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Ranakpur TempleRanakpur (The Jain Temples in Aravali)
Ranakpur in the state of Rajasthan is one of the five most important pilgrimage
sites of Jainism. It is home to an exceptionally beautiful temple complex in the
Aravali ranges and a must visit for the tourists coming to this region.
Ranakpur is tucked away in a remote valley
in the Aravali range. It is situated around 60 km north of Udaipur in Pali district
and boasts of one of the largest and most important Jain Temples in the country.
The place is well connected through a road network to other places in the region.
The climate of Ranakpur is tropical with
the mercury climbing up to a maximum of around 42°C and a minimum of around
22°C. Winters are only a little colder with a maximum of around 20°C
and a minimum of around 11°C. The annual total rainfall is around 55 centimeters.
Winter months (October-March) are the best for visiting this place.
Ranakpur is named after Rana Kumbha whom Dharna Sah,
a Jain businessman, approached when he had the vision of his great temple to ask
for the land for its construction. Renowned for some marvelously carved Jain temples
in amber stone, Ranakpur is one of the five holiest places of the Jain community
and exceptional in beauty. Situated at a distance of around 60 km from Udaipur,
these temples were constructed in the AD 1439.
The Ranakpur Jain Temple was built during the reign of the liberal
and gifted Rajput monarch Rana Kumbha in the 15th century. The basement is of
48,000 sq. feet area that covers the whole complex. There are four subsidiary
shrines, twenty-four pillared halls and domes supported by over four hundred columns.
The total number of columns is 1,444 all of which are intricately carved with
no two being alike. The artistically carved nymphs playing the flute in various
dance postures at a height of 45 feet are an interesting sight. In the assembly
hall, there are two big bells weighing 108 kg whose sound echoes in the entire
complex. The main temple is a Chaumukh or a four-faced temple dedicated to Adinath.
The three other Jain temples in the same complex, including a temple
of the Sun God, are all well worth a visit. One kilometer away from the temple
complex is the temple of Amba Mata.
Kumbhalgarh is a
historical site around 30 km northeast of Ranakpur. It is the most important fort
in the Mewar region after Chittaurgarh. The other important place to visit in
Kumbhalgarh is a wildlife sanctuary known for its wolves.
Sadri, eight km away, is famous for some beautiful temples and an old dargah of
Khudabaksh Baba. The Varahavtar temple and the Chintamani Parsvanath temple are
the oldest of the temples situated here.
Temples at Desuri
Three temples, dedicated to Lord Shiva, Lord Hanuman and Navi Mata are among
some noteworthy temples at Desuri around 16 km from Ranakpur. An old mosque situated
here is also worth a visit. A temple dedicated to Parsuram Mahadeo, nestled in
the hills, is also close by.
Another nearby place, Ghanerao, abounds in Hindu
temples. Most notable is the temple of Gajanand with a life-size statue of the
goddesses Riddhi and Siddhi. The statue in the main shrine is guarded by idols
of Hanuman and Bhairon on either side.
The Muchhal Mahavir temple is situated about five km from Ghanerao
in the Kumbhalgarh Sanctuary. Its distinctive feature is the statue of Lord Mahavira
with a mustache. The two statues of elephants guarding the gateways are splendid
examples of temple decoration. In the vicinity are the Garasia tribal villages
famous for their colorful costumes.
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