Angaarsha Pir (Peer) Dargah of Palitana: Melting pot of faiths

Palitana is a temple town near Bhavnagar, Gujarat and if you are planning to visit, here's a detailed guide on this gorgeous place. However, this story is dedicated to something else - the legend of the Angaarsha Pir (Peer) of Palitana.

Often when you travel, you come across stories which are most unexpected, yet become the defining point of the trip. Sometimes it's the journey to the destination, often a bit of a conversation with a stranger, sometimes a not-so-good experience and so on...there are always these moments different from what was initially planned. One such incident is narrated here.

Angaarsha Pir Peer palitana gujarat religion dargah muslim islam jain travel tourism
The Dargah with the Jain Temples in the background

As I finished looking at all the beauty of the temples and after all the long conversations with numerous priests, I decided to visit the Dargah that was just near the second gate (often the exit gate as well for most travelers) of the temple complex. The Dargah is one of the first things that you see as you come face to face with the Shetrunjaya hills, and I was actually quite surprised to find it there. Jains and Muslims have shared the land of Gujarat for centuries, but I had never saw their places of worship so close to each other, especially at a place which is perhaps the holiest of spots for Jains world over. The cynical 'me' was convinced that some Muslim ruler in the past would have forcibly made this Dargah, and once there it just survived for all these years.

The real story, however, is vastly different. As I sat with the caretaker of the Dargah, Shareef Nawaz, he told me this fascinating tale. Way back in the 14th Century when Palitana was already a rich and well known Jain pilgramage, Allauddin Khilji (yes, the same guy who was after Padmavati) decided to plunder these rich temples and go back with all the famed jewels etc. He also wished to destroy the holy idols, which where were considered to be against Islam and so had to be razed to ground. Not everyone shared his extremist views and as he attacked the temples, a Sufi Pir Angaarsha (a name he got later) requested him to turn back and not destroy such a pious place. Khilji scorned at him, told him to mind his own business, and even questioned his sanity as he was protecting the temples of Kafirs. Undeterred Khilji marched on, and that's when Angaarshah decided to teach him a lesson by summoning fire from the skies. The sudden fire burned most of Khilji's army and pushed him away from the sacred temple complex. The temples were spared and continued to flourish.

From that day onwards, he became a holy man to all Jains as well. He got his name Angaarsha (angaar means  fire), after the miracle which saved the temples.

Angaarsha Pir Peer palitana gujarat religion dargah muslim islam jain travel tourism
One of the helpers to the caretaker
Today people from all faiths come here and request for favours. Its an interesting tradition, as you ask for something you leave a small symbol of what you want from the Pir. So childless women leave a wooden cradle, people with Asthma leave Asthma pumps and so on. You can be very imaginative here. Of course, once you wishes are fulfilled you come back and make a donation and offer a chadder to the Pir.

Angaarsha Pir Peer palitana gujarat religion dargah muslim islam jain travel tourism
Different offerings

The caretaker belongs to the family of caretakers, and his family has been serving here for ages. He is convinced his son too with be willing to take up the job when required, though this is something which becomes more difficult with each passing generation.

I was absolutely rejuvenated after visiting the Dargah and talking to the people there. Something unexpected, yet somehow absolutely in sync with the feel of the place.


Angaarsha Pir Peer palitana gujarat religion dargah muslim islam jain travel tourism
Looking beyond into the valley from the Dargah

Comments

  1. Another interesting post! I like the photos of the caretaker and the valley from the Dargah. The colours are so vivid.

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  2. You love traveling don't you? It's a pleasure reading your anecdotes. For me traveling is all about comfort, indulgence and of course the experience:)

    Loved the starkness of white against the vivid blue sky.

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  3. The story and the views both are magnificent.

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  4. beautiful pictures
    I like to travel too

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  5. Interesting story and nice pictures..!

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  6. Stunning pictures and interesting places!

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  7. I liked the third shot very much :)

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  8. a very intriguing place and such a an amazingly wonderful story!!
    nice shots you have taken!!

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  9. @DeeBee: :) The colors are surely very vivid!

    @Purba: You are absolutely right, I love traveling. And generally take it up as an adventure with minimal cost involved :)

    @Mridula: Thanks a lot :)

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  10. @smalldot: Thanks! Good to meet a fellow traveler :)

    @Sridharan, Dhiraj & Phivos: Thanks a lot!

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  11. @deepak: Yes it is...so interesting to see these offerings there!

    @shooting star: It certainly is an intriguing place, will write more about the temples in a later post...

    @rrajiv: :)

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  12. Once again, a most delightful post! I really am enjoying visiting your blog and learning so many new and fascinating things :) And you're an excellent photographer BTW!

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  13. @Desiree: Thanks a lot! So many compliments in just one comment :) I am humbled...

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  14. the second picture is so impressive!!!

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  15. enjoy most of your pics of travels. I plan on doing that checkout temples as well.

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  16. @Linhy: I am glad you liked the pics, the temples too are amazing :)

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  17. Replies
    1. Thanks Ashikky, I am so glad that my posts and images made you feel good :)

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  18. Wrong Story Daduji Barot and 100 other cut their heads as Allauddin Khilji take a step he taken 100 steps and 100 barots gave their life.

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  19. Barot ji is right yes more than 100 barots cut there neck in front of khilji and then he asked to stop this and went back

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  20. Its totally wrong sir and Daduji was not Muslim he was Barot and they die to protect Palitana temple from Khilji so kindly to not make fake story.

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