History

Vadodara Ultra is a race enriched with the heritage of three most historically significant destinations of Guajrat - Vadodara (aka Baroda), Champaner and Pavagadh. Fabled by timeless tales of valor, culture, and miracles, these places share between them thousands of years of history that will be brought together by this unique race for runners and the world to relish.

Perched on the banks of the Vishwamitri River, the city of Vadodara is Gujarat's cultural and artistic hub. It is also the third largest city of the state after Ahmedabad and Surat. Vadodara was formerly called Anakotakka in light of a rare set of 68 Jain images dating between 6th to 12th centuries CE that were found in its vicinity. The city is said to have been a major center of Jainism especially during the 5th century AD and also finds mention in some sacred Jain texts.

Vadodara's past is a mix of several ruling dynasties and religious beliefs that have left a deep impact on its foundations. However it is the Maratha Gaekwads, who have truly built the city to its present glory, adorning it with majestic palaces and lush gardens that attract historians and tourists from across the world even today. The Gaekwads made several important public and bureaucratic improvements in the region and even under the British rule, kept Vadodara a fairly autonomous region. This once princely state became a part of the independent Indian Republic in the year 1947. The royal Gaekwad family continues to live in the city and is an important part of its social and political strata.

About 47 kilometers from Vadodara, tucked away in the foot hills of Pavagadh, is the city of Champaner. Founded by VanrajChavda, the most prominent king of the Chavda Dynasty, in the 8th century, the city is named after his friend and a powerful General in his army, Champa. The battle of Champaner, is still reckoned as one of the fiercest battles on the soils of Gujarat, when Mahmud Begada defeated Jay Singh Raval to capture one of Gujarat's strongest fortresses and subsequently become the state's undisputed master. Succeeding Sultans added to the wealth and prosperity of Champaner till history repeated itself, when the great Mughal emperor Humayun laid siege on Champaner and ultimately captured it from the hands of its last ruler, Bahadur Shah. The rise and fall of Champaner was swift and bloody. The city is today engulfed by the surrounding jungle, with several temples and mosques still intact and reminiscent of the lore of its prosperity.

Flanking Champaner on its north boundary is the pious Pavagadh Hill, where Goddess, Mahakali is said to have unleashed her wrath on the ruler of Champaner Jay Singh. Folklore speaks of the goddess assuming a human form and dancing the Garba, Gujarat's iconic dance, when she was spotted by Jay Singh. Smitten by her beauty, Jai Singh could not resist looking at her lecherously. This act of disprespect enraged goddess who cursed the king, resulting in his downfall by the hands of Mahmud Begada. In honor of the Goddess, a temple was built atop this hill, which even today is thronged by devotees, everyday of every year.