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Gujarat Pilgrimage

There are various places of pilgrimage in Gujarat like Somnath, Dwaraka, Junagadh, Palitana, Modhera. The Mount Girnar in Junagadh and Shatrunjaya Hill in Palitana are the two famous pilgrimage places of the Jain community. While, the Somnath temple in Somnath, Dwarakadhish temple in Dwaraka, Sun Temple in Modhera and Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar are the other famous pilgrimage of the Hindus. Ahmedabad is also visited by many tourists for its mosques and temples.

Ahmedabad, Gujarat

Jama Masjid
The Jama Masjid was built by Ahmed Shah in 1423. The building materials were provided to this mosque by the demolished Hindu and Jain temples. The 260 columns support the 15 domes at different elevations. There were once two shaking minarets, but they lost half their height in the great earthquake of 1819 and 1957. The 2001 earthquake then took its toll, leaving cracks in the masonry and destroying several jalis.

Ahmed Shah's Mosque
The Ahmed Shah's Mosque is situated southwest of the Bhadra Fort and built in 1414. The Ahmed Shah's Mosque was one of the city's earliest mosques. It has an elaborately carved ceiling with a circular symmetry, beautiful pillars and jalis reminding of the Hindu and Jain temples.

Sidi Saiyad's Mosque
Sidi Saiyad's Mosque, close to the river, was once part of the old citadel wall. Sidi Saiyad Mosque was constructed in 1573 by Sidi Saiyad, a sometime slave of Ahmed Shah and a general of Abysinian origin. This mosque is one of the Ahmedabad's most stunning buildings. This mosque is best known for its intricate perforated stone work and has beautiful carved stone windows or jalis which depict the intricate intervening of the branches of the kalpa tree.

Sidi Bashir Mosque
Sidi Bashir Mosque is situated south of Ahmedabad station, outside the Sarangpur gate. This mosque is famous for its 21.3 meters high shaking minarets which were built to shake to protect against the earthquake, and this certainly worked in 2001.

Rani Sipri's Mosque
The Rani Sipri's Mosque is situated to the southeast of the centre of the Ahmedabad city. This small mosque is also known as the Masjid-e-Nagira or Jewel of the Mosque due to its graceful construction, with slender minarets. It is said to have been commissioned in 1514 by the wife of Sultan Mahmud Begara after he executed their son for some minor mistake. She is also buried here.

Rani Rupmati's Mosque
Rani Rupmati's Mosque is situated to the north of the centre of the Ahmedabad city. This mosque was built between 1430 and 1440 and was named after the Hindu wife of the Sultan. The minarets were damaged in the great earthquake of 1819. The dome is elevated to allow light in around its base. This mosque combines elements of Hindu and Islamic design.

Hathee Singh Jain Temple
Hathee Singh Jain Temple is situated outside Delhi Gate, north of the old city. This temple is typically fine and made of delicately carved white marble. This jain temple was built in 1848 and dedicated to Dharamanat, the 15th Jain tirthankara.

Swaminarayan Temple
Swaminarayan Temple is situated in the old Ahmedabad city. This glorious, multicoloured, woodcarved temple looks like a grand haveli dating from 1850, enclosed in a large courtyard.

Diu, Gujarat

St, Paul's Church
St. Paul's Church was founded by Jesuits in 1600 and then rebuilt in 1807. Inside it is a great barn, filled with heavy dark wood, with a small cloister, next door.

St. Thomas Church
St. Thomas Church is a lovely simple building housing the Diu Museum. There is a spooky, evocative collection of worn Catholic statues. Once a year, on 1 November, this is used for a packed out mass. There are also some reamains of the Jain temple. There is a guest house upstairs and you can also climb the roof for amazing views.

Dwaraka, Gujarat

Dwarkadhish Temple / Jagat Mandir
Dwaraka is known all over the world for the Dwarkadhish temple, the 'Lord of Dwaraka'. This temple is also known as the Jagat Mandir or the temple of the world. This temple was constructed over 1400 years ago and houses the image of Lord Krishna. This temple is one of the most famous pilgrimage place for the Hindus and attracts pilgrims from all over the world. This temple is magnificently built on the traditional lines and has five floors supported by 60 columns. The temple is profusely carved from the base to the pinnacle. The temple is built of sandstone. The interior is simple while the exterior is covered with elaborate carvings. Some of the major festivals of Janmashtami and Navratri are celebrated with great enthusiasm and rejoicing in the Dwarka. After visiting the main temple, some of the devotees visit the Shankhoddhar Beyt or Beyt Dwaraka.

Gandhinagar, Gujarat

Akshardham Temple
The Akshardam temple is one of the famous temple in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. This temple belongs to the wealthy Hindu Swaminarayan Group. This temple was built by nearly 1000 artisans. It is an elaborately carved building constructed out of 6000 tonnes of pink sandstone and surrounded by the manicured lawns and perfect trees. In September 2002, this temple was attacked by the terrorists.

Jamnagar, Gujarat

Bala Hanuman Temple
At the Bala Hanuman Temple on the southeastern side of the Ranmal lake, there has been continuous chanting of the prayer Shri Ram, Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram since 1 August, 1964. This devotion has earned the temple a place in the Guiness Book of World Records. Early evening is a good time to visit as the temple and whole lakeside gets busy.

Jain Temples
In the thick of Chandi Bazaar are four beautiful Jain temples. The larger two, Shantinath Mandir and Adinath Mandir, dedicated to the 16th and first Tirthankaras, in front of the post office near the . Darbar Gadh, explode with fine murals, mirrored domes and elaborate chandeliers. The Shantinath Mandir is particularly beautiful, with coloured columns and a gilt-edged dome of concentric circles.

Junagadh, Gujarat

Mount Girnar
Mount Girnar is most sacred to the Jain community. This hill is situated in Junagadh and rises to a height of more than 600 m, a climb marked by 10,000 stone-steps. On this hill various Hindu and a group of 16 Jain temples are located. This sacred hill is visited by millions of Hindus and Jains. The Amba Mata temple is situated on the top of the hill. The newly weds came here and worship the Amba Mata in order to ensure a happy marriage. One of the largest and the oldest Jain temple, dedicated to Neminath, the 22nd Jain Tirthankar and Mallinath, the 19th Jain Tirthankar are situated just below the Amba Mata temple. Besides this the Bhavnath temple is also located on this hill. The Bhavnath temple is dedicated to the Lord Shiva. The Mahashivaratri fair held here is attended by Nagasadhus and pilgrims from all over India. When a traveler to Gujarat, Joss Graham, climbed up the hill forthe festival of Shivaratri, he slept there overnight. He woke up on hearing the praying murmurs of the great mass of devotees, about 100,000 of them in their communities and tribal groups. There is also the temple of Samprati Raja, a fine example of the later period and the Melak Vasahi temple.

Damodar Kund
Damodar Kund is a holy water reservoir that marks the ascent to the Girnar temples. It is surrounded by a well-built ghat. It is believed that here Lord Krishna placed a flower garland around the neck of the great poet and saint Narsinh Mehta.

Modhera, Gujarat

Sun Temple
The 11th century Sun temple is situated on a knoll in Modhera, about 106 kms. north west of Ahmedabad. The Sun Temple was built by King Bhimdev I in 1026-27 AD, two centuries before the Sun Temple at Konark. This temple is one of the finest Hindu temples in Gujarat, built by the great Solanki dynasty. This temple and the Konark Sun temple in Orissa are very similar. This similarity is that this temple was also designed in such a way so as to let the sun shine on the image of Surya, at the time of dawn. The main hall and shrine are reached through a complex, pillared pavilion. Beautiful columns and magnificent carvings decorate the hall. The exterior of the temple is intricately and delicately carved, showing demons and evolving gods. Despite its partial destruction by Mahmud of Ghazni and by subsequent earthquakes, it remains an outstanding monument, set against the backdrop of the barren landscape. Fifty two intricately carved pillars depict scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata. Unlike the exterior, the interior hall is plain with 12 niches representing the Surya's different monthly manifestations.

Palitana, Gujarat

Shatrunjaya Hill
The Shatrunjaya Hill is located at a height of 591 metres. The Shatrunjaya Temple is the most sacred temple of the Jains and one of the largest of its kind in India. One has to climb up the hill for about 4 kms (600 meters) on a stepped path to Shatrunjaya (place of victory over worldliness). You can reach this place either in Doli or lift chairs or by walking. The rich persons visit this place on richly caparisoned elephants. There are about 863 white marble Jain temples, built over 900 years on the hilltop, each with its own enclosure. There is a stunning view from the top of the hill. On a clear day, you can also see the Gulf of Cambay. All the temples are enriched with gold, silver and jewels donated by rich merchants. Shri Adishwar temple is the first and finest temple on the Shatrunjaya Hill. This temple is dedicated to Shri Adishwar, one of the most important Jain Tirthankars. This temple is one of the most magnificent and sacred temple of the Jains community. The Chaumukh or four-faced temple is the biggest temple located on the hill. This temple was built by a wealthy merchant in 1618 to save his soul. This temple has an image of Adinath which face out in the four cardinal directions. On the top of the hill a Muslim shrine of Angar Pir is also located where the childless women offer tiny cradles in the hope of conceiving. Besides these, there are various other temples like Kumar Pal, Vimal Shah and Sampriti Raj, named after the wealthy Jain merchants.

Porbandar, Gujarat

Bileshwar is located about 15 kms. east of Porbandar in Gujarat. The Siva Temple dates from the early 7th century and is one of the finest examples of early temple architecture in Gujarat. The enclosure is later but the temple itself has a multi storey tower which is more like a pyramid than a spire. The exterior is decorated with arch like motifs but much of the detail has been obscured by a plastic coating.

Gop is situated about 50 kms. north east of Porbandar and midway on the Porbandar-Jamnagar road. The 6th century temple dates from the Maitraka period (6th - 8th centuries) and is a rare example of an early Hindu temple. The sanctuary is on a raised platform and has a pyramidal roof with an amalaka topping off. The whole is in a dilapidated state.

Somnath, Gujarat

Somnath Temple
The legendary shore temple of Somnath is located near Veraval and is about 80 kms from Junagadh. The Somnath temple is one of the twelve most sacred shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple contains the Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva. This temple has a very long history. According to the legends, the Somnath temple is very old and was originally built in gold by the Somraj, the Moon God. Later, it was rebuilt by Ravana, in silver; then by Krishna in wood and by Bhimdev in stone. Mahmud of Ghazni, upon hearing the description of the richness of the Somnath temple by Al Biruni, an Arab traveller, visited this temple in 1024 AD. At that time, this temple had about 300 musicians, 500 dancing girls and 300 barbers to shave off the heads of pilgrims. After a 2 days battle, Mahmud destroyed the temple and carried away jewels and gold to his homeland. Hence, a tradition got started, the Muslims destroy the temples and the Hindus rebuilt them. The Somnath Temple was raided again in 1927, 1934 and 1706. In 1706, this temple was raided by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. In all, the Somnath temple was rebuilt and destroyed eight times. This temple was finally rebuilt in 1950 with the support of Sardar Vallabhabhai Patel. The current temple was built as per the traditional designs on the original site by the sea and is a serene, symmetrical and sinuous structure. Today, this majestic temple is a replica of the earlier temple.

Bhalka Tirth
Bhalka Tirth is situated halfway between the Veraval and Somnath. At this place, the Lord Krishna was mistaken for a deer and wounded by an arrow. The legendary spot is at the confluence of the three rivers. This place is entered through the small Sangam (confluence gate), known as the Nana. North of this sacred spot is the Suraj Mandir or Sun Temple. This ancient temple was destroyed by the Mahmud of Ghazni. The temple, with a freize of lions with elephant trunks, probably dates from the same time as the Somnath temple. .

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