Location : Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
Also Known As: Swaminarayan Mandir.
Dedicated To : Swaminarayan.
The Swaminarayan temple of Gandhinagar is a modern complex, built in traditional Indian architectural style from 6000 metric tons of long lasting pink sandstone, from Rajasthan, and carved by expert artisans from Bansipahadpur. The temple is set in the multi-acre arden, called Sahajanand van, with intricate sculpture of Hindu Gods, beautifully landscapped garden.
Lord Swaminarayan was born in Chapaya in UP, and took a 7 year pilgrimage to Gujarat to preach his religion. He built 6 temples, the first being in Kalupur at Ahmedabad, and his followers built a series of others. There are numerous important pilgrim spots for the million followers of this faith all over the world, including Gondal, Gadhada, Sarangpur etc.The interiors have beautiful columns and rosewood, and rise up to a high dome.
The temple is set in the multi-acre garden, called Sahajanand van, with intricate sculpture of Hindu Gods, beautifully landscaped garden, cafeteria and amusements. Gold leaf copper sculpture of lord Swaminarayan faced by similar gold leaf sculpture of Gunatinand Swami and Gopalanand Swami. The interiors have beautiful columns and rosewood, and rise up to a high dome.
Location : Mehsana, Gujarat.
Also Known As:
Dedicated To : Bahuchar mataji.
Major Festivity: During navaratri and moon night.
Location : Dwarka, Gujarat.
Also Known As: Jagat Mandir.
Dedicated To : Lord Krishna.
Major Festivity: During Janmashtami In August.
LORD KRISHNA'S ABODE :
The temple of Jagat Mandir, with the presiding deity of Shri Krishna known as Dwarkadhish, is an imposing edifice and a superb architectural monument. Having a plinth area of 1800 square feet, the temple consists of a shrine that is supported by 60 pillars of granite and sandstone. The seven-storey edifice gradually rises to a height of 170 feet. spire is unique for the view it presents and the experience it induces. Beautifully sculpted sandstone wall enthralls the visitors and the ambulating devotees.
An interesting legend surrounds the idol installed at this temple. It is said that, taking pity on his old devotee Badana, who used to traverse the long distance from Dakor to Dwarka, God in the form of an idol went with him to Dakor. This enraged the priests at Dwarka, who chased Badana to retrieve the idol. Badana persuaded the priests to leave the deity in return of gold, where upon the priests agreed to withdraw. By a miracle, the idol became as light as the nose-ring, which was all that the poor widow could offer. But the Lord didnot want to disappoint the priests. He therefore granted them a boon that they will find a replica in Dwarka on a particular day. Unable to resist their curiosity, the priests excavated at the suggested site a little too early, and found yet to grow idol, which is now enshrined at Dwarka.
The present shrine is not likely to be older than the Mughal period. The inscriptions on the pillars and other places do not appear to be older than the 15th century AD. There must have been an older shrine, which was probably destroyed by Mohmud Begada in 1473 AD. The present temple was probably constructed during the period of the great Mughal Emperor, Akbar.
Location : Palitana, Gujarat.
Main Temples : Shri Adishwara Temple, Chaumukh Temple.
Palitana is a `must visit' destination for the Jains and all those who would like to witness what the subtle combination of human enterprise, architectural skills, philanthropy and channelised religious fervour can achieve. The entire summit of majestic mount Shatrunjaya is crowned with about 900 temples, each rivaling the other for beauty and magnificence, presenting an awe-inspiring spectacle to devotees and visitors.
SHRI ADISHWARA TEMPLE
Dedicated to Rishabhdev, stands on the apex of the northern ridge. Rebuilt by the minister Vagbhatta in AD 1157, it is one of the most magnificent temples and the most sacred on Shatrunjaya. The temple is ornately carved with a frieze of dragons along the walls of its prayer Chaumukh Temple: or four- faced shrine, the highest of the shrines is visible from a distance of 40 km. erected in the early 17th century, it houses a quadruple image of the apostle Adinath, who gazes in the four directions. Other notable temples are Kumarpal, Vimalsha, and Shahastrakuta bearing the distinctive aura of the Jain temples. Another important temple is that of the first Teerthankara, though, in its overall plan it is simpler than the Choumukh. Other notable temples are those of Kumarpal, Vimal Shah and Sampti Raja . The earliest temple was probably built by Kumarpal Solanki, a great Jain patron. The temple has a fabulous collection of jewels, which can be seen with special permission.Adjacent to the Shri Adishwara Temple is the Muslim shrine of Angar Peer where childless women make votive offerings of miniature cradles to the saint to bless them with children.
Somnath situated 79 kms from Junagadh and 25 kms. from Chorwad, is the legendary shore temple of Somnath, one of the twelve most sacred Shiva shrines in India. Legend has it that the Somnath Temple was originally built out of gold by Somraj, the moon god. Then, it was rebuilt by Ravana in silver and then again by Krishna in wood and yet again by King Bhimdev Solanki in stone in the 10th century. The temple was so rich that it had over 300 musicians, 500 dancing girls and even 300 barbers - just to shave the heads of pilgrims!
Mahmud of Ghazni, upon hearing the description of the temple by an Arab traveller by the name Al Biruni, raided the temple in 1024 A.D. and afterlooting it, carried away camel loads of jewels and gold. Somnath was destroyed six times and rebuilt on every occasion. After the 1706 A.D. demolition by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, it was rebuilt the seventh time in 1950 A.D. with the support of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.The temple contains one of the twelve sacred Shiva shrines known as Jyotirlingas.
THE SUN TEMPLE
Location : Modhera, Gujarat .
Significance: One Of The Only Two Sun Temples In The World.
Dedicated To: Sun God.
THE RESPLENDENT SUN TEMPLE
The Sun Temple at Modhera is one of the two sun temples in the world - the other being at Konark. Modhera, in northwestern Gujarat , 119 kms from Ahmedabad , is located on a high mound, on the left bank of the river 'Pushpawali'. There is no data available about the dating of the temple. The only reference comes from an upside down, carelessly placed inscription on one of the walls, which reads 'Vikram Samvat 1083', i.e.1025 or 1026 AD. A substantial part of the temple is still in its original shape and material.
DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE TEMPLE
The temple site at Modhera consists of three distinct units: the Sun Temple, the Nrityamandapa, and the 'Suryakunda'. Sculptures of noteworthy iconography are found all over the temple. The almost life-size figures in the panels belong to three groups of deities, namely the 'Adityas', the 'lokpalas' and the 'devis'.The twelve 'adityas' are arranged around the western part of the cellar. They stand in 'Samabhanga' position, upon a pedestal of seven horses, denoting the seven colours that emanate from the sun. Between the boot-tips of the deities is the charioteer, Aruha. An interesting figure is an iconograph with three heads, three arms and three legs.
Adjoining the Sun Temple is the huge 'Sun Kund' (Rama Kund) surrounded by step-terraces with numerous smaller temples numbering about 108.
The ancient Hindu temple of Shamlaji, built during the Solanki Rajput period, is a splendid work of architecture with fine carvings and an aura of devotion. Some of the shrines here date from the 1`st century BC or even ealier. The main aarti attracts numerouspilgrims. During the Kartik Poornima period, Shamlaji is the site for a massive fair. Shamlaji is believed to have been an important site for Buddhism in Gujarat before the Solanki rule
13 kms from Gandhinagar, Vasan village is known for it's Shiva temple, believed to date from before Christ. The 24 Shivlingas are of considerable importance. The coins and bricks ratify the ancient origin of the temple. The 19th century ceiling paintings are worth a glimpse .
The Rudramalaya of Sidhpur, dated from the 12th century, was one of the most magnificent temples in Gujarat, like the Modhera Sun temple. Today, the beautiful torana gateway and the carvings are reminders of it's great architecture. It is said that when Raja Siddhraj w anted to built a temple here, the preist threw a javeline at the spot he said Shesh Naag rested. As the king pulled out the javeline, refusing to believe the preist, blood began to flow and the temple was cursed that it would not remain extant for very long.
The Vadnagar is a city of considerable importance in Gujarati history. It is the c enter of the Naggar Brahmin community that has provided Gujarat with some of her best administrators, poets, writers and musicians. When Akbar's court poet and singer, Tansen was affected by the burns of the Deepak raag, he came to Vadnagar, and was cured by the Raag Maldaar sung by Tana and Riri. When Akhbar asked the two girls to sing in his court, something they could not do as Brahmins, they committed suicide rather than refuse.
Delmal and Mira Datar
Delmal and Unava in north Gujarat, comprise an important pilgrimage for Bohra Muslims. The Roza of Hasan pir in Delmal and dargah of Mira Datar in Unava are visited by a good number of Muslims. People of various faiths and religions visit Mira Datar's shrine to evoke blessings for mentally challenged relatives .
Mahudi is an important Jain and Baniya pilgrimage. The Jain temple is dedicated to Vir Ghantakarna and is known for the long penance of Muni Buddhisagarji. The Sun temple is important for the Banias, and has idols believed to date back to the 5th century.
A famous Jain pilgrimage, the temple has some ancient idols, though the architecture is more recent. The temple is the site for major fairs during full moon nights.
Sarangpur is well known for it's Hanuman temples, which is visited by a number of devotees to pray for the handicapped relatives, and the Swaminarayan temple.
Virpur is well known for the temple of lord Jalaram and attracts thousands of pilgrims daily. Nearby at Khambalida are some Buddhist relics.
Gondal has some important temples, such as the Swaminarayan temple, the Bhuvaneshwari temple, one of the few in India dedicated to this Goddess, and the Ashapura mata temple.