Polo Forest

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Coordinates: 23°59′06″N 73°16′08″E / 23.9850575°N 73.2687564°E / 23.9850575; 73.2687564 Polo forest, also known as Vijaynagar forest is a dry mixed deciduous forest near Abhapur village in Vijaynagar Taluka, Sabarkantha district, Gujarat, India. It is located at the foothills of the Aravalli range and on the banks of perennial Harnav river, spread over the area of 400 sq. km.[1]

Flora and fauna[edit]

Panoramic view of a lake within polo forest

After monsoon, between September and December, the forest becomes lush. There are more than 450 species of medicinal plants, around 275 of birds, 30 of mammals, and 32 of reptiles. There are bears, panthers, leopards, hyenas, water fowl, raptors, passerines, and flying squirrels. During winter, The forest attracts migratory birds during winter and wetland birds during monsoon.[2]

The forest also has the endangered Grey Hornbill and Brown-headed Barbet.[1]


There was a town established by the Parihar kings of Idar around the Harnav river probably in the 10th century. It was conquered by the Rathores of Marwar in 15th century and came under Idar State. The town was located between two high hills, Kalaliyo and Mamrehchi, which blocks sunlight for the most days which probably resulted in the abandonment of the town.[1]

The name Polo is derived from pol, literally gate in Marwari language.[1]

Polo monuments[edit]

The forest has ruins of several 15th-century Hindu and Jain temples such as Sharneshwar Shiva temple, Sadevant Savlinga na Dera, Surya Mandir and Lakhena na Dera.[2][3]

Sharaneshwar Shiva temple[edit]

Sarneshwar Shiva temple

The 15th-century Sharaneshwar temple dedicated to Shiva is located in Abhapur. It is a two-storeyed temple with fortified wall around it having gates in east and west. It has a nandi-mandapa in front and pradakshina (ambulatory) around the central shrine. The carvings on exterior walls include double jangha adorned with images of Yama, Bhairava, Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Indra, Parvati, Indrani, Ganesha; social life scenes; bands of humans, elephants, swans and plants. There are ruins of some minor temples nearby. There is temple of four-handed Chamunda nearby.

Lakhena na Dera[edit]

Jain temples

These 15th-century Jain temples are also located in Abhapur.

Jain Temple 1

This sandstone temple had well carved ceiling and perforated stone screens in the mandapa which have various natural and geometric patterns. The trika-mandapa connects two mandapas at different levels. On the lintel of the doorframe of the sanctum, there is an image of Jain Tirthankara Parshwanatha with his attendant deity Padmavati on sides.

Jain Temple 2

Built in bricks and marble, it was a tri-angi (tri-element) temple having sanctum, antarala and mandapa which can be identified from its surviving plinth. It also has Parshwanatha on its lintel of the doorframe of the sanctum. Adorned with Kirtimukha motifs, the threshold has images of Kubera on its both ends.

Jain Temple 3

Similar to temple 2 in layout, it is also tri-element temple but with more ornamentation. Built in bricks and sandstone, this Nagara style temple has Indra as a guardian in the surviving doorframe of the mandapa. On its exterior walls, it has images of Chakreshwari, Padmavati and Ambika associated with Jain Tirthankara Rishabhanatha, Parshwanatha and Neminatha respectively. It also has niches without images.

Trayatan Shiva temple (Temple with Kund)[edit]

The east-facing sandstone Shiva temple located in Abhapur has only sanctum and mandapa surviving. The exterior walls are adorned with divinities, Apsaras and Vyala. There is a sanndstone Kund (water tank) in northwest of the temple. It has steps in the right angles to the sides which become parallel when reach bottom. There are two ruined minor temples probably dedicated to Lakshminarayan and Shakti nearby.

Shiva-Shakti temple[edit]

The west-facing sandstone temple dedicated Shiva and Shakti is dated 15th century. It is a chaturangi (four-elements) temple having sanctum, antarala, mandapa and pravesh-chawki. On the exterior walls, there are sculptures of Indra and Indrani, Shiva and Parvati as well as Brahma and Brahmani. On the doorframe and elsewhere, there are sculptures of Surya, the solar deity, and Suryani. Other sculptures include Ganesha, Apsaras, darpankanya (girl holding a mirror), ascetics and animals.


The Government of Gujarat organises Polo Festival every year.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Polo Monument and Vijaynagar Forest". Gujarat Tourism. Retrieved 2018-12-01.
  2. ^ a b "Polo Forest Site". Principal Chief Conservator of Forest & Head of the Forest Force (HoFF), Government of Gujarat. Retrieved 2018-12-01.
  3. ^ Manohar Sajnani (2001). Encyclopaedia of Tourism Resources in India. Gyan Publishing House. pp. 105–. ISBN 978-81-7835-018-9.

External links[edit]