Dholka is an ancient town with its root buried deep into antiquity. It is believed that the town was known as Birat Nagar in Mahabharata days and the Pandava brothers spent the last one year of their exile in this town. Although there is no concrete record to corroborate such theories few places in Dholka derive their name from the above mentioned period. Pandava’s Pathshala and Bhima’s Kitchen are some of them. Let's find about some tourist spots in Dholka:
Religious Spots in DholkaRead about these interesting places to worship in Dholka:
Malav Lake in DholkaThe earliest testament available today is the Malav Lake built in the eleventh century by Solanki Queen Minal Devi. She was the widow of Raja Karan Dev I and mother of Siddhraj Jaisinh. It is not known why she had this lake dug; but we can guess that the purpose was to mitigate water shortage typical of this region.
Malav Lake has a diameter of around four hundred yards. The bank of this lake was paved by finely carved stone walls, much of which is still visible today. There are flights of steps leading to the water. In the center of the lake one can see a temple like structure. Once upon a time it was connected to the shore by astone bridge, but now it remains out of bound most of the time.
Ancient Mosques in Dholka
Dholka as we see today was mainly built in the Muslim period as the resident of the Viceroy of Delhi Sultanate. The town has three mosques to remind us of that period. Among them, the Masjid of Hilal Khan Qazi is most popular. It is also known as Khan Mosque
Khan Mosque in DholkaKhan Mosque was built in 1325 AD. It is a brick built structure with a simple façade. From the outside it looks more like a fort than a mosque. Most of the plasters are now missing and consequently, not much of the decorations are visible today. Yet, if you look for them you will find remains of intricate carvings and jali works inside the mosque. This goes to prove that once upon a time, it was indeed a beautiful mosque built with artistic view.
Khan Mosque has three large halls, each of which is covered with a huge dome. Two beautiful turrets almost 200 ft tall flank them from both sides. One has to enter the mosque through arched doorways in the middle. The central hall has a pulpit from where the Imam delivers the sermon. The hall is so constructed that even a whisper is echoed throughout the building. In addition, all the rooms here have a marker pointing towards Mecca.
Views from top of the towers are truly enchanting. Khan Talav at the back is also very impressive. Many are the opinion that Lord Rama rested by its side when he was living in the forest in reverence to the promise his father Dasaratha made to queen Kaikayee. In addition, there are also two separate structures containing the graves of some unknown persons on both side of this mosque. Regular prayers are not held here; but gatherings are held during Eid.
Tanka Masjid in Dholka
Another well known mosque in Dholka is the Tanka Masjid, built in 1361 AD by Mufakhr Mufarrah. It was originally intended to be used as the Juma Masjid or Friday mosque; but later a new one was built for that purpose.
Tanka Masjid has a mixed architecture. Although the structure is Islamic, it has around one hundred pillars along the corridor which are distinctly Hindu. Many are of the opinion that the Islamic style was not fully evolved during the period of its construction and that is why we see a mixture of Islamic and Hindu sculpture in this mosque. However, some others believe that pillars from a Hindu temple were used to support the corridor. In fact, many other portions of this mosque have Hindu touch. The doorway at the north and the parapet at the south porch are few examples of that.
The interior of the mosque has a dimension of 160’ by 69’. It includes the two courtyards. Three mihrabs or prayer niches can be found along the back wall; they are supported by semi circular props. There is also an 18 feet square enclosure at the north end of the building; it has perforated screen work and functions as a separate prayer room for women. Unlike Khan Mosque, regular prayers are held here and photography is forbidden inside this structure.
Alif Khan Mosque in DholkaThe Mosque of Alif Khan is the third important mosque here. It does not follow typical Gujarati style of architecture. Instead it has a strong influence of the South Persian style. Although regular prayers are held here, non Muslims are allowed to explore this mosque.
In addition to the above mosques, the town also has a Juma Masjid meant for Friday prayer.
Chandramouleshwara Mahadev in Dholka
Dholka also have number temples that should be visited by all. Among them, Chandramouleshwara Mahadev, also known as Parpotyia Mahadev and Nageshwar Mahadev is said to be the oldest. Although the outer structure of this temple was built in 1751 AD by Antaji Rav, an officer in the service of the Gaikwads, the actual temple is believed to be much older. One surprising phenomenon about this temple is that, white marks appear on Shivlangams on every full moon and vanish by new moon. However, no such marks appear in the moth of Shravan.
Shravan is an auspicious month for this temple. Thousand of devotees visit this temple on every Monday in the month of Shravan. A fair is also arranged on the new moon day in this month. Shivaratri is another auspicious day here. On that day thousands of devotees come to this temple to offer their puja.
Swaminarayan Mandir in Dholka
Swaminarayan Temple in Dholka falls under the ten dhams revered by Swaminarayan Sampraday. It is one of the first temples of this order and was graced by the presence of Lord Swaminarayan himself. Indeed, this is one of the temples where the Lord came in person and installed the idol of Morlimanohardev Harikrushna Mahraj himself. Today it has many more deities installed with proper rituals. Thousands of devotees visit this temple throughout the year and seek the blessing of the Lord. Many feasts are also organized all through the year.
Kalikund Jain Tirth in Dholka
Kalikund Jain Tirth is managed by Tejpal Vastupal Charitable Trust. It is a vast complex with a multi layered temple at its center. Shri Kalikund Parshwanath Bhagwan is the main deity here. The idol of Parashwanath is said to be 2200 years old. It is one of the many idols established by an unknown Jain devotee. All these idols were later removed in order to save them from the hands of invaders. This particular idol was reinstalled at the behest of His Holiness Acharyadev Vijayrajendrasurisvarji in this beautiful temple.
The idol of Parashwanath is 120 centimeter in height and is made out of white marble. The Lord, seated in padmashana posture, seems to be smiling at the devotees and blessing them.
In addition to the main temple, the complex has few other temples dedicated to other deities. Do take time to visit Mini-Shetrunjaya temple, which resembles a 45 ft high hill. Jal Taleti, Babuna Dera, the temple of Bhagawan Shantinath, Dada’s Tank, Nava tunk, Getina Paga etc are some other spots to visit in this Tirth.
Other Tourist Attractions in Places to Visit in DholkaIn addition to the above mentioned holy places, the town has many other temples dedicated to different deities. If you have time you may also visit them. Otherwise, you can a take a trip to Lothal, one of the Indus Valley sites in this country.
One Day Trip to LothalIf you travel via Bagodara Dholka Road, Lothal is just 50 km from away. Here you will not come across any lofty monument; instead you will come across ruins of an ancient city that had been destroyed and rebuilt many times.
Lothal literally means mound of dead. It is the most excavated Indus Valley site in India. The town has been destroyed by floods three times. Each time the survivors not only rebuilt the city, but also improved upon the exiting one. In addition, the city also housed the world’s first dock. Therefore, while roam about among the ruins of the ancient city or visit the local museum, do keep your mind’s eyes open and your imagination flying. Only then you will be able to perceive is glory
Trip to Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary
Nal Sarovar Bird Sanctuary is located at a distance of 56.1 km from Dholka. It mainly consists of a vast lake measuring around 123 square kilometer surrounded by huge tract of low lying land. The area is rich in fauna and flora. It is open from 6 AM to 6 PM every day.
Although the bird sanctuary is more famous for its migratory birds a vast flock of indigenous birds can also be spotted here round the year. What is more, different types of birds visit this bird sanctuary in different seasons. In monsoon, you will be able to see water birds like rosy pelicans, white storks, flamingoes, herons and brahminy ducks etc nestling in the shallow water in the fringes of the main lake. In winter you will be able spot 250 species of migratory birds in and around this lake; they include birds like purple moorhen, lesser and greater flamingos, pelicans, white storks, crakes, grebes, herons, brahminy ducks, herons, bitterns etc.
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