Tourist Places to visit in Junagadh (2022)

  • Post last modified:19 March 2022
  • Reading time:16 mins read

In the Western fronts of Gujarat lies the city of Gujarat comfortably in the lap of nature. Covered by the Arabian sea and forest, Junagadh is renowned globally for Gir national forest. Literally translated to “Old Fort”, Junagadh chose to be a part of India over Pakistan after the Indian independence. Junagadh is one of the major cities in the state of Gujarat.

The city rests at the foot of Girnar Hills and is about 355 kilometres south of the state capital Gandhinagar. Junagadh is the seventh-largest city in Gujarat. Junagadh has been home to various dynasties and thus the city is full of significant buildings and monuments.

The historic city dates back to 319 century BC. Junagadh was a centre of the Mauryan dynasty for a brief period. The Girnar mountain ranges in Junagadh is a famous pilgrimage destination. The city of Junagadh can be visited within a couple of days with the help of a proper itinerary. In this article, find the places to visit in Junagadh to make your trip easier.


5 BEST Places To Visit In Junagadh

Gir National Park

Gir National Park or Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary or simply Sasan Gir is renowned worldwide. Gir National Park is a forest, national park and wildlife sanctuary, all in itself. Claiming to be the majestic home of the royal kings (Lions), Gir forest is the only place other than Africa where Lions roam freely in the wilderness. Also, it is the only place where you can sight Asiatic Lions.

Gir National Park should certainly come under your list of top places to visit in Junagadh. Gir National Forest has done a phenomenal job in saving Asiatic Lions from extinction. From 20 lions in 1913, the number has significantly increased to 523 as per the 2015 census. As per the numbers, there are 106 male, 201 female and 213 sub-adult lions.

Gir National Park is flooded with tourists around the year. However, the park is closed every year between 16th June and 15th October. Tourists can enjoy Gir Forest Jeep Safari and catch a glimpse of majestic beasts roaming around freely. Other than lions, one can also come across a wide variety of birds and reptiles in the forest.

The Jeep drive is of three hours and takes you to the heart of the forest where a rich variety of flora and fauna awaits you. Overnight stay in Gir National Forest is one of the top things to do in Junagadh. You can spend your tiring day after the Jeep Safari by the campfire or in your comfortable cottage.

  • Best Time To Visit: Between December to March
  • Major Attractions: Asiatic Lions, Jeep Safari
  • Ideal duration to explore: 4-6 hours
  • Things to do: Photography, Wildlife Sighting, Camping, Jeep Rides

Uparkot Fort

Uparkot Fort symbolises the rule of the Mauryan Empire over present-day Junagadh. Nestled at the foothills of Girnar Hill, Uparkot Fort has to be included in your itinerary of places to visit in Gujarat. It was built in 319 BC. The fort that saw the Mauryan and the Gupta dynasties, was rediscovered during the rule of Chudasmas.

As per the legends, the fort was abandoned and eventually lost in the jungle after the capital of Saurashtra was moved from Junagadh to Vallabhi around 875 AD. The forest was cleared and the fort was revived. Uparkot Fort is the ‘Gadh aka Fort’ in the name Junagadh that means ‘Old Fort’. However, that wasn’t the only restoration done to the. Uparkot Fort had two more restorations in 1893-94 and in 2020.

In 1893-94, the restoration of the fort was done by Haridas Viharidas and in 2020, it was the Government of Gujarat that undertook the restoration process. Uparkot Fort is one of the oldest and most famous Forts in India. The legendary fort has withstood 16 siege attempts over the course of centuries. The longest one was a 12-year siege. The fort holds many attractions within its compounds.

Those include two step-wells, a former mosque and a set of Buddhist caves that are over thousands of years old. The step-wells in particular attract the most visitors due to their meticulously cut spiral rock steps. Uparkot Fort is a popular tourist spot in Junagadh. The fort has seen several rulers over the course of years and to date, the remnants of the same could be seen.

  • Best Time To Visit: Between November to February
  • Major Attractions: Navghan Kuvo and Adi Kadi Vav Step-wells, Cannon, Jama Masjid
  • Ideal duration to explore: 1-2 hours
  • Things to do: Photography, Enjoy Panoramic View

Mahabat Maqbara

Mahabat Maqbara is a mausoleum in Junagadh, Gujarat state. It was built as a dedication to Mahabat Khan II in 1892. There is another mausoleum right next to Mahabat Maqbara that was constructed for Mahabat Khan II’s minister Bahauddin Hussain Bhar. It is a State Protected Monument under Gujarat Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1965.

The Mahabat Maqbara is known for its Indo-Islamic architectural style with a fair amount of Gothic influence. Mahabat Maqbara is one of the most suggested places to visit in Junagadh. Its historic value and architectural beauty draw numerous visitors towards it every year.

The carvings on the inner and outer facades and arches are eye-catchy. The dome-shaped roof and French windows add to the aesthetics of the mausoleum. The minarets on four sides of the structure have winding stairs and are certain to gift you with a jaw-dropping sight. The Mahabat Maqbara is full of stupendous carvings, marble columns and sculptures

Mahabat Maqbara is popular among tourists and yet a hidden gem among locals. The same makes this marvellous architecture a relatively less crowded tourist spot in Junagadh. Standing as the beacon of beautiful architecture from the past, Mahabat Maqbara can be visited any time of the year.

  • Best Time To Visit: Between November to February
  • Major Attractions: Spiral-stairs minarets, French window
  • Ideal duration to explore: 30 minutes – 1 hour
  • Things to do: Photography

Girnar Hill

Girnar Hill is an ancient hill in Junagadh that stands 3672 feet above sea level. This centuries-old hill is dotted with about 866 Hindu and Jain temples spread over its vast summits. It takes 9999 steps to reach the final summit of Girnar Hill. Girnar Hill is one of the top places to visit in Junagadh for pilgrims. The holy mountain is also known as Revatak Parvata.

The trek to Girnar Hill starts at Girnar Taleti and most tourists begin their ascent during the dawn. The trek towards the summit is a one-of-a-kind experience in itself. On your way, you would come across many unavoidable and alluring sites. The Domdar Kund, Baldvji and Bhavnath temples are some of those. In Bhavnath temple, one can see naked sadhus who come to meditate and celebrate the Hindu festival of Shivratri.

Find yourself in front of a plateau filled with Jain temples right before the first summit. The first summit can be reached after 4000 steps and the complex of Jain temples from the 12th century can be found just 800 steps before the first summit. The panoramic view right after crossing 2000 steps is unmatchable and is certain to stay in your memory forever.

The challenging climb combined with an alluring view and religious vibe is once in a lifetime experience. Hence, trekking on Giran Hill is one of the most recommended things to do in Junagadh. An unusual sighting of Aghori sadhus covered in funeral ashes from head to toe could be found over here as well.

  • Best Time To Visit: Between November to February
  • Major Attractions: Domdar Kund, Baldvji and Bhavnath temples
  • Ideal duration to explore: 4-6 hours
  • Things to do: Trekking, Photography, Enjoy Panoramic View, Worship, Pilgrimage

Sakkarbaug Zoological Park

Sakkarbaug Zoological Park is also known as Sakkarbaug Zoo or Junagadh Zoo. The vast zoo that stretches over 210 acres of land was opened in 1863. The zoo gives purebred Asiatic lions for the Indian and the international endangered species captive breeding program for the critically endangered species. The Sakkarbaug Zoological Garden is the oldest zoo in India and a part of the top places to visit in Junagadh.

Today, the zoo is home to 500+ mammals, 111 reptiles and over 600 birds. The Sakkarbaug Zoo is actively involved in animal exchange programs and has received many varieties of animals, birds and reptiles in return for Asiatic Lions. The zoo houses a veterinary hospital and a natural history museum within its hall.

The year 2009 saw the Sakkarbaug Zoo become the only zoo in India to house African cheetahs. The zoo acquired two pairs of cheetahs in exchange for three Asiatic Lions. It was the first time since 1946, the zoo had cheetahs in captivity. The Sakkarbaug Zoo is one of the perfect destinations in Junagadh for a family.

Visit the zoo during the daytime to spend an entire quality day with your family and loved ones. The walk around the extensive zoological park can get tiring. So make sure you have a bottle of water handy along with caps and scarfs. Especially if it’s summertime.

  • Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Major Attractions: Asiatic Lions, African Cheetahs
  • Ideal duration to explore: 2-4 hours
  • Things to do: Photography, Wildlife Spotting

Whether you are a nature lover, a history buff, a backpacker or are travelling with your family, Junagadh is always ready to welcome all sorts of travellers. The city can be visited best during the months of winter. However, being an all-around the year destination, Junagadh also experiences tourists during summer.

Just be cautious of the scorching heat. However, cap and UV protective sun-tan lotion could do the trick. Junagadh is a relatively pocket-friendly and exciting city to explore. The major attractions of the city can be covered in a day or two.

Junagadh reflects the rich history of Gujarat state and its place in shaping the history of India. If Junagadh excites the traveller within you then do check out places to visit in Gandhinagar as well. It could certainly help you plan more trips across the state with utmost ease.


FAQ

How can I commute within Junagadh?

Junagadh is a relatively small city in the state of Gujarat. The whole city along with its major attractions can be easily covered in a day or two. Tourists and locals majorly depend on auto-rickshaws as a means to transport within the city.

Another feasible mode of commute is a taxi. The state also runs buses for travellers to move in and around the city. Travelling within the borders of Junagadh is relatively cheap and easier.

What are the top sightseeing places in Junagadh?

Junagadh has an array of historically significant and nature-friendly tourist spots. You can start your trip by visiting the famous Gir Forest. Take a thrilling jeep ride, spot Asiatic Lions and end the trip by enjoying a night around a campfire in the forest grounds.

The next notable attraction is Girnar Hill. Girnar Hill can offer you both, a thrill-seeking trekking experience and a peaceful pilgrimage. The mountain is dotted with Jain and Hindu temples and the summits can be accessed by large steps. It takes nearly 10,000 steps to reach the last summit.

In addition, the Sakkarbaug Zoological Park would be a perfect place to take your children and enjoy a nice family time.

Why is Junagadh famous?

Junagadh has been a home and ruling capital to various dynasties. From Mauryas and Guptas to Mughals and British Raj, Junagadh houses evidence of its rulers and dynasties till this day. The city is embellished with cultural and historic monuments.
Moreover, the city is mostly renowned for being home to the world-famous Gir Forest. Gir Forest is the only place on earth other than Africa, where one can spot Lions roaming in the wilderness freely.

What is the famous food of Junagadh?

Like any other Gujarati city, Junagadh is famous for its local and traditional savouries as well. Do relish the local Khandvi, Thepla and Dhokla. Famous sweet dishes include Basundi and Gewar.

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