Champaner-Pavagadh, 47 kilometers northeast of Vadodara in Gujarat, is
a dramatic and magnificent site with many layers of history accumulated
over 1,200 years in its cultural landscape. The site is immense,
spreading over six kilometers, and covers the partially buried fifteenth-century Islamic capital city of Champaner and the sacred hill, Pavagadh,
a regional pilgrim center to the Hindus and Jains. Small communities
live amidst ruins in Champaner, farming and grazing the available land
and on plateaus of Pavagadh hill, catering to the heavy pilgrim traffic.
It is therefore a ‘living’ heritage site and is the Government of India’s
official nomination for World Heritage Status in 2004. Based on two
site visits and design workshops between 2001-3, a team of faculty and
students from the Department of Landscape Architecture, University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, together with Heritage Trust, Baroda, have
proposed developing the site as an Archaeological Park and a Cultural
Sanctuary. With public and private support, these conservation measures
and design interventions will help to interpret the site for the present
generation and preserve it for the future.