Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Gujarat Tourism

Holy Places

The most ancient holy places in Gujarat are Dwarka, the seat of the Yadava kingdom of Lord Krishna and the Somnath temple at Veraval which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Ambaji, Palitana, Girnar and Pavagadh are hill top shrines similarly dating back in history. Ambaji and Becharaji are two most popular goddesses of Gujarat and the temples dedicated to these two goddesses are the centres of pilgrimage for Hindus. Women observe vow of the goddess Becharaji to obtain fertility. Other religious spots include Bhadreswar, Dhakor in Kheda district, Shamlaji in the Sabarkantha district etc

Jains have their holy places at Miran Datar in Mehsana district, Palitana in the Shetrunjaya hill, in Taranga and the Jamial Shah Pir on the Datar hill near the Girnar. Parsis have their holy places at Udvada, near Surat. The holy flame brought here by these worshippers of the sun-god still burns and inspires this small and significant community. Besides these major holy places there are several other temples in Gujarat. In fact Gujarat is a land of temples, which besides their  historical and religious significance, are noteworthy for their architectural splendor.


The temple of Somnath is one of the  oldest holy places in India. The story of Chandra, the Moon-god associated with the shrine, adds to the mystery of it. Among the twelve Jyotirlingas of Shiva, the one at Somnath has precedence over all the others. Somnath had a chequered history. Every time it was destroyed, it rose again with added splendour. Its destruction at the hands of Mahmud of Ghazni was the precursor of the loss of India's independence and its final renovation followed India regaining her lost freedom. It was destroyed by Allauddin Khilji and Aurangazeb, and every time it was rebuilt. Ahalyabai Holkar of Indore rebuilt the temple adjacent to the original site.


Ambaji Temple

The Ambaji temple dedicated to Ambaji, a popular goddess of Gujarat is located on the Arasur hill in the Aravali Range in Banaskantha district. The mother goddess is a manifestation of Lord Shiva's consort Parvathi. It is one of the 64 Shakthipith's, where pieces of the body of Sathi, Shiva's consort fell. The marble shrine here does not have any idol. Ambaji Fair dedicated to Amba, Mother goddess is celebrated on the Purnima (full moon days) of the months of Kartik, Chaitra and Bhadrapada. Ambaji is at a distance of 179 kms from Ahmedabad.

Shakti Temples- Pavagadh

Pavagadh in the centre of Gujarat has temples dedicated to goddesses Mahakali and Bhadrakali. According to a legend Jayasimhadev, last of the Patai Rayal rulers of the place was attracted during a Navratri festival to a beautiful woman taking part in the Garba celebration. The beautiful woman was none other than  goddess Kali, who on being requested by the king to be his prime queen, uttered a curse, as a result of which the Patai Raval lost his throne to Mahmug Begado, the Muslim Sultan of Gujarat.

Sun Temple at Modhera

Sun Temple Modhera

The sun temple at Modhera in Mehsana  districts, in north Gujarat, built during the reign of the Solanki king Bhimdev I near a village of the same name, represents one of the most magnificent monuments of Gujarat. The temple, though in ruins, is still in its extant form an imposing structure and is counted among the best specimens of Indian art and architecture. The niches in the inner sides of the surroundings wall contain twelve images of the Sun-god, fashioned in the Iranian style, characterised by their lofty boots reaching up to the knees. The shrine faces due east to allow the rays of the rising sun at equinoxes to the seat of the deity.

The temple complex consists of a Prasad, a Sabha Mandap and a Kund. The image of the presiding deity is missing. The underground cell in the sanctum is supposed to have contained an additional image.