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Shatrunjaya Temples

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Shatrunjaya Temples (Jain Temple)
See   Jain History

Jain believe in the concept of Karm and reincarnation. That one's actions have a direct impact on the Kaarmik balance. All living beings from the smallest creatures to humans, have a soul whose ultimate destiny is to obtain enlightenment and liberation from the cycle of birth and rebirth. It is believed by Jains that innumerable souls have become liberated. However, 24 of these have escalated positions and are revered as teachers of the religion. They are known as Teerthankar or Jin and it is these Jin that created the religion. Those who aspire to be like the Jin are called Jains.

Throughout India temples were built by wealthy Jains dedicated to acknowledging the life of these Jin and also to allow other Jain to celebrate and contemplate on their own actions. Most of great pilgrimages are sited away from masses and almost always on top of a mountain amidst natural beauty that is suitable for devotion and meditation. The hardship of the journey disciplines the body. The company of fellow pilgrims strengthens the faith. It is considered an honor, in fact a blessing, to pray at a site that is made holy by the tradition of worship of the Jin and to stand at a place where the great religious leaders once stood. Souls receive spiritual merit and the mind is at peace.

There are some Jain temples in Palitaanaa, based on the Shatrunjaya Hills in Gujaraat, Western India. Shatrunjaya means conqueror of the enemies and this refers to the inner enemies - anger, ego, greed and deceit - which all Jain try to refrain from as much as possible through their thoughts, words and actions. Palitana is known as the city of temples, referring to its 900 temples and almost 15,000 idols of these 24 Jin. Indeed, 23 out of the 24 Jin actually visited this holy place, blessing it with their touch. In addition, more souls are believed to have obtained liberation here. These are the two reasons combined which explain why Palitana is considered the most auspicious place in Jainism.

It is not just only the actual temples that are considered sanctified there, even the mountain itself, from the foothills to the peak, is treated as a holy place. Out of respect, pilgrims refrain from wearing any leather products, such as shoes, or any other thing; speaking inappropriately or even eating during their journey. Along one side of the mountain range is the Shatrunjaya River. This is almost as sacred as the pilgrimage itself. Many people bathe in this river before climbing the 4,000-odd steps to the summit. During the journey many pilgrims recite the names of the 24 Jin repeatedly in prayer. This helps to keep the mind focused. On route to the summit smaller temples are dotted along the path which are visited by pilgrims who bow their head down to the Jin and then continue forward to the summit.

Mount Shatrunjaya's summit has 9 main clusters of temples known as Tuk. After about 3,000 steps and two hours of climbing, the path diverges into two, the path to the left leads towards the main Tuk of Lord Aadinaath, whilst the path to the right leads to the remaining eight Tuk. At the main Tuk there are three round passages symbolically representing the three laws of Jainism - right knowledge, right faith and right conduct. It is believed that by following the path established by the Jin and basing it on three laws one can obtain liberation. Of particular interest at the end of the first passage is the Rion tree, said to be the very tree that Lord Aadinath, the first Jin, practiced long penance innumerable years ago. Today this fact is commemorated by large footprints representing his feet as he stood under the tree. Walking through the third passage one sees the shrine of Ashtpaad. Ashtpaad is the historic temple which is now lost, in the Himaalaya. This shrine attracts much attention as the faithful remember the sacred temple which has now become unreachable.

However, the central attraction of this Tuk and the pilgrimage of Palitana itself is the main temple of Aadinaath. The white marble image of the Jin within the temple reaches 2.6 meters high and is decorated with gold and silver donated by wealthy Jain to express their devotion to this Teerthankar. The atmosphere within the temple is full of energy and devotion. Seeing such artistic beauty and the devotion on the faces of the pilgrims, the nuns and the monks is an experience which lasts with you for eternity. The artistry and sculpture of these temples aptly illustrates the glorious, unique culture of art within the Jain tradition. One cannot help but wonder how such large marble pieces were carried to the tops of these mountains tens and thousands of years ago. One marvels at the artistic creativity that occurred in creating these masterpieces.

Palitana is a remarkable place, with true beauty that surpasses all expectations.

Jain Temples
World's only mountain that has more than 900 temples. According to Jainism, since ancient times Palitaanaa is a major site of salvation and Nirvaan of Jain saints and sages. Palitaanaa is a major pilgrimage site of the Jain religion. It is situated on Shatrunjaya mountain in Bhaav Nagar district of Gujaraat. On this Mountain are situated many temples, which are built of marble carving and are extremely beautiful. The main temple on this mountain is Jain religion s Aadi Naath Temple. This mountain is situated at an altitude of about 220 feet. These temples are built with an aim of having a common place of gods. People believe that all gods sleep here during night. This is why no priest is allowed to stay in the temple overnight. The rule is for other people as well. At different times, these temples have been renovated around 16 times. These temples are also called Tucks. It is said that those people who want Moksh and want to be in heaven should visit this place once in their lifetime. The top view of this place is worth watching.

Among the Jain temples here, the main ones are Aadi Naath, Kumaar Paal, Vimal Shaah, Samprati Raaj and Chaumukhaa. People say that every night the idols in the Temples get covered with a silver layer on their own and the priest of the temple takes it with him as a gift from god. Visiting this place at least once is desired by every man of Jain religion. Built in 1618, the Chaumukhaa temple is the largest temple of this place. Every year during Phaalgun Teras, Chaitra Poornimaa and on Akshyaa Triteeya a lot of Jains visit this place.

The diameter of the entire temples here is of 18 kms. Some people take this Parikramaa walking while others use a Rath. Every year thousands of foreign tourists also visit this place. For them there are many Dharm shaalaa too built here. It is said that in the 13th century AD two brothers Tej Paal and Vishu Paal made the path of stones to climb the hill. This place is also known as Pundareek Giri.

There are many historical places here as well. Every temple built here has its own story and history different from the other. This place can be reached via rail, road and air. Palitaanaa has a small railway station. This is the best mode of transport to reach this religious place. Palitaanaa bus stand is around 1 km from railway station. There are many buses that go to this religious place with not much waiting. According to Jainism, since ancient times Palitaanaa is a major site of salvation and Nirvaan of Jain saints and sages.



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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/05
Updated on 09/30/13