A small stretch of hills in east Saurashtra marks the holiest sites of Jainism. While the original flush of temples was built in the 11th century, Muslim invaders razed them in the 14th. Today's temples and shrines date back to only the 16th century, but most impressive are their numbers: there are anywhere from 800 to 1300 structures on Shatrunjaya.  

I started early on the 3745-step climb from Palitana, passing a thin stream of mostly white-clad pilgrims. So as not to offend I'd left my leather belt behind. Focused on keeping my pants up somewhat discreetly, I forgot to take any water past the string of shops and dharamsalas at the mountain's base. Unlike the Hindu mountains' hundreds of chai stalls and snack shops, this holy trail was completely dry. Still holding up my pants, I reached the top a bit light-headed, and begged one of the priests for some water. He kindly shared before getting back to meticulously cleaning all the little tirthankar idols. Photos of these are strictly forbidden, but there was plenty else to shoot as I set off to explore a few of Jainism's holiest temples. 





1 comment:

Kristen said...

3rd to last shot, put it in a competition or something. Well done.