Sights to See
The climb up Shatrunjaya is no doubt the primary activity of a Palitana visit, for Jains and non-Jains alike. The hill is 3 kms from Palitana proper, and the 600 m climb over 3000 stairs to the top of the mountain is an unforgettable experience. Beginning at dawn is recommended, to avoid the mid-day heat. Frequent rest stops to visit temples along the way also help avoid overheating. Many devotees even gather at the highest temples before sunrise, having climbed in the predawn twilight. Be sure to carry enough water and leave a few hours to explore the mountain. Idols are bathed around 9:30am, and pujas tend to be performed around noon. If climbing in the afternoon, be sure to descend with enough time to arrive at the bottom before dark.
The construction of temples of Palitana spanned over a period of 900 years and was structured in two phases. From the 11th to 12th centuries AD as a part of the resurgence of temple building all over India, the first phase of temple architecture was constructed. The second phase followed later, from the 16th century AD onwards. Muslim invaders destroyed some of the earliest temples built in the 11th century AD during the 14th and 15th centuries AD. No one person can be attributed for the construction of these magnificent temples rather it was the effort of the wealthy businessmen who were followers of Jainism.
Several customs must be observed, as the entire hill is sacred to Jains, not only the temples. In keeping with the strict non-violence of Jainism, no leather products (wallets, belts, etc.) should be carried on the mountain.