Popularly known as the Chaturmukha Dharana Vihara, the Ranakpur Jain Temple is one of the most important five Jain pilgrimage centers.
It is a Swetambara Jain Temple. It is listed amongst the Top 77 wonders of the world for its amazing architecture.
The temple is dedicated to Tirthankara Rishabhanatha and is located in the village of Ranakpur, near Sadri in the Pali district, Rajasthan.
The construction was started by Darna Shah, a local Jain business person in the 15th century. The Ranakpur Jain Temple is dedicated to Adinath (the first Jain Tirthankara).
He has been depicted in a Buddha-like posture in the paintings in the temple.
Ranakpur Jain Temple is known for its intricate carvings and mesmerizing architecture. It was built replicating Nalini-Gulma Vimana.
This was a heavenly vehicle that Dharna Shah saw in his dreams. The temple was built in the architectural style of Maru-Gurjara.
It is built using white marble and constructed amidst a forest. The temple’s name is because of its architectural design.
The main temple has four faces. This symbolizes Tirthankara’s conquest of the four cardinal directions and cosmos. It is built over an area of 48,000 square feet and is supported by 1,444 marble pillars.
It has twenty-nine halls and eighty domes. As a matter of fact, only one marble pillar is incomplete, and legends say that every time it was erected, the next morning, it collapsed.
According to the legend, it is almost impossible to count the number of pillars in the temple. The amazement is the nymphs playing the flute engraved in various postures at the height of 45 feet.
The temple also has a total of 84 bhonyra (this means an underground chamber) for concealing the Jain idols. This was done since, in earlier times, there were many Mughal raids on the Hindu temples.
The Ranakpur Jain Temple’s interesting thing is that the columns change their color from golden hue to blue after every one hour in the day.
The temple has a garbagriha. There are four openings to the sanctum leading to the rangamantapa or the dancing hall.
This, in turn, is connected to the two-storeyed mandapa, which again is connected to another two-storeyed mandapa known as the Balana and the nalimandapa.
The temple has five sikharas, amongst which the central one is the highest. The Sikhara of the temple is symbolic of Mount Meru, which forms the axis of Jambudvipa.
The temple is famous for its white marble Parshvanatha idol. It has 1008 heads of the snake and numerous tails.
Yaksha and Yakshi are two half-human and half snake-bodied chauri that stand on either side. Two elephants who purify Parshvanatha.
There are two other temples present in close proximity to the Parsvanath Temple. These are the temples dedicated to Neminath (22nd saint) and Surya Narayan (Sun God).
The Surya Narayan temple has numerous circular projections. The Sun God is depicted in his seven horse-drawn chariots.
The Mewar Dynasty patronized the temple building. Dhanna Shah was a Porwal from Ghanerao. According to his celestial dream, he wanted to construct the temple, so he approached Rana Kumbha.
Rana Kumbha agreed to give him land for construction but on the condition that the temple would be bearing his name, and hence the temple site came to be known as Ranakpur.
The temple went under renovation from time to time. Anandji Kalyanji Pedhi Trust took care of the temple in the past few centuries. Currently, the temple has a Dharamshala, bhojnalaya, and a club.
There is a school named the Vijya Shanti Shiksha Bhavan, which is also maintained by the trust.
When the ground floor was completed, Acharya Soma Sundar Suri of Tapa Gaccha (the largest Gaccha of the Svetambaras) supervised all the religious ceremonies. These are all described in Soma-Saubhagya Kavya.
The construction took around 50years (1446-1496). Ranakpur with Mucchal Mahavir, Narlai, Nadol, and Varkana is popularly known as the Gorwad Panch Tirth.
The temple shows Ashtapad, featuring eight Tirthankaras in a row, Girnar, and Nadishwar Dvipa.
Things to keep in mind while visiting the temple
- Mobile phones are allowed inside the premises of the temple at extra charges.
- Non-Jains are not allowed to worship inside the temple.
- It is open to the general public from 11 am to 5 pm.
- There are audio guides available at the entrance.
Nearby Places To Visit
Surya Narayan Temple: Surya Narayan temple is an aesthetically pleasing temple dedicated to Lord Surya or the Sun God. It has beautiful murals and sculptures on the walls. It features Suryadev riding his seven-horse chariot. The Amba Mata temple is situated close to the Surya Narayan temple. It also attracts a lot of tourists regularly.
Narlai: Narlai is a small village situated at the foot of a hill in Ranakpur and is a famous Hindu and Jain temple site. The village houses relics of the ancient period. There are a plethora of steep wells present in the village.
Desuri: Desuri has situated 16km from the Ranakpur town. This town is filled with beautiful temples. The town has an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Parshuram Mahadeo amidst lush green hills. The town has three temples dedicated to Hindu deities, namely Navi Mata, Lord Shiva, and Lord Hanuman. There is also an ancient mosque in the town.
Sadri: Sadri is a small town situated in the Pali district of Rajasthan. It is the landing place for the Ranakpur Jain temple and Shri Parshuram Mahadev Mandir. The gateway from Marwar to Mewar and earlier was under the reign of the Sindhal Rathore’s.
Ranakpur Markets: The markets here are perfect for buying lucrative colorful puppets, silver jewelry, and gemstones. There are potters showing their fine craft.
Also Read: Ancient and Historical Temples in India