Ranakpur temple lies in the Ranakpur Village of Pali district in Rajasthan. The temple was named after the renowned ruler of Mewar, Rana Kumbha. This temple is world famous for being one of the five most important Jain shrines in India. Ade entirely of light colored marble, this temple instills awe with its engraved designs and grandeur. It was built in the fifteenth century and is known for its unique Jainism design and architecture. The large complex of the temple houses Chaumukha temple, Parsvanath temple, Neminath temple, Amba Mata temple and Surya temple also. Amongst all these, Chaumukha temple, shaped like a Nalinigulm Vimana (Heavenly Aircraft), is a major attraction and is dedicated to the first Tirthankara of Jains Rishabdev, also called Adinath. The Neminath temple honours the 22nd Tirthankara Neminath and the Parsvanath temple, also called 'Patriyon Ka Mandir', is devoted to the 23rd Tirthankara. The Surya temple, dedicated to Sun God, shows an idol of Lord Surya driving his chariot of seven horses.
It is believed that, the Ranakpur temple was built in the 15th century under the direction of Seth Dharna Shah, who was a follower of Jainism and a businessman by profession. He constructed the temple with the help of Rana Kumbha, the king of Mewar whose condition for help was that the temple be named after him. It is because of the complexity of the temple structure that it took around sixty five years of careful construction. The basement of this colossal temple is spread over 48000 sq. ft. There are four entrances to reach the main chamber where the idol of Adinath is placed. There are five pillars in the temple and each holds idols of various Tirthankaras; the biggest pillar, standing in the centre of all others, holds an idol of Adinath.
This temple is a masterpiece of carved motifs. The main hall has twenty four towered halls with eighty domes supported by four hundred pillars. There are more than 1444 marble pillars embellished with complex carvings and each pillar has a different design hence, none of the pillars are identical. One might get surprised at the sight of the inscribed nymphs playing flute in different dance poses at a height of 45 feet. Another piece of attraction is a stunning marble piece which has 108 snake-heads and various tails carved into it with such intricacy that it is impossible to find the end of the tails. Apart from this, another amazing fact about these pillars is that their color changes from golden to pale blue as the light falls on them.
In the main prayer hall, there are two huge bells of 108 kg which create a melodious and symphonic sound. This temple is adorned with twenty unique cupolas and arcades. The idol of Tirthankara Adinath has four faces, each facing a different direction, in accordance to the belief that he rules the main four directions of the world. The ceilings of the temple are tastefully adorned with geometric patterns and foliate scrollwork.
The best time to visit this temple is between October to March as during any other time, northern India can be very hot and dry.
How to Reach
One can reach the shrine easily as it is connected with almost all parts of Rajasthan. It is at the distance of 95 kms from the main city of Udaipur.
The pilgrimage is near Udaipur so you can reach the Udaipur airport and from there you can hire a taxi or can go by bus to Ranakpur. Udaipur is connected to all the major cities of India.
The nearest railway station to Ranakpur is also Udaipur which is very well-connected to the rest of the country. You can also reach Falna railway station which is connected to major cities like Delhi, Ajmer and Jaipur.
Ranakpur is also well-connected to many big cities via roads and a dense network of regular buses. Both private and buses can be availed from places like Chittorgarh, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Mumbai and Indore to reach the shrine.
Ranakpur temple is undoubtedly praiseworthy for its breathtaking and marvelous architecture which makes it a famous tourist site. It is said that when the Mughal Emperor Akbar went to this temple, he was so mesmerized with the temple's sheer beauty that he engraved his message on one of the pillars. The message says that no one is allowed to destroy this architectural gem under any circumstances. This temple was also nominated among the top seventy seven wonders by the committee designated to elect the Seven Wonders of the World.