Best Places to Visit in Junagadh in 2024

Explore the best places to visit in Junagadh, including Girnar Hill, Uparkot Fort, Mahabat Maqbara, Sakkarbaug Zoo, Ashoka’s Rock Edicts, Darbar Hall Museum, and more.

Junagadh, located at the foot of the majestic Girnar Hills in Gujarat, India, is a city rich in history and culture. It offers a variety of experiences for all types of travelers.

This ancient city is a blend of different rulers influences seen in its architecture, monuments, and traditions. From the powerful Uperkot Fort to the peaceful Jain temples on Girnar Hill, Junagadh is like an open-air museum.

But Junagadh is not just about history. The city is alive with bustling markets, cultural performances, and the natural beauty of Gir National Park, home to the Asiatic lion. There is much to see and do in this fascinating city.

Junagadh: An Overview

Junagadh means “Old Fort” in Hindi, fitting for a city with such a rich history. Located in the southwestern part of Gujarat, India, Junagadh sits at the base of the sacred Girnar Hills. The Arabian Sea is nearby, and the Gir National Park, home to the Asiatic lion, is close.

Junagadh’s history spans centuries. The Uperkot Fort, built by the Mauryan emperor Chandragupta Maurya in 322 BC, stands as a reminder of its past. Over time, dynasties like the Mauryas, Ashoka, and the Guptas shaped the city. Today, Junagadh blends Hinduism, Jainism, and Islam, seen in its temples, mosques, and festivals.

Life in Junagadh honors tradition. Mornings start with temple chants and the smell of freshly cooked Gujarati food. The locals, known for their hospitality, wear colorful clothing that reflects their cultural heritage. Markets are full of handcrafted items, spices, and local foods. Evenings feature traditional dances and music, showing how history and culture mix in Junagadh.

History of Junagadh

Junagadh’s history is long and eventful, marked by the rise and fall of empires. Let’s explore its past:

Ancient Times

  • Early settlements existed around Junagadh as early as the 3rd millennium BC.
  • The Mauryan emperor Chandragupta Maurya took control in 322 BC, building the Uperkot Fort.
  • Emperor Ashoka, Chandragupta’s grandson, inscribed his famous edicts on a nearby rock, providing insights into ancient laws and beliefs.

Dynastic Rule

  • Junagadh saw the rule of various dynasties, each adding to its history.
  • The Guptas, known for their cultural and scientific advancements, left their mark.
  • The Maitrakas and Chalukyas followed, contributing architectural marvels.
  • In the 15th century, the Gujarat Sultanate took control, reflected in mosques and Islamic art.

Mughal and Princely Rule

  • The Mughals arrived in the 16th century, leaving architectural gems like the Mahabat Maqbara.
  • By the 18th century, Junagadh became an independent princely state under the Babi Nawabs, a Pashtun dynasty. This era saw the construction of palaces and flourishing trade.

British and Modern Times

  • The British arrived in the 19th century, making Junagadh a protectorate while the Nawabs retained some autonomy.
  • After India’s independence in 1947, Junagadh’s ruler opted for Pakistan, leading to a brief conflict and eventual integration into India after a public vote.
  • Since independence, Junagadh has developed while preserving its heritage. Today, it is a center of commerce, education, and tourism, attracting visitors with its history, natural beauty, and cultural traditions.

Best Places to Visit in Junagadh

Best Places to Visit in Junagadh

Here are the best places to visit in junagadh:

1. Girnar Hill

Girnar Hill is a sacred mountain in Junagadh, important for both Hindus and Jains. It is famous for its temples and is a popular pilgrimage destination.

Key Attractions

  • Temples: Home to ancient temples like the Neminath Temple and Ambaji Temple.
  • Trekking Routes: Climbing 9,999 steps is challenging but rewarding.
  • Viewpoints: Offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

2. Uparkot Fort

Historical Importance and Architectural Details

Uparkot Fort is an ancient fort built by the Mauryan emperor Chandragupta Maurya in 322 BC. It has been a key military site throughout history.

Main Features

  • Ancient Caves: The fort contains ancient Buddhist caves from the 2nd century.
  • Step Wells: Adi-Kadi Vav and Navghan Kuwo are unique step wells within the fort.
  • Fortifications: The strong walls give a glimpse of medieval military architecture.

3. Mahabat Maqbara

Architectural Style and Historical Context

Mahabat Maqbara is a beautiful mausoleum built in the 19th century by the Nawabs of Junagadh. It mixes Indo-Islamic and Gothic styles.

Key Features

  • Intricate Carvings: The mausoleum is adorned with detailed carvings and minarets.
  • Islamic Influence: The structure shows significant Islamic architectural elements.

4. Sakkarbaug Zoological Garden

Overview of the Zoo and Its Significance

Sakkarbaug Zoological Garden, or Junagadh Zoo, is one of India’s oldest zoos, established in 1863. It plays an important role in wildlife conservation.

Notable Species and Conservation Efforts

  • Asiatic Lions: Known for its successful breeding program of Asiatic lions.
  • Other Species: Houses leopards, tigers, and many bird species.
  • Conservation Efforts: Involved in projects to protect endangered species.

5. Ashoka’s Rock Edicts

Historical Background

Ashoka’s Rock Edicts are inscriptions carved on a large rock by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC. These are among the earliest written records in Indian history.

Details of the Inscriptions and Their Importance

  • Inscriptions: Written in Brahmi script, they contain messages about morality, non-violence, and religious tolerance.
  • Importance: Provides insights into the governance and philosophy of Emperor Ashoka, who spread Buddhism.

6. Darbar Hall Museum

Collection of Artifacts and Exhibits

Darbar Hall Museum is in a historic palace that was once the court of the Nawabs of Junagadh. It displays a diverse collection of artifacts.

Importance to Local History and Culture

  • Artifacts: Displays weapons, armor, paintings, and manuscripts highlighting the region’s history.
  • Cultural Significance: Offers a glimpse into the royal lifestyle and cultural heritage of Junagadh.

7. Adi-Kadi Vav and Navghan Kuwo

Adi-Kadi Vav and Navghan Kuwo are two ancient step wells located in the Uparkot Fort complex. Built during the Chudasama dynasty’s reign.

Architectural Uniqueness and Cultural Significance

  • Adi-Kadi Vav: Known for its unique construction, with a long flight of steps leading down to the water source.
  • Navghan Kuwo: Another impressive step well, showcasing ancient water management systems.
  • Cultural Significance: Important examples of the region’s architectural and engineering heritage.

Things to Do in Junagadh

Things to Do in Junagadh

Here are the best things to do in junagadh:

1. Trek to Girnar Hill

Details of the Trekking Route and Experience

Trekking to Girnar Hill is an exciting adventure. The trek involves climbing 9,999 steps to reach the top, where you will find old temples and amazing views. This trek is tough but rewarding for nature lovers and pilgrims.

Best Times to Go

Best Time to Go: October to February when the weather is cooler.


  • Start early in the morning to avoid the heat.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and carry enough water.
  • Be prepared for a challenging climb and take breaks as needed.

2. Explore Uparkot Fort

Morning: Begin at the entrance and explore the fort’s walls and gateways.

Mid-Morning: Visit the ancient Buddhist caves and Adi-Kadi Vav stepwell.

Afternoon: Check out Navghan Kuwo and the old palace ruins.


  • Ancient Caves: These rock-carved caves are fascinating.
  • Step Wells: The Adi-Kadi Vav and Navghan Kuwo are unique and interesting.
  • Fort Walls: The walls provide great views of the city.

3. Visit the Gir National Park

Overview of the Park and Its Wildlife

Gir National Park is home to the Asiatic lion and other wildlife like leopards, deer, and many bird species. It’s a special place to see these animals in their natural surroundings.

Safari Details and How to Book

  • Safari Booking: Book online or at the park entrance. Booking in advance is recommended, especially during peak season.
  • Safari Times: Usually early morning and late afternoon.
  • What to Expect: A guided tour in a jeep to spot wildlife and learn about the park.

4. Attend Local Festivals

Key Festivals and Their Significance

  • Navratri: Nine days of celebrating the goddess Durga with dance and music.
  • Diwali: The festival of lights with fireworks, sweets, and decorations.
  • Makar Sankranti: A kite-flying festival marking the end of winter.

Best Times to Experience Local Culture

  • Navratri: September or October.
  • Diwali: October or November.
  • Makar Sankranti: January.

5. Shop at Junagadh’s Local Markets

Popular Markets and What to Buy

  • Bhavnath Market: Known for handicrafts and traditional items.
  • Mangal Bazar: Great for spices and textiles.
  • Sardar Baug Market: Famous for local sweets and snacks.

Shopping and Bargaining

  • Bargain: Don’t hesitate to ask for a lower price.
  • Local Products: Look for local items like bandhani textiles and traditional jewelry.
  • Peak Hours: Visit in the morning or late afternoon to avoid crowds.

6. Taste Local Cuisine

Overview of Local Dishes and Specialties

  • Khaman: A savory steamed cake made from gram flour.
  • Dhokla: A steamed dish made from fermented rice and chickpea batter.
  • Thepla: Spiced flatbread often served with yogurt or pickles.

Recommended Restaurants and Street Food Spots

  • Petals Restaurant: Known for its Gujarati thali.
  • Swati Snacks: Famous for its tasty snacks.
  • Street Food: Try local stalls, especially near the Bhavnath Taleti area.

7. Visit Religious Sites

Temples and Religious Places

  • Neminath Temple: An important Jain temple on Girnar Hill.
  • Swaminarayan Temple: A beautiful Hindu temple in the city.
  • Jama Masjid: An important mosque in Junagadh.

Etiquette and Customs to Observe

  • Dress Modestly: Wear appropriate clothing when visiting religious sites.
  • Remove Shoes: Take off your shoes before entering temples or mosques.
  • Respect Traditions: Follow any specific rules or guidelines provided at the site.

Recommendation Read: Top 5 Beaches in Dwarka

Best Time to Visit Junagadh

Best Time to Visit Junagadh

  • Summer (March to June): Hot and dry, with temperatures reaching up to 40°C.
  • Monsoon (July to September): Rainy season with moderate to heavy rainfall.
  • Winter (October to February): Cool and pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 10°C to 25°C.

Recommendations for the Best Months to Visit

  • Best Months: October to February.
  • Reason: The weather is cool and ideal for sightseeing and outdoor activities.

Seasonal Highlights and Events

  • Navratri: Celebrated with traditional dance and music.
  • Makar Sankranti: Known for vibrant kite flying festivals.

How to Reach Junagadh

Nearby Airports

Rajkot Airport

  • Distance: About 100 km from Junagadh.
  • Travel Options: Taxis, buses, and car rentals are available from the airport to Junagadh.

Diu Airport

  • Distance: About 150 km from Junagadh.
  • Travel Options: Taxis and buses can be used to reach Junagadh from Diu Airport.

Nearby Railway Stations

Junagadh Junction

  • Overview: Well-connected to major cities like Ahmedabad and Mumbai.
  • Services: Regular trains are available, making it easy to reach Junagadh.

Veraval Railway Station

  • Overview: Another major station near Junagadh, about 80 km away.
  • Services: Good connectivity with frequent train services.

Road Connectivity

  • Bus Services: State-run and private buses operate to and from Junagadh, connecting it to major cities in Gujarat.
  • Routes: Buses are available from Ahmedabad, Rajkot, and other nearby cities.
  • Car Rentals: Available at airports and within the city.
  • Driving Tips: Roads are generally in good condition; however, be cautious of local traffic and follow road signs.

Food in Junagadh

Junagadh offers a variety of delicious Gujarati food. The local cuisine is known for its rich flavors and use of fresh ingredients. Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes are available here.

Popular Dishes to Try

  • Khaman: A savory steamed cake made from gram flour.
  • Dhokla: A steamed dish made from fermented rice and chickpea batter.
  • Thepla: Spiced flatbread often served with yogurt or pickles.
  • Undhiyu: A mixed vegetable dish, especially popular during winter.
  • Fafda and Jalebi: A popular breakfast combination.

Recommended Eateries and Food Experiences

  • Petals Restaurant: Known for its traditional Gujarati thali.
  • Swati Snacks: Famous for a variety of tasty snacks.
  • Jalaram Kathiyawadi Bhojanalay: Offers authentic Kathiyawadi food.

Street Food Highlights

  • Bhavnath Taleti: A great spot to try street food, especially during the evening.
  • Sardar Baug Market: Known for local sweets and snacks.
  • Mangal Bazar: Offers a variety of street food options.


Junagadh is a city rich in history and culture with attractions like Girnar Hill, Uparkot Fort, and Gir National Park. The local cuisine is diverse and flavorful, offering a unique culinary experience.

Junagadh has much to offer, from historical sites to natural beauty. Exploring this city will give you a deeper understanding of its cultural heritage.

  • Best Time to Visit: October to February.
  • Stay Hydrated: Especially if you’re trekking or spending time outdoors.
  • Book in Advance: For safaris and popular attractions to avoid any last-minute hassles.

Junagadh is a wonderful destination for those looking to experience the rich history, culture, and cuisine of Gujarat. Enjoy your trip!

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the Best Time to Visit Junagadh?

    The best time to visit Junagadh is from October to February when the weather is cool and pleasant.

  2. How Many Days are Required to Explore Junagadh?

    You can explore the main attractions of Junagadh in 2 to 3 days.

  3. Is Junagadh Safe for Solo Travelers?

    Yes, Junagadh is generally safe for solo travelers. However, it’s always a good idea to take standard travel precautions.

  4. What are the Accommodation Options in Junagadh?

    There are various accommodation options in Junagadh, ranging from budget hotels to more luxurious stays. Some popular options include:
    Hotel Somnath
    Hotel Platinum
    Leo Resorts

  5. How to Reach Gir National Park from Junagadh?

    Gir National Park is about 60 km from Junagadh. You can reach it by taxi or bus. It’s advisable to book a taxi for a more comfortable journey.

  6. Are There Any Local Guides Available for Tours?

    Yes, local guides are available for tours in Junagadh. You can hire them through your hotel or local travel agencies.

  7. What are the Must-Try Local Dishes in Junagadh?

    Some must-try local dishes include Khaman, Dhokla, Thepla, Undhiyu, and Fafda with Jalebi.

  8. Are There Any Specific Cultural Etiquettes to Be Aware Of?

    Dress Modestly: Especially when visiting religious sites.
    Remove Shoes: Before entering temples and mosques.
    Respect Local Customs: Follow any specific rules or guidelines provided at cultural sites.

Leave a Comment