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Mount girnar
Highest Mountain of Gujarat
Elevation 1,031 m (3,383 ft)
Location Bhavnath, Junagadh,  India
Range Giri Taleti
Coordinates 21°29′41″N 70°30′20″E / 21.49472°N 70.50556°E / 21.49472; 70.50556Coordinates: 21°29′41″N 70°30′20″E / 21.49472°N 70.50556°E / 21.49472; 70.50556

Girnar (also known as Girnar Hill or Girinagar) is a collection of mountains in the Junagadh District of Gujarat, India, situated near Junagadh at a distance of 327 km from Ahmedabad.

Older than Himalayas,[1] Girnar, the mountain and its range are considered sacred and it's an important pilgrimage site for both Hindus and Jains, who gather here during the Girnar Parikrama festival. Significantly famous among Shiva devotees for the mystic space-time of the mountain range with known presence and turnover of different sects of Sadhu Babas, Nath sect, different Jain Tirthankaras to Girnar, its typical flora and fauna, the famous Maha Shivratri fair, Girnar hosts a number of temples and some historical spots across its range. Amidst the lush green Gir Forest, the mountain range serves as the hub of religious activity.

Ashoka's Major Rock Edict[edit]

Ashoka's Rock Edict at Junagadh

Behind the west gate of Junagadh, across the bridge, is one of the most important Edicts of Ashoka. The edict is inscribed high up on a large, domed mass of black granite. The difficulty in accessing this monument allows only the few pilgrims willing to climb the mountain each year to visit the rock edict. Neatly etched on the rock surface is a pin-men inscription of Ashoka Brāhmī script, more impressive than the much smaller replica positioned outside the entrance of the National Museum in Delhi.[2]

Temples of Girnar[edit]

Girnar Parikrama Gateway, Rupayatan
Bhavnath Mahadev Temple at Bhavnath, Junagadh

The main annual event for Hindus is the Maha Shivaratri fair held every year on 14th day of Hindu calendar month of Magha. At least 10 lakh pilgrims visit the fair to participate in pooja and parikrama of Girnar hill. The procession begins at ancient Bhavnath Mahadev Temple at Bhavnath. It then proceeds onwards to various akharas of various sects of sadhus, which are in Girnar hill from ancient times. The procession of sadhus and pilgrims ends again at Bhavnath temple after visiting Madhi, Malavela and Bara Devi temple. The fair begins with hoisting of fifty-two gaja long dhwaja at Bhavnath Mahadev temple. This fair is the backbone of economy of Junagadh, as more than ten lakh pilgrims, who visit the fair generate a revenue of 25 crores in only five days.[3][4][5]

All temples of Girnar are sacred to pilgrims of both Hindu and Jain faith. In fact, Girnar has been a sacred place well before the Dholavira and Mohenjodaro period and its origin can be traced back to the Vedas and other holy scriptures of various Indus Valley based religions.[citation needed] There are also temples of 1) Ambaji and 2) Guru Datatreya at the top of Girnar.

Jain Temples[edit]

The first peak (tunk) has beautifully carved and sculptured marble shrines; it is considered to be one of the most beautifully situated group of Jain temples in India. This group of temples is also unique in that both the Digambar and Shwetambar have temples on its hills. It has been an important religious place for Jains since the 3rd century. The Neminath Temple, built from 1128 AD to 1159 AD, is one of the main attractions. The temple complex has quadrangle courtyards, corridors and other shrines as well, with pillars adorned with intricate carvings of Jain Tirthankars. Nearby, the Mallinath Temple was built by the brothers Vastupal and Tejapala.

The golden Rishabhadev Temple, also situated in the same vicinity, is dedicated to 24 Jain Tirthankars. Another main Jain temple in the region is the Parshwanath Temple, built in the 15th century, which is also known as Meravasi.

The idol of Bhagwan Neminatha here is thought to be the oldest one in the world at approximately 84,785 years old. Interestingly, the idol predates the construction of the temple by Vastupaal and Tejpaal in the 12th century. Girnar Tirth is also called as Raivatgiri .

22nd Tirthankar, Bhagwan Neminatha has attained moksha, the liberation of soul from this place. Also, innumerable other Jain monks have attained Moksha here, making it a place of very high importance in Jain religion and one that is mentioned quite frequently in Jain religious books.

Location and Transportation[edit]

The Girnar mountain is 5 km east from Junagadh city and about 400 km south west of Ahmedabad. It is easily accessible by trains and roads and state transport are also available.

Air: The Nearest airport is at Rajkot - about 100 km from Junagadh, is well connected with Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Delhi and many major Indian cities. The nearest International airport is in Ahmedabad.

Rail way: Nearest railway station is 5 km from Junagadh and easily available trains for Ahmedabad, Rajkot and other major cities.

By Road: State transport buses and private transport are available easily.