Palitana is situated in Bhavnagar, a district in Gujarat. It is of much religious significance. For those, who believes in and follow Jainism, this place is one of the most significant pilgrimage centers. All around the year, many Jain followers and pilgrims come here to visit the city. It is so believed and thought that, many of religious gurus attained liberation here.
Shatrunjaya is a hill that is situated in this place. Numerous temples can be found here. A sum of 1300 temples is present in and around the place. These temples were constructed and built with the help of marbles, having fine and marvelous engravings and sculptures. One should make a trip to this place in order to enjoy and breathe in the beauty of the temples and their beautiful designs. The construction work for this temple began in the 11th century. Over the span of 900 years, these temples on the hills were constructed. In order to visit the temple, a climbing of 3800 steps is to be accomplished. These steps have been constructed by carving the, out of rocks. The material used to build the temples varies. Some of the temples are constructed with sandstones, while marble is used to build some of them. The temples appear to be a kaleidoscope of colors, sitting on top of hill.
For accommodation of the tourists, a number of guest houses are present. The myth goes like this – that in order to achieve liberation, the Jain followers should go to this place, at least once in a life time.
The surface of the earth contains certain focal points for almost each and every religion. In case of Jainism, their sacred spot is located beyond the earth’s surface, up high in the skies. Shatrunjaya is one of the holiest locations for worship apart from other place like Mt Abu, Girnar and Chandragiri. In order to acquire a much higher and wiser knowledge which leads the way to the path of salvation, one must and should go up the steps of Shatrunjaya. For a tourist, the trip is just a passage into the center of Jain wisdoms, a pathway through the concept of utter devotion and non-destructiveness.
During the trip to Palitana, the visit to the Shatrunjaya is definitely the major activity for the tourists as well as for the people following the Jain faith. From the main city of Palitana, the distance of the hills is around 3 Kms. The whole journey comprises of a lengthy 600 m route with climbing of 3000 steps; a journey worthy of remembrance. In order to refrain from experience the scorching heat of the mid day sun, starting the trip at dawn is very much recommended. Another thing that helps people through this tedious journey is the numerous rest stops, which are located beside the path. Also, some followers reach the summit even before the sun comes up, which means they carry on their journey during the time before dawn. Carrying a good amount of water is recommended, also one should keep a few number of hours in hand in order to explore and look around the mountain. Around 9.30 am, the idols are given a bath. At noon the pujas are done. Again during the returning journey, one should be sure that they keep quality time in hand in order to reach back before the sun goes down.
Usually the atmospheric condition of the place stays quite enjoyable. The months between March and June witness the summer season. The temperature during the day goes up to 40 degree Celsius. The monsoon months are the months between July and September, while the winter months are the months between October and February. 24 to 42 degree Celsius is the temperature range during the summer months, while 10 to 24 degree Celsius is the temperature range during the winter months.
THINGS TO SEE
Adinath Temple: The temple of Adinath, along with the narrow tower which stands over the shrine, offers respect to Lord Rishabhdev. He was the first among the other tirthankars of Jain religion. It is believed that he attained the state of enlightenment on this very location. A mark of an ox is there on the thighs of Lord Rishabhdev. Also, prior to his birth, 14 dreams were seen by his mother, out of which the first dream was about an Ox. The religion was initially started by him. As a consequence the name of ‘Adinath’ is given to him.
Shri Adeshwara Temple: This temple was built dedicating it to the memory of Adeshwara. He was one of the most significant tirthankar of Jainism. Surrounding the entire temple, one can see series of dragons which is said to represent Adeshwara. It is believed that each and every tirthankar is represented by an animal symbol.
Chaumukh Temple: Four graphical representation of Adinath are present on the four facets of the Chaumukh Temple in the four primary directions. This temple was constructed in the year 1618.
Angar Pir: An unusual and uncommon Muslim shrine to Angar Pir is located beside the Adeshwara temple. During the 14th century, a Sufi saint used to dwell in this place. When Allauddin Khilji invaded this region, the Sufi saint went to look for the temple on Shatrunjaya. Angar Pir trusted in the much essential holiness of the temples came to their rescue, even though he belonged to a much different faith. He saved the temples by throwing the sacred fire on the attacking forces with the aid of his power of prayers and worship. Prior to the first chief temple complex, Angar Pir’s dargah is situated. The road divides there. Many of the people tend to take the route which is a short cut. However if one goes through the short cut, one will miss the dargah.
Shri Vishal Jain Museum: A museum is situated at the base of Shatrunjaya. A marvelous assortment of artifacts, statues which were dug from temples of ancient times, old documents written of leaves of palm tree and a view of Jain’s history as well as Lord Mahavira’s life are held to the public eye in the museum. Much of the facts which were written along with the display of the items are written in the Gujrati language. However some of them are there in Hindi and in rare occasions, English titles are there. 6 rupees is the charge for entry. Every day, from 11 O’clock in the morning to 3 O’clock in the afternoon and again from 4 O’clock to 6 O’clock in the evening, the museum stays open.
Jambudweep Temple and Exhibit: The natural order of the Jain universe along with the complex divisions of heaven and earth is exhibited by the temple. It also reflects an individual’s journey through the universe’s various steps. A presentation of Jain mathematics is also there. This is for those who are interested and curious about the unique logic behind it. It shows unusual units for measurement of different attributes such as height, width, weight, time and others too. Everyday people can come to visit this place. A show without any cost is shown to public at 6 O’clock every evening.
Talaja: Inside towards Sartanpur, a tiny port town, a place called Talaja is situated over the Shatrunjaya River. The distance between from this place and Palitana is 32 Kms. Talaja is mostly renowned because Narsinh Mehta, a poet, was born here. Many significant sites related to Buddhism, Jainism and Hindu religion are located in and around Talaja. Especially, this place is popular amongst the followers of Buddhism since it houses almost as many as 30 age old caves and caverns, which are cut out of rocks. These caves have beautiful and striking engravings of Boddhisatva over them. The Ebhala Mandapa with pillars having eight sides and eight angles is counted as the most engaging and admirable architecture.
A Jain temple is located on a hill beside the town, which is worth giving a look. 13 Buddhist caves, which were cut out of solid rocks, are also present on the same hill. The age of these caves is almost around 200 years. One has to walk for a time of about 15 to 20 minutes, in order to arrive at the caves. These caves belong to the 4th step of Buddhist cave architecture. It is supposed to belong to the time prior to the Maharashtra’s Buddhist Caves. The hill also houses a Hindu temple of Khodiad Mata. Thus three sacred locations are located in the same area. One can also pay a visit to the house where Narsinh Mehta used to dwell.
HOW TO REACH
By Road: From Bhavnagar as well as from Ahmedabad, private and state transport buses run to Palitana. The distance between Bhavnagar and Palitana is 56 Kms and that between Ahmedabad and Palitana is 215 Kms. From other major cities in and around, buses offer services as well.
By Rail: The railway station of Palitana is located on rail branch line. Many a number of trains ply from Bhavnagar, Ahmedabad and other in between locations.
By Air: Bhavnagar has the closest airport, located at a distance of 56 Kms to the city.