Pilgrimage Tourism in Banaskantha District
This district is noted for its abundance of pilgrimage centres, which draws a large number of devotees throughout the year. Banaskantha is a famous temple town which comprises various temples.
Ambaji Temple in Banaskantha District
Ambaji Temple is located in the Arasur Hills, close to Saraswati River at the south-western part of the Aravalli Mountain Range. This famous temple is dedicated to Arasuri Amba, a Hindu Goddess belonging to the pre-Vedic period. White marble and gold cones have been employed while manufacturing this beautiful temple which is said to have been erected by the Nagar Brahmins. It possesses only one side door and is devoid of any idol of the Goddess. Ambikeshwar Mahadev Temple, Ganapati Temple and Varahi Mata Temple are some of the other temples which are situated in the premises of the Ambaji Temple.
Balaram Mahadev Temple in Banaskantha District
Located about 12 kms away from Banaskantha District, the holy temple of Balaram Mahadev is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This sacred temple is based beside the banks of Balaram River. Some Hindu temples and palaces belonging to ancient Nawabs are also present near this temple.
Kedarnath Mahadev Temple in Banaskantha District
Kedarnath Mahadev Temple is situated near the Aravalli Mountain range, at a distance of nearly 35 km from Palanpur and 8 km from Iqbalgadh. It is existent at an altitude of 1500 metres above mean sea level, particularly on Jasore Peak. The presiding deity of this temple is Lord Shiva and this temple is believed to belong the era of Mahabharata.
Jain Temples in Banaskantha District
Banaskantha District is renowned for the presence of a series of Jain temples, and this part of India was a significant place which was associated to Jainism, being the birthplace of Jagadguru Shri Hirsurishwarji, the famous Jain saint. His residence is based near Mota Dehrasar. Pallaviya Parshwanath Temple or Mota Dehrasar was constructed by the founder of Palanpur, named King Prahaladan. Another important Jain saint called Acharya Shri Somsundarsurishwarji was also born at this place.
Leisure Tourism in Banaskantha District
One will come across various historical spots in Banaskantha District, which are known for their unique appeal and architectural grandeur. Balaram Palace, Keerti Stambh or Victory Tower, Gabbar Hills, Mangalya Van, Mithi Vav and several others are beautiful centres of leisure tourism in Banaskantha.
Balaram Palace in Banaskantha District
The Lohani Nawab who reigned over the region of Palanpur or Banaskantha was believed to have utilized the Balaram Palace as his favourite resting place. Historical records claim that the Balaram Place was constructed between the years 1922 and 1936, by the 29th king of Palanpur. The interiors of this grand palace have been inspired by the neo-classical and baroque style of architecture. The total area occupied by this palace measures about 542 square kilometres. Lush green forests and gardens surround this magnificent palace. However, currently, this palace, which was once enjoyed by Nawabs and kings as a hunting retreat has now been transformed into a resort. It is situated at the topmost point of the area in northern Gujarat.
Gabbar in Banaskantha District
Also referred to as Gabbargarh, Gabbar is a tiny hillock which is located at a distance of nearly 4 km from the western portion of the village of Ambaji. The region of Gabbar is said to have been the original abode of Goddess Ambaji as well as 'Mahishasur Mardini' and Krishna's tonsorial ceremony. There are about 300 steps which are present at the foothills following which devotees must traverse a fatal, narrow track. The footprints of Goddess Ambaji are existent under a pipal tree in Gabbar.
Jessore Sloth Bear Sanctuary in Banaskantha District
Jessore Sloth Bear Sanctuary is located in the Banaskatha District, at a distance of about 45 km from Palanpur. It has been proclaimed as a wildlife sanctuary in May 1998 and occupies a total area measuring 180.66 square kilometre. Various endangered species of flora and fauna are available in this wildlife sanctuary. Jessore Hills is known to be the second highest peak of the state of Gujarat. The Jessore Sloth Bear Sanctuary is quite reputable for the endangered species of sloth bear. Wild boars, leopards, hyena, porcupine, Indian civet, fox, Rhesus macaque and other beasts are some of the wildlife present here.
Keerti Stambh in Banaskantha District
The Keerti Stambh or Victory Tower measures about 22 metres in height and is believed to have been built by a rich Jain merchant during the 12th century A.D. 'Adinathji' is the presiding deity of the Keerti Stambh. Adinathji was the very first Jain Tirthankara. This tower is adorned with Jain Pantheons.
Other Tourist Locales of Banaskantha District
Some of the other exciting tourist destinations which are located within this district include Mithi Vav or an ancient step well, Pataleshwar Mahadev Temple, Sri Tirth Temple, Mangalya Van, etc.
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