Palitana – Gujarat

This is the base from which to visit the nearby Jain temples on Shatrunjaya (Place of Victory) Hill. Palitana is 50km southwest of Bhavnagar and 277km from Ahmedabad.

Shatrunjaya Hill
Nearby Palitana is the holy mountain of Shatrunjaya, which has 863 Jain temples on it, many intricately carved in marble. The temples were built over a 900-year period. The temples are not as intricate as the ones in Dilwara (Mt. Abu). The oldest temples date back to the 11th century. Because the Muslims destroyed most of the early temples in the 14th and 15th centuries, most of the temples date from the 16th century and later. It takes about two hours to climb the 3,950 steps (4km), 600m (1,980 ft) high hill. It is a difficult climb.

There are two groups of temples along the two ridges of the hill, and several temples between the two groups.

You may be able to see the fabulous temple jewels here at the impressive Adiswara Temple, which is one of the most interesting temples. The large Chaumukha (four-faced) Adinath Temple , built in 1618, has an image of Adinath facing the four cardinal directions. Other important temples are Vimal Shah, Sampriti Raj, Ramaji Gandharia (16th century), Bhulavani, and Kumar Pal. The Vallabhai Temple and Motisah Temple are between the two groups of temples.

Near the bottom of the hill is a museum with Jain relics, which is worth visiting.

Adinath, the first tirthankara, visited this hill several times, and his son built the first temple. Jains believe that Pundarika, the chief disciple of Adinath, attained nirvana here.

Shatrunjaya Hill is 3km southwest of Palitana. No one is allowed to stay on the hill overnight, not even the priests. The temples are open from 7 am to 7 pm. Photography is allowed, but you must first obtain a permit at the Anandji Kalyanji Pedhi on the way up the hill, or you can inquire at your hotel. Visitors are not permitted to carry any leather items up the hill. You should carry your own water with you, but no food is allowed. You can be carried up the hill by dhooli (rope chair).

Air and Train  The nearest airport is in Bhavnagar (50km northeast).

Palitana is on a metre-gauge line. From Ahmedabad (277km) it takes 9 to 11 hours with a change at Sihor, which is close to Palitana. There are three local trains daily to Bhavnagar (1½ hr).

Bus Ahmedabad is 215km away by road, and an express bus takes 4½ hours, which is an hour less than the normal buses. Private bus companies operate buses to Mumbai and Surat via Vadodara. There are also state transport buses to Bhavnagar (1½), Vadodara, Jamnagar, and Rajkot. There are two buses to Diu (5 hard hours). There are shared taxis between Palitana and Bhavnagar.