Article: Mount Śatruñjaya

Contributed by Nalini Balbir

Main temple – Adishvar Temple
The Adishvar Temple is dedicated to the first Jina, often called Ādinātha or 'First Lord'. As the principal shrine at Mount Shatrunjaya, it draws the most pilgrims. It is on the southern summit and, like many Jain temples, is surrounded by smaller shrines

Adishvar Temple
Image by Ark in Time – Asaf Braverman © CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The courtyard where the temple is found is often called Ratan-pol – ‘Jewel Gate’. It has this name because, according to tradition, a pilgrim goes through the gate and first catches sight of the temple, which is like a jewel. Here is the principal Adishvara or Adishvar Temple of Shatrunjaya, one of the most important focal points of worship, located at the highest point of the summit.

The building houses a white marble image of the first Jina, Ṛṣabhanatha or Lord Ṛṣabha, sitting in the lotus position, with his emblem the bull carved beneath. There is a relief of a peacock and a snake, which is an emblematic motif of Shatrunjaya. In the vestibule there is an image of Ṛṣabha's mother Marudevī seated on an elephant, holding in her arms her grandsons Bharata and Bāhubali. Behind the temple is the Surya Kund, a round water tank.

Other places in the main enclosure

All Jain temples are set on high platforms or terraces and when visiting a temple walking around its outside – pradakṣiṇā – is part of the ritual. Pilgrims to the Adishvar Temple are advised to make three circumambulations to discover adjacent temples or holy spots.

In the first circumambulation pilgrims see:

  • the Sahasrakuta – a huge marble slab showing 1024 images of Jinas, including all of them everywhere in the Jain universe
  • 1452 footprints of all the chief disciples – gaṇadharas – of each and every Jina
  • a temple dedicated to Sīmandhar-svāmī
  • an image of the goddess Ambikā.

Walking round the second time, the visitors can see:

  • New Adishvar – a 14th-century temple built by the ministers Vastupāla and Tejaḥpāla
  • the Sammet Shikhar temple.

The third circumambulation displays:

  • the ‘Five Brothers’ temple, built in 1610 by five brothers from Ujjain, containing five Jina images
  • the Neminath Temple, with a seated black image of the 22nd Jina
  • a representation of the legendary mountain of Aṣṭāpada or Ashtapad, where Ṛṣabhanātha or Lord Ṛṣabha attained liberation
  • the ‘Rayan tree’, under which, according to tradition, the first Jina preached his first sermon, leaving his footprints at the bottom
  • a relief of a snake and a peacock, and another one showing a lion and an elephant
  • a temple showing the first Jina in the kāyotsarga position flanked by his grandsons Nami and Vinami
  • images of Ṛṣabha’s sons Bharata and Bāhubali
  • the temple of 14 jewels.

In the main enclosure, pilgrims can also visit:

  • the Nutan Jinalay – ‘New Jain Temple’ – consecrated in 1972, dedicated to the first Jina and built in red stone
  • the oldest image of Puṇḍarīka, first disciple of the first Jina, dating back to the 11th century
  • the small Gandhariya Chaumukh temple, housing four-faced images of the 16th Jina, Śāntinātha or Lord Śānti
  • the Pundarik Swami Temple.

Northern summit and valley

Figure of Neminātha or Lord Nemi, the 22nd Jina. The main Jina image in a shrine is often depicted as four separate yet identical statues. They face the cardinal directions, symbolising the universal reach of the Jina's message.

Four-faced statue of Neminātha
Image by liketearsintherain - tommy © CC BY-SA 2.0

In descriptions of Mount Shatrunjaya the temples and enclosures found outside the southern summit are commonly grouped into the ‘Nine Enclosures’ – ‘Nav Tunk’ in Gujarati. This is the model followed here.

In order to reach these Nine Enclosures pilgrims have to leave the southern summit, go back down to the fork in the road and then take the other branch of the road.

Walking along that fork to the gate leading to the enclosures, visitors pass the ‘Angar Shah Pir’. This shrine of a Muslim saint is of unclear origin.

The first seven enclosures are on the northern summit, the last two in the valley.

In the order of access from the road, they are as detailed in this table.

Nine enclosures of Mount Shatrunjaya






Narshi Keshavji Tunk

1862 to 1864

Of white marble, the main temple has two storeys and is dedicated to the fourth Jina, Abhinandananātha or Lord Abhinandana. It was the most recent construction when Burgess surveyed and described the site.
A temple to Marudevī, mother of Ṛṣabhanātha or Lord Ṛṣabha, in which her image sits on the back of an elephant, marks the place where she reached final emancipation.


Chaumukhji Tunk – also called Khartar Vasi and Sava Somji Tunk

rebuilt in 1618 to 1619

The most imposing structure on this part of the hill, the main temple houses a colossal four-faced image of the first Jina. There is also a shrine dedicated to Puṇḍarīka, the first disciple of Ṛṣabha.
Behind this enclosure a small temple shelters images of the five Pāṇḍava brothers – namely Bhīma, Yudhiṣṭhira, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva – together with those of Draupadī and Kuntī. It is built on the site of an ancient temple, which was renovated in the 18th century.


Chipa Vasi Tunk

built during the 14th century and renovated in 1735

Although the main temple is dedicated to Ṛṣabha, other Jinas are also associated with this spot. It is said that here Nandiṣeṇa composed the famous Ajita-Śānti-stavana, a hymn of praise dedicated to the second Jina, Ajitanātha or Lord Ajita, and the 16th, Śāntinātha or Lord Śānti.


Shakar Shah Tunk


The main temple is dedicated to Chintamani Parshvanath.


Ujambhai Tunk


Nandishvar-dvip Temple has 57 marble miniature temples, each with a four-faced Jina image.


Sheth Hemabhai Tunk


Dedicated to the second Jina, Ajita, the main temple contains a major inscription. It gives the genealogy of a wealthy family from Ahmedabad and an account of its religious activity in Shatrunjaya and other holy places in Gujarat (Kanchansagar-suri 1982: number 160).


Premchand Modi Tunk – also called Prema Vasahi


Found at the highest level, the main temple is dedicated to the first Jina and to Puṇḍarīka, his first disciple.
The ‘Dera ni Jethani Temple’ has a copy of the scene showing the images of a woman and her daughter-in-law found in Mount Abu. This illustrates the defects of lying and of anger.
Going on farther, pilgrims reach the Temple of Adbhutji – ‘the Magnificent’ – which has the largest image of the first Jina on the hill. Cut into the rock, it is 18 feet high and 14.5 feet broad and was installed in 1630.


Balabhai Tunk – also called Balavasi

1836 to 1837

The main temple is the Chaumukh Temple, dedicated to the first Jina.


Sheth Moti Shah Tunk


Built over a ditch between the two summits, the principal temple is dedicated to the first Jina. The ditch had first to be filled in, which required 1100 architects and 300 workers.

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