A Moment Frozen In TimeA Moment Frozen In Time

Since time immemorial Gujarat has been noted for its temples. These houses of gods and goddesses have been attracting millions of devotees. They range from the holy of holies like Somnath and Dwarka to wayside shrines. Whatever be their size and wealth all of them share one thing in common the intense faith of the devotees who can be seen trekking to places like Ambaji and Dakor for some favor received.

When we talk of Somnath and Dwarka we deal with a period when the concept of time was not yet born. The temple of Somnath dedicated to Shiva is the first among the 12 Jyotirlings. It is the seventh temple in living memory. Known for its fabulous wealth it attracted the attention of iconoclasts in the course of its chequered history. The present temple is the result of strenuous efforts made by devotees like Sardar Patel, Jam Saheb of Navanagar, K.M. Munshi and a host of others.

Dwarka has been sanctified by Vishnu himself in the form of Lord Sri Krishna. He led his Yadavas to the safety of Dwarka from Mathura to escape from the depredations of Jarasandha. Legend has it that Lord Krishna ordered Vishvakarma, the divine architect, to build the place. The Dwarka of Krishna's period lies under the Arabian Sea. Prabhas Kshetra in which Somnath lies was the place where Krishna and his elder brother Balaram ended their earthly Lilas.

Hill-top shrines like Ambaji, Palitana, Girnar and Pavagadh are similarly steeped in legend and celebrated in history. Some of them like Palitana are known for their architectural splendor.

In addition to the divinities distinguished seers like Vishwamitra, Kapila and Dadhichi have sanctified Gujarat. In historical times Acharyas like Shankara, Ramanuja, Vallabha and devotees like Narsinh Mehta, Mirabai, Nanakand Kabir offered worship at these shrines.

So Gujarat, where history and legend lie cheek by jowl, offers a rich spiritual fare to the pilgrim.