Palitana
Palitana

Palitana

Imagine two peaks covered with shrines you have the Jain pilgrimage centre of Palitana (Bhavnagar district) atop the Shatrunjay Hill. There are 900 temples big and small on the two summits. The sculptures that adorn the marble temples present a feast to the eyes. You need not be a Jain to admire the spectacle. Generations of Jams all over the country have contributed their mite to make Shatrunjay Hill what it is today. It is said all the Jain Tirthankars, except Neminath, had attained nirvana on Shatrunjay Hill. This fact adds to the veneration the devout have for the place. The place is therefore called Siddhakshetra where one attains Moksha.

The mountain is associated with Rishabhdev, the first Tirthankar who is also known as Adinath. The main temple at the top contains his idol in padmasan. He belonged to the Ikshvaku Dynasty of Ayodhya. So Rama was his ancestor. Adinath visited the Shatrunjay Hill 93 times. The temple chain starts with the shrine constructed by Babu Dhanpatsinh of Murshidabad at the foot of the hill. The pilgrims have to ascend 3745 steps to reach the 1800 feet hill. It takes between one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half hours to reach the summit. Those who cannot climb can use sling chairs. The steps were hewn out of the rock in the 13th century CE during the time of Jain minister Vastupal.

The visitors cannot take any eatables on way. They can, however, drink water and water posts are provided all along the route. They have the footprints of Tirthankars. They can eat only after coming down the hill. Every shrine has idols of Tirthankars adorned with jeweled eyes. Pilgrims make their offerings at the main temple containing the Adinath idol. The temple has been renovated and rebuilt several times since its inception. A Jain merchant Javad Shah renovated the shrine in Vikram Samvat 1018 for the 13th time. Originally the temple was built of wood and Siddharaj Jaisimha's minister Uday Mehta got it built in marble at the fabulous cost of Rs. 2.97 crores. Siddharaj's descendant Kumarpal extended the temple.

PalitanaThe present temple was constructed in 1618 CE. The Adinath temple is situated on Dadani Tuk. There are nine tuks all along the route containing shrines. The most famous temples are those of Adinath, Kumarpal, Vimalshah, Samprati Raja and the Chomukh which is the highest. Besides there are temples dedicated to Hindu gods and goddesses like Saraswati, Shivji, Hanumanji, etc. The Saraswati temple is near the foot of the hill. Angar Pir's shrine is situated at the top of the hill. Barren women pray for children at the Muslim saint's shrine.

By Plane

Nearest Airport is Bhavnagar (36 Kms.)

By Rail

Nearest Station is Palitana (5 Kms.)

By Road

Bhavnagar (36 Kms.), Ahmedabad (203 Kms.)