Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ranakpur, temple town of Rajasthan

From Jodhpur we proceeded towards Ranakpur which is located in the remote valley of Aravali range. It is situated in the Pali district to the North of Udaipur. It has one of the largest and most important Jain Temples in the country. The place is well connected through a road network to other places in the region. Ranakpur is named after Rana Kumbha whom Dharna Sah, a Jain businessman, approached when he had the vision of his great temple to ask for the land for its construction. Renowned for some marvelously carved Jain temples in amber stone, Ranakpur is one of the five holiest places of the Jain community and exceptional in beauty. ( Click on the images for the bigger view).

Jain Temple

Ranakpur is one of the five holiest places of the Jain community. It is famous because of some marvelously carved Jain temples in amber stone, of exceptional beauty. The dating of this temple is controversial but it is largely considered to be anywhere between the late 14th to mid-15th centuries.

This temple is dedicated to Adinatha. The temple occupies an area of approximately 60 x 62 meters. The temple, with its distinctive domes, shikhara, turrets and cupolas rises majestically from the slope of a hill. The temple is designed as caumukha—with four faces.The construction of the temple and quadrupled image symbolize the Tirthankara's conquest of the four cardinal directions and hence the cosmos.
Entering the temple one is overwhelmed by the the lavish abundance of marvelous stonemason works on white marble. There are four subsidiary shrines, 24 pillared halls and all in all 1444 columns each from one piece and all rich decorated with most elaborate sculptures. The pillars, carved in exquisite detail, support the temple. The pillars are all differently carved and no two pillars are the same.

Also all the statues face one or the other statue. The artistically carved nymphs playing the flute in various dance postures at a height of 45 feet are an engrossing sight. In the assembly hall, there are two big bells weighing 108 kgs. whose sound echoes in the entire complex.

There is one beautiful carving made out of a single marble rock where there 108 heads of snakes and numerous tails. One cannot find the end of the tails. The image faces all four cardinal directions.

Carvings in the ceilings are not alike. There are approximately 6 big ceilings and many more smaller ones. The carvings in the big ceiling are amazing and they are very different from each other.

One of the smaller ceiling has carving of Ohm. It is impossible to count number of ohms carved into it. It is a beautiful carving one should not miss.

Sun Temple

Ranakpur is widely known for its marble Jain temple, and for a much older Sun Temple which lies opposite the former. It was built around the 13th century and renovated in the 15th century. Built of white lime stone in the classic Nagara style, the temple shows a profusion of intricate sculptural work. It consists of a sanctum crowned with Shikhara and an octagonal mandapam which has six verandas. Exterior of the sanctum contains the sculptures of Sun God seated on a chariot.

From Ranakpur we traveled to Mount Abu, Hill of Wisdom

Ranakpur ---> Mount Abu 181 kms

P.S: December is the month when lot of tourists land in Rajasthan. So if you really want all the arrangements to be done properly this has to be done before October end.

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