Home » Pilgrimage
In Rajasthan »
Dilwara TemplesThe exquisitely carved marble temples of Dilawara
in Mount Abu are the finest examples of Jain temples in India. The hallmark of
these temples is the crisp translucent shell-like treatment of marble, which surpasses
anything seen elsewhere.
No matter how much one hears or reads about these
temples, nothing can prepare one for the sheer elegance and beauty of marble as
displayed here. These temples were dedicated to their saints known as the tirthankars
and also served as storehouses of illustrated manuscripts and treatises.
Period of Temples The period from AD 800 to 1200 was one
of great social awakening and religious fervor among the people of this region.
Jainism (an ancient Indian religion that originated in 600 BC) found its firm
foundation in Rajasthan. With matrimonial alliances between Mughal and Rajput
rulers and a liberal policy towards Hindus adopted by the great Mughal Akbar,
this was a period of tranquility in most parts of Rajasthan. Old Hindu shrines
were renovated and new ones including the temples of Ranakpur and Dilwara, were
built during this period.
The basic structure of most temples in India is a room called the Garbha Griha
(sanctum sanctorum) where the idol of the main deity is kept. The temple is approached
by a flight of steps and is often built on a platform. A porch covers the entrance
to the temple, which is supported by carved pillars. A prominent roof called the
shikhara surmounts the top of the Garbha Griha, and dominates the surroundings.
Temple architecture in India is
broadly divided into the northern and southern styles and classified according
to the form and shape of the shikhara and the distinctiveness of its decoration.
The shikharas of the temples in south India tend to be made up of distinct horizontal
levels that diminish to form a rough pyramid. Each level is decorated with miniature
temple rooftops. The shikharas of the temples in north and central India, in contrast,
resemble an upturned cone that is decorated with miniature conical shikharas.
Dilwara Temples - No Comparision
The Jains built
some beautiful temples at other places in Rajasthan too but the best are undoubtedly
those at Dilwara - no other temple can come close to these in terms of architectural
perfection. The ornamental detail spread over the minutely carved decoration of
ceilings, doorways, pillars, panels and niches is simply marvelous while the translucent
shell-like treatment of marble surpasses anything seen elsewhere.
are altogether four important temples in Dilwara:
» The Vimal Vashi
» The Luna Vashi temple,
» The Adinath temple and
» The Parshvanath temple.
Among all these the Vimal Vashi and the luna
Vashi are the most notable.
Vimal Vashi Temple
Vimal Shah, the minister of Raja Bhimdeo (a local Rajput ruler), built the Vimal
Vashi temple in AD 1021. The temple is 98 feet long and 42 feet wide and is surrounded
by a high wall with 52 cells, or devkulikas, each of which is surrounded by an
arcade of carved pillars. In the main shrine is a majestic image of Adinath cast
in gold-brass alloy. The temple consists of an open portico and a vestibule formed
by a single grouping of pillars. The octagonal dome of the shrine is formed by
eleven concentric rings containing patterns of endless variety and is upheld by
eight carved columns. The richly carved corridors, pillars, arches, and mandaps
or porticoes are bewildering. On the ceiling are engraved rich and elaborate designs
of lotus-buds, petals, flowers, geometrical designs and scenes illustrating incidents
from the Jain and Hindu mythologies.
Luna Vashi Temple
The other important temple here is the Luna Vashi temple dedicated to the twenty-second
tirthankar Shri Neminathji. This magnificent temple was built in AD 1230 by two
brothers-Vastupal and and Tejpal, both ministers of Viradhawala (a local ruler).
The design and pattern of this temple was adopted from the Vimal Vashi temple,
which was built earlier. Here too, the walls, doors, pillars, mandaps, and ceilings
are adorned with ornamental relief carvings of a variety of subjects, from flowers
and animals to royal processions and battle scenes. The dome of the Rangamandap
is outstanding - it is divided into concentric compartments by richly sculptured
cordons, each intervening space being filled with elaborate and elegant designs.
The Hasthi-Shala or Elephant Halls here are ten in number and each contains a
white marble elephant, beautifully and proportionately carved and polished to
Mount Abu, where the Dilwara
temples are located, is referred to as Arbudgiri in ancient Hindu and Jain scriptures
and is the only hill-station in Rajasthan as well as a very important Jain pilgrimage
for right Tour Request, Price Quotation, Itinerary Suggestions, Bookings.|