The Ranakpur Jain Temples command huge respect from the Jain community worldwide. Ranakpur is widely known for its marble Jain temple, and for a much older Sun Temple which lies opposite the former. In general, the Jain temples of Ranakpur present a distinct style of their own. The ceilings of the temples are adorned with foliate scrollwork and geometric patterns. The top and bottom part of the domes are joined by Brackets with figures of deities on them.
Legend and History
Built during the rule of Rana Kumbha, these temples have included Ranakpur in the list of five main pilgrim destinations of Jains in India. History has it that Rana Kumbha donated a vast stretch of land to Dhanna Shah so as to enable him to realize his dream of building a great temple. Today, these temples attract thousands of visitors every year from across the country and abroad.
The dating of this temple is controversial but it is largely considered to be anywhere between the late 14th to mid-15th centuries. Inspired by a dream of a celestial vehicle, Dharna Shah, a Porwad, is said to have commissioned it, under the patronage of Rana Kumbha, then ruler of Mewad. The architect who oversaw the project is said to have been named Deepaka.
The Chaumukha Temple
The most important amongst all the temples within the complex is the Chaumukha Temple. The 15th century Adishwar temple or the Chaumaukha temple built by Sheth Dhanna Shah is a fine structure. It is in the form of a Nalinigulm Vimana (heavenly aircraft) that Shah had seen in his dream. Designed by Dipa Shilpi it took 65 years (1367-1432) to erect and is the largest and most complex Jain temple in India. It also boasts of being one of the five most important holy shrines of the Jains.
The construction of the temple is extremely complex with four separate entrances leading to chambers inside. The foundation of the temple was so made that three storeys with their several pavilions could be accommodated on the temple base itself. It is built on a high plinth, and has high boundary walls that’ll remind you of the fortified temple cities. Beautiful turrets rise from this wall and each of them relates to a cell on the inner face of the wall. Five spires (shikars) rise above the walls and about 20 cupolas each form the roof of a pillared hall. Each spire again has a shrine below, the largest and the most prominent is the one that surmounts the central altar.
The temple has 29 halls, 80 domes and the pavilions include 1444 pillars, each of them so intricately and artistically carved that they’ll leave a lasting impression on you. The figures of dancing goddesses, beautifully engraved on these pillars are an absolute architectural wonder. The best feature about these pillars is that no two pillars are alike in design and sculptures. Not only the pillars but almost every surface is carved with great intricacy. As you go from one chamber to another you’ll realize that it does not conform to the traditional longitudinal plan as of Indian temples but follows a cruciformed one. This plan has four separate entrances, one on each side. Each of these then lead through a series of columned halls to a central arena and the sanctum which has the four faced white marble image of Lord Adinath. The first Jain saint Adinathji or Rishabhadev is surrounded by several other smaller shrines and domes. These are in turn surrounded by a Bhamati or range of cells for images, each of which has a roof of its own. Architects are of the opinion that this is probably one of the most complicated and extensive Jain temples in India and also the most complete for Jain sectarian rituals. The temple covers almost 48,000 sq ft with 29 halls and is also said to have 84 underground cells.
Two other temple worth visiting in the complex are the ones dedicated to Parsavanath and Surya God. The former is also known as the Patriyon Ka Mandir and is renowned for its pierced windows studded with Jain figures and pictures of attendants of maidens. The Surya Narayan Temple has an exquisite idol of Sun God in his chariot which is drawn by seven horses. There is another temple dedicated to Amba Mata.
Jain Temples near Ranakpur
Quiet a few Jain Temples in the close vicinity of Ranakpur have also gained the respect of the followers of the faith. The Muchhal Mahavir temple in the Kumbhalgarh Sanctuary is famous for its statue of Lord Mahavira with a moustache. Also, the two statues of elephants protecting the gateways have a special charming appeal about them.
Falna, a nearby town has the Jain Golden Temple. Its significance lies in the fact that it was the first temple to be built by the people of the Jain community. During its construction, 90 kg of gold was donated by the Jain women of Falna itself for the embellishment of the idol as well as the temple on the whole.
Ranakpur is located near Sadri town in the mountain ranges of Pali district, 23 km away from the Phalna railway station of Rajasthan in western India. Ranakpur is reached after passing lush green valleys and streams and the heart capturing views drive away any fatigue of the journey. The location of Ranakpur, in the tranquil valley of the Aravalli range, 90 km from Udaipur, has also been responsible in attracting a whole lot of visitors to the city. It is located between Jodhpur and Udaipur, in a valley on the western side of the Aravalli Range. Ranakpur is easily accessed by road from Udaipur.
This temple was nominated as one of the top 77 Wonders of the World in the contest for the new, “seven wonders of the world” in the year 2007.
Climate : Mean Max. Mean Min.
Summer: 42.0 degree C 22.0 degree C
Winter: 20.0 degree C 10.6 degree C
Rainfall : 55 cm
Best Season : Sept. - March
Summer light tropical
Winter light woollen
Languages : English, Hindi, Rajasthani.