Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Thursday, May 19, 2022

Ranakpur

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ranakpur is a village located in Desuri tehsil near Sadri town in the Pali district of Rajasthan. It is located between Jodhpur and Udaipur, in a valley on the western side of the Aravalli Range. 

 

 

Ranakpur is widely known for its marble Jain temple, said to be the most spectacular of the Jain temples and is one of the five most important pilgrimage places of Jainism. There is also a small Sun temple which is managed by the Udaipur royal family trust. 

 

 

The renowned Jain temple at Ranakpur is dedicated to Tirthankara Rishabhanatha. 

 

 

Dharna Shah, a local Jain businessperson, started construction of the temple in the 15th century following a divine vision. The temple honours Adinath, the first Tirthankar of the present half-cycle (avasarpiṇī) according to Jain cosmology. The town of Ranakpur and the temple are named after the provincial ruler monarch, Rana Kumbha who supported the construction of the temple.

 

 

Light colored marble has been used for the construction of this grand temple which occupies an area of approximately 48,000 square feet. The temple, with its distinctive domes, shikhara, turrets and cupolas rises majestically from the slope of a hill. The most striking visual element in the temple is the layout of pillars which ensures than none of them obstructs the view of the sanctum sanctorum. Over 1444 marble pillars, carved in exquisite detail, support the temple. The pillars are all differently carved and no two pillars are the same. It is also said that it is impossible to count the pillars. Also all the statues face one or the other statue.

 

 

There is one beautiful carving made out of a single marble rock where there 108 heads of snakes and numerous tails. One cannot find the end of the tails. The image faces all four cardinal directions. In the axis of the main entrance, on the western side, is the largest image. The moolnayak of this temple is a 6 feet tall white colored idol of Adinatha.

 

 

The roof of the temple has five large shikhars, of which the largest crowns the central sanctuary while the other four top corner shrines. Four Rangamandapas (assembly halls), four Mahadhar Prasads (principal shrines), and 84 big and small Devakuikas (subsidiary shrines) complete the picture.

 

 

The temple is designed as chaumukha—with four faces. The construction of the temple and quadrupled image symbolize the Tirthankara's conquest of the four cardinal directions and hence the cosmos. The architecture and stone carvings of the temple is based on the Ancient Mirpur Jain Temple at Mirpur in Rajasthan.

 

 

The sun temple at Ranakpur dates back to the 13th century CE. After its destruction, it was rebuilt in the 15th century. A temple dedicated to Suparshvanatha is also present here. The temple has an intrinsic architecture & this temple is also famous for erotic arts on the wall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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