Ranakpur Pali –Rajasthan
If you will look for seven wonders in India, then surly Ranakpur Pali Jain temples will adorn the list. These temples are one of the five premium Jain pilgrimage and acclaimed for its exquisite architectural style and handiwork. No wonder, Ranakpur is well deserved top religious destination of India. In Ranakpur there is one small Sun temple also that is managed by Udaipur Royal family trust.
How to reach
Ranakpur Pali is located between Jodhpur and Udaipur. Its 162 km from Jodhpur and 91 km from Udaipur. The roads are good and all regular and luxury buses and taxis are available from these cities. Nearest train head is Falna Railway station that is 30 km away.
Visiting hours– are from noon to 5 PM as morning hours are reserved for praying.
The famous Jain temple is dedicated to Adhinath Tirthankara aka Lord Rishabh, who was the founder of Jainism. The construction of the temple started in 1437 AD following a dream vision of a local businessman Dhanna Shah. He started the sacred construction work under the patronage of then ruler of Mewar Rana Kumbha. It was said to be designed by one architect named Dipaka. The construction of the temple continued till 1458 AD.
Temple is unique
This temple is fully done in one type of a light colored marble stone. The area of the basement covers an area of 48000 sq. feet. Temple’s interesting spectacle is 1444 numbers of exquisitely carved pillars that support the temple. The temple is spread over 60 x 62 m plot area facing Aravali hills valley. Unbelievably no two pillars are similar in designs and sculpting. You can’t miss one 108 snake head sculpture carved from one single stone.
There are many temples that include Chaumukha temple, temples of two other Tirthankaras Parsavanath temple and Neminath temple. There are Amba Mata Temple and Surya Temple too. Chaumukha Temple is the most important and as the term Chaumukha indicates, this temple is four-faced. Intricate structure of the temple has four independent doorways to get into the chambers. These chambers ultimately lead to the main hall where the image of Lord Adinath, the first ‘Tirthankara’ of the Jains is located.
The image of Adinath is four faced facing in four directions. That symbolizes the spiritual powers of Lord Adinath on all four directions, indicating his cosmic reach. The five spires elevate above the walls and around 20 dome shaped projects rise from roof of the pillared hall. Each spire houses a shrine and the largest shrine is the important one that has the central altar. The temple’s ceilings are adorned with foliate scrollwork and geometric patterns intricately done. The style of architecture and sculpture are of Maru Gurjara origin. It highlights supreme craftsmanship of Rajasthani artisans of that era. It’s a mix of Rajasthani and Gujarati craft of 15th century. As experts believe that the architecture of the temple is completely Western Indian than North Indian style, prevalent in those days. Especially Mughal architecture seen in the monuments of that era.
There is one Kumhalgarh wildlife sanctuary nearby where one can take jeep safari. You can also do horseback safari on the hills.