Palitana a city and a municipality in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat, 50 km south-west of Bhavnagar city. It is a major pilgrimage centre for Jains.
Palitana was founded in 1194 and was ruled by nobles until it joined the newly independent country of India in 1948. No-one is allowed to sleep overnight including the priest, because the temple city was built as an abode for the Gods. The temples have been renovated 16 times over the centuries: the Sixteenth Renovation took place in 1587.
Palitana is the fantastic hilltop Jain temple city, an essential holy pilgrimage destination for this nonviolent community. A city of gleaming marble monuments housing representations of the few human souls that have managed to be liberated from the cycle of life.
Bhavnagar, the nearest airport, is 51 km from Palitana, but it connects only with Mumbai.
For people coming from other places, a more convenient airport would be Ahmedabad which has an international airport, or Vadodara, which hosts many domestic flights from important cities like Mumbai and Delhi.
- 1 Palitana Railway Station PIT.
Palitana has a small railway station with connections only to Bhavnagar. However, there is more rail traffic to Bhavnagar, so it may be more convenient in many cases to take a train to Bhavnagar and travel from there to Palitana by road.
- 2 GSRTC Bus Station.
There are buses from Bhavnagar to Palitana. Regular buses are also available from Ahmedabad, Talaja, Una, and Diu, and every day from Mumbai. The bus stand is 800 m away from the Palitana railway station.
Taxis are available on hire for Palitana from Bhavnagar, Ahmedabad or Vadodara.
The autorickshaws, Chhakadas and rarely horse-carts are available to move around and in the town.
- 1 Palitana Jain temples on Mount Shatrunjaya hill. Palitana has over 850 temples atop sacred Mount Satrunjaya (the “hill that conquers enemies”), which makes it most of any temple city. Many of these temples date to 15-16th centuries while some of them date to even earlier periods. The top is reached by climbing (or by being carried up) 3,572 steps—a stiff 2-hour ascent. Amid the massive warren of white marble shrines and temples, you’ll encounter many devotees dressed in white, some wearing gauze masks to filter innocent microbes from the air that they breathe. Some of the devotees attain ecstatic heights, practicing their faith with devotional singing, clapping, and humming. Others create devotional patterns on the ground using rice and nuts, or are seen gently waving fly-whisks over the idols as a gesture of respect. Photography ₹40. Seek permission to photograph inside temples.
- 2 Shri Vishal Jain Museum, Opposite Kesariyaji Jain Dharmshala, Taleti Road, Taleti, ☏ +91 98983 61126. 11:00-15:00, 16:00-18:00. Exhibits ancient manuscripts, idols, history of Jainism, life of Jain Tirthankara Mahavira, models of incidents and legends from Jain universal history. Some information is in English. ₹6.
- 3 Jain Cosmic View Show at Jambudweep Temple, Taleti (Near foothill). 1800. The temple has a large model of Jain cosmic world. Large number of explanatory notes in Gujarati is there with art explaining Jain view of the world. A show is held in evening explaining views like the earth is no round and the Apollo mission to Moon was hoax. Free.
- Tirthankar Adishwar Bhagwan (god) is the "Mul-nayak" (main) bhagwan (god) on the top of Palitana and the most holy thing to do in life is to do puja (nine places on body of god). You can take help of any Jain tourist if you do not know the process of Puja. By performing puja you internal soul will get enlightment.
You can buy very good quality Indian handicrafts in Palitana. You can buy popular local snacks like Bhel and marmalade made of rose petals: Gulkand.
Palitana is famous for its Bhel with Pomegranate seeds.
Indian desi soda (lemon soda), sugarcane juice
There are plenty of dharmashalas where one can choose to stay. However, please ensure to abide by the religious code of conduct, while staying there.
- 1 Vijay Vilas Palace, P. O. Gheti, Village Adpur (4 km from Palitana, in Adpur), ☏ +91 22 24042211, +91 9427182809. It was a country retreat of the ruler of erstwhile Palitana state. Now it is a heritage hotel with view of the hills. Has six rooms. Single ₹1200, double ₹2400, extra bed ₹250.