Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tarangaji - Ancient Jain Tirth

Tarangaji - Ancient Jain Tirth

Way :
Ahmedabad - 140 KM
Tarangaji - Ancient Jain Tirth Tarangaji - Ancient Jain Tirth
Tarangaji - Ancient Jain Tirth Tarangaji - Ancient Jain Tirth
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To the north of Vadnagar is the famous place of pilgrimage (Tirth) for Jains, viz. Shri Tarangaji. It is a place of pride among the major Jain religious: sites, and also has a claim of being one of the best temples of Gujarat from the point of view of art and architecture in Gujarat. It is the last important station of a railway line branching out from Mehsana.

In the center of a huge plateau at the peak of Mount Taranga, this grand temple is dedicated to Ajitnath. The Solanki ruler Kumarpal built this 'Chaitya' style structure in about V.S. 1216. An inscription found here states that Vastupal also installed (V.S. 1228) the images ('bimb') of Adinath and Neminath in this Chaitya. Another inscription, carved near the main temple, mentions the renovation of the temple in 1586. Built on a plinth as wide as 70 sq. m. the artistic decorations of this temple may not be rivaling with the Dilwada temples of Abu, but by themselves are very attractive and beautiful. The image of Bhagvan Ajitnath is 5 m. tall and is counted among the tallest such images in India. The Taranga Jinalaya is 125 ft in height, has three levels, and is like a maze. The grand image here is carved form one single stone.

This Mount is situated at the northern borders of Gujarat. From here we can see the great greenery of the area. This forest is full of bamboos. There are 'Dharamshalas' or accommodation for pilgrims around the temple. The temple is just 5 km. from the railway station. For protection, a fort-like structure was built around the temple and mountain, though today most of it is destroyed. The remaining walls however suggest that they were 2 m. wide. This fort was called Tarangadh Fort. It has two Gates, one in the East and the other in the West. In the n0l1heast direction there is a cave and the temperature here is very low, almost like snow-mountain caves. On the way to this cave we come across some beautifulBuddhist images

Insid the Taranga fort to its right is the beautiful image of lord Ganesh A Dharamshala is just nearby. Also nearby is the Upashyraya or accommodtion for Jain asceics The grounds in which the main temple is built is very wide, almost 75*75 m. in size. The temple is 30 m.*30 m. The garbhagar is 12 m. * 7 m. and has 10 pillars with 8 sides They support the main Ghummat i.e. ceiling. The garbhagar has brass doorswih beautiful carvings on them. Bhagvan Ajinath is the Second Tirthankar of the Jains and his image has been installed in this temple On the walls and pillars beautiful scenes are carved Nearby is a small pond and anorchard too.

To the north of the Ajitnath temple is a small hill, less than a km away. As its slope is very steep, it is difficult to climb it or come down from it. On the top of the hill though there is a deep well with a 'kund' nearby. Next to the 'kund' is the small temple of Lord Hanuman. There is a slab of stone lying here with some inscription, but as the writing is smudged by now we cannot read it well. There are small 'deris' or very small temples. One has 'Paglan' or foot impressions of Chaumukhiji and Ajitnathji. At this sacred place many Jain Acharyas have attained Moksha. So, this is also called 'Siddha Shila

Taranga is indeed a very beautiful place of not only pilgrimage, but also for visiting as a tourist. One can reach it by road from Ahmedabad too. It is merely 105 km away, and from here Ambaji Tirth is also only 40 km away. The River Rupen flows among the Taranga Hills; to the east flows River Sabarmati; the Dharoi dam on it has been recently built. In the foot of the hills to the north is the seat of Taran Mata just 21;2 km away. Next to it is a cave called 'Jogida ni Gufa' and here we also discover the four Buddhist images carved under the 'Bodhi Vriksha'.

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