Monday, July 13, 2009

Visit Girnar Hill from Junagadh

Up to Junagadh see here

Girnar Hill is mentioned as the Raibatak in the Great epic, the Mahabharata. The hill is 1118 m high. It requires to ascend 9999 flights of steps and takes three hours to climb on the top. The whole route was built in 1889—1908 by raising money through lottery to cover the cost of construction. Crossing Damodar Kunda 2 km from here, the road goes up to Girnar hill. 3 or 4 route bus are available hourly from GPO Stand. Auto rickshaw is available as well. Tourists usually climb the hill early in the morning.

The hilly route has arrangements for rest from time to time on the way. Shops are there en route. Snacks with tea are available. By taxi you can reach up to half way. Dandi and chair are available fro those who are unable or unwilling to trek.

In the dharamshala of the temple arrangement of accommodation is available .

On the 5 peaks of the hill, there are 5 Jain temples of 12th century. To Jains, Girnar is one of the highly revered and sacred places. As for its divinity, it comes next to Parshanath.

It is said that Lord Neminath left for heavenly abode while on meditation for 700 years here. Both Hindu and Jain people come here after marriage to ask for blessing at the temple of Hindu Goddess Amba (Parvati). In 1891-92 Swami Vivekananda visited this sacred land. There are foot prints of Guru Gorakhnath on the 4th peak and Guru Dattatreya on the 5th peak.

The largest and the oldest Jain Temple of 1128 AD is the seat of 22nd Tirthankar Neminath whose image is made of black stone at the core of the temple. There are 70 chambers on the temple premises. Close to it, the 19th Tirthankar Mallinath's bejewelled temple, was built in 1231 AD in Solanki style by Bastupal and Tejpal, creators of Dilwara. Founded in 1453 by the king of Samprat, the temple of Abhinandan Prabhu, founded by Raja Kumar Paul the Parshanath Temple of thousand snake-hoods are also there and worth viewing.

During the festival of Kartick Purnima saints and sages pay visit from all places.

There is a Shiva Temple at the top of the hill called the Bhabanath Temple where, on the eve of Maha Shivaratri a festival is held for 5 days. People throng from all over. The grandeur of the processions of Sadhus holding images of Deities are impressive. In the month of Magh of Bengali calendar (December) , Bhavanath Fair is an auspicious occasion that draws tourists. Gujarati folk song with folk dance is an essential part of this festival.

This article is originally published in Travel India and India Study Channel

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