The Sanctified Hills of Jains “Shatrunjaya”

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SHATRUJAY HILL

Shatrunjaya hills are considered as an ancient tirtha or pilgrimage especially by the Jain community. It is also known as Jain’s sacred hills. The name of the hill basically means “place of victory”. This beautiful range of mountains stands tall scaling height up to 164 feet above sea level. They are located in the city of Palitana in Bhavnagar district, Gujarat, India. Shetrunji river flows along the side of the hills.

SHATRUNJAYA HILLS

As Mecca is to Muslims and Jews’ to Jerusalem, Shatrunjaya is for Jain community of India. Every year cents of people scale this mountain to secure a place in heaven. Jainism comprises a small ratio of the Indian population with just about 4 million individuals. It is believed that the hills were first sanctified when the first Tirthankara namely Rishaba gave the sermon on the top of the hills. Shatrunjaya hills have almost 865 temples on the top. The people start from the base to scale around 3.5 kilometers to reach the temples. It takes almost 2-3 hours to reach there. The local people of that region earn their portion livelihood by taking the elderly or physically challenged people on a seat-attached lifting object called as hiringa dholi. There are 3750 stone steps to cover 3.5 kilometers of distance.

The pilgrimage occurs from Poornima day of Karthik month according to Hindu calendar. As it is high altitude area, it is mostly closed for pilgrims during monsoon. The goal of the devotees to secure the place in heaven is to climb this mountain 99 times in their lifetime. In worship, Jains sweep the ground with brooms and remove their shoes so they do not kill anything before sitting down. Their religion teaches them to believe in non-violence and to treat every living thing, animals as well as humans beings in the same manner. Therefore out of 865 temples of the Shatrunjaya hills, none of them were built using ivory or clay because it houses many insects and microorganisms. All the temples are made of marble, bronze or stone.

Shatrunjaya hills, thus add to our existing richness in terms of beautiful temple and pilgrimage.