Featured image - Ajmal Gadh

Ajmal Gadh, Vansda: A Maratha & Parsi Heritage Hill Top

Ajmal Gadh is a heritage hill-top in the Sahyadri mountain ranges nearby Vansda town of Navsari district. Ajmalgadh was used as cantonment by Shivaji and as a protection center by Parsees. Surrounded by lush green landscapes, Ajmal Gadh makes a pleasant destination from Navsari, Valsad or Surat.

For me, it’s like a heritage home. Just 10 minutes from where I live, Umarkui. A visit to the top is almost always certain in every vacation.


Immaculate Drone Footage of Ajmal Gadh

A slick video by my younger brother at Ajmal Gadh. A quick and mesmerising video lauding the beauty of the place.

Shot by Kunj Dodiya

The Golden Hours of Photography

If you’re aware of basic photography techniques, I’m sure that you’ve heard about these golden hours. (Or learn in 2 minutes at: Photography Essentials)

These are the hours just after sunrise and just before sunset, when the light is lower, softer, more colorful.


All the photographs here are shot during these hours, so they look superficial. 🙂

The gear is my ₹6000 phone Xiomi Redmi 1S, 8 MP. Photos by Kunj, younger brother.

The History (For The Interested Ones!)

During Maratha regime, this place was used as cantonment for invading the enemies in gorilla style by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

The Shivling of Shivaji’s Worshiped lord, wall constructed with rectangular rubbies, small water reservoirs, some known structures of Parsis culture etc. still exist as remains at this place.


In the 16th century, In 7th century, Parsees who landed on Sanjan port and mixed with local people like sugar added to milk, migrated to this hill to protect their sacred fire “Iranshah Atash” from the invasion of Muslims, Portuguese as well as French and lived here for about 14 years during the kingdom of Shrimant Kirtidev,the king of Vansda.


This area is a part of Reserved Forests and reserved by state forest department. It is presently developed by the joint efforts of Eco-tourism Gujarat and Valsad (North) Forest Dept.

Currently, a Shiv Mandir and a Ramji Mandir can be found on the top.



Several viewpoints and rest sheds are also built to foster tourism.


Location, Roads, How to Reach

Ajmal Gadh is approx. 3 km from the village of Godhmal (or Ghodmal), which is 12 km from Vansda town and 25 km from Dharampur. On the Vansda – Dharampur NH 56, turn at Kavdej village and continue straight for 4 km till you find the sign board of Ajmal Gadh.


Distance from Surat: ~ 120 km (2.5 hrs.)
Distance from Navsari: ~ 80 km (2 hrs.)
Distance from Valsad: ~ 60 km (1.5 hrs.)

Roads are smooth…till you reach the last 3 km stretch! Honestly speaking, with torn tyres of our Alto 800, I’ve had nightmares reaching to the top.

Dangereous Roads

Well, somehow, I pushed the 796 cc engine and landed on the top but the now-cracked concrete road is something to be careful of. Unless you own powerful cars like XUV or Scorpio, I recommend you not to risk the vehicle to the top in monsoon.

Keliya Dam

Keliya Dam is an irrigation project, 7 km from Ajmal Gadh. In fact, the scenic landscapes seen from the hill top are due to Keliya Dam.

Visit the Dam site if you’ve an extra hour.

Food & Accommodation


But…but…here’s what I think can be done. Make food on your own. Carry all the necessary tools like container, water, match sticks, raw food (કાંદા, બટાકા! :)) in the trunk and be a chef!


And there’s another excellent option:

Hotel Nahri, Gangpur.

The restaurant is managed by Mahila Group and serves unlimited ‘Desi’ delicious food in ₹80. Nahri falls on the same Vansda – Dharampur road in Gangpur village. Give it a shot!

CameraZOOM-20150621185922703-01Sit in peace here.


Jo aap Jawaan ho toh…Instead of taking your vehicle to the top, go for trekking. The government has built some 100 initial steps for a warm-up, then the hill is under your feet. Win it!


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16 responses to “Ajmal Gadh, Vansda: A Maratha & Parsi Heritage Hill Top”

  1. Rajvi Thakore Avatar
    Rajvi Thakore

    Thanks for the information.
    Quite helpful info I have got from your blog.
    You have written it so well short & simple with wonderful eye catchy pictures.

  2. Varun dhingra Avatar
    Varun dhingra

    Thanks darpan for ur prompt reply

    1. Darpan Dodiya Avatar

      You’re welcome 🙂

  3. Varun dhingra Avatar
    Varun dhingra

    Hi darpan , i really liked the entire presentation of ur travel blog. Wel i m planning to gonto ajmalgarh fort on this sunday i.e 14 august 2016 in my chevrolet spark. Wel presently i m residing in bardoli, let me know what shud b d best time to reach ajmalgadh

    1. Darpan Dodiya Avatar

      Hello Varun.

      Thanks for the compliments. 🙂

      Anytime of any day during monsoon is good to visit Ajmal Gadh.

      Evenings will be the best.

  4. Dara Engineer Avatar
    Dara Engineer

    Sorry Darpan , I misspelt your name. Please excuse.

  5. Dara Engineer Avatar
    Dara Engineer

    Hello Darren,

    Our ancestors from Iran came to India. Approximately 1,350 years ago that is in the 7th century, and not in the 16th century as mentioned.

    I have heard about this place but haven’t visited it till now.

    I was not aware about Shivaji having been there too, that is news to me.

    Good work!

    1. Darpan Dodiya Avatar

      Updated the post with correction. Thanks!

      If you happen to visit Ajmal Gadh, drop me a message!

  6. zarna patel Avatar
    zarna patel

    Hie Darpan!
    i cm to visit ur site wen my cousin sndd me ur blog’s link… n i gt to knw so mny plces in guj..
    thnk u so mch fr ol dis stuff.. seriously! u hv gt a nw fllwr! 🙂
    n ur pictrs r amazing! luv dem ol..:)) kiip travellin..!
    lukin frwrd to ur new posts…..

    1. Darpan Dodiya Avatar

      Hey Zarna!

      Many thanks! With motivational words like yours, I’d surely keep up writing and traveling more and more!

  7. Nitesh Laxman Surti Avatar
    Nitesh Laxman Surti

    Nice Pics dude !! great work, I have personally visited this place many times its heavenly feeling with natural environment specially in Rainy season.,
    Upload more pics of these area including KELIA DAM region.


    Nitesh Surti, Mumbai.

    1. Darpan Dodiya Avatar

      Yeah, sure. I’ll upload them by the end of this week.

      Happy Adventuring!

  8. Akash Ghaware Avatar
    Akash Ghaware


  9. murlidhar Avatar

    Hi Darpan,

    It is awesome site…..
    Great info and picture of Gujarat tourist spots…

    As you had mentioned you are using Xiomi Redm 1s ….
    I want to purchase mobile mainly with three features ( Price, Camera and Battery life)
    Which one you suggest me, in budget of Rs. 6000.

    Mulidhar, surat.

    1. Darpan Dodiya Avatar

      Thanks a lot Mulidhar!

      If I were to buy a phone, I’d go with Redmi 2.

      It has recently received a price cut of ₹1000 and is now available at ₹5999.

      Second option would be Lenovo A6000 Plus, ₹7499.

      Third Redmi Note 4G, ₹7999.

      Let me know which phone you purchase. 🙂

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