Steeped in history, culture, spirituality and religion, Junagadh is the Soul of Saurastra. In just 60 km the terrain descends from Mt Girnar, Gujarat's highest point at 1000 mts, to the Veraval coast. Junagadh city, nestled at the foot of Mt Girnar, is an amalgam of the old and new. It is a relatively small place, where bustling bazaars and winding narrow streets alternate with monuments that span two millennia. The city is said to span two and a half millennia of human civilization, spanning dominant periods of Jainism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam, all having left deep imprints on the city. The main center of the city, the fort known as Uparkot, was built by Chandragupta of the Mauryan empire around 320 BC, and archaeological evidence confirms this, showing that Uparkot has been inhabited continuously since the 3rd century BC. Hence the name Junagadh, which means “ancient fort.” Under the Mauryans, Junagadh was a regional capital, and Emperor Ashoka had stone edicts placed there, still visible today. In the mid 18th century as Mughal rule was in decline, Junagadh became an independent princely state, established by an Afghan named Sher Khan Babi, with its capital here.