The Jain Temple in Rajasthan at Ranakpur is an architectural masterpiece and is a place of pilgrimage for Jain worshipers. It is about 95 km north of Udaipur and was built in 1439. It is one of the largest temples for the Jain believers.

Other names for it is Chaumukha Mandir (Four-Faced Temple), and also Adinatha. It is dedicated to the first Jain Tirthankar.  In Jainism, the main belief in simple terms is nonviolence and respect to all human beings. There are around 12 million followers in India today.

 

Jain Temple in Rajasthan
Ranakpur Jain Temple

 

Jain Temple in Rajasthan

Architecture

The temple sits majestically on a hillside. It is designed with four faces. This is a representation that symbolises Tirthankara’s conquest of the four directions and therefore the cosmos.  One of the first things that strike you is that there are no complete walls anywhere.

Sunlight streams into the temple and reflects off the magnificent carvings and white marble pillars. This results in a subtle change of colour with the passing hours of the day from warm golden shades to colder blue tinged marble. There are 29 pillared halls,80 domes and 1444 marble pillars covering an area of 60x 62 metres or around 48 000 square feet It took 65 years to complete. The architecture and stone carvings of the temple are based on the Ancient Mirpur Jain Temple at Mirpur in Rajasthan.

 

ENTRANCE TO THE RANAKPUR JAIN TEMPLE - CHAUMUKHA TEMPLE
Jain Temple in Rajasthan Entrance

Highlights of the temple

Marble pillars

The temple has 1444 pillars, none of which are identical. This is in keeping with the Jain philosophy to remind us of man’s imperfections. The intricate carving on each of the pillars is unique and is exquisite when you examine them up close.

 

 CARVED MARBLE PILLARS THE JAIN TEMPLE RANAKPUR
Carved marble pillars

Inside the domes

Most of the carving on the domes resemble lace. If you look carefully you will see that the upper and lower sections of the dome are linked by sculptures of deities. At the top of the pillars holding up the dome, there are nymphs playing musical instruments and dancing.

 

INSIDE THE DOME OF THE JAIN TEMPLE AT RANAKPUR
Carving detail inside the domes

 

Intricately patterned ceilings

The ceilings are adorned with geometric patterns. Once again no two ceilings are alike.

 

GEOMETRIC PATTERNED CEILINGS AT RANAKPUR TEMPLE
Patterned ceilings

 

Significant works

The carving of the deity of Shri Parshwanathjee depicts 108 heads of snakes and numerous tails, where the snakes are acting as the Protector. One cannot find the end of the tails. The carving faces in all four cardinal directions.

 

CARVING OF THE DEITY OF SHRI PARSHWANATHJEE - RANAKPUR
Carving of Deity

 

Below the carving is a  representation of Mt. Sahtrujava, where 863 Jain temples cluster near Palitana.

 

CARVING REPRESENTATION OF MT. SAHTRUJAVA - RANAKPUR
Carvings representation of Mt. Sahtrujava

 

Elephants

There are several sculptures of elephants at the temple, both inside and out. There are also numerous engravings on the exterior walls as well. There is a particularly beautifully carved elephant with a mahout placed at the centre of the Chaumukha Mandir.

 

ELEPHANT & MAHOUT - RANAKPUR
Elephant and Mahout

 

Pilgrims in the prayer hall

In the mandap (prayer hall), there are two big bells weighing 108 kg each which produce a harmonious sound when rung. Pilgrims can be found at prayer in the main sanctuary. There are priests who will happily offer a blessing to devotees. It is a wonderfully tranquil place.

 

PILGRIMS RECEIVE A BLESSING - RANAKPUR
Pilgrims receiving a blessing

The Jain Temple in Rajasthan will blow you away. If you like architecture you will be amazed at the detail and the beauty of the temple.

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Ranakpur Jain temple in India
Jain Temple in Rajisthan

 

Ranakpur Jain Temple
Ranakpur Jain Temple

 

 

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8 COMMENTS

  1. The temple is absolutely stunning!

    I’m vegan and have always been fascinated how Jainism takes it one step further. One day I plan to travel to India and do my research. Thank you for the beautiful photos ????

    • Jainism is a really interesting concept. As a vegan you will find India a sublime place to visit. I’m glad that you enjoyed the pics 🙂

  2. This is absolutely amazing, what beautiful works of art! I have always loved India and I wish I could see it one day 🙂

    • The temple is a masterpiece. The carvings are exquisite. I am sure you will get to India one day ……

  3. I visited Ranakpur last year. I explored Jaipur, Udaipur, Ranthambore in Rajasthan and it’s really a beautiful state with culture. Yes, Ranakpur is famous for its Jain Temples and all the temples have beautiful carvings on stones and walls.

    • It is a gorgeous state. I also really enjoyed visiting Udaipur and a couple of the other towns in Rajasthan as well which I hope to write about in the near future.

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