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Girnar lottery

In 1889 AD, the steps from Taleti to Mali Parab (facility where water is served) were completely broken. The steps from Mali Parab to Main Lord Neminath Toonk that were made of white and ash coloured stones too had worn off completely. And to add to the misery, there were absolutely no steps further ahead of the Ambaji temple. At that time, the chief administrator of Junagadh was Haridas Viharidas Desai, who proposed to fund the complete restoration work from State’s reserve. But he was unable to get approval for it. As an alternative means to raise funds, he along with the then Chief Medical officer, Dr. Tribhovandas Motichand Shah, initiated Girnar Lottery. He formed a committee comprising of many different people and announced prize money of Rs. 40,000 for the first winner, Rs. 10,000 for next 2 winners, Rs. 5,000 for subsequent 4 winners, Rs. 1,000 for next 10 winners. Apart from this, he also announced a prize of Rs. 500 for 20 winners, Rs. 20 for 250 winners, Rs. 10 for 500 winners and Rs. 5 for 1000 winners. Thus, the total prize money amounted to Rs. 1,15,000.

This Lucky draw was organized on 8-8-1889 and after disbursing the prize money, they were left with Three and Half Lakh Rupees. This money was used for the construction of concrete steps made of black rock from Taleti to Ambaji Temple. There was a standing committee appointed which even till date looks after the restoration and maintenance of those steps.The steps from Main temple towards Sahasavan were fondly called as ‘Old Steps’. As time passed, these old steps wore off excessively and almost reached a point of extinction.

Around 1981, under the guidance and inspiration of of Param Pujya Himanshusurishwarji, who had done 3000 fasts and 11,500 Ayambil during his lifetime, the construction of a new Samavasaran temple had begun in Sahasavan. With his inspiration, the restoration work of these ‘old steps’ too was initiated. Within a span of 4 years (i.e. in 1985), this restoration work was completed at an approximate cost of Rs. 6,00,000 by the committee which was named ‘Shri Sahasavan Kalynak Bhumi Tirthoddhar Committee’.

The final cremation rites of Pujya Himanshusurishwarji M.S. were performed at Sahasavan. The unfinished work of Pujya Himanshusurishwarji M.S is taken forward by disciples of Pujya Panyas Chandrashekhar Vijayji M.S namely, Pujya Panyas Dharmarakshit Vijayji and his disciple Pujya Panyas Hemvallabhvijayji. They are becoming a source of motivation and guidance for all the temples at Girnar toonk and Sahasavan.


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Declan Whelan
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