'Pawangahr. Champaneer. India. Jan. 1879'
Artist: North, Marianne (1830-1890)
Medium: Oil on paper
Oil painting on paper by Marianne North of Champaner, dated January 1879. Marianne North visited India in 1877-79 and completed over 200 paintings whilst there. In her autobiography, 'Recollections of a happy life' of 1892, she wrote,
"The city of Champanir is a purely Moslem place, originally built by one of the Rajput princes. The fortress on the hill above is a wonder to soldiers. From the perpendicular scarp of the cliffs it was almost impregnable, but it is now entirely deserted, except by tigers! I was warned not to linger about after sunset, as they were apt to come close after dark...The road up the hill was wonderful, passing through at least a score of curious old gates and along natural ledges of rock hanging over perpencicular precipices. Half-way up we stopped to see the old granary, with five-domed rooms; much of the ascent being a staircase cut in the solid rock. When we reached the great flat top it was strewn all over with small Hindu temples of the richest stonework, but all tumbling about as if they had been the victims of earthquakes. Above that rose the upper mountain - a sheer perpendicular scarp, with a most lovely marble temple and two lantern towers on its summit...The views over the great blue plain, distant sea, and hill-country, were extensive and lovely, and I was quite sorry when the time came to descend." The Hindu fortress of Pawangahr was seized by the Gujarati sultan Mahmud Begarha in the latter half of the fifteenth century. He subsequently built the city of Champanir at the foot of the rock fortress as an important administrative centre in the area. Several mosques and fortifications in Champanir still survive from the period today.