History of Dabhoi Fort
Dabhoi Fort was built in the early 11th century AD. Siddhraj Jaisinh, addressed as a great king of Gujarat, is credited with the establishment of Dabhoi Fort. He ruled over Gujarat from 1093 to 1143 AD. The complete construction of the entire structure took over two centuries. Vaishal Dev Vaghela, addressed as a popular ruler of the Vaghela Dynasty, is credited with the completion of the fort structure. He did so with the aim to develop the Dabhoi region. In 1300 AD, Muslim rulers became the new masters of this fort. Muslim rulers altered some of the designs of the gates. In the same year, Alauddin Khilji of Khilji Dynasty invaded this fort and damaged many of its Hindu temples. History highlights that the famous battle of Dabhoi was fought out of this fort in the 18th century or 1731 A.D. The contestants of the battle were Sarsenapati Trimbakrao Dabhade and Bajirao Peshwa.
There was a time when Jainism was flourishing in the Dabhoi Fort region thereby coming under its influence. Dabhoi Fort acted as a great pilgrim centre and a home to an array of Jain scholars. Consequently, some of the important Jain scripts and literatures were compiled or took birth in this fort. These scripts and literatures are known to have great socio-religious significance. Dayaram, addressed as a renowned Gujarati poet and Garbi composer was born in this fort.
Architectural Design of Dabhoi Fort
Dabhoi Fort is a fine representation of the Hindu Military Architectural Style. This fort is known to have been built following the principles of Vastu Sashtra, so that the fort is in complete harmony with nature and there are positive impacts of nature on the fort structure. Deva Shilpi is known to be the master architect of the Dabhoi. Sandstones have been used to construct the fort structure at an elevation of about 99 meters above the mean sea level. Freemasonry stone work is evident in the structure of the fort. The walls of the fort are adorned with art work everywhere. The walls can be called unique due to the stone carvings of the Vedic sculptures and Hindu designs. The fort also has square shaped bastions all around. Dabhoi is well known for its four gateways. These four gates provide indirect entry inside the fort. They are Hira Bhagol, Vadodara Gate, Champaner Gate and Nandod Gate. These gates are located in the east, in the west, in the north and in the south respectively. More specifically, the four gates are located in the middle of each side of the fort wall. Out of these four gateways, Hira Bhagol is considered to be famous for its exquisite stone carvings. This eastside gateway is named after the famous architect, Hiradhar. Its magnificent iconography grabs the eyeballs of the tourists. It was altered during the time of Visaldev and the Muslim rule. Dabhoi Fort also serves as the gateway for Narmada Sardar Sarovar Dam.
Interior of Dabhoi Fort
Many ancient Jain and Hindu temples are housed in the Dabhoi Fort. More specifically, this fort houses 6 temples, out of which 3 are Jain temples. They are dedicated to different gods and goddesses. These temples are adorned with Hindu art. Shri Lodhan ParshwanathTemple has been estimated as the oldest of the six Dabhoi temples. This temple is also considered to be one of the important Jain pilgrimage centre. A sand idol is the occupant of this temple which is considered to be popular. An important fact associated with this idol is that, it did not get damaged even after remaining under water for a prolonged period of time. An ancient Goddess Kalka temple is also situated at one side of the fort. The temple is adorned with exquisite wood carvings. Bibi ni Bagi is the dargah inside the Dabhoi Fort, which is famous for ornate minarets. Several palace complexes are also housed inside the fort. The complexes have giant doorways, projected windows and narrow verandahs. Apart from the palaces, several small structures are also found here, which are supported on well carved pillars.
The nearest airport to Dabhoi Fort is in Vadodara. The airport is located at a distance of about 29 km from Dabhoi. This airport is known to have Indian Airlines flight services. Dabhoi has one of the worlds oldest narrow gauge railway junctions. Many express trains operated by western railway have direct connections with some of the major cities in India. As far as road way is concerned, roads leading to Dabhoi Fort are motorable by buses, auto rickshaws and taxis. More specifically, GSRTC bus services can be availed from Vadodara at Dabhoi bus stand, which will take one to Dabhoi Fort.
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