The Girnar Race - Ascending and Descending Competition - Junagadh
Girnar Parvat in Junagadh district is popular both as a pilgrimage site as well as a retreat for trekkers. Girnar Parvat has a terrain different from the golden sands of Gujarat and the verdant Gir Forest making it unique. Devotees visit Girnar Parvat all year round, and Datar Peak is considered to be sacred by both Hindus and Jains. There are several temples here such as the Neminath Temple and the Meravasi Temple, which are considered sacred by people of the Jain community. Many things take place at and around Girnar. It includes the Girnar Parikrama Festival and the Bhavnath Fair, held during January and February. The remarkable thing about these festivals is that both Hindu devotees and Jain devotees come together during these festivals in huge numbers. The other thing that binds all communities at the Girnar is Annual Mount Girnar Ascending Descending Competition.
The ascent of Mount Girnar, which is the highest peak in Gujarat has the starting line near Mangalnathji Ashram in Bhavnath Taleti, the foothill of Mount Girnar. The event is professionally organised and videographed. The Junagadh district administration and Department of Youth and Cultural Affairs used to organise Open Gujarat Mount Girnar Ascending and Descending Competition for youths of Gujarat. Later it was open for the entire country. However, the organisers trimmed the Open Gujarat event for the year 2015 to the only ascent of the mountain to meet the criteria laid down by Guinness World Record authority. This is not for the faint-hearted people and there is a selection criterion set to participate. People participate from across the states. They first need to get registered themselves in any of the categories they belong to. The categories are 1) boys and 2) girls. These two are further divided into two categories: 1) senior, 2) junior.
This is an exciting event covered by all state media. The race does not cover the entire mountain and does not go up to the highest peak at 3666 feet. The boy's category covers a distance of approx. 5000 steps whereas for girls the distance is restricted at 2000 steps.