Jain temples on Palitana Hill [Shatrunjaya].
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Jain temples on Mount Shatrunjaya near Palitana in Gujarat, taken by an unknown photographer, from an album of 40 prints dating from the 1860s. Adherents of the Jain religion are most numerous in Western India and Rajasthan and Gujarat are particularly rich in Jain temples. The sites of Girnar and Shatrunjaya in Gujarat are so crowded with hundreds of temples that they are often described as temple cities. The sacred hill of Shatrunjaya is an ancient site of pilgrimage for Jains and has the largest concentration of Jain temples anywhere in the world. It is located just outside the town of Palitana, about 50 kms south-west of Bhavnagar. Legend states that the first Jain Tirthankara, Adinatha or Rishabhadeva, and his chief disciple attained moksha (salvation) on Shatrunjaya. About 863 temples crown the hill and the site represents a huge engineering feat as the marble used in construction was brought from Rajasthan and then taken block by block uphill. Temple-building particularly flourished between the 11th and 13th centuries, yet most of the existing buildings are later replacements dating from the 16th to the 19th centuries, only a few of the original structures survived after the Muslim conquests of the 14th and 15th centuries.