On the Shatrunjaya River, just inland from the small port town of Sartanpur, lies Talaja, about 32 km from Palitana. Best known as the birthplace of the poet Narsinh Mehta, Talaja also houses important sites for Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism. Also, this place holds the importance to Buddhists as there are around 30 ancient Buddhist caves cut into rocks, with fine carving of Boddhisatva. The Ebhala Mandapa, a large hall with four octagonal pillars is the most impressive structure.
There is a notable Jain temple on a hill alongside the town. The same hill has 13 Buddhist caves carved into solid rock. The caves are around 2000 years old, and require about a 15-20 min. walk up the hill to reach them. They are of the 4th stage of Buddhist cave architecture, noticeably earlier than the famous Buddhist caves of Maharashtra. The Hindu temple of Khodiad Mata is on the same hill, placing holy sites of three religions on the same site. You can also visit Narsinh Mehta’s house in town, though there is little of obvious note other than a marker signaling it as the house of his birth.
Private and ST buses travel to Talaja from Palitana and Bhavnagar regularly.
How to get there
By road: Bhavnagar is 56 km away and Ahmedabad, 215 km. Private and ST buses travel to Palitana from both of these cities as well as from several others around Gujarat and even from Mumbai.
By rail: Palitana is on a rail branch line, with trains available to Bhavnagar, Ahmedabad and intermediate points.
By air: The nearest airport is in Bhavnagar (56 km).