Dholka is a city and municipality in the Ahmedabad
District of the Indian state of Gujarat
. With an average elevation of 17 metres (56 ft), Dholka is considered "India
's first municipality". Dholka is home to one of the first Hindu Swaminarayan Temples in the World
, which was established, according to the Hindu calendar, on the 5th day of the bright half of Vaishakha in Vikram Samvat 1883.
Regarded as the oldest municipality in Gujarat, the city has majestic ruined mosques featuring tracery work, carvings and designs. Dholka is also known to have had an oilfield.There are monuments here known as Pandava’s Pathshala and Ali Khan’s Mosque as well as mandapas and chattris (outdoor pavilions) all marked by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
The monuments here are a mixture of cultures - possessing layouts that are distinctly Muslim, but with pillars, pilasters, beams and roofs that are unmistakably Hindu in style.Close to the jungle, there is a small lake beside which Lord Rama is believed to have rested and lost his wife Sita. The lake is surrounded by a retaining wall and has a sluice at the west end and steps on the east and west sides leading down to the water.
Next to the lake stands the massive Dholka Idgah or main mosque, which has mandapas on either side set some distance away. The three mosque towers are around 200 feet (61 m) tall with massive domes covering each hall. Outside, one set of steps leads to the top of the structure and another to the muezzin’s tower. The entire building is constructed of brick and limestone mortar while its doorway features large religious inscriptions.
The rear wall of the mosque has a series of intricately designed limestone jalis (perforated screens) while the central room has a minbar (pulpit) where the imam stands to deliver sermons. This tall features is made of marble and remains completely intact. From here, even a softly spoken voice resounds throughout the entire mosque, which consists of three halls each with an area of more than 100 square feet (9.3 m sq).
Each room has a spot identifying which direction is west, with a pillasterd niche representing Mecca. Windows high up in the wall admit light and air to the building which is also called Ali Khan’s mosque or Alif Khan’s mosque and was built around 11th century.Fallen pillars, grave stones with intricate patterns on all sides and broken chattris (pavilions) lie within the premises of the idgah (congregation assembly area) while its paved ground is almost entirely covered in grass. A chattri similar in style to those found in the state of Rajasthan marks the beginning and end of the mosque area.
Close by stands the Pandava’s Pathshala. This is where the pandavas are said to have practised and honed their war skills. This massive fort-like structure is enclosed on all sides and distinctly Hindu in style with a chattri on each of the four corners. There are battlements and guard positions all around, with halls in the centre of this structure or boundary wall, which are used as the mosque.As this remains a functioning mosque entry is restricted. The idgah is no longer used but remains in good condition; massive beehives are now located here.