Shamlaji no medo also known as Shamlaji is a popular place for Hindu Pilgrimage. It is located in the Aravalli district, in the state of Gujrat in India. It is located in a valley, near the bank of the river Meshvo. The valley has a lot of trees. And the temple is also referred to as Dholi Dhajwala as a white silk flag always hovers on the top of the temple.
The Shamlaji Temple is made up of white sandstone and bricks. It is a two-storied building. And is supported by pillars on each side. The temple is covered by walls on each side and a huge gateway in the front to enter into the temple. It has canopy like arches on all the sides. The path or the lower base is also very beautifully designed with stone and on the stones, patterns of elephants and other imaginative figures are carved on the walls of the temples, and also different illustrations like, men riding horses with bows and hunting animals are also engraved in the walls. The elephant is a very used figure in the carvings of the temples.
Different types of figures of elephants are drawn and carved all over the temples. Large figures of elephants are made with angels on the outer walls of the temple. And two huge, or gigantic elephants, made up of cement, stands on either side of the large gateway of the temple. Above the shrine, a pyramid shaped tower is made with flattened edges and on the front part of the roof of the temple there are many small dome-like structures. And a large dome is made in the Center of the roof of the temple. And in some walls’s, pictures from the scenes of Mahabharata and Ramayana are also encrypted. It is a very old temple and is greatly build. It can be considered as one of the masterpieces of that time.
The temple is of Lord Krishna or Vishnu Ji. As we know that Lord Krishna has come in to the Earth in lot of Avtars, and Vishnu ji is one of his Avatar’s. The present temple was built on 11th century and was run in Chaulukya style. But as the temple was very old and was ruined due to different natural calamities, and was re-built, the present structure is of 15th-16th century. And opposite to this is a small temple of Lord Shiva which was made on 6th century. There are several brick structures and different half destroyed sculptures and scattered idols, are present all over the place which makes the place look very ancient, and beautiful.
Shamlaji has been a very important Hindu Centre, since, 6th century, it was the home of idol and sculpture making. Now, most of the sculptures are shifted to the museums of Mumbai and Vadodara. Most of the sculptures that were found in this period had a touch of blue color or blue rock was used to make the sculptures. There were a Buddhist-monastery and stupa in 4th Century, which is 2 km away, but now it has gone underwater. The temple of Shamlaji was claimed by the Jain’s, but many years ago the rulers of the Idar State gave the temple to the Modhari Rao Sahed with other villagers like Sunsar, Devdar and he still holds the trusteeship of the temple. On the walls of the temple, the inscriptions of the two oldest epics are engraved very beautifully.
The idol of the temple is black which is the representation of Sakshi Gopal or Gadadhar. This is one of the exceptional temples of Lord Krishna where the idols of cows are also worshipped, as we consider the cow to be the Vahana of Lord krishna. There are many stories about the temple, it is believed that once Brahma came for tirtha and after searching a lot of places he reached at Shamlaji and performed his prayers. And Lord Shiva being pleased with his prayer asked him to do a ritual and before starting the ritual Lord Vishnu or Lord Krishna came in the Avatar of Shamlaji and was enshrined at this temple.
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Another story that is believed that the God of Architecture started to build this temple to take away with him. And in one night he made this time but after the sun rose in the morning, he could not take it along with him so he kept it here.
Another story, which is very prevalent is that once while ploughing his field a farmer got the idol of Shamlaji, and he took it home washed it thoroughly and he used to worship it with full devotion under the light of a lamp. And impressed by his devotion he was blessed with more land. Realizing the idol to be very powerful, a merchant built a temple and enshrined the idol over there and later the Idar rulers beautified and modified it.
How to reach and timings-
To reach Shamlaji one can reach Ahmedabad Station and take any Road service like bus or car from the station, it takes around 2hrs 30 minutes to reach the temple of Vishnu ji. To reach the temple there are a frequent number of state buses from Ahmedabad and Himmatnagar. The temple opens at 6 in the morning and the mangal aarti is conducted at 6:45 AM, and the mandir closes at 11:30. The Raj Bhog is distributed from 12:15 to 12:30. The Sandhya aarti is conducted at & in the evening and the temple closes at 8:30. It is considered to be one of the best and most attractive pilgrimage Centre for the Hindus, and the place is very beautifully decorated with carvings in the walls and tombs on the roof.