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Palitana – The Holiest Of Holy Cities for Jain Community
The History of the Holy City
Palitana is a city in the Bhavnagar district of Gujrat, which is renowned as the holiest pilgrimage center for people of Jain religion. The sanctity of Palitana is not only because of the numerous Jain temples, but also because it houses the Shatrunjaya hill, the place where the 1st Jain Tirthanknar, Lord Adinath attained enlightenment. The princely state of Palitana was founded in 1194. In 1656, Murad Baksh, the ten governor of the state and the son of Shah Jahan gifted Palitana to Shantidas Jhaveri, a prominent Jain merchant. Later, in 1730, the Anandji Kalyanji trust was handed over the responsibility of managing the various Jain temples in the region. 

The Shatrunjaya Teerth
The Shatrunjaya hill is the most sacred Jain pilgrimage centre as there are more than 900 Jain temples located on it. It is the only hill which has so many temples constructed on it, and has nearly 43,800 odd stone steps cut from the foot of the hill to its top, which are used by pilgrims to reach the various temples. The Digambar Jain temple located on top of this hill is the oldest of all the temples present there. The temple complex has nine shrines and all the tirthankaras. The main idol is that of Bhagvan Shantinath which is located in the main shrine of the temple and stands 42 inch tall. The idol, which was installed in 1689 by a famous businessman from Ahmadabad, shows the lord in the position of Padmasana.
Another prominent temple located on the Shatrunjaya hill is the Shatrunjaya temple, which can be reached after a climb of 4 km.   There is also the first temple of Adinatha, which was constructed by his son and which is popular for being the place where he Lord’s leading follower named Pundarika, attained Nirvana.  Most of the temples, constructed on Shatrunjaya hill, are made from white marble and have been built over a span of 900 years.
It is common belief that taking the arduous journey to the Shatrunjaya hill is something that every devout Jain should do at least once in a lifetime. The pilgrims undertaking this journey also need to follow certain rules to maintain the sanctity of the place. It is important to not only be properly dressed but also to abstain from eating either on the way to or inside the temples. It is also important to complete the journey, which takes a nearly 1.5 to 2 hours before nightfall as no one is allowed to stay on the hill at night.

Other Jain Temples
Jain Shrine: The Jain shrine dedicated to Bhagwan Adishvar is located nearly 6km away from Shatrunjaya Teerth.  This is one of the most beautifully and extensively decorated Jain Teerth in the city of Patilana. The main attraction of the temple is the exquisite marble work that adorns the roofs and the walls of the temple which enhance its beauty even further. 

Kumar Pal, Vimal Shah and Sampiti Raj Temples: These three Jain temples are located in close vicinity of one another in the city of Patilana. The Kumar Pal temple is especially famous for its great and unique architectural design and devotees visiting this temple are not allowed to wear any leather items or carry anything made of leather, which is in keeping with the non-violent principles of Jain religion. The Vimal Shah temple is an important Jain holy place which is renowned for its beautiful carvings and decorations. The temple remains especially crowded during the month between Septembers to March. The unique and entirely different architecture and design of the Sampiti Raj temple plays a very significant role in its popularity.
Other popular places of visit in Palitana are Chaumukh Temple, Shri Adeshwara Temple, Shri Vishal Jain Museum, Jambudweep Temple, Angar Pir and Talaja


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