Visit Palitana Temple: The Most Important Temple Structure in Gujarat for Jains (2022)
The Palitana temples are a collection of Jain temples in the Shatrunjaya hill in Bhavnagar, Gujarat, India. Therefore, they are regarded as Shatrujanya temples. They are popular tourist locations, and the city has earned the moniker, City of Temples. If you plan to visit these temples anytime soon, read this article to know what to expect.
The Palitana Temple Experience
The Palitana temples hold a lot of importance for Jains, as experts claim that 23 of the 24 Tirthankars visited the hills. There’s a lot of temples to explore, with some saying the numbers are as high as 850. The number of temples, the importance the deities hold for the Jains, and the visual spectacle that the temples offer, make it one of the most important destinations of religious tourism in Gujarat and India.
The biggest temple here is the one dedicated to Tirthankara Rishaba, the first Tirthankara. Like many other temple premises in Gujarat, there’s a large arch at the entrance that announces to you that you are entering the premises. To complete the entire pilgrimage, you need to cover at least 4000 steps, and there are palanquins available for that. The temples are between lush greenery, and the steps are between the green path, walking through is a serene experience as well. One interesting aspect of the Palitana Temple premises is that nobody is allowed to stay overnight at the temple premises, not even the priests. That’s because the authorities consider this as the resting abode of the Gods. Image Source:
As you walk upstairs, you see some of the temples from the top-down angle. The color here is light brown, and it is a mix and match when it comes to the architecture here. Some of the pillars and walls of the temple don’t have a lot of intricate carvings, while others have sculptures of idols on them. All along, you will also see sculptures of men mounting elephants, etc. Some of the temples have sculptures of deities of celestial beings all over.
The designs, the architecture, and the rich history that the Palitana temples have makes it all a surreal experience and one that every tourist must experience at least once in their lives. You can spend a lot of time here, and some would say that if you want to explore everything that’s here, you could even visit this place twice.
You will see thousands of devotees flock to the temple premises all through the year. The Jain pilgrimage area is, of course, home to several Jain religious activities and traditions., so tourists can also get a fascinating view of the activities and get an understanding of the Jains and their traditional lifestyle.
As previously said, you can spend much of your day at the temple structures, and there aren’t any vendors inside. Even outside, there’s not many, so it makes sense to pack drinking water and snacks on the way. In the premises, apart from the temples, there aren’t any areas that offer shade or shelter. So, make sure that you pack sunglasses and sunscreen for your day out at the Palitana temples. The weather in Gujarat is pretty harsh, so plan.
Palitana is a tourist area because of the temples, so several hotels offer you accommodation. If you plan to book the rooms online, make sure that you read the rules and regulations and the amenities and services that they offer. You will find several hotels in Palitana that offer rooms for as low as 2000 rupees per day and as high as 7000, depending on the amenities, services, and comfort levels that you would like to have. However, keep in mind that the prices of online bookings change at the drop of a hat, so do your research before booking hotel rooms. The hotels in this area are the Nilambag Palace Hotel, the Efcee Sarovar Portico and others.
While there are many hotels, there are also dormitories available in all the popular tourist destinations in Gujarat, including Ahmedabad, Bhuj and other destinations. These dormitories offer you a cot and a place to store your belongings for as low as 300 rupees. There is a flipside to this though, most of the dormitories don’t offer food options and some of them have a set time for you to return.
Places Near Palitana Temple
There are some other places in Palitana that you can visit. You have Gopnath Beach, the historic town of Talaja, and some others. There are other places of religious and tourist interest around Palitana, including Sabarmati, that’s about five hours away from Palitana. Sabarmati Ashram is the place where Mahatma Gandhi spent several years of his life. While Sabarmati is five hours away, Ahmedabad is about four hours away, and that place is a veritable feast for any tourist. Palitana is seven hours away from Dwarka, one of the most important places in Indian mythology. It is the Kingdom of Lord Krisha and has several temples, including the Sudama Temple, the only temple in India t dedicated to a non-divine being in Hindu mythology.
How to Reach Palitana Temple
Palitana is easy to reach. The nearest airport to Palitana is Bhavnagar, which is about 51 KM away from Palitana. There are daily flights from Mumbai, Delhi, and other states. If you are looking to travel by train, Palitana connects to Ahmedabad, which is on several big and small rail routes all over India. You can complete your journey from Ahmedabad to Palitana via bus or cab, which will take you about four hours. Several buses connect Ahmedabad to Palitana, including private and luxury buses as well as the State buses.