Places ofPeace and PowerPeace and Power

Ranakpur

Ranakpur Jain Temple, Rajasthan
Ranakpur Jain Temple, Rajasthan (Enlarge)

Situated in the Aravalli Mountains in the state of Rajasthan, about 56 miles (90 kilometers) north of the city of Udaipur, the beautiful marble temple of Ranakpur is one of the five most important pilgrimage sites of the religion of Jainism. Constructed between 1367 and 1432 (some sources say 1458), the temple is named after the Rajput monarch Rana Kumbha, whom the Jain merchant Dharna Shah approached after he had a vision of the temple. Designed by Dipa Shilpi, the temple is in the form of a Nalinigulm Vimana, a mythological aircraft, which Dharna Shah had seen in his vision. Having a ground floor covering more than 48,000 square feet (4460 square meters), the three-story complex contains a four-sided temple, called a Chaumukh, four subsidiary shrines, twenty-four pillared halls and domes supported by 1,444 intricately carved columns, and two large bells weighing 238 pounds (108 kilograms). Within the Chaumukh temple is a four-faced statue of Adinath. Also known as Rishabhanatha, Adinath is the first of twenty-four tirthankaras, or enlightened beings, of Jainism and according to legend he attained enlightenment on Mt. Kailash in Tibet.

Statue of Tirthankara Sumatinatha, Ranakpur Jain Temple
Statue of Tirthankara Sumatinatha, Ranakpur Jain Temple (Enlarge)

Other important temples in the complex include the Parsavanath Temple (dedicated to the 23rd tirthankara), the Neminath Temple (dedicated to the 22nd tirthankara) and the Surya Temple (with a statue of the Sun God in his chariot driven by seven horses). These temples are in turn surrounded by a number of smaller shrines and domes, each dedicated to other tirthankaras. The entire complex is covered with fine, lace-like carvings of foliate scrollwork, dancing nymphs, images from Jain mythology, and geometric patterns. In the 17th century, during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, the temple was plundered and thereafter fell into ruin, only being restored to its former glory in the early 20th century.


Statue of Tirthankara Parshvanatha, Ranakpur Jain Temple
Statue of Tirthankara Parshvanatha, Ranakpur Jain Temple (Enlarge)

Carving of Jambudweep, the Jain depiction of the terrestrial world with holy Mount Meru at the center
Carving of Jambudweep, the Jain depiction of the terrestrial
world with holy Mount Meru at the center (Enlarge)

Rajasthan Elephant
Ranakpur Jain Temple (Enlarge)

Ranakpur Jain Temple
Ranakpur Jain Temple (Enlarge)

Ranakpur Jain Temple
Ranakpur Jain Temple (Enlarge)

Ranakpur Jain Temple
Ranakpur Jain Temple (Enlarge)



Ranakpur Jain Temple, India