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The Ranakpur Jain Temple is a majestic structure that towers over the forest-covered Aravali hills. This temple in Rajasthan is situated opulently on the banks of the River Magai, some 90 kilometers from Udaipur. One of the Indian subcontinent’s most outstanding architectural landmarks is the Ranakpur Temple. In addition to being a significant Jain pilgrimage site, the campus is home to several temples, including Chaumukha, Surya, Suparshvanatha, and Amba. The Chaumukha temple is the principal temple and the house of the main deity, Lord Adinath, the first Jain Tirthankara.
The Ranakpur temple has 24 pillared rooms with 80 domes and 1444 beautifully carved pillars, all of which are supported by 400 columns. No two standing pillars in the temple are identical because of their distinctive architectural style.
Ranakpur temple is one of the hidden gems of the country. Every marble on the wall wants to tell its story, and every design of carving on the marble demands your attention at all times. The outer side of the temple is full of designs and pure art, whereas the inside is calm and holistic. The presence of divine power is always felt at this monument, and here are just a few reasons why you should visit this holistic site.
Location: Ranakpur, Rajasthan
Nearest airport: Udaipur
How to reach: by air/ road/ railways
Famous for: Jain temples
Best time to visit: October-November
WHAT TO SEE
Ranakpur Jain Temples
The Ranakpur temple is a three-story monument with one magnificent story that every piece of marble speaks aloud.
A famous politician and trader named Dhanna Shah constructed the monument in the 15th century. One night, Dhanna Shah had a dream about a celestial car and instantly had a burst of creative inspiration. He awoke the following morning with a burning desire to construct a temple envisioned as a celestial transport. He traveled to Mewar’s Rana Kumba to make his dream come true. The emperor, who had been delighted by the vision, agreed to the request on the condition that the building bears his name.
Dhanna Shah began his search for someone who could aid him in transforming his vision into reality. He went to seek help from an eccentric ascetic, Deepak, who crafted a sketch for the monument so flawless and divine as if it were drawn by the hands of the gods themselves. The work began in 1389 CE, and it took 50 years of hard labor put in by thousands of sculptors and craftsmen to bring the Ranakpur Temple into being. The temple was established in 1437 CE.
The Ranakpur Jain Temple covers an area of 48,000 square feet. The land includes 29 halls and 80 domes, which are supported by 1,444 pillars! The carvings on the white marble are so beautiful that they never let a pair of eyes distract from them. In the largest spire of the temple, one can find themselves looking at a 6-foot-tall, four-headed statue of Lord Adinath sheltered by a 108-headed snake with numerous tails. There are four heads of Lord Adinath, which face four different directions. It is to be believed that they signify the pursuit of the Tirthankaras.
When you first enter the temple and look straight up, the geometric patterns and scrollwork will mesmerize your eyes. However, if you turn your head just 30 degrees, the carvings of nymphs and celestial maidens playing musical instruments on the ceiling will transport you to a different dimension.
Kumbhalgarh (30 km from Ranakpur): Under Rana Kumbha’s rule, Mewar reached its greatest potential. It was about the same time when he built the Kumbhalgarh Fort. This isolated fort is at a height of 1,100 feet above sea level. Kumbhalgarh is one of the most important forts in Mewar. The rulers used to retreat here in times of danger. Despite its use for strategic purposes by the ruler, the fort is also praised for its scenic beauty.
Udaipur (90 km from Ranakpur): Udaipur, the city of lakes, was the capital of the historic kingdom of Mewar. It embraces places where you can give your eyes and soul an absolute treat. Some of the places are the City Palace, Jagdish Temple, Gangaur Ghat, Dudh Talai, Jagmandi, and Lake Pichola.
Where to stay:
Mountbatten Lodge: Mountbatten Lodge is a lavish suite in a ruggedly scenic valley bordered by the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary. From Mountbatten Lodge, the Ranakpur Temple and the Kumbhalgarh Fort are right at your doorstep. It offers an experience of poise. It is also a rural haven away from the distracting voices of cities.
Fateh Bagh: Fateh Bagh is a successful attempt to relocate the fallen palace, faithfully preserving the rich Rajput architecture. The ambiance will take you back in time to the lifestyle of the royal families. There are so many things that occupy your time within an instant: a swim at the pool, a walk alongside the orchids, and of course, a visit to the Ranakpur Jain temples.
Mana Hotels: The Mana Hotel is located within the Aravalli Valley, 5 km from the Ranakpur Jain Temple and 45 km from the Kumbhalgarh Fort. Many chambers offer you a taste of wildlife in addition to ambiance and pleasure. Mana Rooms offers a range of rooms, from ground-floor villas to premium ones.