~shree me and my passions…

4Oct/097

The Jain Temples of Shatrunjaya

Paid a visit to Shatrunjaya first thing in the morning today. This place is about 2 kms away from Palitana, where my hotel is. Shatrunjaya is an important place for a jain piligrim. The main temple, and 41 other small temples, are located on the top of a hill. And how to get there? Well, you have two choices: either climb the 3600 or so steps up the hill, or take a doli . A doli is carried by two or people depending on the kind of comfort you want. I chose to walk up, kind of obvious right?

There are periodic places to rest, and one place that serves water as well. The hot sun makes the climb a difficult proposition. I took about two hours, including rests and photo shoots. Most of the time, I was with a Rajasthani couple who have settled in Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh. The young and energetic wife was trying to get her husband moving fast. Devout jains climb up and down without drinking water. Being barefoot makes their task that much more challenging. You won't get anything on the hill to eat, so ensure you eate before going up. Else you risk suffering from hunger, like I did!

One interesting thing about the temple complex is that it has a shrine dedicated to a Muslim Baba, green flag on top. This baba apparently protected the temple from Aurangzeb's troops, which were coming with the express intent of destroying the temples.

The temple complex has 42 temples. A major restoration work is underway on many temples. An irritant in some of these places is the lack of boards in any language other tha Gujarati. I went up till the main temple and then got to know that I had to buy a permit for my camera. Expensive, at 100 rupees. As always, no permission to let the light from the idols of dieties into the lens of your camera. A lot of other temples are worth more than a click. Getting a good angle can be a pain due to the sheer number of temples and their proximity to each other. Some pictures below. The 'green' temple is under construction.

dsc_0058.jpg dsc_0068.jpg dsc_0073.jpg dsc_0087.jpg dsc_0094.jpg dsc_0113.jpg dsc_0129.jpg dsc_0134.jpg

One thing I've observed about Gujarat is the relatively large number of temples and religious places. There seems to be a considerable number of babas and sadhus around. Perhaps I should stay in an ashram one of these days.

Climbing down the hill is slightly easier compared to going up. I did not find any hotels around the entrance. There are any number of Bhojanalays . A lady suggested I go to a particular place where they serve tasty food for one rupee(yeah, one rupee). So there I went. The person at the ticket counter asked me to recite some mantra, which I did not seem to know. Nice way to filter out the non-jains, I say! The food turned out be a rip off for the thirty rupees I paid them... PS: can anybody tell me the name of this manta, "brahmaarpanam brahmahavir. brahmagnp branhmanahutam..." ? I suspect that is the mantra I was asked for. Thanks in advance!

I was quite tired by the time I reached back the hotel room. Evening was a time of good tidings - IT RAINED !!! And the weather cooled off for some time after that. I am just hoping for some cooler climes from tomorrow... Will be off towards Diu tomorrow morning.

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  1. Diu has some amazing hotels along the coastline and although it is close to gujurat, lot of gujaratis come over to diu and eat non-veg. So I hope you are aware that you need to ask for Veg food :). NDTV good times had aired a special show this weekend (Highway On My Plate) which featured diu.
    – Mahesh

  2. Shree I used to recite this mantra for 5 years to get food. Yes when I was studying at Ramakrishna Ashrama at Mysore (class 8-12) we were supposed to recite the Bhagavad Geetha before the lunch/dinner. This particular mantra was to be recited just before one started eating.

    This is how it goes…

    Brahmaarpanam Brahma Havir
    Brahmaagnau Brahmanaa Hutam
    Brahmaiva Tena Gantavyam
    Brahma Karma Samaadhinaha

    The MP3 version of this is here.. http://www.saibaba.ws/download/brahmarp.mp3 Just learn the first paragraph and you should be good.

    The photographs are really good.

    Good to know that it rained. Hope it continues to do so and keep you ride cool.

  3. @Pradeep: I know the mantra too, and have recited it for 4 years. Need to know it’s name – so that I can say the mantra when(and if) asked for. It would be embrassing otherwise to get caught as a jain-impersonator 😉

  4. Thanks for the info. I am in Diu now. Unfortunately, no intention to stay here. More interested in village stays on this tour:-)

  5. Thats a lot of temples at one place. Nice find Shree. Pix are looking great.

  6. Guys
    The mantra here is the Jain namokar mahamantra
    Namo Arihantanam
    Namo Siddhanam
    Namo Aiyiranam
    Namo Uvajhayanam
    Namo Loye Savva Sahunam

  7. @Sagar: Thanks for this info.


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