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Shatrunjaya hill

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Situated about 215 kilometers from Ahmedabad and about 62 kilometers from Bhavnagar in Gujarat, the Shatrunjaya hill near Palitana, is considered to be the most sacred of the five holy hills of the Jains. Every devout Jain wants to make a pilgrimage to this hill at least once in his lifetime and contribute to the temple building and renovation activities there.

This hill, with the Shatrunjaya river flowing south of it, rises in a crescendo of 863 temples that soar in marvelous splendour to the top. With an altitude of 603 meters, this hill has the largest number of temples anywhere in the world at such a height. These temples have been built over an impressive span of 900 years.

It is believed that Rishabdeoji, the first of the Jain tirthanakras attained his nirvana on this hill. To commemorate the event, according to Jain scriptures, the first temple on the hill was built by King Bharat, son of Rishabdeo. However, most of the temples were built during the 11th and 12th centuries AD. White marble and stone were used in the construction of these temples. To an observer, these appear to be ivory miniatures when seen from a distance. Exquisite carvings of figurines, animal motifs, freizes adorn the walls of these temples.

Created by master craftsmen, the most important temples are that of Adinath (Rishabdeo), Kumar Pal, Vimal Shah, Samprithi, Raja and Chaumukh. The main temple is dedicated to Lord Adinath. It is an imposing and ornate two storey structure. The 17th century Chaumukh (four faced) temple enshrines a quadruple image of Adinath. The temples have a fabulous collection of jewels and these can be seen on special permission. This temple hill is unique because every priest, devotee and tourist has to return to the lower floors after sunset and relinquish the magnificent pinnacle to the Gods.

Palitana is very conveniently connected to the other parts of the country by air, rail and road. The nearest airport is at Bhavnagar which is just 62 kilometers from this temple hill. Palitana is on the meter gauge railway line.

Gujarat Tourism runs various conducts tours throughout the year to Palitana and other important places in Saurashtra under the regular five days tour-Saurashtra Darshan. Hotel Sumeru and Pathik Ashram are the best accommodation in the city.

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