With times, the present day Vadodara city expanded rapidly around the periphery of this walled city. Though age has degraded its charms, it still has historical significance. Most of these Gates are in sorry state. Lately, there was a good news that the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) is set to give the Walled City area its due as a heritage precinct by taking up development of the area between the four gates. The expert will also have to design roads, dividers, lighting poles, signage and all surrounding existing structures keeping the heritage value of the area in mind. Hope this historical Gates of Vadodara will once again gain its enchantment.

Laheripura Darwaza

Laheripura Darwaza

Laheripura Darwaza (gate) is on the western side of the walled city. It is near Nyay Mandir and is the main entry to the walled city. The Gaekwads (Gaekwad dynasty) who ruled Baroda, renovated the gate in the Maratha-Rajput style in the 19th century. It has three arches with images of Lord Ganesha and Goddess Durga. The central arch has a ‘chhatri’ and ‘jharokha’ where shehnai artistes used to perform. Coppersmiths residing in that area were known as Laheris. The Word Laheri in Leheripura is a varient of the Original Lahari.



Panigate

Pani Gate

Pani Gate (Darwaza), serves as the eastern gateway to the old city of Vadodara (Baroda). It is said that there were Ajab and Raje lakes, which supplied water to the City, so the gate was named Pani (water) Gate. The Gate also has Wide Arches in Islamic Style. The Gate was restored few years back as some portion of the Gate was collapsed. A room with sloping roof was also added later. On its outer side, above the main arch, there is a metal structure like a nose. People call it ‘Vadodara nu naak’ – a metaphor for the city's honour.



Gendi Gate
Gendi Gate

Gendi Gate (Darwaza), serves as the Southern gateway to the old city of Vadodara (Baroda). The southern gate is an Islamic-style structure with four ribbed arches. A sloping roof was later constructed during the Maratha period. Rhinos (called Gendas in Gujarati) were kept near this gate so it got the name, says the book ‘Vadodara Ek Adhyayan’ by archaeologist R. N. Mehta. Documents from Year 1804 and 1822 refer to Gendi gate as Baranpore nu darwajo (gate) either because this gate led to Baranpura locality in the walled city or it was in the direction of Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh, much akin to the Baranpuri Bhagol in Surat which points to Burhanpur.


Champaner Darwaza

Champaner Darwaza

Champaner Darwaza (gate), serves as the northern gateway to the old city of Vadodara (Baroda). It was constructed after the Champaner fort was captured by Mehmud Begada. It was strategically important for the sultans to protect the capital of Gujarat Sultanate - Champaner - from any attack. Today, Champaner is the only Unesco-recognized World Heritage Site in Gujarat. 



Mandvi Gate

Mandvi Gate

Mandvi Gate, often termed as the North gate of the Royal Enclosure, is one of the major landmarks in Vadodara dating back to the Mughal period. It is located at the centre of the walled city where the roads leading to the 4 gates crosses. The word ‘Mandvi’ derives from the Sanskrit word mandapa meaning a pillared hall.

Built by Sultan Muzaffar II (1511-26 AD), this square-shaped pavilion  measuring 4,000 sq.feet had only one storey featuring three bold arched openings on each of its four sides. Marked by a market place in today’s time, this gate separates the two intermingled streets into four that meet in the center. It is believed that it was used for collecting toll from merchants and traders. It was also used to make announcements for the city. Under the orders of Damaji Rao II, this gate was renovated by Governor Malharoa Maloji in 1736 AD. Later during 1856 AD, Ganpatrao Gaekwad added more storeys. Now it is a four-storied concrete structure with four clock fitted on the top facing four gates. Most of the structure is intact including some of the jaalis. On special occasions like festivals and cultural events, the gate is illuminated with colorful lights. Near Mandvi Gate is a Central Library that has been inherited by the Gaekwads, and carries over 300,000 books in the present time.

2 comments:

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  2. Wow! What a great tour and visit! Such a wonderful pictures. Great share! It was such an informational blog, pleasure reading your content, Thanks. Keep sharing! Big thanks to the writer this post, because it's very informative blog.
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