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Girnar Parvat, Junagadh, Gujarat – An Exploration Site

Girnar Parvat in Junagadh district is popular both as a pilgrimage site as well as a retreat for trekkers. At the peak of Mount Girnar, there is the Dattatreya Temple, which is home to the footprints of Lord Dattatreya. An idol of Lord Dattatreya sits inside the temple. Girnar Parvat has a terrain different from the golden sands of Gujarat and the verdant Gir Forest making it absolutely unique. Devotees visit Girnar Parvat all year round, and Datar Peak is considered to be sacred by both Hindus and Muslims. There are several temples here such as the Neminath Temple and the Meravasi Temple, which are considered sacred by people of the Jain community.

Other highlights of the Girnar Parvat are the Girnar Parikrama Festival and the Bhavnath Fair, held during the months of January and February. The remarkable thing about these festivals is that both Hindu devotees and Jain devotees come together during these festivals in huge numbers. One of the five major Tirthas recognized as Panchkalyanakas of Tirthankaras, Girnar is highly revered all over the country. The other names by which Mount Girnar or Girnar Parvat is known are Girinagar and Revatak Parvat. It should be noted that these are the names given to the group of mountains in Junagadh, and not a single mountain.

Girnar Parvat has an extremely rich history and the mountain is older than the Himalayas. The Jain temples on the mountain are considered as the most ancient temples in India. It is celebrated as the Nirvan Bhumi of the 22nd Tirthankara Lord Neminatha. The mountain is 3666 feet high, and the highest mountain in the state of Gujarat. One can only see the peak of Girnar Parvat from the city of Junagadh, which is at an elevation of 351 feet. The other hills, including Jogniya or Laso Pawadi which is at an elevation of 2527 feet, Lakhshman Tekri, Bensla, which is 2290 feet, and Datar, which is 2779 feet high are between Girnar Parvat and Junagadh.

Fourteen rock edicts of Ashoka are inscribed on a boulder inside a small building just outside the town of Junagadh. It is located approximately 2 km from Girnar Taleti on the Girnar Taleti Road, and at a distance of approximately 2 km from Uperkot Fort on the eastern side. The circumference of the inscribed rock is about 7 feet and the height is around 10 feet. The edicts date back to 250 BCE and mark the beginning of the written history of Junagadh. Sanskrit inscriptions added on the same rock by Mahakshatrap Rudradaman I go back to 150 CE. Mahakshatrap Rudradaman I, a member of the Western Satraps dynasty, was the ruler of Malwa. In the edicts, one can find the story of Sudarshan Lake, which was either built or renovated by Rudradaman I. Another inscription referring to Skandagupta, the last of the Gupta Empire, can also be found here, and was written around 450 CE.

 The building around the boulder was constructed by Nawab Rasool Khan of Junagadh state in 1900. Repair and restoration work for the same was done in 1939 and then in 1941. The structure’s wall collapsed in 2014. One can find replicas of these edicts just outside the entrance of Delhi’s National Museum.

Best Time to Visit Girnar Parvat 

Girnar Parvat

Winters are the best time to visit Girnar Parvat, as the temperatures are low and you do not feel fatigued while trekking. Also, the Girnar Parikrama Festival and the Bhavnath Fair are organized in the months of January and February. This attracts a huge number of Hindu and Jain pilgrims to the temples on the mountain. Apart from the pilgrims, numerous trekkers visit Mount Girnar or Girnar Parvat. The trek takes several hours to complete and it is suggested to start the trek at dawn. Due to the fact that it takes several hours to complete the trek, one is advised to go on the trek during winters, so that there are lesser chances of dehydration. Temperatures during the winters stay in the comfortable range of 20 degrees to 28 degrees.

Rainfall in Girnar during monsoons is moderate, and one can plan a trip during the months of July and September. However, tourists must keep in mind that there is a possibility of plans being altered slightly due to rains. The good part about monsoons is that there is greenery all over and it is a treat to the eyes to visit during this time. The route for the trek, however, is made slightly difficult due to the monsoons and there are also chances of landslides during this time. Tourists visiting Girnar Parvat between April and June must make sure that they carry adequate water with them and keep themselves hydrated throughout the trek. The weather can be hot and humid during these months, making the trek slightly difficult. However, since this is an off-season, the trek route will have a lesser number of people.  It is suggested to start the trek very early during the day during summers so that you can reach the summit before the sun starts beating down with its full might.

Things to do on Girnar Parvat

Girnar Parvat

Girnar Parikrama

Girnar Parikrama is very important from a religious standpoint. People from all over the country visit Girnar Parvat, without worrying about the cold or the crowd. The Parikrama takes a devotee from Bhavnath to Zina Bawa Ni Madhi, which is approximately 12 km away. From there, one reaches Malvela, which is 8 km away, and then to Bordevi, which is at a distance of 8 km. The last leg from Bordevi back to Bhavnath is approximately 8 km long. The Parikrama is organized as per the Hindu calendar in the month of Kartik, from the 11th to the 15th. Devotees seek blessings at each of the temples along the way during the Parikrama.


Girnar Parvat

Just 4 km east of Junagadh’s center is Girnar Taleti, the base point of the trek to Mount Girnar or Girnar Parvat. Pilgrims often start the hike to the top early in the morning. However, some adventure enthusiasts also plan to make the journey during the night, preferably on full moon nights so that there is adequate light. There are various rest points along the way, and each point is marked with a temple. It should take approximately 4 hours to reach the summit of the mountain, which is the Dattatreya Temple. Every morning, there is an Aarti at the temple, and if you leave early enough, you might make it on time to witness the Aarti. Overall, there are approximately 9000 steps to be walked to complete the trek. The steep incline is what makes this trek difficult. However, the view from the summit makes the toil worth it and relaxes the mind, body, and soul.

Location and How to Reach

Girnar Parvat

Girnar Parbat is just 5 km from Junagadh, and accessibility is easy from different parts of the country. The nearest airport is Keshod Airport, which is at a distance of 40 km. From here, you can easily find taxis and buses to reach Girnar Parvat. Rajkot Airport, which is at a distance of approximately 100 km, has a better flight network that connects it with most Indian cities. Porbandar Airport is also at a similar distance. The nearest international airport is Ahmedabad Airport, which is at a distance of approximately 330 km and can be reached in about 6 hours. Tourists visiting from foreign countries are suggested to take a taxi to Girnar Parvat.

If you’re traveling by train, you need to deboard at Junagadh, which is the nearest railway station. The distance of Girnar from the railway station can be covered in just a few minutes. If you’re traveling by road, travel is convenient and there are a lot of transport options available. For people driving their own vehicles, the roads are well laid out, making the journey comfortable.

Right from the Dattatreya Temple at the peak of Girnar Parvat to other temples including Neminath Temple, Samprati Raja Temple, Ambika Mata Temple, Chaumukhji Temple, and several others, the Girnar Parvat is highly revered by devotees. However, there are many more reasons for people to visit the region. It is an opportunity for trekkers to experience an adrenaline rush. In addition to both these reasons, Girnar also provides a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. People who like to spend time on the mountains and look forward to connecting with nature visit here regularly. Most of the visitors, apart from pilgrims, are from Gujarat and Girnar Parvat is still unexplored by the majority of tourists. Overall, Girnar Temple gives an opportunity to learn about the rich culture of the area while you relax and enjoy nature. The trek is certainly a rejuvenating experience for any visitor, especially once one reaches the summit and witnesses the magnificent view.

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