Palitana Jain Temples

The Shatrunjaya Hill in Palitana, a small town in the Indian state of Gujarat, is adorned with the highest concentration of beautifully carved Jain temples to be found anywhere in the world. Palitana is an important pilgrimage for the followers of JainismPalitana Jain Temples Gujrat but equally important are, the architecture of the temples and the elaborate carvings on them.
The Jain temples of Palitana were constructed in the north Indian style of temple architecture and Vastushastra (ancient principles of building) served as a practical handbook for the architecture of these temples. As the Jain often walk barefoot to their temples and cover their mouths with a cloth to stop the inhalation of insects, their temples were built in groups, to make the pilgrimage easier. This also gave each temple an identity of its own despite being part of a cluster. Like the Jains who prefer the purity of white, their temples too are usually white, a combination of plaster and marble. And because they record the devotion of the Jains towards their 24 Tirthankaras (spiritual leaders), the temples end up being elaborate, with many ornamental details. The Jain temples at Dilwara are profusely and intricately carved and are the best examples of Jain temples in India and the world. As a result, the Jain temple becomes a stage more for the artisan and the stone carver than the architect. But, at the same time, it must be remembered that the temple architects were rarely distanced from craft skills, and in temple building, the two activities often went hand in hand.
Palitana has the largest concentration of Jain temples anywhere in the world. From the base to the peak of the Shatrunjaya Hill, where the Palitana temples are located, there are, in all, 863 temples. These were built in two phases-during the 11 and 12th centuries Palitana Jain Temples Gujratas part of the resurgence of temple building all over India, and in the 16th century following the desecration of many of the monuments of India by invaders (Gujarat, accessible by sea and land, often faced the brunt of these invasions).
The act of ascending a path to reach a place of pilgrimage is a part of the Hindu and Jain consciousness, which is why many of the holiest temples are located along hills and mountain ranges. The Jains have five separate hill locations for their holiest clusters of temples, with Shatrunjaya Hill at Palitana being the most important. Another group is in Girnar (Junagadh), not too far away, while others are located in the states of Rajasthan and Maharashtra. While the temples at Palitana are not the most beautiful temples the Jains have built (the marble temple of Ranakpur, and the Dilwara temples in Rajasthan, are by far the best), they have excellent architectural style. For nothing can match the vision of a hillside covered with the spires of hundreds of temples, each stretching higher still, as if anxious to establish communion with the skies.

Reaching Palitana Jain Temples -
By Air : The nearest airport is at Hyderabad (150 kms).
By Rail : The nearest railhead is at Hyderabad (150 kms).

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