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I could trot out a corny reference to the song, but I shall refain.
There are about 900 odd temples dotted around this sacred mountain, and to climb all the way to the top means ascending some 3,500 steps.
The site is most sacred to the Jain religion, which practices non-harm to all creatures on earth. Some devotees even manage to train themselves to wake up several times a night to ensure that they are not crushing any beetle or other bug that might have inadvertenly creeped into their bedclothes.
Many Hindus (never a religion to miss out on a good temple) also make the ascent up the marbled steps. It took me a couple of hours, and the views are stunning to say the least. The good nature and humour of the others climbing was also overwhelming.
Many Jains believe that they should make the trip up at least once in their lifetime in order to enter 'nirvana' (a similar concept to the Buddhist idea). Some get carried up in a kind of 'hammock'.
Updated Sep 5, 2006
Somnath is another historical and pilgrim-drawing city for Hindus and Girnar for Jains.
Palitana has its own train station but hardly any trains pass it. So you are left with the road.
The most clean and comfortable way to get to Somnath or Girnar is by renting a car with driver. For four people it is about Rs2,200.
If you take the bus, then there are no private or air conditioned bus services from here. You rely on state transport. For Somnath you first take a 2 hour bus to Mahuva which departs only at 6, 7, and 8am. Then take another 4.5 hour bus from Mahuva to Somnath. Buses for Somnath leave every 2 hours.
From Mahuva you can also take a bus to Girnar.
You buy tickets inside the bus once it gets going.
It might seem like a lot of detail but it comes pretty handy when you're in the spot and after much inquiry this is the best route available as of now :)
Updated Nov 30, 2008
The store does not even have a sign but the owner said if you mention the store's name anyone will direct you to it.
What to buy: This store along with shops nearby all sell temple and prayer supplies but the incense sticks I bought from Neminath Ka Banda ((pronounced Neminath Ka Bunda) has some very authentic scented incense sticks, not to mention quite low priced. Buy some incense holders and they can be terrific presents.
What to pay: Rs 10 to 15
Updated Dec 30, 2008
Address: Aishapura Market, opposite to the police station
Jainism is considered to be the most demanding of all India's religions. The focus of the religion is not the glorification of a god, but the attainment of self-perfection by abandoning material needs and desires.
Shatrunjaya, aside from being visually stunning, is also a wonderful place to stand back and respectfully observe the goings-on in the temples.
Written Apr 8, 2003
Strangely, very few people that climb all the 3,745 steps to get to the top (about 4km altitude) care to climb 20 steps higher to get to this gorgeous second floor of the temples.
To get near the actual domes of the temples, which is one of the best memories of the trip I have, once you are inside the main temple area at the top take a stairway that is at the right of the backside. It's pretty distinct. Or just ask someone.
An added benfit here is that they stop any cameras to enter the main temple area, so much of the beautifully engraved temples (large and small) cannot be seen unless you really go there. Once the shoes come off before you enter the main temple zone, the strewn rice on the ground everywhere sort of prick but it's part of the fun.
Updated Nov 30, 2008