Siddh Kshetra – Girinar

image001 Girinar is one of the most ancient datta kshetras in India. It is situated in Junagadh City of Saurashtra region of Gujarat state in India. Girinar Hill is a famous Sidha kshetra(Siddhakhestra means any place where one powerful siddha meditated for an aoen(4 yugas), these days we have a habit of calling everything Siddhakshetra! ) of Lord Dattatreya. Lord Dattatreya performed penance at the top of the hill and one have to climb 10,000 (ten thousand) steps to have Datta paduka darshan. Girinar place is completely surrounded by fully forest area. A very pleasant atmosphere can be experienced by each and every visitor to this powerful kshetra. The journey to Dattatreya Padukas is said to be made light by just two chants “Jai Girinaari” and “Digambara Digambara Sripadavallabha Digambara… ”

Avadhootha chinthana shree

Gurudeva Datta:

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Avadhuthas are by nature Digambaras both externally and internally. They have gone beyond the Shunyatha or nothingness and hence are paradoxically “clad” by it.They know the “full’ or “perfect” because they know the “nothingness” or the “digambaratwam”

The moment you are open to elements, the moment you remain alike to all forms of states be it happiness(sukha) ,sadness( dukha),digust cum fear(ghrina) ,etc…you remain a digambara.It means purity beyond beyond purity. Can you call empty space pure or impure in teu terms? Purity and impurity comes with a form. Once beyond that form there is no more a question of purity or impurity! Thus Digambara is a heralding of such a state(much akin to Turiya). This is the quantum meaning implied in this pithy chant.

You nevertheless have to ascribe a form to the formless and thus, the assay in the form of words “Digambara Digambara… .” and thus invoke the Dattashakthi energies.

Digambara means Sky-clothed, clothed with the elements; this is often applied to Siva and his disciple Lord Datattreya, but likewise to advanced adepts or ascetics. Customarily Orientalists render it “without clothes,” i.e., naked, applying the term to Siva in his character of an ascetic. But while the word, especially among the Jains, has come to have the significance of a naked mendicant, when applied to Siva, the third aspect of the Hindu Trimurti who permeates all things in all directions, it means “clothed with the sky.”

Girinar means a group of mountains and they bear various temples on their peaks. The highest peak of the entire range is of almost 1000 mtrs above ground level. This stands erect and high with a temple of lord Dattatreya on its top most point (THE SIKHARA).

The very appearance of the mountain symbolizes that A GURU IS ALWAYS ON TOP OF THE WORLD. Lord Dattatreya is considered as ADI GURU or THE SUPREME POWER. So his Lotus feet are on the highest Peak of the tallest mountain which is ancient than Himalayas. Another great symbolism of  Girnar  is that TO REACH AND HAVE DARSHAN OF HIS HOLY FOOT PRINTS,  ONE SHOULD HAVE LOT OF DETERMINATION , DEDICATION, SURRENDER AND UTMOST FAITH IN THE LORD. One should follow the same path as his guru in the same direction and then only we can reach our goal.

Lord Dattatreya is present here and he has been protecting all his devotees.

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Actual View Of The Mountain From Ground Level.

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The vertical view of this mountain resembles THE FACE OF A SADHU

Girnar mountain is 3 miles away from the city centre of Junagadh towards east. This mountain is considered sacred by both Hindus and Jains. Several names were given to various hills and peaks of Girinar. IT WAS CALLEDGIRINARAVAN  IN PRE HISTORIC TIMES AND NOW KNOWN AS MOUNT GIRINAR. The peaks of girinar are as ancient as 250 B.C. This had been a sacred place well before the Mohan-ja-Daro period and its origin can be traced back to Vedas and other holy scriptures of Indus valley Religions. The area of Girnar mountain is around 70 miles and the circumambulation is around 40 kms. To reach Lord Datta temple one has to climb nearly 9,999 steps by the path away. Girnar is a sacred place for Jains and Hindus, which attracts a large number of pilgrims. . The pilgrims climb all the steps barefoot as a belief that a person who climbs all the steps barefoot reaches Heaven.  The steps are nicely built and are very gradual.

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The Ancient Temple of Lord Dattatreya on the top has the foot prints of his lotus feet at the temple. A controvercy/conflict had been going on about the identification and ownership of The PADUKAS of the temple between Hindus and Jains. But our Indian mythology says a story which confirms that these foot prints or Padukas belong to Lord Dattatreya.

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Girinar mountain with fog coverage

The story goes like this…. Dattatreya, son of Atri Rishi and Sati Ansuya performed very severe tap here at this place for twenty four years. The Lord Shiva was very happy due to this tap and gave his blessings that the Girnar Mountain would become famous as the land of Rishis and gods. The environment of this temple is simply out of the world and the tourists get hypnotized due to the spiritual energy flowing in this area.

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Lotus feet of Lord Dattatreya at Girnar.

A similar story says that Dattatreya left home at an early age to wander naked in search of the absolute. He seems to have spent most of his life wandering in the area between and including North Karnataka, through Maharashtra and Andhrapradesh, and into Gujarat, as far as the Narmada River. It is believed that he performed tapa on the sikhar and so his foot prints are there.

A PILIGRIM’S JOURNEY STARTS WITH the steps at Damodar Kund, near the Damodar and Baldvji temples.  GIRNAR HAS MANY PEAKS OF WHICH 4 MAJOR PEAKS COME IN THE PATH WAY TO  DATTA TEMPLE

1.The first halt  or the first summit is after  climbing 4500 steps which is a group of  Jain temples.(shwetamber and digambar) temples. These are a fine example in terms ofarchitecture which portray the carvings on the temple structures.

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A view of Jain Temples

While reaching the next halt/summit AMBAJI TEMPLE one can see the Gaumukhi ganga dhara.

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GOUMUKHI GANGA

2.THE SECOND HALT /PEAK/SUMMIT… After climbing 1000 steps( from the jain temples) there is another famous temple called AMBAJI TEMPLE.
Right at the entry to the Ambaji Temple there is a marker on the steps that indicates 4868 steps from the start. This temple was constructed during `Gupt’ dynasty and reference to this temple is found in the books written in seventh century. The temple of Amba Mata (the Mother Goddess) is visited by Hindus, Jains, and newly weds seeking blessings for a happy marriage.

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Main Entrance Of Ambaji Mata Temple On A Misty Day

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Ambaji Mata Temple Overcrowded With Parikrama Piligrims

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AMBAJI MATA on Amba Parvatha

3.THE THIRD PEAK/SUMMIT…. In the southern direction from `Ambaji’ temple, there is another peak known as `Guru Gorakhnath’ peak.
This is the highest peak of Girnar Hill WHERE THERE IS the Dhuna (FIRE PLACE) of Gorkhnathji, the famous and renowned saint of Nath Sampradaya. WE need to get down around 1500 steps FROM AMBAJI PEAK and again climb 500 steep steps to reach the Guru Gorakhnath Summit. GURU GORAKHNATH…There have been nine Siddhas in the Nath cult, the foremost of them is Shri Gorakh Nath who was an accomplished yogi. This place is said to be the site of ascetism of Shri Gorakh Nath where his fire place (Dhuna) is even today present.

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Gorakhnath Temple on Goraknath parvath

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Goraknath murthy in the temple

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4. After the Darshan of Guru Gorakhnath, the Piligrims climb down the peak to their next summit. KAMANDAL KUND
Kamandal kund is known as the place where the holy Dhuni enlightened by Lord Dattatrey Maharaj is still alive.This is the only place on the Mountain where Annadanam or supply of Food is done. It is believed that the practice of annadanam is continued till date since ancient times. The food distributed here is accepted by all piligrims as Maha Prasad of Lord Dtta Guru. Piligrims are satisfied and feel blessed by obtaining the Mahaprasad at Kamandalkund.
The story of kamandal kund is as follows ……..Lord Dattatreya, after taking permission from his parents,left his home for meditation. Traveling from place to place he came to Mount Girnar,which was then inundated with water.Sensing this He threw his calabash with full force.It fell on black rocks of Mount Girnar.The rocks cracked fom this force and out flowed Mother Ganga. She was pleased and told Lord Dattatreya that her flow will continue for the welfare of devotees-This place is “Kamandal Kund”. On the rocks of Mount Girnar these signs can still be seen. After that, Lord Dattatreya kindled Holy Fire, which keeps on lighting even today for the welfare of all living beings.
Every Monday this holy place is opened, sacred ash from above Holy Fire removed and till 9 am in the morning devotees can have darsan of this Holy Fire. After traditional worship, it is again covered by sacred ash. Every evening an Aarti is performed at this place.

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Akahnd Dhuni Lit By Datta Guru

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The Fire Inside

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Kamandal Kund Samsthan

The most Tedious part of the path way begins from Kamandal kund which leads to the ULTIMATE PEAK WHERE THE TEMPLE OF Datta Guru’s LOTUS FEET IS SITUATED. To reach the peak one has to travel towards south of Kamandal kund and climb steep steps.

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Path way from gorakhnath to Datta mandir

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Steep Steps

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Short View Of The Temple

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Main Gate To Datta Mandir

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Close view of the Temple

 

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Nagasadhu at Girinar

The temple is a very small place where we can have a darshan for fraction of minutes and have to start immed
iately backwards.
The Mountain itself is treated as a sacred place and is prevailed by Sadhus all over of which there are Naga sadhus(naked sadhus) from Himalayas and Aghoras.

FESTIVALS AT GIRNAR…

Gujarat state celebrates  “lili parikrama”  as an  important festival of the State.LILI PARIKRAMA …  PARIKRAMA means circumbulation. During this parikrama people circumbulate the Mountain Girnar as they believe that 33 crore gods and Goddesses reside on the holy mountain and doing circumbulation to this mountain gives the result of worshipping all the gods. So they start the Parikrama from Bhavnath Temple at the foot of Girnar cover some major peaks and complete it at bhavnath mandir again. Another story tells that Pandavas also did Parikrama after winning the war at Kurukshetra. According to Gujarati Hindu calendar Parikrama starts from Kartik Maasa 11 to 15 every year. On an average, about 7 lakh devotees attend the parikrama. In year 2003 Parikrama had attracted 1.2 million devotees.

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Bhavanth temple entrance

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Parikrama

The festival is 150 yrs old practice. Earlier people covered 12 miles but now it has been cut short to 4-6 miles. People chant the hymns praising Lord Shiva, accompanied by bhajans (devotional songs) and folk music, people walk all the way round the illuminated Girnar hill pathways. They always try to end this journey on the full moon night at the Bhavnath temple. The parikrama which is usually attended by more than 1 lakh people every year is organized with the support of the local people, priests, police and forest department officials. Tribal people settled close to Junagadh take part in the fair as they are ardent devotees of Lord Shiva.

 SHIVRATRI AND DIWALI FESTIVALS:

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How to go to Girnar:

The tourists can reach the base of the Girnar Mountain by hired auto rickshaws or taxis from junagadh city. JUNAGADH is 327 km from Ahmedabad 102 km from Rajkot, and 113 km from Porbandar, and is accessible by ST bus from each of these places, as well as from other cities in Gujarat like Veeraval and Rajkot. Bus is recommended as the best way to get to Junagadh.

By Rail Junagadh is on the railway line of Rajkot-Veraval. It is 7.5 hrs away from Ahmedabad, 2.5 hrs away from Rajkot and 2 hrs away from Veraval by Train.FROM HYDERABAD: we can reach Rajkot by RAJKOT EXPRESS on Tuesdays, and Saturdays , SC-PBR-EXPRESS on Wednesdays, RMM-OKA-EXPRESS on Saturdays.From Rajkot to Junagadh buses are available.FROM BENGULURU TO RAJKOT:Vivek express only on Mondays. Remaining week days plan to come to ahmedabad and come to Junagadh by bus.FROM CHENNAI TO RAJKOT: NO DIRECT TRAINS ARE AVAILABLE. SO AHMEDABAD MAY BE THE DESTINATION POINT. One can reach Ahmedabad through Chennai-Ahmedabad Navjeevan express.

FROM MUMBAI: Mondays ……Saurastra expess, porbandar express, Saujanata express and Saurastra mail
Tuesdays ….Rajkot express Vivek express, Saurastra express , Hapa express, Veraval express, Saujanata express and Saurastra mail
Wednesdays ….Rajkot express , Saurastra express , Saurastra mail and Hapa express
Thursdays….. BDTS-OKHA SPL , SC-PBR-Express , Pune- Vevaral express, other than Suarastra, suajanata and okha
Fridays….. Mao Hapa Sup express, saurastra, saujanata express and Saurastra mail
Saturdays and Sundays…… Rajkot SAURASTRA SAUJANATA AND OKHA Saturdays and Sundays

FROM DELHI: Monday…….DEE PBR EXPRESS,PBR Express , Jat Hapa Ex
Tuesday …..PBR Express
Wednesday…and Saturday……NO TRAINS
Thursday…..Dee Porbandar Express
Friday…….Dee Rjt Express
Sunday…….Uttaranchal express , JAT JAMNAGAR express

 By Air The nearest Airport is at Rajkot which is at 100 km from Junagadh, is connected with Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Delhi. The nearest International airport is in Ahmedabad. Girnar  is  situated 5 km east from Junagadh city and at a distance of 327 km from Ahmedabad.

Accommodation:

THERE ARE NO HOTELS FOR FOOD AND ACCOMODATION ON THE TOP. One can stay at foot of the Girinar mountain. Dharmashalas are available for good stay. One have to start the journey by 4 to 5 a.m. in the morning and have to come back on the same day evening. It is better to complete the journey in the day hours only.    Waterpackets/ordinarybreakfast/cooldrinks/biscuits/poppins/lemon/snacks are available at stalls at high rates during the journey to Girinarshikhara.    One can purchase if necessary from those stalls instead of carrying the items.

POINTS TO REMEMBER..

1.As there is high humidity which reduces after 9 a.m , it is advisable to start climbing the steps early at  4 to 5  am.to avoid hot sun

2.Even though the path way is well illuminated during nights. It is rumored that wild animals are present.  It is always better to complete the journey during day hours only

3.The best season for climbing is Winter. The path way is very slippery during Monsoon. To enjoy nature and to avoid overcrowding,   OCTOBER after Monsoon  is the best month

4.While climbing avoid leather foot wear and good shoe would support the feet.

5.It is better to take a STICK as a support for climbing the steps  which is available on rent basis (roughly Ten rupees only) at the foot of the mountain.

6.Take Mahaprasada at Kamandalkund without fail.

7.Persons who are maintaining the DOLIs will discourage the Piligrims who wants to climb the steps by walk. Have full faith, dedication and Devotion on Dattaguru and have darshan of   Datta Maharaj.

8.Recite the nama of Dattaguru like Digambara digambara shree paada vallabha digambara or JAI GIRINARI during the entire journey.

9.Keep MOOV or VOLINI or any other pain relief creams in bags to apply on our legs/feet /knees to get  relief from  pains  (after returning from Shikhara)

10.Ill health, Aged  and Heart patients are not advisable to climb the steps.  DOLIs are available on various prices depending on the weight of the person who wants to reach the top Of the Shikhara. They will charge the amount for upward and downward journey.

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Dolis are carried by only two people and the money demanded depends on the weight of the person sitting in doli.

Other Places to Visit:

1.Somanath is a Jyothirlinga kshetra of Lord Shiva  which is 190 kms from Rajkot.
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2.Punith Bapu ashram which is nearer to foot of the Girinar mountain. Local autos are available to reach the ashram where the dattanama “HARI OM TATSAT JAIGURUDATTA” is reciting.

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DATTATREYA HARE KRISHNA UNMATHA AANAND DAAYAKA
DIGAMBARA MUNE BAALA PISAACHA GNAANA SAAGARA!

JAI GIRINARI!! JAI GIRINARI!!