Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Palitana - Jain Temple

Palitana, in Gujarat (India) is approximately 50 KM south west of Bhavnagar. It is in the Saurashtra region, which has a very large number of temples. It is historic too because Saurashtra always attracted foreign visitors, especially the invaders in the pre-Mughal period who were attracted to India because of the large quantities of gold and precious gem stones the temples in this region used to have. They primarily invaded for looting wealth to finance their war efforts to capture and enlarge their empires.
This region has a very large number of modern cities growing side by side with beautiful beaches and varied flora and fauna. Palitana is well connected by roads and railways to the major cities and to the other parts of India and the world.
It is interesting to note that many temples are located on hilltops or mountain ranges of India. The believers of religions like Hinduism, Jainism, etc., seem to place special importance to pilgrimages to holy places where they have to climb up mountainous tracts. The Jainism has many hill locations for pilgrimage, Shatrunjaya Hill, Palitana, being the most important among them. A group of temples in Girnar (Junagadh) in the nearby areas and similar temples in Rajasthan and Maharashtra are also worth a visit by anyone, especially for their location in beautiful surroundings and the rich temple architecture and sculptures.
Palitana and surroundings, with a very large cluster of Jain temples, has 863 temples. These temples were built in the 11th and 12th centuries. This period saw a frenzy of activities to promote spiritualism and temple architecture, in almost all parts of Indian subcontinent. Foreign invaders destroyed many of these temples in the 14th and 15th centuries.
As for these magnificent Jain temples, unlike many others built by Kings and Emperors, they were built by the Jain traders and the people of this area.

No comments: