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Taranga Hills

Taranga Hills

Taranga Hills – A Scared Place for Buddhist and Jains

Taranga Hills at a Glance
Taranga Hill is the name given to a group of hills located in the Mehsana district of Gujrat. The place is primarily known for being a major Jain pilgrimage centre, even though it is also deeply associated with Buddhism.  In fact, the area is named after the famous Taranmata temple, which is dedicated to Buddhist Goddess Tara.  

Popular Temples and Tourist Spots
Taranga Hills is place revered by both the Buddhists and Jains and hence people from both religious communities visit this small town to seek the blessings of their respective deities. However, there are also other tourist attractions which people can enjoy during their visit to Taranga Hill. 

Taranga Jain Temple: Also known as the Taranga Tirtha, the temple is a Shvetambar Jain temple that was constructed as early as 1121. The temple located on the top of Taranga Hills, was built under the tutelage of King Kumarpal of the Solanki dynasty, on the advice of his teacher Acharya Hemchandra. This beautiful temple is considered to be one of the most magnificent and precious work of architecture in India. The main feature of the temple is the marble statue of Lord Ajitnath, which measures 2.75 m. The temple complex has a total of 14 temples apart from a few other temples of the Digambar sect located near the Shvetambar ones.

Taranmata and Dharanmata Temples: The Taranmata temple is located on the peak of Taranga Hills and is dedicated to Buddhist Goddess Tara. Since the temple was difficult to access in the ancient times, the Dharanmata temple was built at the foothills in the northern direction. Both the temples have the idols of Goddess Tara in addition to some broken terracotta images of Buddha on the stone and brick walls inside the rock shelters.

Taranga Fort: The Taranga fort is a fort like construction that surrounds the Taranga Hill. The fort was build to protect the hill and the temple complex form outside invasion. Even though most of the structure is destroyed, the remains prove that the walls of the fort would have been 2m wide. The fort has two gates, one on the eastern end and the other on the western end. The fort also houses an image of Lord Ganesh in addition to a Dharamshala and an upashraya.

Buddhist Caves: There is a cave located to the Northeast of the Main gate to the Taranga Fort, which is popular among the locals as Jogida Ni Gufa. The most unique aspect of this cave is its extraordinarily cool air. This ancient cave is believed to have been discovered and even used by Buddhist monks thousands of years ago. The cave features carved Buddhist sculptures made on its stone walls, in the shape of the Bodhi Vriksha or Kalpavruksha, and other Buddhist shapes.

Ajit Nath Prasad Vihara: This is a beautiful temple made form light sandstone, which is located in the middle of a big plateau at the top of Mount Taranga. The temple is 45 m long and 30 m wide and has a spire that is supported by huge pillars. The pillars have the carved images of beautiful maidens in winding, supple movements, figures carrying musical instruments and also have round lotus capitals at the top. The exterior walls of the temples are beautifully decorated with the life-like carvings as well as the images of the dresses and ornaments prevalent in the 12th century. However, the main attraction of the temple is the huge image of Bhagvan Ajitnath, sitting in a lotus position. This statue has been carved form a single block of marble and is 5 m tall making it the tallest Jain sculpture in India.

Yellow Stone Temple: At present this temple is only 4 storied. Earlier it was a 32 storied temple, but later reduced down to 4 stories. Tagar wood is used in making of this temple and the carvings on its walls. It is believed that this wood is totally fireproof

Kotishila:  As we all know that Tarang Hill is the home to nine different temples and one among them is Kotishila. Muslim mausoleum style is used in making of this temple by the Digambar Jains. In this temple there is a marble statue of Mallinathji the 19th Jain Tirthankar

Siddhshila:  Towards North West of Tarang region there is one small hill having steep slope which makes it difficult to reach the top of the hill. There is a deep well at hill top and also a hanuman Mandir along with a Kund. Here you will get to see the foot impression of Bhagwan Ajitnathji and Chaumukhiji. Many Jain Tirthankaras attain Moksha over here and so the place got the name of Siddhshila.


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