Rikhabdev was the first Jain Thirthankar. The temple built here is dedicated to him. The Vaishnavas believe that, he was the 8th incarnation of Lord Vishnu. This temple is situated 40 km away from Udaipur. The temple belongs to the Svetambara sect of Jains but at present it is under the control of the State Government of Rajasthan. The idol is better called Kesariyaji drived from the name kesar or saffron which is put on the forehead of the Lord . The town of Rikhabdev is also called Dhulev by the name of the Bhil tribal Dhula who once protected the idol. The Bhils are very loyal to the Rikhabdevji and call it Kalaji. This temple, on the bank of the Koyal River, holds a special significance for people of that area. The idol is believed to very old and is suppose to fulfill the wishes of its devotees. Rikhabdev is well known for its Adinath or Rikhabdev Temple. The antiquity of its existence cannot be traced but it was repaired in the 14th and 15th centuries. Around 2km from Rikhabdev there is a place known as Pagliyaji where the footprints of Lord Rikhabdev are placed and worshipped .A big fair is held annually in the month of Chaitra (Mar/Apr) on the birthday of Lord Rikhabdev
Legend and History of Rikhabdev Temple
Rikhabdev is famous only for its temple dedicated to Lord Rikhabdev, the first Jain Tirthankara. Rikhabdev is also claimed by the Vaishnavas as the eighth Avatar of Lord Vishnu. The temple belongs to the Svetambara sect of the Jains but at present is under the control of the State of Rajasthan. The temple is better known as Kesariyaji, derived from kesar or saffron that is put on the forehead of the idol of the Lord. The tribals, Bhils, who worship the idol, call it Kalaji due to the black image of the idol. The town of Rikhabdev is also known as Dhulev as the Bhil Dhula had once protected the idol and worshipped it at this place. The Bhils are very loyal to this Lord and always take an oath by uttering the name of Kalaji.
No sign or inscription as such has been found about the origin of the idol but it is believed that it is very ancient. Locals here say that the idol was there during the times of Ravana, the anti-hero of the epic Ramayana (see Ancient Scriptures & Folklore). It is also said that Ravana had carried the idol with him to Sri Lanka (Ceylon) from Nandan Vana (forest) and Rama brought it back with him after his conquest of Lanka. King Shripal and his wife Menasundari later installed it at Ujjain. After that it was taken to Baghad region for some years, from where it came back hidden in a tree. The idol was retrieved by Dhula Bhil when it appeared in his dreams. The deity of Kesariyaji is said to be so strong and influential that it has fulfilled the wishes of most of his worshippers. The pilgrims, whose wishes have been granted, besmear the idol with kesar or saffron often equal to the weight of their child born.
The Rishabhdevji Temple, Dhulev
The temple was repaired in the 14th and 15th centuries and the oldest inscription found on the temple is that of 1424AD. The altar of the temple was built in the 14th century. Just before the courtyard and in front of the main temple there is an idol of Marudevi Mata, the mother of Lord Rikhabdev, seated on a marble elephant.
Elephants made of black stone welcome pilgrims as they enter the temple. On the north is the image of Goddess Chakreshvari and on the southern side, there is an image of goddess Padmavati. The Rishabhdevji temple dates back to the 15th century.
Cloisters on the side house small images of tirthankaras. Passing the stairs, one comes to the Navchauki. The idol of Lord Rishabdev is 35 feet high and is placed on a 1.25 feet high stone and is the centre, there are two bulls around an image of the goddess, in addition to statues of elephants and lions. Also depicted beautifully are the sixteen dreams of Lord Rishabdev's mother.
Navgrah composed of nine images, the holy throne (singhasana) and the golden door are also attractive, as are the high spired domes, and the spirals of the temple. The rites and rituals in this temple consist of shuddhi in which water and milk is used. To make the atmosphere clean, pure and fit for devotion, the area is incensed with fragrance. The images are decorated and devotional hymns (bhajans) are sung and religious assemnblies are held regularly. The image is called by several names.
The bhils call this black stone image by the name of Kalaji. The image also called 'Dhulevdhani' because of its location at Dhulev. A lot of saffron is presented here as offering to the Lord and thus the name 'Kesariaji'. Close to Rishabhdevji are many more places of interest - Pagyaji, Chandragiri, Bhim Pagalya, Bhattarak, Kirti Bhavan and the Peepli temple. Every year a Rath - Yatra and fair is organised.
Around 2km from the temple of Rikhabdev there is a place known as Pagliyaji, where the footprints of Lord Rikhabdev are placed in a cenotaph and worshipped quite dedicatedly. Just beside the chhatri (cenotaph) there is a trunk of a tree from where it is believed that the idol came out. In front of the tree there is another shrine where the idol of the Lord is enclosed in a hall. A big fair is held annually in the month of Chaitra (Mar/Apr) on the birthday of Lord Rikhabdev, when a procession of the Lord proceeds from the temple to Pagliyaji.
Location and Transport
Rikhabdev was the first Jain Thirthankar. The temple built here is dedicated to him. This temple is situated 40 km away from Udaipur in a small town of Dhulev.
By Air :
Nearest airport is Udaipur 56Km.
By Rail :
India is well connected by train with Udaipur.
By Road :
Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation connects Dhulev with Udaipur. It is advisable to travel by tourist car or taxis from Udaipur to avoid any hassles.