Many Hindu temples are off-limits to non-Hindus, that’s why we’ve been focusing a lot on Jain temples. The ones we’ve recently been to are The Adinath Temple of Ranakpur and the Dilwara Temples in Mt. Abu, all religious sites which are easily accessible by vehicle. Then, there are Jain pilgrimage sites which require a lot more work.
It seems as if the amount of physical work is directly proportional to the size and holiness of the site. The impressive Jain temple complex on Girnar Hill just outside of Junagadh is one of them. Set on top of an extinct volcano, pilgrims and visitors alike have to conquer 5,000 steps to reach the highest point of Girnar Hill at 1,080 meters (3,540 ft). If you only come for the temple complex but don’t care for the surrounding view, you can stop at step 4,000 after about two hours of huffing and puffing up the hill.
Though the temple complex is absolutely beautiful, with white-washed buildings and mosaic-covered domed roofs, the extra 1,000 steps to the viewpoint are definitely worth the pain. Unfortunately, the pain didn’t just stop once we were down the hill. Sore muscles and angry knees reminded us of our pilgrimage for the next three days.