In 1656 CE, Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan’s son Murad Baksh (the then Governor of Gujarat) granted Palitana villages to the prominent Jain merchant Shantidas Jhaveri, a Svetambara Jain and an influential merchant and money lender in the period. Earlier, Emperor Akbar had issued an edict granting special status to Shatrunjaya, protecting the area and thus allowing Jain tradition to flourish uninhibited. Subsequently all taxes were also exempted and the temple town prospered.

There are few temple complexes that compare to it. Palitana, in the Bhavnagar district of Gujarat, is a full city with as many as 823 temples of different sizes, dedicated to the 24 Tirthankaras or holy saints of the Jain community.

… Historically speaking, the earlier temples of Palitana were built under the Royal patronage of King Kumarapala of the Solanki dynasty in the 11th century CE. Sadly most of these were destroyed by the invading Muslim rulers in the 13th century CE. Historians speculate that the temples were destroyed and ravaged by the invading armies of Allaudin Khilji, however no records of this event are available. The temples that stand tall today were added later in the sixteenth century and the older temples were reconstructed by wealthy merchant of the region.

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