Palitana Temples - A Large Group of Jain Temples on Shetrunjaya Hills.

The Palitana Jain temple is large groups of Jain temples considered to be the most sacred Jain temple in India. It is located on Shetrunjaya hills in the city of Palitana in Gujarat. The main temple is situated at a height that can be reached by traversing about 3500 steps from the foot hills. There are multiple routes to reach the last temple which is approximately a 3.5 km climb. Aged pilgrims who cannot climb the stairs are carried on dolis and charged by their weight. The main temple is dedicated to the first Tirthankara, Rishabhanath. The construction of the temples started in the 11th century and is believed to have taken around 900 years to complete. In the 14th and the 15th century these Jain temples were destroyed during the Muslim invasion. The temples are believed to have been renovated about sixteen times since then.
The Shatrunjaya Mahathirth Hills in Palitana is a pilgrimage center that is considered sacred by the Jain community. There are more than 1000 marble temples located in Shatrunjaya Hills. These temples have a unique architectural style. The ornamentation is such that in sunlight their appear to have been made up of ivory. Most of these are adorned with gold and silver donated by the devotees. The images of the deity are made up of marble and are beautified by gold ornaments studded with precious stones. The main temple is dedicated to Lord Rishabdev, the first Tirthankar.
The Palitana site contains nearly 1000 temples on the hills spread mostly in nine separate wings, each housing a central temple with minor temples surrounding it, the temples are grouped systematically with a variation in height and space. Each temple has four doors so as to ensure that the idols are visible from all the sides. The larger temples have marble halls with towers and plenty of openings. They are surrounded with high fortified walls. You can also see many small temples of about three square feet with the Jain emblem. The interiors of the temple have carved ceilings with geometrical lace designs.
The Adishvara Temple, dated to the 16th century, has an ornamented spire, its main image is that of Rishabdev. The Chaumukh temple, built in 1616, has a four-faced Adinatha image deified on a white pedestal, each face turned towards the cardinal directions. Vimal Shah temple is a square structure with towers. Saraswati devi temple, Narsinh Kesharji temple, and the Samavasaran temple, with 108 life-sketches in sculpture, are also notable. Other notable stops are the Ashok tree, the Chaitra tree, Jaytaleti, four-faced idol of Mahavira, and the artwork related to Kumarpal, Vimalshah and Samprati. A modern temple, Samvatsarana, was built at the base of the hills of the main temple complex by Tapa Gachha initiative. It has a small museum at the lower level.
The best time to visit this place is from November to March. The ‘Chha Gau Teerth Yatra’ is an auspicious festival that falls during February-March. On the festival day, thousands of Jain followers visit the temple complex to attain salvation. And also the birthday of Lord Mahavira, is a notable festival celebrated at the temple complex.
Palitana is easily accessible from Ahmedabad and Bhavnagar. The temples is just 56 km from Bhavanagar and 215 km away from Ahmedabad. Gujarat State Transport buses ply between Bhavanagar and Palitana as well as from several others around Gujarat and even from Mumbai. There are also direct trains to Palitana from all the major places in the country.