I was watching a program on TV recently and it really got me to stay on the channel for more than 3- minutes – very rare for almost any viewer these days ( especially for a non soap-serial)
This serial was almost like a documentary about a small hillock in Gujarat. It is a highly regarded spiritual destination for the Jains. Though hill-top temples are not new or rare in India, this one is definitely unique and all for different reasons.
There are approximately 3600 steps as a steep rise to the top and the whole place is sparkling clean, there are no eatable shops along the way, no rest shelters, no food allowed to be consumed during the climb, only water is permitted and that too after reaching the top!
There were some pilgrims being interviewed – to hear the belief that they exhibited in the faith that if one can climb these steps up and then down, he/she would attain salvation. The whole hillock is collection of hundreds of small temples dedicated to teachers and saints of the faith who had attained their Moksha at this small hillock.
There are also various types of penances and worship carried out – of these one particularly stands out. In the month after “Aadi” within a period of 45 days, if one does the climbing up and down 99 times, salvation is assured. The rule still applies with just one meal a day and all other standard rules of the place.
The belief that negotiating 3600*2*99 =7,12,800 (Seven Lakhs Twelve Thousand Eight Hundred Only) can lead to Moksha may seem out of place in today’s cynical world. But the number of times people do it and the faith which with this is practiced – gives one get Goosebumps, just listening as a bystander. The practice of such austerity, strong irrefutable faith, the revered calm temple and serene spots atop the hillock and dazzling architecture makes this place a must see and do for even a non-believer.
I found this link that gives more interesting information about this place. Read this on http://www.travelindia360.net/palitana-jain-temple-gujarat.html