The Jain Temple at Ranakpur

Driving in Rajasthan in India has its rewards. A slight detour off the road from Jodhpur to Udaipur, led us to the magnificent Jain temple of Ranakpur. We were only an hour from Udaipur but with the Aravali Hills around us, we felt us though we were miles away.

Jainism is a religion who’s main belief is of non violence towards any living thing. This includes the tiniest living micro-organisms to insects and larger species. They also try not to injure plants…root vegetables are not eaten as pulling up these vegetables involves killing the entire plant. Honey is also forbidden as its collection would amount to violence against the bees.

The Jain temple at Ranakpur dates back to 1439AD. This date has been inscribed into one of the 1444 carved marble pillars that supports the many turrets, domes and cupolas…all of them marble…..the entire temple is constructed from beautiful white marble!

Ranekpur-5

 

The Jain Temple at Ranekpur

 

As we entered the temple, I was taken back by the sight of all these beautiful marble columns. The carvings are exquisite. Incredibly, no two columns are alike. There’s twenty nine halls within the temple complex and as well as the main temple, Chaumukha Mandir there are two other smaller temples and a sun temple.

 

The carved columns at the Jain Temple at Ranekpur

 

Carvings like the one below can be find in the temple. You can see how intricate the work is in the close up picture.  

Exquisite carvings at the Jain Temple at Ranekpur

 

 

Exquisite carvings at the Jain Temple at Ranekpur

 

One of the priests will welcome you to the temple by marking your forehead with a mixture of sandalwood coloured with saffron. They will also offer their services as a guide to show you around the temple in return for a small donation.  I can recommend it…it’s definitely the way to learn about the intricacies of this magnificent temple.

Jain Temple at Ranekpur

Temple worker making the sandalwood and saffron dye for the blessing,

 

Have you been to Ranakpur? 

 

Other articles you may enjoy:
Romantic Udaipur
Sightseeing in Jaipur
Udaipur’s Markets
The Faded Frescoes of the Shekawati

 

This post is part of the 2014 A to Z Challenge You can read all the posts on my theme “Off the Beaten Track”  here 

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13 Responses to The Jain Temple at Ranakpur

  1. Corinne April 21, 2014 at 11:28 pm #

    I have to admire people who can care for so many living things. Jain temples are always so beautiful. I love the carvings!

    • Jenny Freedman April 22, 2014 at 11:45 pm #

      You certainly do don’t you Corinne. This temple was magnificent….one of the best I have seen!

  2. Anabel April 22, 2014 at 12:58 am #

    I love the carvings too. It must be very hard to live as a Jain. I tried veganism once and found that impossible (well, for me, I know others who manage it.)

    • Jenny Freedman April 22, 2014 at 11:47 pm #

      It must be nearly impossible to live as a Jain,Anabel! I could very easily be vegetarian but I’m not so sure I’d be looking out for those annoying little insects such as mosquitos!

  3. Calli April 22, 2014 at 1:53 am #

    Those carvings are stunning, but my favorite picture is definitely that last one. The lighting is so magical 🙂

  4. Denise Hammond April 22, 2014 at 2:58 am #

    India is definitely on the short bucket list, but at the rate I am going, I need to live to at least 95 to see everything I want to.

    • Jenny Freedman April 22, 2014 at 11:48 pm #

      I know the feeling Denise! I’m starting to panic too about not seeing all that I want to see. I have to live to 95!

  5. Tamara April 22, 2014 at 10:59 am #

    We have been to Ranakpur, and it’s as gorgeous as you describe. We could spend hours looking at those carvings. Your photos are wonderful as well. We’ve heard that strict followers of Jainism sweep the ground before them as they walk to make sure they don’t step on any insects!

    • Jenny Freedman April 22, 2014 at 11:55 pm #

      Thanks Tamara. Yes, I’ve heard that they do that as well! It’s an exquisite temple isn’t it! I agree, I could sit for hours taking it all in.

  6. Contented Traveller April 22, 2014 at 3:28 pm #

    It would not be easy. The carvings are incredible – so much skill

    • Jenny Freedman April 22, 2014 at 11:53 pm #

      Very hard I would imagine though if you’ve been bought up with it, I’m sure it’s a different story! The carvings are even better than they look in these pics!

  7. Sandy April 22, 2014 at 11:01 pm #

    Beautiful pictures, such intricate carvings. Why is the person in the last picture covering his mouth and nose? Is there something dangerous about the work he’s doing? What does the mark on the forehead mean?

    • Jenny Freedman April 25, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

      Thanks Sandy. The Jains cover their mouth and nose so they don’t breathe in and kill any living organisms. It has nothing to do with what he s doing. The mark on the forehead is a blessing….I’m not sure of the exact meaning but a prayer and blessing is said as they touch your forehead.

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