Majestic & Breathtaking! The temple town near Bhavnagar has 900+ temples atop a hill.

Situated around 50 km southwest of the city of Bhavnagar, there lies a majestic group of temples on the hills of Shatrunjaya. The temples are located in the hustling and dusty town of Palitana in the Bhavnagar district.
Majestic & Breathtaking! The temple town near Bhavnagar has 900+ temples atop a hill.
Hundreds of temples in the temple town of Palitana atop the Shatrunjaya Hills near the Gujarati city of Bhavnagar.Wikimedia Commons

Situated around 50 km southwest of the city of Bhavnagar, there lies a majestic group of temples on the hills of Shatrunjaya. The temples are located in the hustling and dusty town of Palitana in the Bhavnagar district. Once a small town, Palitana has now grown rapidly to serve the pilgrims and tourists. The Shatrunjaya hill is considered a sacred site as it contains more than 900 temples and shrines. These structures are said to be carved 2000 plus feet above sea level, and that too several hundred years ago. It is believed that the temples and shrines present on the hill were sanctified when Rishabha, who was the first Tirthankara of Jainism, gave his first sermon in the temple atop the hill.

Starting from the 11th century, the Palitana temples were built over a period of 900 years. The first temple at the site was built by Kumarpal Solanki, a great Jain patron. Later, in 1311 AD, the Turkish Muslim invaders destroyed the temples. The temples were again restored by saint Jinaprabhasuri.

Starting from the 11th century, the Palitana temples were built over a period of 900 years.
Starting from the 11th century, the Palitana temples were built over a period of 900 years.Wikimedia Commons

As the temples are located atop the hill, the climb toward the top is considered extremely rigorous and difficult. Still, people say that the journey toward the top offers dazzling and breathtaking views of the intricately and preciously carved temples. The temples experience the flood of pilgrims and tourists during the Kartik Purnima festival. Apart from being a 900 plus years old hill studded with incredible temples, the Shatrunjaya is also one of the holiest pilgrimage sites for Jains. According to many beliefs, the founder of Jainism - Adinath (also known as Rishabha), meditated beneath a Rayan tree located at the summit of the hills.

The structures are said to be carved 2000 plus feet above sea level.
The structures are said to be carved 2000 plus feet above sea level.Wikimedia Commons

The temples are built in a group of enclosures. Each enclosure is having a main central temple with many small and minor temples around it. The peak of the hill is at an elevation of 7288 feet. To reach the temples, one needs to climb over 3750 stone steps. If one visits the site on a clear day, one can easily see the Gulf of Cambay. Also, the temple complex has the shrine of a Muslim saint known as Angar Pir. It is said that he protected the temples from a Mughal attack. There are also images of Adinath, the first Jain Tirthankar, as it is believed that he attained enlightenment here.

The temple is truly one of the biggest and most splendid structures one could ever experience. The detailed carving of the temple structures and the views from the mountain peak are truly breathtaking. The best time to visit the temple town is considered to be between November and February.

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