Shamalaji or Shamlaji or Śāmalājī - શામળાજી - शामलाजी is one of the largest pilgrim temples of the Sabarkantha district in India. It is more commonly known among locals as Dhodi Dhwaja Wada, because it always has a white silk flag fluttering on top. Its unique designs on the outer part are one of its greatest attractions. The temple has a sculpture of Lord Krishna as Shamdiya bhagwan, with a piece of real diamond embossed on his chin. Shamlaji is also known for Shyamalvan, a theme-based garden developed by the Social Forestry Wing of the Gujarat Forest Department. Shyamalvan was inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Sh. Narendra Modi, on 18th July 2009 and is a tourist spot on the Udaipur-Ahmedabad highway.
The Shamlaji Temple stands in honour of Lord Vishnu. The magnificence of the temple is enhanced by stone carvings, idols of gods, nymphs, musicians and celestial dancers, domed ceilings, and a towering spire. Scenes from the epic stories Mahabharata and Ramayana grace the walls of this 11th-century temple. According to local lore, the temple originated when surrounding tribes began worshipping an idol in a makeshift space at a riverside field. Soon they referred to the idol as Kaliyo Dev or "Dark Divinity". A local merchant built a more permanent structure to house the deity which was later beautified by the Idar rulers.
Years ago the Idar rulers gave the Jagiri of Shamlaji temple to the Modhari Rao saheb with other villages like Revdar, Devdar, Napada, Khalsa, Sunsar, Modhari, etc. At present the Rao of Modhari hold a part in Shamlaji Temple and they also take care of their lord Shamliya.
Sara L. Schastok, The Śāmalājī Sculptures and 6th Century Art in Western India, Brill, 1985, ISBN 9004069410.
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