A group of mountains in Junagadh is Girnar which is the highest point in the state of Gujarat. The tallest peak rises up to a height of 3600 ft. In total there are five peaks which have 866 delicately carved stone temples which are considered important to Hindus and Jains alike. It is believed that there are around 10,000 steps from the base to the last temple on the highest peak.
The first temple comes after climbing up 7000 steps and has five temples dedicated to Jainism. Of the five temples here the oldest and the tallest is constructed as a tribute to the 22nd Tirthankar. The temple complex is also well known for the temple dedicated to Amba Mata. As you ascend you will get a beautiful view of the entire group of temples.
A race is held every year, which begins from the base to the peak and back. The locals say that the minimum time taken until now was 43 minutes and is a matter to be given a thought, as most people take about 5 to 8 h to trek up the entire stretch.
Girnar is a year-round destination; however ,the months from September to March are opted by many to visit as the summers here tend to be very hot and the trek becomes very tedious.
By Air: The nearest domestic airport is the Rajkot Airport which is approximately 100 km away from here. The airport is well connected to all the major cities in the country. The nearest major international airport is the Ahmedabad Airport.
By Train: The nearest major railway station is in Ahmedabad which is approximately 395 km away from here. The railway station offers good connectivity to all the major towns and cities across the country.
By Road: Girnar is well connected by road, and has plenty of buses which ply regularly from Ahmedabad and other major towns and cities in the state. Ahmedabad is at a distance of approximately 400 km and Rajkot is at a distance of 92 km from here.
PC : Emmanuel Dyan
The Girnar mountains are said to be older than the Himalayas and the temples dedicated to Jainism are seen as one of the oldest in the country. The mountain is believed to be the place where the 22nd tirthankara Shri Neminath Bhagwan attained moksha or salvation.
It also holds a very significant place amongst the devotees of Lord Shiva. The mountain range is well known for the presence of various sects of holy men and also supports the ideologies of the Jains. The place attracts a large number of people for its flora and fauna apart from the annual Maha Shivarathri fair.
PC : Emmanuel Dyan
Girnar was also known as Rajvata or Ujjayanaa. It has been believed to be a sacred place for the Jains and has been a pilgrimage destination even before the days of Ashoka. Located on the first plateau at a height of about 3800 steps, at an altitude of 2370 ft, the first summit has temples dedicated to Jainism. These temples have some fine carvings in marble and have similarities to the temples of Delwara in Mount Abu.
On entering the Jain complex, the large compound of the temple can be seen on the left and on the right is an old temple constructed in granite, dedicated to Man Singh, and a little ahead is another larger one of Vastupala.
There are around 16 temples which resemble a fort-like structure on the ledge of the cliff. The largest temple in the group is the Neminath temple which is said to have been built during the period between 1128 and 1159.
PC : Emmanuel Dyan
Heading up on the southern direction about 200 ft above the Jain temples is the Shrine dedicated to Gaumukhi which has a natural spring with a generous amount of water supply. From here the summit is reached by a flight of steep stairs. En route there is an ancient temple dedicated to Amba Mata.
The temple is resorted to by newly married couples. The bride and the groom have their clothes knotted together after which they worship the goddess and offer coconuts and other offerings to the deity and seek her blessings for wedded bliss.
A little more up one can find three rocky temple towers of Gorakhnath, which is also said to be the place where Neminath attained salvation. At the topmost shrine one can find the footprints and paduka or footwear of Guru Dattatreya.