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Buddhist Caves, Uparkot (Junagadh)

It is situated on the descent from the Jami Masjid. On the ground, the excavations are laid out which is open to the sky in the main portion. If one enters it from the south can be seen. Around the pond, are covered corridors and a verandah, the short steps running down to the base of the pond. A series of socket holes, for fixing wooden shutters, to control the flow of water to different cisterns, can also be observed. There once existed a superstructure, possibly of perishable material is suggested by the socket holes at regular alignment on the upper level of the rock roof.

The pillars in these caves have spiral ridges on their shafts, octagonal plinth bases, and florally ornamented capitals, carrying animal figures. A rock-cut stairway near the door of this cell leads to the hall on the lower storey. This well-furnished and decorative hall has Buddhist rail decoration on the frieze above the recesses. Chaitya windows with a couple of female figures can also be seen.

The hall has six pillars whose bases and capital mouldings have a marked similarity. The body of the capital has eight divisions; each section carries a group of women, multiple cobra-hoods, and dwarfed attendants. The bases have crouching lions at the corners and centers.

Harappan Site, Dholavira City

About 445 km from Ahmedabad, via Mehsana/Radhanpur/Rapar. The nearest airport is Bhuj (280 km), and nearest railway station, Gandhidham (250 km)

The site of Dholavira was discovered as recently as in 1967. Proper excavation began only in 1990. In its fully developed state, the settlement had three pronounced parts: The Citadel, Middle Town and Lower Town. All three were inter-linked with an elaborate system of fortifications. Ample evidence points to suburban habitation outside the fortification.

The entire complex was enclosed by outer walls. Its complex has two fortified parts to its east and west. The castle has four gates. The ones on the western and southern sides are simple, while the ones on the east and the north have elaborate planning. Gaps indicative of gates have been noticed in the walls. At several places, there is evidence of square or rectangular bastions.

The Middle Town had its own fortification on three sides and shared the south wall- the fourth one- with the Citadel. An area of this densely occupied strata was kept vacant, most probably for state functions. Several Harappan houses on the south-eastern corner of the eastern arm of the Lower Town have been laid bare by the wholesale removal of earth for construction. The removed debris contain profuse Harappan material of the urban phase.

The interesting finding is a damru-shaped part made from highly polished limestone.

Rani-Ni-Vav, Patan

It is about 134 km north-west of Ahmedabad, and about 57 km from Mehsana. The Rani-ni-Vav forms the link between a kunda and the now classical step-well. Five lateral, staggered staircases attached to the side walls connect various storeys. Sculptures of deities in recessed and projecting niches cover all sides of the well. The Vav is very rich in sculptures. Each level is profusely adorned with carved friezes and niched deities. The lower most level has 37 niches with rudimentary images of Ganesha in the center. The images of Sheshashayi Vishnu in the central niches, on the upper levels, are more elaborate.

Also, on the upper levels, are impressive images of Laxmi-Narayana, Uma-Mahesh, Brahma-Brahmi, and kubera and Ganesha, with their respective consorts. On the lower levels, are images of Vishnu's incarnations and 24 forms. No other Vav in India is so profusely adorned as the Rani-ni-Vav. More than 800 sculptures form a remarkable backdrop to what was purely a functional structure.

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