Ranakpur is a village located between Jodhpur and Udaipur in Rajasthan, in a valley on the western side of the Aravalli Ranges. The lush valley surrounded by steep mountains and rushing waterfalls is also adorned by exquisite, carved in marble, Jain temples.
Dating back to the 15th century, the Jain temples of Ranakpur were constructed by Rana Kumbha, the then ruler of Chittorgarh. Enclosing the temples from all the sides is a strong wall. The main temple is the Chamukha temple, dedicated to the Jain tirthankara Rishabdeoji. This temple has a four-faced statue of Rishabdeoji in its inner sanctum. Also, enclosed in the temples are four subsidiary shrines, 24 pillared-halls and 8 domes supported by over 400 columns. The most fascinating feature of the temples are their columns.
There are a total of 1,444 intricately carved columns, of which not even two are the same. The shrine also has a corridor around it, containing niches for tirthankara images, each having its own spire. In the temple, are images of Adinath (north west), Parshvanath (north east), Ajitnath (south-east) and Lord Mahavir Swami (south west). The assembly hall contains two big bells weighing around 108kg.
Watch a video of the temple here
Also, at a height of 45 feet, there are artistically carved images of nymphs playing the flute in various dance postures. Facing the main temple is a small shrine dedicated to Prashvanath. In the inner sanctum of this shrine, is a black image of the Prashvanath. Ranakpur complex is one of the biggest and most important Jain temples in India.
Two other temple worth visiting in the complex are the ones dedicated to Parsavanath and Surya God. The former is also known as the Patriyon Ka Mandir and is renowned for its pierced windows studded with Jain figures and pictures of attendants of maidens. The Surya Narayan Temple has an exquisite idol of Sun God in his chariot which is drawn by seven horses. There is another temple dedicated to Amba Mata.
Our suggestion is whenever visiting Jodhpur or Udaipur do make sure that you visit Ranakpur to get mesmerized by the unique and highly intricate carvings made years ago.