Ambaji Temple from the West, Girnar [Junagadh]
Photographer: Solankee Studio
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Ambhaji Temple at Girnar in Gujarat, taken by a photographer of the Solankee Studio around 1900, part of the Curzon Collection: 'Presented with feelings of friendship and sincere admiration to Lord Curzon of Kedleston, Viceroy and Governor-General of India, by H.H. Rasulkhanji, Navab Junagadha. 1900'. The Girnar muntain in Gujarat rises more than 900 metres above the plain and is particularly sacred to the Jains. It was an important pilgrimage centre since the 3rd century BC as indicated by the inscriptions on a boulder with the edicts of the emperor Ashoka and the proclamations of a Kshatrapa and a Gupta ruler. Along the principal path that leads to the central peak there are gateways, shrines and tanks and the principal group consist of 16 Jain sanctuaries dedicated to Neminatha. These temples date from the Solanki period and later. In the 'Report on the Antiquities of Kathiawad and Kachh of 1874-75', Burgess wrote, "...about 200 feet above the Jaina temples, is a Hindu shrine, called Gaumukha, beside a plentiful spring of water. From it the ascent is by a long steep stair to the crest of the mount, 400 feet higher...There we find a pretty large temple, of great age, which once had a large open portico...but the outer line of columns has been bricked up and a sikhar or spire added or renewed, containing an unsightly stone, the image of Amba Mata-a goddess of ancient times, one of the many forms of Uma or Parvati...And though here she is exclusively appropriated by the Hindus, she has a shrine at the door of Neminatha's temple."