I am an admirer of great architectures. I do get fascinated seeing old, heritage and colonial architectures on my travels. The intricate details, skillfully carved, minute detailing on the stones, wood or marbles, make me admire any architectures for hours. Though I am not into pilgrimage or any religious trail, I do make exceptions if it demands. While planning my trip to Udaipur, Ranakpur Jain Temple was highly recommended to me. On my way back from Kumbhalgarh Fort, I decided to visit the famous Jain temple. The very first look of the massive structure, shining under the blazing Sun made a deep imprint on my mind.
Here are the reasons why it should be on your bucket list
To Know The History Behind The Temple
It was built in the 15th century by the Jain businessman, Seth Dharna with the help of the Maharaja Rana Kumbha. The Ranakpur Jain Temple is one of the most sacred and important pilgrimage sites for Jains. It took 50 years to complete this magnificent structure. According to the local legend, Seth Dharna Sah had a celestial vision to build a temple, dedicated to Adinath, the founder of the Jain religion. When he met the visionary monarch Rana Kumbh to share his plan, the king gave him the huge land to construct the temple and also advised him to build a township near the site.
He had invited many renowned artists and sculptors to share their design of this visionary temple. Nobody could impress him with their layout, except a simple yet extremely talented sculptor named Depa who had a clear vision about the temple which matched with Seth Dharna Sah’s plan. It is believed that during the laying of the foundation, the sculptor Depa had put the devotion of his patron Sheth Dharanashah to test by making him offer seven precious metals, pearls, rich stones, musk and other fragrant substances.
It was due to the vision of the Seth Dharna Sah, skillful execution of the sculptor and the generosity of monarch Rana Kumbh, that the dream took the shape of the temple and that’s how the Ranakpur Temple came into existence. The township around the temple was named Ranpur after the name of King Rana Kumbh. Now it is popularly known as Ranakpur.
To See The Architectural Brilliance
The Ranakpur Jain Temple is a sheer example of architectural brilliance. It will blow your mind when you see the exquisite details, marble carvings and the spectacular craftsmanship. The three-storied white marble architecture is quite eye-arresting. I must say that photos don’t justify the beauty of the Ranakpur Jain temple. You will be in awe once you step inside this huge structure. I was amazed and mesmerized by the grandeur of this place. It was a visual delight for the eyes and a perfect example of the wonder of art in the world. Though, the temperature is soaring high outside, but once you are inside, it is the most peaceful and cool environment.
Whether it is the high ceilings, lofty pillars, miniature sculptures on the pillars and the intricate carvings, it makes a beholder dazed in awe. It is astounding to know that the Ranakpur Jain temple is believed to have 1,444 pillars and not even one of them is similarly carved.
You can easily lose in counting the pillars and it can be called a treasure house of pillars. Whichever way your eyes roll, you can see endless pillars in every direction. You can spend hours admiring those minute carvings on those pillars.
More than anything, I loved the heavily carved and designed high ceilings of the temple. Once you look up, you will be lost in the immense sea of creativity and skillfulness of those sculptures.
The temple has two entrances, but no matter from where you enter the temple; you will land up in the central courtyard. The temple is also called as Chaturmukh Jain Temple due to the four faces of the idol Adinath in four directions. The four ornate Meghanada-mandapas add a unique charm to the sculptural beauty.
The Ranakpur temple is also considered as one of “The seven wonders of India.” The temple has 29 halls and 80 domes and despite these, it’s airy and well lit due to the natural source of light from outside. It also has a huge elephant sculpture in one of the courtyard which is quite prominent.
Close Proximity To Udaipur
Apart from the quintessential tourist places in Udaipur, a day trip to Ranakpur Jain Temple can be planned due to its proximity and the good connectivity. If you plan to visit this massive Jain temple, don’t forget to pay a visit to Kumbhalgarh Fort, which is around 60 km away from the temple. You can cover both the places during your day trip.
- Start early from Udaipur so that you can manage your time wisely to cover both the places. The drive from Udaipur to Kumbhalgarh fort is quite scenic and enjoyable.
- If you are travelling in summer season, make sure that you cover yourself well, carry an umbrella and a hat, water, sunglasses, as the summer heat is quite harsh in this part of India.
- Don’t forget to get tickets from the ticket counter and also inquire if they have additional charges for camera.
- Dress moderately while visiting the Ranakpur Temple.
- While visiting the Ranakpur Temple, you will not find any option to eat out except one or two on your way from Kumbhalgarh. So, I would suggest one should carry some food on a day excursion.
- Both the places require an ample amount of time to explore and admire. So do spend a considerable time at each place.
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