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India: Rajasthan: Chittorgarh, Devigarh, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Kumbhalgarh, Ranakpur, Ranthambore, Udaipur

Ranakpur, Rajasthan, India: Glory in marble
by Prakash Bang, Editor in Chief

Canopy, Ranakpur Jain Temple, Ranakpur, India

Ranakpur is located on the edge of the Aravali range between Udaipur and Jodhpur. Undoubtedly, the Jain temple dedicated to the Jain Thirthankar, Adinath, is the main reason for hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and tourists to visit Rankapur. Adjoining tranquil villages namely Sadri; Desuri; Ghanerao and Narlai could be other reasons.

1000 Snakes Mural, Ranakpur Jain Temple, Ranakpur, India Whilst in Kumbhalgadh, we had half a day reserved for a visit to the Ranakpur Jain Temple. Itís about a 90-minute drive passing through mountains and lush green fields. The temple is open to tourists from 12 noon to 5PM. During other hours, only Jain pilgrims are allowed inside the sanctum sanctorum. Thankfully, photography is allowed, but no tripods.

Because of the time restrictions for tourists, we left Kumbhalgadh at 10:30AM. We made a few stops enroute to picture the rural life and activities. I was intrigued by the way water was drawn from the wells using bullocks. Quite an engineering genius. We reached the temple gates at about 12:30PM. After depositing our handbags at the security counter we were ready to explore the sprawling premises and the marble wonder within. Itís good to know that visitors must be appropriately dressed, especially the ladies should make a point to cover their legs.

One of the priests in the temple took pride to show us around. Considered as one of the five holy places for the Jain community, these were created in the 15th century during the reign of Rana Kumbha. These are enclosed within a wall. The central Chaumukha (four faced temple) is dedicated to Adinath. The temple is an astounding creation of architectural splendor with 29 halls and 1444 pillars, all distinctly carved - no two pillars being alike. Every hall within the temple has inconceivable surface carved with equal delicacy. The faultless architecture, intricate carvings, delicate designs, neatly chiseled idols, diverse and multiple hues are at par with another equally famous group of Jain temples at Mount Abu - the Dilwara temples.

Ceiling, Ranakpur Jain Temple, Ranakpur, India Facing the main temple are the temples of Parsvanath and Neminath with exquisite figure carvings which look similar to that of Khajuraho sculptures.

Another temple worth visiting which is just adjacent is the Sun temple dedicated to the Sun God. The temple has a polygonal wall, richly embellished with carvings of warriors, horses and celestial bodies. The Sun God has been shown riding its vehicle - the chariot pulled by 7 horses.

We were done by 2PM. For lunch we made it a point to visit Maharani Bagh that was only a few kms. away. The sprawling premises give visitors the insights into the life and times of Rajasthan, its architecture, its custom and its cuisine.

Our day was made.

Ranakpur Image Gallery Photo viewer Photo viewer

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