Palitana is situated at a distance of 51 km from Bhavnagar and serves as an important Jain pilgrimage of Gujarat. The Shatrunjay Hill loacted nearby the place hosts approximately 900 big and small Jain Temples. These temples are dedicated to the 24 Jain Tirthankarars. Apart from this, the significance of the place dates back to the Mahabharata era of India. It is said that three Pandavas, Yudhishthir, Bheem & Arjun got Nirvana here. Therefore, it is known as Siddhakshetra, where one attains Moksha, amongst Jain devotees.
One of the most important temples in Palitana is the Digamber Jain
Temple. It is an ancient temple that encompasses 9 shrines with the
idols of all the Tirthankaras. The main shrine contains the idol of the
principal deity, 1008 Bhagwan Shantinath. It is made of white stone and
can be seen in Padmasana posture. According to the Jain calendar, it was
installed here in 1686. The temple also houses beautiful idols of
Yudhishthir, Bheem & Arjun. Two other idols of Bhagwan Parsavnath
are located here.
One is called Chintamani Parshvanath and other is called Vighnaharan
Parshvanath. On the both sides of northern gate, foot images of Bhagwan
Adinath & Bhagwan Sambhavanath can be seen. It is said that Bhagwan
Adinath visited Shatrunjay Hill 93 times. All the Jain temples of
Palitana are built in marble and stand adorned with ornate sculptures.
Each and every temple located on this hill is a specimen of art. The
temple trail starts from the foot of the hill. There are 3745 steps up
to the peak of the summit.
Devotees take around two hours to reach the top. The steps were
constructed in 13th century, under the supervision of Jain Minister,
Vastupal. On their way up, the pilgrims are not allowed to take any
eatables along. They are only allowed to drink water. For the purpose, a
number of water posts have been made available along the course. The
pilgrims eat only after they descend the mountain. The major spot up the
hill is the one with the footprints of the Tirthankaras. All the shrines
contain the idols of the Tirthankaras, with bejeweled eyes.
The devotees make offerings at the main shrine of Bhagwan Adinath. The
magnificent temple has been renovated and rebuilt a number of times. The
original temple was made of wood. Later, Siddhraj Jaisimha's minister
Udaymehta built it in marble. Siddhraj's descendant Kumarpal further
extended the temple. Besides these, there are other shrines dedicated to
Adinath, Kumarpal, Vimalshah, Samprati Raja and the Chomukh. You will
also find temples dedicated to Hindu Gods and Goddesses here. There is
also a Muslim shrine known as the Angar Pir. Childless women pray here