Rajasthan is famous for its art treasures, some of which are among the best in the world. The Ranakpur Jain Temple excels them all.
Located in the village of Ranakpur near Sadri town, the temple lies around 95km north of Udaipur city.
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Nestled in the Aravalli Hills, its construction began in 1437 following a divine vision received by local Jain businessman Dharna Sah to build a temple dedicated to the first Jain Tirthankara — Lord Adinath.
The temple and its town are named after their patron Rana Kumbha, the Mewar hero of Kumbhalgarh fame.
Designed by Dipa Shilpi, the shrine is in the form of mythical aircraft Nalinigulam Vimana, which Sah had seen in his vision.
Having a ground floor covering over 48,000sqft, the three-storey complex contains a four-sided temple called Chaumukh.
It has four subsidiary shrines, 24 pillared halls and domes supported by 1,444 intricately carved columns, with two large bells weighing 108kg.
A stunning fact about these columns is that they change colour from golden to pale blue every hour during the day.
Inside the Chaumukh temple, is the four-faced statue of Adinath, who according to legend attained enlightenment on Mt Kailash.
A number of temples dot the complex, including the Parsvanath Temple, Neminath Temple and the Surya Temple.
The entire complex is covered with images from Jain mythology; fine, lace-like carvings of foliate scrollwork, dancing nymphs and geometric patterns.
During the reign of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in the 17th century, the temple was plundered and fell into ruins. It was only in the 20th century that it was restored to its former glory.
The Ranakpur Temple was nominated among the top 77 wonders while deciding for new Seven Wonders of the World. Though it didn’t figure on the list, the Ranakpur Temple is undoubtedly a wonder to behold.