Palitana temples

Palitana temples

The Palitana temples of Jainism are located on Shatrunjaya hill by the city of Palitana in Bhavnagar district, Gujarat, India. The city of the same name, known previously as Padliptapur, has been dubbed "City of Temples". Shatrunjaya means a "place of victory against inner enemies" or "which conquers inner enemies".

This site on Shatrunjaya hill is considered sacred by Svetambara Jains. It is said that 23 of 24 Jain Tirthankaras, except Neminatha, sanctified the hill by their visits. There are approximately 863 marble-carved temples on the hills spread mostly in nine clusters, some being vast temple complexes, while most small in size. The main temple is dedicated to Rishabhanatha, the first Tirthankara; it is the holiest shrine for the Svetambara Murtipujaka sect. The main temple is reached by stepping up 3500 steps. Along with Shikharji in the state of Jharkhand, the two sites are considered the holiest of all pilgrimage places by the ...Read more

The Palitana temples of Jainism are located on Shatrunjaya hill by the city of Palitana in Bhavnagar district, Gujarat, India. The city of the same name, known previously as Padliptapur, has been dubbed "City of Temples". Shatrunjaya means a "place of victory against inner enemies" or "which conquers inner enemies".

This site on Shatrunjaya hill is considered sacred by Svetambara Jains. It is said that 23 of 24 Jain Tirthankaras, except Neminatha, sanctified the hill by their visits. There are approximately 863 marble-carved temples on the hills spread mostly in nine clusters, some being vast temple complexes, while most small in size. The main temple is dedicated to Rishabhanatha, the first Tirthankara; it is the holiest shrine for the Svetambara Murtipujaka sect. The main temple is reached by stepping up 3500 steps. Along with Shikharji in the state of Jharkhand, the two sites are considered the holiest of all pilgrimage places by the Jain community. Jains believe that a visit to this group of temples is essential as a once-in-a-lifetime chance to achieve nirvana or salvation.

Digambara Jains have only one temple here on the hills. Hingraj Ambikadevi (known as Hinglaj Mata) is considered as the presiding deity of the hill, who is a Jain Yakshini (attendant deity). As the temple-city was built to be an abode for the divine, no one is allowed to stay overnight, including the priests.

History
The entrance to the temples

According to the Shatrunjaya Mahatmya, the first Tirthankara Rishabha sanctified the hill where he delivered his first sermon. It was his grandson Pundarika, grandson of Rishabha who attained Nirvana at Shatrunjay, hence the hill was originally known as "Pundarikgiri". There exists a marble image of Pundaraksvami consecrated in V.S. 1064 (1120 CE) by Shersthi Ammeyaka to commemorate the sallekhana of a muni belonging to the Vidhyadhara Kula.[1] Bharata Chakravartin, the father of Pundarik and half-brother of Bahubali, also came to Shatrunjaya many times. He is also credited with building a temple here in honour of his father Rishabha. Legendarily it is also associated with many other Tirthankaras.[A][3][4][5][6]:249

The Palitana temples were built over a period of 900 years starting in the 11th century.[7] Kumarpal Solanki, a great Jain patron, probably built the earliest temples.[citation needed]It is said that sculptors' skills and capacity to carve with abrasive cords (not tools) the intricate designs was paid on the basis of the marble dust that they had collected every evening after their hard labour. They were destroyed by Turkish Muslims invaders in 1311 AD, when the saint Jinaprabhasuri, who was then 50 years old, presided over the temples. Two years later, the rebuilding began. While some temple building activity took place under Samara Shah, it was only two centuries later that it picked up momentum, when in 1593, Hiravijayasuri (Chief of Tapa Gaccha) organised a major pilgrimage to this location to attend the consecration ceremony of the temple built for Rishabha by Tej Pal Soni, a merchant. Following this, there was proliferation of temples here.[4]

Most of the temples which are now present date to the 16th century. In 1656, Shah Jahan's son Murad Baksh (the then Governor of Gujarat) granted Palitana villages to the prominent Jain merchant Shantidas Jhaveri, a Svetambara Jain. Subsequently, all taxes were also exempted, helping the temple town prosper further. It was brought under the control of the Anandji Kalyanji Trust in 1730 to manage not only Palitana temples but also many other temples of Svetambara Jains, since the Mughal period.[4][8]

History also makes a mention that Lunia Seth Tilokchand, a merchant from Ajmer led a very large contingent of pilgrims to the Shatrunjaya temples when he heard that there were some disturbances at the Angarshah Pir on the hills. But he continued his pilgrimage and pleased the Pir by his offerings. This tradition is followed to this day by his descendants by offering an expensive cloth to cover the dome of the shrine.[9]

The most important temples on the hill are those of Adinath, Kumarpal, Sampratiraja, Vimal Shah, Sahasrakuta, Ashtapada and Chaumukh.[10] Some of them are named after the wealthy patrons who paid for the construction.

Many of these temples are kept in “mint” condition with large donations provided by the rich Jain merchant community.[11]

Palitana was a princely state of India till it merged with India after independence in August 1947.[12] It was the capital of the Kingdom of Rajpipla and Gohil Rajput clan.

^ Some Inscriptions and Images on Mount Satrunjaya, Ambalal P Shah, Mahavir Jain Vidyalay Suvarna Mahotsav Granth Part 1 January 2002, p. 164 ^ Shah 1987. ^ Davidson & Gitlitz 2002, p. 419. ^ a b c Dundas 2002, p. 222. ^ Ku 2011, pp. 1-22. ^ Weber, Albrecht F. Über das Çatrumjaya Māhātmyam. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Jaina. Abhandlungen für die Kunde des Morgenlandes herausgegeben von der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, I. Band, No. 4. Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus, 1858 (Translated as "The Śatruñjaya Māhātmyam. Edited by James Burgess." Indian Antiquary30 [1901] 239-251, 288-308) ^ Glistening spires of Palitana temples. ^ Yashwant K. Malaiya. "Shatrunjaya-Palitana Tirtha". Retrieved 28 November 2011. ^ Lodha 2013, p. 479. ^ Bansal 2005, p. 102. ^ Bruyn et al. 2010, p. 597. ^ Desai 2007, p. 247.


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Zones
Typology
Position
1841
Rank
15
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