Taranga (Jain Temple)

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Taranga Tirtha
Taranga Tirtha is located in Gujarat
Taranga Tirtha
Taranga Tirtha
Location within Gujarat
Coordinates: 23°57′59″N 72°45′17″E / 23.96639°N 72.75472°E / 23.96639; 72.75472Coordinates: 23°57′59″N 72°45′17″E / 23.96639°N 72.75472°E / 23.96639; 72.75472
Location
Country: India
State/province: Gujarat
District: Mehsana
Locale: Kheralu
Elevation: 45 m (148 ft)Approximate
Architecture and culture
Primary deity: Ajitnath
Important festivals: Mahavir Jayanti
Number of temples: 14
History
Date established: 1121
Creator: Solanki king Kumarpal

Taranga is a Jain pilgrimage center in Mehsana district, Gujarat, India. It is one of the few tirthas where both the Shvetambaras and the Digambaras visit. The oldest temple constructed in 1121 by the Solanki king Kumarpal, under the advice of his Guru Acharya Hemachandra. A 2.75 m marble statue of Lord Rishabha is the central idol. The Shvetambara compound consists of 14 temples in all. The original Taranga Temple belongs to Shwetambars. But there are also five other Digambara-affiliated temples at Taranga hill.

History[edit]

Originally Digambaras settled on this isolated hill with its three rocky peaks. In Jainism, Taranaga is considered a siddha kshetra. It is said that 35,000,000 monastics, including the Ganadharas Vardutta and Sagardutta, attained moksa here. The two hillocks named Kotishila and Siddhashila have idols of the Tirthankaras Neminath and Mallinath of Vikram 1292. There are 14 Digambara temples in the foothills and a Digamabara dharamshala is at the foothills.

At some time in the twelfth century, Kumarpal, the Solanki king residing at Patan, who himself was following Jain Religion( Svetambara), selected this site for the erection of an exceptionally beautiful temple in honor of Lord Ajitnath, the 2nd Jain Tirthankara. Under the inspiration and instructions of his Guru, 'Kali kala Sarvagya' Acharya HemChandraJi, this temple was built by the King in the year 1200 of the Vikram era. Of the 108 names of Siddhachal, one name is ‘Tarangir’. For this reason, Taranga is regarded as a peak of Siddhachal. In the center of the main vast square of the length of 230 ft and the breadth 230 ft (70 m square), this temple is 50 ft long, 100 ft broad and 142 ft high (15 m by 30 m by 43 m). It has a perimeter of 639 ft (195 m). The 275 m (902 ft) high wooden summit of this temple is beautifully carved. It has seven domes. On the right hand side of the temple, there are foot-idols of Lord RishabhaDev and of the 20 Tirthankaras and on the left hand side, there are a temple of Gaumukh, the Samavasarana, and the Jambudvipa painting. On the outer platform of the main temple, there are idols of Padmavati and King Kumarpal.

Some years earlier, he had a temple built on Mount Shetrunjay near Palitana. Built of light sandstone, the Taranga temple measures 45 meters in length by 30.4 meters in width and reaches up to a majestic height of 30.6 meters (148 ft by 100 ft by 100 ft). In its plan and design it resembles the Neminath temple on Mount Girnar and the above mentioned Rishabha temple on Shetrunjay. The temple on Mount Girnar is lower in height and less ornate, and the Shetrunjay Rishabha temple has lost some of its original features in the process of restoring damage caused by Muslim raiders. During the last major renovation works the roofs and the stone carvings on the outer walls were cleared of thick layers of white paint.

On the highest elevation of the three-peaked hill there stands a "Tonk", a shrine built by Digambaras, it houses a marble statue of the nineteenth Tirthankara, Mallinath.