#100 of 16 Places to visit in Gujarat
Ideal Trip Duration: 1-2 Days
Nearest City to Palitana: Bhavnagar (53 Kms), Ahmedabad (214 Kms)
Best Time to Visit Palitana: October to March
Peak Season: November to February
At a distance of 53 km from Bhavnagar, 99 km from Amreli, 171 km from Rajkot, 175 km from Junagadh, 214 km from Ahmedabad, 215 km from Somnath, 245 km from Vadodara, 266 km from Jamnagar, 388 km from Dwarka, 390 km from Bhuj, 397 km from Surat and 685 km from Mumbai, Palitana is a sacred city located in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat. Earlier known as Padliptapur, it is one of the holiest places of pilgrimage for the followers of Jainism and among the must visit places as part of Gujarat Tour Packages.
Palitana is a famous destination in Gujarat for being the base to the holy Shatrunjaya hill which is home to 863 exquisitely carved Jain temples built by devotees during a period spanning 900 years from the 11th century onwards. Along with Mount Abu, Girnar and Chandragiri, Shatrunjaya is one of the most sacred places for the Jains. And the Jain community believes that every member must visit this city at least once in their lifetime as this is the place where Lord Adinath, the 1st Jain Tirthankara, achieved enlightenment.
Founded in 1194, Palitana was a princely state and was one of the major states in Saurashtra. In 1656, Shah Jahan's son Murad Baksh, the then Governor of Gujarat, granted the village of Palitana to the prominent Jain merchant Shantidas Jhaveri. During the British Raj, Palitana was a princely state in the Kathiawar Agency of the Bombay Presidency. The capital of the state was the Palitana town and was ruled by a Gohil Rajput, with the title of Thakore Sahib till India's independence.
Meticulously carved in marble, the temples in Palitana are famous for their architectural beauty. Out of all the temples here, the temple dedicated to the first Tirthankara, Sri Adishwar, is the most famous one. The architectural motifs of this temple are notable. Other famous temples here are the Kumarpal, Chaumukh, Vimalshah and Sampriti Raja. The ascent to the temples is by a flight of 3490 steps and generally takes about 2 hours. The panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, as well as religious activities, will provide you peace of mind. Besides being a pilgrimage center, Palitana is also known for the horse-breeding.
Mahavir Jayanti, the birthday of Mahavira, is a notable festival celebrated at Palitana. A procession carrying images of the Tirthankara is made in huge decorated chariots, concurrently accompanied by religious ceremonies in the temples of Shatrunjaya hill.
Bhavnagar Airport is the nearest airport which is about 58 km from Palitana. It has well connected direct flights from Mumbai. Palitana Railway Station has well rail connectivity with Mumbai and Bhavnagar. However, Bhavnagar Railway Station is the nearest major railhead. One can take a bus or hire a cab to reach the Palitana from Bhavnagar. Palitana is well connected by bus with Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bhavnagar, Rajkot, Bhuj, Junagadh, Vadodara and Surat.
There are a plethora of Dharamsalas and hotels in Palitana. Most of the Dharamsalas are opened to entertain the needs and requirements of the Jain devotees basically. But there are some Dharamsala and hotels that are open to everyone irrespective of caste and creed. Only vegetarian food is available here.
The best time to visit Palitana is in winter between October and March when the climate is pleasant. Summer months are too hot in Palitana while the monsoons months have good temperature and weather but the hills at Palitana are closed for climbing.