Shatrunjaya Hill: Sacred Place of Adinath
Trip Start Mar 21, 2005
351Trip End Ongoing
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The path to moksha involves observing these principals as well as living an ascetic life of meditation. Adinath, like Lord Buddha and the other Jain lords, achieved moksha by liberating his soul through the destruction of karma.
Inside the temple, light reflected onto the metallic eyes of the principal idol, Adinath, seemingly breathing light into the marble body. Priests covered their mouths with cloth out of respect for the idol of Adinath, as they administered offerings. They carried whisks with them, in case they needed to move small insects out of harm's way--non-violence was truly practiced in its most devout form. Bells reverberated between the chanting and singing.
To reach the temple, I climbed 3,500 steps up Shatrunjaya Hill under a bright sun. Sweating men carried pilgrims on dholies, seats held by poles and ropes, for those wanting a more restful trip to the summit. The steps were regularly swept clean as Jain pilgrims walked up and down from the hill temples. On the way, they passed bird feeders graced with Rose-ringed Parakeets, Large Grey Babblers, and Rufous Treepies and a dry environment of sparse trees overlooking vast farmland and a large resevoir--the heartland of Gujarat.
In addition to Adishwar, hundreds of other temples reached towards the heavens on the top of the hill, considered a disjunct chunk of the Himalayas, according to legend. Time was short as the sun was setting, so I planned another lengthy climb the next morning.
One God. One God. The theme of this pilgrimage was a clear as day.
He handed me his cell phone to talk with his daughter Pankanath who lived in Ahmedabad. She was Jain and invited me to call her when I reached there a few weeks from now.
Saying goodbye to Ahamad Shah, I followed the steps down once again in the heat of the noon sun. Today's lesson: "One God."