Ghogha, near Bhavnagar, has had Jain temples since the 10th / 11th century. Historically, it was known as the port of Gundigar and the tirth was was known as Gundigadh. Ghogha was a prominent port during the era of Vallabhipura kings and with their downfall it also lost its importance.
There is an immaculate temple with a murti (idol) of Navkhandā Pārsvanāth. It is 91 cms in height.
Click the link below to listen to Parsvanath Stavan.
The consecration of this murti occurred in Vikram 1168 (1111 AD) with the blessings of Āchāryashree Mahendrasuriswarji Māhāraj. He inspired Nānāvati Shree Hirā Sheth belonging to the Shrimali caste to build a temple.
There are various historical records dated 14th / 15th century mentioning Navkhandā Pārsvanāth of Ghogha.
The main idol in ancient times was that of Lord Ādināth is ascertained by the fact that even today there are shrines of Cakeshwari Mata and Vimaleshwar Deva nearby Navkhandā Pārsvanāth murti. It is believed that Lord Ādināth’s murti is now consecrated in a temple at Bhavnagar.
According to historical records penned by Shree Saubhagyavijayji Māhārāj in 1693AD, it is mentioned that both the murtis of Navkhandā Pārsvanāth and Ādināth Bhagwān were at Ghogha since 1442AD.
It is believed that Mleccha (म्लेच्छ → barbarians / bandits) mutilated the Navkhandā Pārsvanāth murti into 9 pieces and threw them in Bapesara well (in Google maps, the address of Bapesara Kuva, Vadva, Bhavnagar, Gujarat 364001, India exists!!). After some time, a pious resident of Ghogha had a dream as follows:
“Retrieve the bundle containing the Navkhandā Pārsvanāth broken into 9 pieces using a thread of diamond. Then immerse the broken pieces in 9 maunds (approx 20kgs although there is a wide variance on the weight it represents across the ages) of lapsi (लापशी → sweet dish made of wheat, sugar and water mixture). After 9 days, the murti will be restored to its original form and bring it back to Ghogha”.
The Bhavnagar sangh came to know about this and decided to take the pieces out of the well and establish their right over it. A dispute ensued between the sangh of Bhavnagar and Ghogha. Eventually, they decided to place the broken pieces into a cart without ox pulling it and whichever direction the cart moves, that is where the broken pieces should be taken. The cart naturally started moving towards Ghogha and with great fanfare it was brought there. They decided to remove the broken pieces after 9 days as per the dream of the householder.
At that time, a sangh was going from Bharuch to Palitana by sea and reached Ghogha port. There was a celebration to welcome the head of the sangh by putting a garland on him. He earnestly requested on behalf of the entire Sangh to do darshan of Navkhandā Pārsvanāth murti. The Ghogha community considering sangh to be akin to 25th Tirthankar respected their request and decided to open the bundle of broken pieces after 8 days in lapsi instead of 9 days. Lo and behold, when they took the murti out, they observed that all the 9 pieces were bound together, but the 9 joints were not completely fused together and 9 marks are clearly observed even today on the murti.
The consecration ceremony (prathistha) of this murti was done on Friday Vaisakh Sud 10 in Vikram Samvat 1865 (1808AD) with the blessings of Āchārya Jinendrasuriswarji Māhārāj.
There are four temples within the complex dedicated to Shāntināth Bhagwān, Suvidhināth Bhagwān, Nemnāth Bhagwān and Caumukhi (the inscriptions on the murtis in the Samovasaran suggest that they have come from the Gandhara region and during its onslaught 350 idols were brought to Ghogha). There is also an idol of Dharmagosh Suriswarji Māhārāj and other Sādhus.
Eminent personalities who were from this town include Shree Keshavji Kotvāla Shurā, Shree Depād Sheth, Shree Kunvarji Sheth, Shree Khamand Sheth, Shree Bālābhāi Sheth, Shree Kikābhāi Vajechand Sheth, Shree Mohan Vāghji Sheth, etc. The first English school in this town was built by Shree Hirāchand Rāmchand Shah’s family. The consecration ceremony of the Godiji Pārsvanāth Bhagwān in Mumbai was performed by the family of Ghogha resident Sheth Shree Kalyanji Kanji. It is also fascinating to note that a young girl in Ghogha, Harkuvar, plastering cowdung on huts took the fascination of Sheth Hutheesing when he came for a pilgrimage, and eventually became instrumental in building the iconic Hutheesing derasar in Ahemdabad.
The chronological sequence of temples in Ghogha is believed to be that of Chandraprabhu Bhagwān (built around the time of King Kumarpāl) as the oldest, followed by Jirāwalā Parsvānth Bhagwān and then Navkhandā Pārsvanāth Bhagwān.
The sea around Ghogha is generally very calm but once there was a storm and Ghogha became flooded. There is a tale that strong swimmers carried the head of the city Shree Dharamchand Maganlāl on their shoulders to the temple of Chandraprabhu Bhagwān. After performing certain rituals and with a small cut on his right hand, blood oozed into the sea and it then calmed down.
Once there was a pandemic outbreak of cholera in Ghogha. Dalichand Jati using his knowledge of mantras made four notes on a piece of paper. One note he immersed in a glass bottle and buried it outside the gate of the town, the other he put it in a cemetry, third one he buried it on the sea shore and the fourth one he placed it in the ghant (bell) of Navkhandā Pārsvanāth temple. He proclaimed that there will be no disease whatsoever as far as the sound of this bell reaches.
Āchāryashree Vriddhichandra Māhārāj Sāheb did a monsoon sojourn (chomasu) here. Puya Gulābvijayji Māhārāj also did many monsoon sojourns here and a shrine has been been built to honour him. Pujya Upādhyāya Yashovijayji Māhārāj stayed in Ghogha and whilst looking at the ocean wrote a famous Gujarati text with 17 verses titled “Samudra Vahan Samvād” in Vikram Samvat 1717 (1660 AD).
The temples of Ghogha, Mahuva and Dholka are believed to have been built by the same craftsmen as their style is very similar.
The were many ancient idols kept at the basement of the Ghogha temple. However, with the recent renovations at the temple, the underground basement has been shut and the idols have been relocated elsewhere.
The administration of the temple is being done by Kādāmithāni Pedhi. In the basement there was an inscription on the wall which suggests that the complete administration of this tirth was carried out by Sheth Kādā Mithā who was the grandson of Sheth Mithā Sundarji.
2. Shri Ghogha Tirth Itihas (Gujarati text) translated into English by H Vora.
3. Some photos from Worldorgs
Apologies for any unintentional errors in the information provided