Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Girnar Temples in Junagadh






View of the Girnar Temple from higher grounds
Photo by: Emmanuel Dyan, Creative Commons
Girnar is located in the Junagadh region which is 327km from Ahmedabad (the largest city in Gujarat), in the state of Gujarat, India.
Since the 3rd century, Girnar has been a major religious place. Girnar is also a sacred place for Jains and the Hindus. Girnar Temples is known to be the “anthology of mountains” which contains about five mountains. The tallest among the mountains is 945 meters high. The first mountain contains Shwetamber and Digambar temples (Jain temples), these temples stand as a fine example in terms of architecture which portray the carvings on the temple structures.
There are almost 8,000 steps located from the starting point of the first peak to the very last shrine. Girnar is a sacred place for Jains and Hindus, which attracts a large number of pilgrims. The pilgrims climb all 8,000 steps barefoot as a belief that a person who climbs all the steps barefoot reaches Heaven.
The Neminath temple at Girnar is the major temple, which was built in the 11th century. The temple contains the deity of Lord Neminath, which is made of black granite and the eyes of the deity are made of precious jewels. The temple complex contains open space, courtyards, and several other minor temples. The temple roofs are inscribed with Goddesses in a dancing form. In addition, there is another temple known as Mallinath temple within the Neminath temple which is devoted to Tirthankar (Jain god). The temple was built in 1231 AD by Tejpal and Vastupal.
Besides these temples there are some minor temples namely Meravasi built in the 15th century. Married couples visit this temple to seek blessings. In addition, a mosque is located near the temple where childless women visit to enhance their fertility.
In the present day, Girnar is one of India’s biggest pilgrimage places. A race is conducted every year, the race involves climbing to the top of the 8,000 steps. A large number of people take part in it, and is the major attraction here.

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