Pavagadh, located in Panchmahals district, is a hill station which is 46 km away from Vadodara. The famous Mahakali Temple is located in the Champaner-Pavagadh archaeological park. This park has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. The Mahakali Temple here attracts thousands of pilgrims every day.
The Mahakali Temple is a known Hindu and Muslim pilgrimage centre. Situated amid dense forest, this temple is located on a cliff. It is one of the 51 shakti peeths. It is believed that the right toe of Goddess Sati fell here. The Mahakali Temple is divided into 2 parts. The idol of Goddess Kali is on the ground floor. On the top of this temple, the Mazar of peer is situated. It is sacred for Muslims.
Mahakali is a ferocious and feared form of Goddess Durga. She is believed to have born from Goddess Durga’s brow, during one of her battles with the evil forces. Mahakali’s devotees have a very loving bond with her in spite of her feared appearance.
In the Mahakali temple, the idol of Kali has 4 arms. Two of her arms are raised in blessing, as if to say ‘fear not’ to her devotees. One of her arm has a sword in it and the other one has the head of a demon. Mahakali’s idol has a necklace made of skulls and her tongue protrudes out from her mouth. Her eyes are red. She wears earrings of dead heads. She has one hand on her thigh and one on the chest of her husband, Shiva. Her face is drenched in blood.
Goddess Mahakali is widely worshipped in India. Pavagadh has a little known and rare history. This area is existent since the pre-historic period. This has been inferred from the pre-historic stone tools found here. The stones here are of a light yellow colour with tinges of red. It resembles the Champaka flower, thus the name Champaner. This town was set up in the 8th century by the Chauda dynasty. Champaner remained the capital of Gujarat till 1536. The area has many places of archaeological importance. Thus many archaeological educational institutions hold excursions here.
The entire area, where the Mahakali temple is situated, consists mainly of forests. It is very picturesque. The Mahakalika udan khatola, a passenger ropeway, is operational since 1986. It takes you to the temple in just 6 minutes whereas the steep climb to the temple takes 1 hour. Pavagadh hill or Kalika Mata temple is the only World Heritage Site in the state of Gujarat.