Must Visit Places

Information on Palitana :

Palitana is a sacred city of the Jains located about 215 km. from Ahmedabad and 51 kms southwest of Bhavnagar. It was the capital of a small princely state founded by Shahji, a Gohel Rajput who belonged to the same clan as the Maharaja of Bhavnagar. Palitana is situated at an altitude of 182 metres and covers an area of 13 square km. Palitana is one of Jainisms holiest pilgrimage sites and gateway to the Shatrunjaya hill. Besides being a pilgrimage centre, Palitana is also known for the horse-breeding. The best season to visit Palitana is from November to March.

Tourist Attractions in Palitana :

The main tourist attraction in Palitana is the Shatrunjaya Hill.

Shatrunjaya Hill - Palitana :

The Shatrunjaya Hill is located at a height of 591 metres. The Shatrunjaya Temple is the most sacred temple of the Jains and one of the largest of its kind in India. One has to climb up the hill for about 4 kms (600 meters) on a stepped path to Shatrunjaya (place of victory over worldliness). You can reach this place either in Doli or lift chairs or by walking. The rich persons visit this place on richly caparisoned elephants. There are about 863 white marble Jain temples, built over 900 years on the hilltop, each with its own enclosure. There is a stunning view from the top of the hill and the air is filled with the scent of the jasmine trees. On a clear day, you can also see the Gulf of Cambay. All the temples are enriched with gold, silver and jewels donated by rich merchants. According to local tradition, Adinatha, the first Jain Tirthankara, visited the hill several times and the first temple was erected by his son. Thereafter the emple builders could not stop. Jains believe that Pundarika, the chief disciple of Adinatha attained nirvana there. There are two series of temples strung along the two ridges of the hill with further temples in the hollow between linking them. All are surrounded by a tall battlement, erected for the defence. These fortifications are called tuks and have created a series of nine enclosures, each with a central temple and various other minor temples. Most of the temples are named after their founders, nearly all the structures dating from the 16th century. Many of these temples were built in the 11th century but were destroyed by the Muslims in the 14th and 15th centuries. Later, Jains obtained religious toleration and began rebuilding. Approaching from the right, the first and finest temple that you will visit is dedicated to Shri Adishwar, one of the most important Jain Tirthankars. This temple is one of the most magnificent and sacred temple of the Jains community.

The Khartaravasi Tuk is the largest and highest of the temples along the north ridge and includes the Adinath or Chaumukh or four-faced temple. The Adinath temple is the biggest temple located on the hill. This temple was built by a wealthy merchant in 1618 to save his soul. This temple has an image of Adinath which face out in the four cardinal directions. There are quadruple Tirthankara images inside the sanctuary over which rises a slender tower. The Vallabhai temple with its finely clustered spires and the large Motisah temple occupy the middle ground between the ridges. The Vimalavasi Tuk occupies the west end of the south ridge. In it is the Adishvara Temple which dominates the site. It is similar in layout to the Adinatha temple and has a double storey mandapa inside which is a large image of Rishabhanatha with crystal eyes and a gold crown of jewels. Other temples in the southern group are the Temples of Ramaji Gandharia and the Bhulavani which is a series of crypt like chambers each surmounted with a dome. The Hathiapol (Elephant gate) faces south east. On the top of the hill a Muslim shrine of Angar Pir is also located where the childless women offer tiny cradles in the hope of conceiving. Besides these, there are various other temples like Kumar Pal, Vimal Shah and Sampriti Raj, named after the wealthy Jain merchants.

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