Girnar Jain Temples

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Timings : 6:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Time Required : 1-2 hrs

Entry Fee : No entry fee

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Jain Temples in Girnar, Girnar Overview

Girnar Jain Temples is a group of temples dedicated to the two major branches of Jainism - Digambara and Svetambara. The temple complex exists amidst the Girnar Mountains located in the district of Junagadh in the Indian state of Gujarat. It takes climbing about 10,000 steps to reach the top of the temple complex. Some idols are as old as 84,000 years and very well maintained by and for the followers who visit the temple with a wish to attain Moksha.

The temple complex is dedicated to Jainism which is one of the oldest forms of religions existing in the world. The grand temple complex houses several shrines of Jain Tirthankaras with spacious passages, porches and halls atop the Mount Girnar. Devotees who cannot climb up the hills can opt for a palkhi (palanquin) which is readily available from the base of the mountain. 

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Architecture of Girnar Jain Temples

The temples have carvings that are often compared to the engravings of Dilwara Temple near Mount Abu, Rajasthan. There are 16 temples that look like a fort on a cliff. On entering, visitors will find the vast temple enclosure on the left while the Man Singh Temple on the right. The Neminath temple is the largest shrine here with an area of about 25000 square feet and has two halls and two porches.

The idol of Bhagwan Neminath is seen sitting in lotus position holding a conch shell in his hand. The shrine is surrounded by a passage that has religious images in white marble. There are 2 halls inside the temple complex. Each hall has a porch with pillars that have inscriptions that date back to 1275 to 1281. This enclosure is surrounded by 70 separate cells. On the opposite side of the entrance is a recess with a lion rampant and crocodile bas-relief work on top.

A little ahead of these is a room which leads to a cave with an idol made of white marble stone. To the south is an image of the first Tirthankara, Rishabha Deva. The Panchabai temple is located opposite to room. To the West is the 15th-century Meravasi and to the North is the Parshwanath Temple. To the north of the temple complex is a tank, known as the Bhima Kund. Behind the Neminath temple is another shrine called the Vastupala-Tejpala temple. This shrine has an idol of Mallinath who was the 19th Tirthankara. To the South of the complex, near a beautiful spring is the Gaumukhi Shrine.

Tonks at Girnar Jain Temple

The temple also consists of 5 tonks. The first is about 2 miles above the base and consists of a temple devoted to Digambar, the Rajulmati Cave, and idol of Bahubali along with the Bhagwan Neminath Shrine. From here, to reach the second tonk devotees have to climb about 900 steps. This is where the Ambika Devi Temple is built. There are also footprints of Muni Anirudhhkumar at the second tonk. Further, the third tonk has the footprints of Muni Sambukkumar. The fourth tonk have the footprints of the son of Lord Krishna, Pradhyman Kumar and finally, the fifth tonk has the footprints of Bhagwan Neminath.

Best Time To Visit Jain Temples

The best time to visit Jain Temples is between October and February as the weather is quite pleasant for hiking up the Girnar Mountain with the temperature ranging from a maximum of 32 degrees Celcius and a minimum of 13 degrees Celcius.

Tips For Visiting Jain Temples

1. Please follow a conservative dress code while visiting the temple complex.
2. Palkhis are available at a minimal to reach the top of the compound where the temple is located.
3. Carry enough water and wear decent hiking shoes, hats and sunscreen while climbing up the hill.

How To Reach Jain Temples in Girnar

One can reach Mount Girnar from Junagadh which is about 5 kilometres away by hiring a taxi. From the base, a hike is necessary to reach the temple complex.

History of Girnar Jain Temples

According to Jainism, the 22nd Tirthankara, Neminath, renounced all worldly pleasures when he witnessed the animal slaughter for food on his wedding day. With an intention to attain salvation, Neminath went to Mount Girnar where he meditated and lived the life of a monk around 250 BCE. He is said to have attained Keval Gyan which is the supreme knowledge and Moksha which means release from the never-ending cycle of birth and death. His wife, Rajul, also became a nun by renouncing worldly pleasures.

The Shrine of Neminath was built between 1128 and 1159. Mount Girnar is a sacred place for Hindus and Jains even before the Mohen-Jo-Daro period. The Vedas and other sacred texts have references of Mount Girnar in its holy scripts as Raivatgiri or Ujjayantagiri. The idol of Neminath is said to have created by Indra who, according to the religion, is believed to belong to the fifth divine world. Some also believe that the idol of Neminath was installed in Indra's world later on installed in Shri Krishna's home temple. Followers consider the Jain Temples of Girnar highly sacred mainly due to its ability to universalise the religion through laws that bind all living beings by excluding national or ethnic scope. 

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