PRESIDING DEITY AND LOCATION :
Sri Ajitnath Bhagwan in white color seated in a lotus posture and of height 2.75 meters (Shve) and Sri Adishvar Bhagwan (Dig) in two shrines located on the hills 5 Kms away from the railway station of the Taranga hill.
ANTIQUITY AND SALIENT FEATURES :
In Jain ancient scriptures, this place has been described as Tar-ur, Taravarnagar, Tarangiri, Tarangadh etc. In Vikram year 1241 Acharya Sri Somprabhsuriji composed a volume entitled “Kumar Pratibodh” in which it is stated that in Vikram 1st century, Raja Vatsarai of this area impressed by religious discourses from Acharya Sri Baputacharya accepted Jain religion and built here the temple of the Guardian deity of Jainism Sri Siddhayakadevi. The history of the in-between period is not available. It is possible this shrine may have been lost sight of during this period. The present Swetamber Jain temple according to a reference found, has been built by Gurjar king Sri Kumarpal on hearing religious discourses by Jain Acharya, illustrious Sri Hemchandraji in Vikram year 1221. Another further reference states that on Falgun Sukla 2 in Vikram year 1284 the leader of the Jain congregation Sri Vastupal got ceremonially installed idols of Sri Adinath Bhagwan in two niches of this temple at the hands of Sri Nagendra Gachchhacharaya Sri Vijaysensuriji. Both these idols are not available today but their seats with inscriptions are available in the temple. A reference is found about the repairs and renovations carried out on this temple and thereafter the temple having been consecrated at the hands of Acharya Sri Somsundersuriji in Vikram year 1479 at the instance of Sri Govind Shreshthi who was a resident of Idar. Also a reference is available about the last repairs and renovations carried out in Vikram year 1642 and the temple re-consecrated at the hands of Acahrya Sri Vijaysensuriji. Besides these, references are available about the construction of niches and installation ceremonially of several Jain idols in this temple during Vikram 13th and 14th centuries. It is evident in these circumstances that this shrine belongs to a period earlier that Vikram 1st century.
In the southern direction of this temple about a Kilometer away there is a spot called “Kotshila” situated on a high peak of this mountain. It is believed that countless saints after intense austerities have obtained final emancipation here. In the middle of a plinth area 230x230 feet, this Swetamber Jain temple is 142 feet high, 150 feet long and 100 feet wide. The Sikhar of the temple is about 90 feet high. The seating hall and surrounding built in floor area are of immense proportions. The sculpture work is ancient and extremely pleasing.
On the hills, besides this temple, there are four other Swetamber Jain temples and five Digamber Jain temples. “Kotishila” earlier referred to is called here the 1st “Tunk” ,where a lot of saints performed meditation. The 2nd Tunk called Mokshabari is in the eastern direction about a kilometer away. It is also called Punyabari. Here in the small room temple there are ancient footprints of Sri Ajitnathprabhu and others. In the temple, there is also an idol of the lord with a surrounding frame which is ancient and in the seat which is found an inscription dated the Vaishakh Sukla 2 in Vikram year 1235. The third “Tunk” is called “Siddhashila” which is in north westerly direction about a kilometer away. Here in the small room temple there are foot prints of Sri Ajitnath Bhagwan with an inscription dated Vikram year 1836 and idol facing all the four directions.
The natural scenery on the mountain together with holy and purifying atmosphere of the whole area fives one an experience of unusual peace to the soul. The four storey Swetamber Jain temple constructed of yellow stones with its tall sky reaching Shikhar full of art and pleasing to the eyes in the middle of an extra-ordinarily large built-in floor area housing and equally large seating hall for offering prayers and worship gives one an idea of a divine abode. It is stated that king Kumarpal actually constructed the dome of 32 storey. It is possible that during repairs and renovations, the height may have been considerably reduced. The large size magnificent idol of Sri Ajithnath Bhagwan is rarely to be sighted anywhere else. The white colored Digamber Jain temple in the lap of the mountain appears also very captivating.
APPROACH – ROUTE :
The nearby railway station of Taranga Hill is 6 ½ KM away. This is the terminal station of Mehsana-Taranga rail line. From the station, the ground level of the hills is 5 Km away and the ascent on the hills is further 1 ¼ km. From the Taranga Hill, Kheralu is about 24 Kms away, Visnagar is about 51 Kms away and Mehsana is about 72 Kms away from where buses and taxis are available to come here. There is a tar road upto the hills.
AMENITIES FOR JAIN PILGRIMS :
Both Swetamber and Digamber dharamshala with all facilities is situated near the Taranga Hill station. On the hill three dharamshalas managed by Swetamber pedhi are there with all facilities. Bhojanshala is also available that is managed by a separate trust. There is a Digamber dharamshala also with all facilities including a bhojanshala on the hill.
MANAGED BY :
1. Sri Anandji Kalyanji Swetamber Murtipujak Jain Pedhi
P.O. Taranga – 384 350
Dist : Mehsana, Gujarat
Tel: 02751 – 53411
2. Sri Taranga Digamber Jain Sidha Kshetra Koti
P.O. Taranga – 384 350
Tel : 02761 – 53439