Jain temples, Shetrunjaya Hill, Palitana
Artist: North, Marianne (1830-1890)
Medium: Oil on paper
Oil painting on paper by Marianne North of the Jain temples on the Satrunjaya Hill, dated 1879.
Marianne North visited India in 1877-79 and completed over 200 paintings whilst there. Satrunjaya is the largest Jain temple city in India and an ancient place of pilgrimage as it is believed to be the place where Pundarika, the main disciple of the first Jain Tirthankara Adinatha, obtained enlightenment. On the two summits of the hill, which rise 600 metres above the plain around the town of Palitana, there are many hundreds of multi-spired temples where every day pilgrims come to pay reverence to the different Jain saints. The sanctuaries are grouped in fortified enclosures or tuks, named after their founders and are not earlier than the 16th century as many were destroyed during the 14th-15th centuries by the Muslims.
In her autobiography, 'Recollections of a halppy life' of 1892, Marianne North wrote, "That were crowds of people that day on the hill, red being the preponderating colour. They looked like a long garland of flowers against the hillside, climbing the steep steps. The drawing was most complicated, and no shade was to be got where I wanted it. I felt thankful as I descended the hill for the last time that I should have no more temples to puzzle me, but it was a glorious spot, with distant views of the plain and sea beyond its temples."