November 26, 2017: Ranakpur: The Most Delicate Jain Temple

 
Rajasthan abounds with stunning but extremely popular highlights, so it is extremely tempting to stay “On The Beaten Track” and focus on a very classic route, rushing from one monument to the other, especially if you have a limited amount of time at hand. There are nonetheless real jewels or typical aspects that do not receive as much attention as they deserve - One of them is Ranakpur.

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This Jain Temple of white marble is one of the five major pilgrimages of the Jains. Built in the 15th Century, Ranakpur is one of the largest and most important temples of the Jain cult. The main temple, the Chaumukha Mandir (Four-Faced Temple), is dedicated to Adinath, the first Jain Tirthankar (a person who has conquered Samsara, the cycle of death and rebirth, and provide a bridge for others to follow them from Saṃsara to Moksha, the liberation). No less…
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Ranakpur exhibits the most delicate carvings, on its walls of the 29 halls, on the 80 domes and on the 1,444 (!!!) unique columns, all in white marble. Like Kumbalgarh, this temple makes a fascinating stop between Udaipur & Jodhpur that should not be missed!

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You are absolutely right. Not only is Ranakpur a convenient stopping-off point between Jodhpur and Udaipur, it is also one of Rajasthan's gems. We spent several hours there last year exploring both the main temple and the adjoining one. There were a few other tourists there, but it seems that most tours bypass the site completely.

Ranakpur temple is surely one of the greatest sights of India in my opinion, the scope of intricacy baffles the mind; there is hardly anywhere I can think of that is suffused with the sense of spirituality.  Jains, of course, do not have god(s), they revere Tirthankaras as portals to enlightenment, and in many ways westerners can find this easier to relate to.

I was personally carried away by this feeling, and an overwhelming sense of peace and contentment that has stayed with me. My group and I partook of the simple food offered to pilgrims and visitors with humility and gratitude.

 

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