Shri Adeshwara Temple
Jambudweep Temple and Exhibit
Welcome to Palitana-Shatrunjaya,
Palitana is a religious Jain city in Bhavnagar district in the Indian state of Gujarat. It is located 50 km South-West of Bhavnagar city and is a major pilgrimage centre for Jains. Palitana is the place where millions and millions of Jain sadhu and muni got salvation.
The Palitana temples are considered the most sacred pilgrimage place(tirtha) by the Jain community. There are more than 1300 temples located on the Shatrunjaya hills, exquisitely carved in marble. The main temple on top of the hill, is dedicated to 1st tirthankar lord Adinath (Rishabdeva).
On the top the Shatrunjai Hill is a cluster of Jain temples, built by generations of Jains over a period of 900 years, from the 11th century onwards. The temples are managed by the Anandji Kalyanji Trust of the Kasturbai Lalbhai group. From the foot of the hill to the top there are 3,800 and odd stone steps cut to facilitate climbing.
With a slender tower over the shrine, the Adinath temple honors the first tirthankar Lord Rishabhdev of Jainism, who is said to have achieved enlightenment on this spot. Lord Rishabhdev had a sign of an Ox on his thigh and before he was born, his mother Marudeva had seen 14 dreams out of which the first was an Ox. He was the first to start the religion and thats why he is also known as 'Adinath'.
Next to the Adeshwara Temple is a rare Muslim shrine to Angar Pir, a Sufi saint who lived here in the 14th century when the area was attacked by Allauddin Khilji, who sought the riches of the temples on Shatrunjaya. Angar Pir, believing in the intrinsic sacredness of the temples, even though they were to a different faith than his own, came to their protection. Through the power of his prayers and devotion, he hurled holy fire on the invading armies, thus protecting the temples from destruction.
We would do well to commemorate those like Angar Pir who believe in the sanctity of others' holy sites, instead of those who destroy them as if to raise the stature of their own. Angar Pir's dargah is approached before the first main temple complex; where the path forks, many take the shorter route on the left and bypass the dargah, so be sure to take the path on the right to lead you to the dargah, a small shrine with a green flag.
Built in 1618, the Chaumukh Temple is the shrine of four faces (chau = four, mukh = face), with four images of Adinath facing the four cardinal directions.
This temple has an excellent exhibit on Jain cosmology, describing the intricate divisions of the heavens and the earth, and an individual's passage through the different stages of the universe. There is also an exhibit on Jain mathematics, for anyone intrigued by unusual systems of reasoning, whether a believer or not. It features uncommon units of measure for height, width, weight, time and so forth. The temple is open every day, with a free show every evening at 6pm.
This temple honors Adeshwara, one of the most important tirthankars of the Jain faith. Each tirthankar is signified by a particular animal. Here you will see friezes of dragons encircling the temple, representing Adeshwara.
At the foot of Shatrunjaya, this museum houses an excellent collection of artifacts, excavated idols from earlier temples, ancient manuscripts written on palm leaves, and an exhibit on the history of Jainism and the life of Lord Mahavira. Most of the accompanying information is in Gujarati, though some is in Hindi and occasionally English.
On the Shatrunjaya River, just inland from the small port town of Sartanpur, lies Talaja, about 32 km from Palitana. Best known as the birthplace of the poet Narsinh Mehta, Talaja also houses important sites for Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism. Also, this place holds the importance to Buddhists as there are around 30 ancient Buddhist caves cut into rocks, with fine carving of Boddhisatva. The Ebhala Mandapa, a large hall with four octagonal pillars is the most impressive structure.
There is a notable Jain temple on a hill alongside the town. The same hill has 13 Buddhist caves carved into solid rock. The caves are around 2000 years old, and require about a 15-20 min. walk up the hill to reach them. They are of the 4th stage of Buddhist cave architecture, noticeably earlier than the famous Buddhist caves of Maharashtra.
The Hindu temple of Khodiad Mata is on the same hill, placing holy sites of three religions on the same site. You can also visit Narsinh Mehta's house in town, though there is little of obvious note other than a marker signaling it as the house of his birth.