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RanakpurTemple, Ranakpur,Rajasthan, India

Ranakpur, Rajasthan, India Divine trance in marble
Jainism

The Ranakpur temple is located in Indian state of Rajasthan. This temple is one of the finest examples of Maru- Gurjara style of architecture. It is situated in village of Ranakpur near Sadri town in the Pali district of Rajasthan. This temple is one of the five major Tirths (pilgrimage places) pertaining to Jain sect. The temple and its unique style of construction signify Tirthankara's conquest of the four cardinal directions. In Jainism a Tirthankara is a savior who has succeeded in crossing over life’s stream of rebirths and has made a path for others to follow. 

The Ranakpur temple is an ode to God in marble. Constructed from pristine white marble, this temple transforms you to another world altogether and takes you to a state of trance. One needs to be jolted out of this feeling to realize the magnificence of this temple.

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Overview

History and Belief

The construction of the temple was started in the 15th century CE by Dharna Shah, a local businessman. He was deeply influenced by Acharya Somasundarji who dedicated his life to spirituality and devotion.

Dharna Shah took vow of lifelong celibacy while visiting Shatrunjaya, one of the prime places of Jain pilgrimage. He decided to build the temple dedicated to Lord Adinath, the first Tirthankara of Jainism (in Jainism, a Tirthankara is a savior and spiritual teacher of the dharma). One night he had a vision of Nalinigulma Viman (a beautiful celestial plane) in his dreams.  He was so enchanted by the Nalinigulma Viman that he decided to build a temple just like it. 

He invited many artists, explained them the concept but to his dismay none of the designs could reproduce the Nalinigulma Viman that he saw in his vision. Ultimately a free-spirited artist named Deepak submitted his design to Dharna Shah. Designs were impressive and Dharna Shah requested Deepak to build temple of unique architecture. Dharna Shah also requested King Rana Kumbha to give some land to him for the construction of the temple. The King heeded his request on condition that the town where the temple would be built be named on his name hence the town is known as Ranakpur and the temple as Ranakpur temple.

For many years the temple was lying in state of ignorance until in the year 1897 AD the administration of the temple was transferred to Seth Anandji Kalyanji Trust who took proactive measures for the renovation of the temple to its old glory. This activity completed in the year 2001. The trust also took many measures to look after the comfort of the pilgrims and tourists.

 


Architecture

The external appearance of the temple looks like Nalinigulma Viman (a beautiful celestial plane) as Dharana Shah had liked it to be.

The Ranakpur temple is a vast temple complex consisting of seventy-six small domed shrines, four Rangamandapas (assembly halls), four Mahadhar Prasads (Principal Shrines) situated in the four directions, a number of big and small Devakuikas (subsidiary Shrines).

Within the complex there are four major temples, the Chaumukha Temple, Parsavanath Temple, Amba Mata Temple, and Surya Narayana Temple.  The Chaumukha temple has greater significance as this temple is dedicated to the presiding deity Lord Adinatha who is depicted as having four faces here, hence the term Chaumukha (four faced).

One can enter the temple from any of the four entrances which lead to the main chamber. This chamber leads to the main hall or Girbha Griha, where the idol of the presiding deity Lord Adinatha is placed. The idol of Lord Adinatha is four-faced and connotes the search of the Tirthankara in the four directions and the cosmos for eternal peace. This idol is a mesmerizing work of art as it includes an array of sub-shrines and cupolas.

One of the major attractions of the temple is its exquisitely carved pillars with domes. It is estimated that the number of pillars could run to 1444. It is noteworthy to mention that none of these pillars block the view of other pillars which is an architectural feat. Beautifully carved columns support the domes. The upper and lower part of the domes are themselves magnificent work of art as they include sculpture of the deities. It is amazing to note that each column and pillar has its own distinct design which is different from the other.

When visiting the temple, one should not miss the sculpture of engraved nymphs playing flute in various postures on the roof which is 45 feet above and the stone-slabs depicting Sahasrafana (a cobra with thousand hoods). On seeing these sculptures, one does get the feeling that the artist has thrown life in these sculptures by immaculate detailed work.

Another major attraction in this temple is the shrine of Lord Parsavanath. One cannot help admiring the elaborately sculpted windows of the shrine depicting Jain deities. Near to this temple, there are two other temples are which are dedicated to the Surya Narayana (Sun God) and Neminath. The idol of Sun God in chariot is one of the finest examples of Jain architecture.

The immaculate and exquisite architecture of the temple is acclaimed all over the world and it has been chosen as one of the top 77 wonders of the world.

 

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3 interesting Facts & Myths about RanakpurTemple, Ranakpur,Rajasthan, India

  • 1. It is believed that the columns in the temple change their color from golden color to pale blue after every hour of the day. 

  • 2. The temple Mandapas two bells weighing 108 kilograms each.  

  • 3. One famous myth relates to story of Parshava. Once Prince Parshava came across an ascetic performing Yagna (fire penance) in forest. With his divine sight, he observed that a snake was trapped in one of the logs being used in Yagna. He released the snake and in the process interrupted the ceremony. Naturally the ascetic was infuriated and in the next birth as a celestial being decided to interrupt penance conducted by Prince Parshava by bringing down heavy downpour. However, the snake released by Prince Parshava was reborn as Lord of Naga (Cobra). As a sign of gratitude for saving his life coiled around Prince Parshava thus saving him from drowning and spread his thousand-headed hood over prince. This total story is inscribed in the temple and the inscription of Prince Parshava with thousand headed snake over him is big draw for tourists and devotees alike.

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Programs

Daily programs

The temple is open for Jain pilgrims at 06:00 AM till 07:00 PM and for non-Jains 12:00 PM noon to 05:00 PM.

Special programs

Ranakpur festival is held in October with great pomp and fare. The main highlight of this festival is performance of Rajasthani folk dances and other Indian dances at outdoor hall of Surya Narayana mandir. This festival is a big attraction for tourists and devotees alike and should be on one’s must watch list.

Travel

How to travel

The best time to travel Ranakpur is in winters i.e. between October to December as at that time the weather is pleasant and cool. Summers tend to very hot and uncomfortable. Once can also attend the Ranakpur annual festival held at that time.

Ranakpur is situated amongst the Aravali range of mountains. The nearest major town is Udaipur which is well connected to all the major cities in India. Ranakpur is 68 kilometers away from Udaipur airport and 166 kilometers away from Jodhpur airport.

By train one has to reach with Khimel or Falna towns which are 27 kilometers away from Ranakpur. However, it is preferable to opt for Udaipur station as it is a major well-connected station.

One can avail bus Falna and Nathdwara towns which are 27 kilometers and 44 kilometers respectively from Ranakpur.

VISITING DAYS/HOURS

Jains 06:00 AM to 07:00 PM, Non-Jains 12:00 PM noon to 05:00 PM

Entrance Fee

There is a fee of INR 200 for all tourists. This includes audio guide to the temple.

Travel Tips

  1. One can take Cameras and Smart phones in the temple only after payment of INR 100 for camera and INR 200 for smartphones;
  2. As is tradition in many temples of India, menstruating women are not allowed in the temple;
  3. Leather goods are not allowed in the temple as it is against principles of Jain religion.

 

See RanakpurTemple, Ranakpur,Rajasthan, India on map

Nearby Attraction

  1. Parshuram Mahadev Temple:This cave temple is special as it is located 3995 feet above the seal level and has naturally created idols of Lord Shiva and Lord Ganesh. It is located in the scenic valley of Aravali hills in Rajasmund near Ranakpur;
  2. Nimbo Ka Nath Mahadev temple: As per the legend, it is believed that the Pandavas stayed in this temple during their exile. It is located on Falna to Sanderao route;
  3. Golden temple-Falna: This temple holds very special place amongst Jain community as the ladies of Jain community donated about 90 kilograms of gold for the idol of the deity in the temple. It is the first temple constructed by the Jain community.

Contact

  • Physical Address : Girnar Hill, Near Sadri Town, Pali District, Ranakpur, India
  • Phone : +91 72220 15635

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