(Last Updated on : 21/03/2013)
Gujarat temples are the major attractions of the state which draw a large number of tourists as well as worshippers throughout the year. The temples in Gujarat are well-known for their great design in architecture and truly depict the state's glorious past. The temples over here are the abode of various gods and goddesses who are worshipped with lots of pomp and glory. The Gujarat temples are not only places of religious interest but are also the prominent tourist destinations in the state for people coming from different parts of the globe. The delicately designed temples in Gujarat are the favourable spots for tourists to enjoy the beauty as well as the spiritual environment of the place.
There are several temples in Gujarat
and among them the name of the Akshardham temple
, is worth mentioning. The famous temple in the state capital is devoted to the Lord Swaminarayan. As per the instructions of the spiritual leader of BAPS Sanstha, Pramukh Swami Maharaj, thus temple was constructed. This temple possesses the largest complex in the state of Gujarat. The inauguration of the Akshardham temple was done in the year. The temple is situated within an area of 23 acres and outlined with pink sandstone. The temple was erected with the help of 6000 tones of stone and it is of a height of 108 feet. The Akshardham temple was constructed as per the rules of Vastu Shastra
and therefore a single piece of steel has not been used in its construction. The main shrine of this temple holds a gold-plated idol of Lord Swaminarayan which is 1.2 ton in weight. This idol of Lord Swaminarayan is in a sitting mudra or posture and it is 7 foot high. The right hand of the idol is raised in abhay mudra. He is accompanied by two other idols of his disciples on both sides. The idols of the disciples of Lord Swaminarayan are there to the left and the right of the idol. To the left Swami Gopalanand and to the right is Swami Gunatitanand. There is a sound and light show organized in the temple complex on a daily basis for the visitors which portrays the rich and glorious past of the Sanatan Dharam. A large number of people visit the temple in Gujarat where they are enlightened with the great Hindu philosophy
Another notable temple is the Somnath temple
. This temple is located in Junagadh district
. The Somnath temple is dedicated to the Lord Shiva
and it is also considered to be one of the twelve jyotirlingas in India. The most appealing information with regard to the Somnath temple is that this temple has been constructed and destroyed six times. The present form of the temple which we can see today is reconstructed for the seventh time. As per legend, Chandra, the Moon God, married 27 daughters of Daksh Prajapati, but he loved Rohini. Thus, Prajapati got furious and cursed the Moon God to wane. In order to get relief from the curse, the Moon God prayed to Lord Shiva at the Prabhas Tirtha. Satisfied with the prayers of Moon God, Lord Shiva cured him. Thus, as per Lord Brahma
's advice, the Moon God constructed the temple in order to honour Lord Shiva. It is believed that the first temple was constructed by the Moon God in gold, and after that Ravana
constructed the temple in silver. Then Lord Krishna
made the temple in sandalwood and afterwards, King Bhimdev founded the temple in stone. The present form of the temple is constructed in the style of the Chalukyas and the temple has been erected in such a way that there is no space of land in between the South Pole and the temple shore. The apex of the Somnath temple is at a height of 155 feet. A kalash or pot vessel is at the top measuring 10 tons in weight. The flag mast at the top is having a length of 37 feet and it is changed thrice in a day. The present form of the Somnath temple construction was initiated in the year 1950. Rajendra Prasad
, the first president of India, did the Jyotirlingam pratishthapan ceremony.
Another famous temple in Gujarat is the Ambaji temple, which is located at Ambaji town, in Gujarat's Banaskantha district
. This temple is considered to be the holy throne of the Ambe Mata, the mother Goddess. It is one of the most famous places of Hindu pilgrimage in India. Gujaratis have high regard for the deity of this temple. This temple is also regarded as one of the Shakti Peethas in India. The Goddess of this temple is the demonstration of Lord Shiva's wife, Parvati
. Ambe Mata is the deity worshipped in the Ambaji temple. The Goddess is also regarded as the Adi Shakti or the primal female power of the universe. Celebration of Navaratri
is made here on a large scale where a big fair is organized every year. People enjoy this occasion with lots of colour and glory. The entire atmosphere is filled with the dance and song of the devotees glorifying the Goddess Ambe Mata. The most attractive aspect of this temple is that the Ambaji temple does not possess any idol of the Goddess; here one will find only a yantra of marble inscribed at a spot. On full mood days, a large number of devotees visit this temple in the months of Kartik, Bhadrapad and Chaitra. There is a hill called Gabbar hill close to this temple and it is believed that the Goddess first revealed herself before her devotees on the hill and also left her foot prints there. Ambe Mata is regarded as the main deity of the region.
Apart from the Hindu temples in Gujarat, there are several Jain temples in the state which are famous for their beautiful architectural design. Palitana is one of the major Jain pilgrimage in the state of Gujarat. The Shatrunjay hill situated close to the place possesses at about 900 small and big Jain temples. These temples are constructed in the honour of the 24 Jain Tirthankarars. Apart from this, this place dates back to the era of the Mahabharata
, which increases its importance even more. It is believed that the three Pandavas; Yudhisthir
at this place. It is for this reason the Jain devotees call this place as Siddhakshetra or a place where one gets Moksha. The most famous temple in Palitana is the Digambar Jain temple. This is one of the ancient temples which comprehend nine shrines possessing the idols of all the Tirthankaras. The main shrine holds the idol of the chief deity, 1008 Bhagwan Shantinath. The idol is constructed of white stone and it is in Padmasana
mudra or posture. As per the calendar of the Jains, the idol was installed in the year, 1686. This temple possesses the idols of Yudhisthir, Arjuna and Bhima and two idols of Bhagwan Parsavnath are also in this temple. One of the idols is called Vighnaharan Parshvanath and the other is called Chintamani Parshvanath. On either sides of the northern gate, the foot images of Bhagwan Sambhavanath and Bhagwan Adinath are visible. There is a belief that Bhagwan Adinath visited the Shatrunjay hill 93 times.
Almost all Jain temples of Palitana are constructed in marble and are decorated with ornate sculptures. Every single temple at this place is a masterpiece of art in itself. The temples can be seen starting from the foot of the hill and there are 3745 steps to reach the apex of the hill. It takes two hours for the devotees to reach the top of the hill. The hill steps are made in the 13th century, under the direction of Vastupal, the Jain Minister. While climbing the stems of the hill, the pilgrims are not allowed to take any eatable along with them. They are only given to drink water on their way. It is for this purpose a large number of water posts are there on the way to the top of the hill. The devotees are only allowed to eat after climbing down the hill. The important place in the hill is the place where the footprint of the Tirthankaras
is present. Devotees offer at the main shrine of Bhagwan Adinath. This temple was renovated several times. The original temple was made of wood and afterwards, Udaymehta, the minister of Siddhraj Jaisimha constructed this temple in marble. Kumarpal, the descendant of Siddhraj extended the temple further. Apart from this, there are various other shrines devoted to Kumarpal, Adinath, Vimalshah, Chomukh and Samprati Raja. There are also temples devoted to Hindu Gods
and Goddesses at this place. There is even a Muslim shrine at this area called the Angar Pir. Here women pray to get a child.
Gujarat is one of the states in India which is famous for the presence of a large number of temples dedicated to a number of Gods and Goddesses. The temple design is very attractive and the delicately carved works on stone attract a large number of people from different parts of the state as well as various other regions of the globe. Some of the major temples in Gujarat are Adiswara Temple, Palitana, Shatrunjaya Temple Complex, Palitana, Takteshwar Temple, Bhavnagar, Talaji Jain Temple, Bhavnagar, Bhrigu Rishi Temple, Bharuch
, Gangeshwar Temple, Amba Mata Temple, Junagadh, Somnath Temple, Somnath Patan, Neminath Temple
, Sun Temple, Somnath Patan, Chaumukh Temple, Palitana, Dwarkanath Temple
, Dwarka, Parsi Fire Temple, Hathee Singh Temple, Ahmedabad
, Kumar Shah Temple, Palitana, Krishna Temple, Bet Island, Mallinath Temple, Junagadh, Sampriti Raj Temple, Palitana, etc.