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Temples in Gujarat

AKSHARDHAM TEMPLE

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.

BAHUCHRAJI TEMPLE

Location : Mehsana, Gujarat.
Also Known As:
Dedicated To :
Bahuchar mataji.
Major Festivity:
During navaratri and moon night.

DWARKADHISH TEMPLE

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.

LEGEND :
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.

HISTORICAL EVIDENCE
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.

PALITANA TEMPLE

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 TEMPLE

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.

NEARBY ATTRACTION
Adjoining the Sun Temple is the huge 'Sun Kund' (Rama Kund) surrounded by step-terraces with numerous smaller temples numbering about 108.

SHAMALAJI

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

Vasan
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 .

Siddhpur
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.

Vadnagar
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 .

Mahud i
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.

Sankeshwar
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/Salangpur
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
Virpur is  well known  for  the  temple of  lord Jalaram  and  attracts  thousands of  pilgrims  daily. Nearby  at Khambalida  are  some Buddhist  relics.

Gondal
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.


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