When you hear of Gujarat, the picture that pops up in your mind is that of many temples and barren terrains. The state is in fact, a major tourism hub, and people from all over the world come to marvel at the many architectural monuments here. One of the major attractions in Gujarat are the many ancient temples that add splendour to this state.
Gujarat stands out in its ethnicity that is so unique that it is often a desired destination for tourism. Tourists throng the temples and other attractions here. Those who travel here are left mesmerised by its timeless beauty. Here is a guide to some of the ancient temples in Gujarat.
The Akshardham in Gandhinagar is one of the largest Hindu temples and is dedicated to Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Built by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, it combines devotion, art, architecture, education, exhibitions and research all at one place. This temple is visited by a lot of devotees and also tourists from far and wide. You can learn more about the Hindu religion here and get in-depth knowledge into it's teachings.
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Pimpleshwar Mahadev Temple
Pimpleshwar Mahadev is a historical Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located in the village of Saldi in Gujarat. The temple is famous for its annual traditional carnival 'Saladi no Melo' that is held on the last Monday of the holy month of Shraavan (August) according to the Hindu calendar. Most temples of Lord Shiva have the Shiva Linga as its idol but this temple has a 'Jaladhari' or a continuous flow of water from an aquifer below the ground. This natural water flow is considered to be the sacred presence of Lord Shiva at this site. Devotees come here from far and wide to pray to the lord and also to cleanse themselves of all the sins.
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Shri Swaminarayan Temple
Shri Swaminarayan Temple in Ahmedabad is the first temple of the Swaminarayan Sampraday, a Hindu sect. It is located in Kalupur region and was built on the instructions of Swaminarayan, the founder of the sect. Devotees can see the many idols of Swaminarayan and also many personal items of his that are displayed here. Different religious representations and chapters related to their gods are demonstrated through the various sculptures that are to be seen in this temple.
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The Somnath Temple located Saurashtra, on the western coast of Gujarat, is the first among the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines of the god Shiva. It is a major pilgrimage centre and is considered sacred due to the various legends connected to it. The temple is built in the Chalukya style of temple architecture and reflects the skill of the Sompura Salats, one of Gujarat's master masons. The temple's shikhara or main spire is 15 mt in height and it has an 8.2 mt tall flag pole at the top. It is crowded by devotees who come here from far and wide to paray to the lord and seek his blessings. Travellers coming here can explore this old temple and also admire the architectural skills of the craftsmen who built this temple.
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One of the places to visit in Dwarka is the Dwarakadheesh Temple, also popularly known as Jagat Mandir. It is believed that the main shrine in this temple was built by Vajranabh who was the great grandson of Lord Krishna. It is a replica of the actual shrine that is said to have been on the sunken city of Lord Krishna. Devotees come here from all over the world to worship the lord and seek his blessings. Tourists coming here can marvel at the beauty of this temple, that has the life of Lord Krishna etched on its walls. It is a very spiritual place with the belief that the essence of Lord Krishna continues to prevail here.
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Shri Hanuman Mandir
Shri Hanuman Mandir is a Hindu temple located in Sarangpur, Gujarat, and comes under the Vadtal Gadi of the Swaminarayan Sampraday. It is dedicated to Lord Hanuman in the form of 'Kastbhanjan'. This temple is among the more prominent ones here and the image of Lord Hanuman was installed by Sadguru Gopalanand Swami. According to rumours when Sadguru Gopalanand Swami installed the image of Lord Hanuman, he touched it with a rod and the image came alive and moved. This story has become a charter for the healing rituals performed at the temple. The temple is visited by many devotees daily who come here to seek the blessings of the lord and also to marvel at the architecture.
Photo Courtesy: Kaushik Patel