PRESIDING DEITY AND LOCATION :
Sri Neminath Bhagwan in black color, seated in a lotus posture, of height 140 Cms. (Swetamber temple) and Sri Neminath Bhagwan in black color, seated in a lotus posture (Digambar temple) in a shrine located on top of Girnar mountains (near Junagarh) at an altitude of around 3100 feet.
ANTIQUITY AND SALIENT FEATURES :
According to Swetamber traditions, the place was known as Ujjayantigiri and Revatgiri in ancient times. In Swetamber Jain scriptures the place is also described as “Neminath Parvat” and the “5th Tunk of Sri Shatrunjay mountain”. From the period of the 1st Tirthankar upto the period of the last one when countless kings, emperors, shreshthis, saints, Acharyas etc., with congregations, both large and small, of Jain householders came on pilgrimages to Mount Shatrunjay, they also came to Revatachal via Prabhas Patam and therefore it is inferred that this shrine may be of a period earlier than the period of Sri Neminath Bhagwan and even before, that period countless saints may have attained their liberation here, after practicing severe austerities and meditation. Sri Neminath Bhagwan who is the 22nd Tirthankar of the present set of 24 Tirthankars had taken Diksha here. He also had attained Keval Gnan and Moksha after great austerities at this place.
From one copper plate inscription discovered in Prabhas Patan it is said that the king of Revanagar Sri Nebusadnejar built here a temple of Sri Neminath Bhagwan in the first century before the Nirvana (i.e. 6th Century B.C.) of Sri Mahavir Bhagwan. This shrine is also referred to in Acharang Sutra. A reference is available about the renovations carried out on this temple in Vikram year 609 at the instance of Shreshthi Sri Ajitshah and Ratnasah of Kashmir. Also a reference is found about the renovations carried out during 12th Vikram century at the instance of Vastupal Tejpal and Sajanshah, minister of king Sri Siddharaj. It is stated that during 13th Vikram century a king named Mandalik built here a temple with sheets of gold. The temple was renovated by Soni Samarsinh, 17th Vikram century by brothers Vardhaman and Padmasinh and 20th century by Narsi Keshavji. Besides these, reference are found about the building of other temples and carrying out renovations on this temple by Raja Samprati, Raja Kumarpal, Minister Samantsinh, Sangram Soni, etc., among countless kings, ministers and shreshthis. In Vikram year 1222, minister Amradev of king Kumarpal made this mountain path to the top easy by cutting steps thereon.
According to Swetamber scriptures, this is believed to be the 5th Tunk of Mount Shatrunjay. During the period between the 1st and 24th Tirthankar, many references say that countless kings, emperors, Shreshthis etc., have made their pilgrimages to this Revatachal. Several Tirthankars too have set their feet on this mountain. Many saints have attained final liberation in this place. It is believed that 20 of the 24 Tirthankars of the future will attain their liberation in this place. One legend says that this idol of Sri Neminath Bhagwan in Swetamber temple was directed to be made by Indra of the 5th Dev-Lok as a result of advice in discourses that Sri Sagar, a Tirthankar of the previous set gave to him and that the idol remained in Indra-Lok upto the time of Sri Neminath Bhagwan and thereafter in the home-temple of Sri Krishna. When the city of Dwaraka was destroyed in fire, Goddess Ambika had carefully preserved this idol in safety. Later, it was presented by her to Sri Ratnashah being pleased with his devotion and austerity which then was once again ceremonially installed here.
Sri Neminath Bhagwan as stated earlier who is the 22nd Tirthankar of the present periods sent of 24 Tirthankars had taken Diksha at this place. He had attained Keval Gnan and Moksha also here. Sati Sri Rajulmati too had attained here final liberation after practicing great austerities. Bhagwan Neminath had brought his marriage procession to celebrate his marriage with Rajulmati but on hearing wailing cries of animals that were collected for slaughter for the marriage feast and celebrations, he lost all interest in marriage as well as the worldly life and developed intense urge for renunciation. He immediately renounced his kingdom without marriage and started giving up all his wealth and possessions distributing same to people. After taking Diksha, he went into the deep forest of this mountain and commenced practicing deepest meditation and the most intense austerities. Sri Rajulmati on seeing this also followed him and giving up all worldly comforts too took Diksha and finally attained Moksha. According to Digambar Traditions, Sri Pradyumnakumar, Sambkumar, Aniruddha and many other saints have attained Moksha at this place.
Hindus and Muslims also believe this place as their shrine. Their temples and mosques are seen here at various spots. They too visit this place in hundred for prayers and worship.
In the town Junagadh which is located at the foot hills of Mount Girnar, there are at present two Swetamber Jain temples and one Digamber Temple. At the base itself there is one temple each of Swetambers and Digambers from where ascent to the Mount begins. The ascent is very hard and difficult and exhausting. After about 3 Km of ascent (4200 steps), comes the entry gate of the enclosure of the main “Tunk” of Sri Neminath Bhagwan. This Swetamber temple erected in the middle of the chowk, “190 X 130 feet” in area, is graced by tall and expansive hills all around. The period when it was built and the number of times it was renovated have been described earlier.
Just opposite the temple, there is a Tunk of Mansang Bhojraj where the Presiding Deity is Sri Sambhavnath Bhagwan. In the chowk there is a beautiful reservoir. Further comes the Melakvasahi Tunk which is in northern direction of the main Tunk. Here the Presiding Deity is Sri Sahastra Fana (thousand hooded) Parshvanath Bhagwan. The builder of this Tunkis believed to be Sajjab Sheth, chief minister of Sri Siddharaj. In this Tunk there is also a large size idol of Sri Adinath Bhagwan who is known as Adbhutji.
A little onward comes the Tunk of Sri Sangram Soni. The temple is built by Soni Samarsinh and Maled of Oswal clan about which a reference is found in some books. The main temple in this Tunk is of two storey and is the tallest of all the other temples. Here also the Presiding Deity is Sri Sahastra Fana Parshvanath Bhagwan. Further on, there is the Kumarpal Tunk which is believed to have been built by Raja Kumarpal in 13th Vikram century. The Presiding Deity here is Sri Abhinandan Swami Bhagwan. Near this Tunk there are two reservoirs: Bhimkund and Gajpadkund.
Proceeding a little more on the main path, there is Vastupal Tejpal Tunk which according to stone inscriptions was built in Vikram year 1288. There are three temple in this Tunk, that of Stambhanpur Avatar Sri Parshvanath Bhagwan, Shatrunjay Avatar Sri Rishabhnath Bhagwan and Satyapur Avatar Sri Mahavir Bhagwan. In the principal temple of Shatrunjay Avatar, the idol of Sri Shyamala Parshvanath Bhagwan may have been installed subsequently in a later period. On the idol, there is an inscription dated Vikram year 1305. Coming out of this Tunk on the main path, there comes the Tunk of Samprati Raha. This is an ancient large temple where the Presiding Deity is Sri Neminath Bhagwan. After this comes the Tunk of Sri Sambhavnath Bhagwan with faces in four directions, Gnan Vavdi, the Tunk of Sri Dharmsi Hemchandraji, the Tunk of Malla, the cavern of Sati Rajulmatiji, 2nd Tunk of the Lord with faced in four directions (choumukji), the temple of Choriwala, Gaumukhi Ganga and the footprints of all 24 Tirthankar Bhagwans. All these Tunks are of Swetambers.
In the upper portion of the cavern of Sati Sri Rajulmatiji in a small compound, there is a Digamber Temple in which the Presiding deity is Sri Neminath Bhagwan . In the same enclosed compound, are also the temples of Sri Parshvanath Bhagwan and Bahubali Bhagwan.
Near Gaumukhi ganga there is a road which leads to Sahasa van where there are spots at which Sri Neminath Bhagwan took diksha and later he attained Keval Gnana. Footprints of the Lord are enshrined on these spots. Further to Gaumukhi Ganga on the main path, there is the temple of Sri Rathnemi (brother of Sri Neminath Bhagwan). A little away, comes the Tunk of Sri Goddess Ambaji which is 300 feet higher than the main tunk and for which there are steps to ascent. Near this, on one platform there are footprints of Sri Anirudhakumar. Goddess Ambaji is the Guardian Deity of Sri Neminath Bhagwan and it is said that this temple of Goddess Ambaji has been built by vastupal Tejpal.
The description of five Tunks is as under :
1st Tunk - Sri Neminath Bhagwan
2nd Tunk - Goddess Sri Ambaji
3rd Tunk - Oghad Shikhar, Footprints of Sri Neminath Bhagwan and
nearby on one platform Footprints of Sri Sambkumar.
4th Tunk - Further than Oghad Shikhar on another peak after about
1500 steps, there are footprints of Sri Neminath Bhagwan
and on another rock there are footprints of Sri
5th Tunk - In deep forest on the high point of the mountain where
there are Footprints of Sri Neminath Bhagwan and of
gandhar Vardutt Muni. From here too, one path goes
towards Sahasa van but there is descent of 1500 steps.
From Sahasa van, there is a road leading to the foothills
Of the mountain.
The natural scenery of the mountain laden with medicinal trees and plants in a deep, wild and thick forest is enchanting and beautiful. After reaching the top, one feels so much suffused with delight and happiness that one does not wish to descend. In Swetamber Jain temples, the ancient Sculptural art on walls and ceilings and various other spot reveals incomparable dexterity which is worth enjoying. On every dome, and on every ceiling and pillar, the art displayed is wonderful.
APPROACH – ROUTE :
Nearby Railway Station is Junagadh which from Dharamshala at the base of the mountain is 6 ½ Kms away. The dharamshala in Junagadh town is 1 ½ Km away. Junagadh bus stand is also equally far. At all these places, taxis and buses are available. Dharamshala at the base of the mountain is 5 Kms away from Dharamshala in Junagadh town and the ascent from the base upto the 1st Tunk is about 3 Kms to cover which 4200 steps have been cut. From the 1st Tunk to the 5th TUnk, there is another distance of 3 Kms to go. To go to Rajul Cavern, there is an ascent of 200 steps from the 1st Tunk. For elderly people there is however the facility of chair carriers available on the spot. This shrine is about 230 Kms away from Palitana.
AMENITIES FOR JAIN PILGRIMS :
In Junagadh town at jagmal chowk there are large Swetamber and Digamber dharamshalas with all facilities. At the base of mountain also there is a Digamber and Swetamber dharamshala with all required facilities where a bhojanshala for meals is also available. On the mountain too, there is one Swetamber and one Digamber dharamshala for lodging where all facilities for worship and prayers are available. On the ascent path there is drinking water available at various spots and there are several tea stalls too.
MANAGED BY :
1. Sheth Devchand Laxmichand Trust
(Sheth Anandji Kalyanji Shaka Pedhi)
Tel : 0285 – 650179 (Pedhi)
0285 – 620059 (Thaleti)
0285 – 624309 (Mountain)
2. Sri Bandilaji Digamber Jain Karkhana
P.O. Junagadh - 326 001
Dist : Junagadh, Gujarat
Tel : 0285 – 654108 / 621519 (Thaleti)