Thursday, 12 October 2017

Ranakpur- Marvel in Marble

Ranakpur Temple is a marvel in marble. Built using light coloured marble, it casts different hues during different parts of the day. Pillars, beams, domes, ceilings, walls, elephants, arches-- everything is in marble. A photographer's delight, it is a must for visitors to Udaipur in Rajasthan India.

Fact File
  • Located 90 kms north west of Udaipur, 2 hour drive; regular buses and taxis available
  • Built in 15th century
  • Took 22 years to build
  • Women of neighbouring village donated 90 ounces of gold for construction of the temple
  • Chief donor: Mr Dharma Shah
  • Chief Architect: Mr Deepaka
  • Has 1444 pillars, 80 domes, 360 statues of Gods
  • Each pillar different from the other
  • Also known as 'Chaumukha' temple or four faced temple- one facing each direction East, West, North and South
  • Open for public from 12 noon to 5 pm every day
  • Entry Free for Indian nationals
  • Camera/Cell phone fee: Rs 100
  • No leather wallets, belts, bags allowed inside.
  • Local priests coming down 18 generations, can guide the visitors if requested
  • Audio guide also available
  • Veg lunch in Temple prenises at Rs 50/-
  • Resorts around Ranakpur for those wanting to stay overnight
  • Temple dedicated to Lord Adinath the first Tirthankara

Another tourist attraction nearby is Kumbhalgarh Fort. Ghumakkad's story on Pride of Mewar can be accessed here.
This picture story takes you around Ranakpur Temple as explained by the priest there. Four short video clips are embedded. We were a group of 24 friends from the Navy, called FFA. Click to know 'What is FFA'? 
Enjoy the pictures and videos.

For those readers not familiar with Jainism here is a quick note courtsey Ami Bhat, a travel blogger. Her story 'Five reasons why you should visit Ranakpur' makes interesting reading. In Ami's words, "Jainism is quite similar to Buddhism. It talks of inner peace, non-violence, tolerance and renunciation. The scriptures and teaching of Jainism talk of how the various preachers attained their Nirvana and various stories from their lives. This is what is carved on to the ceilings and sculpted pillars of this Temple."
 Here is what the priest explained about the temple and its history. Short 1:35 minute video for you:

Ranakpur temple had a tunnel as a safe escape route for the idols as well as the woshippers in times of an invasion. Perfect example of a Contingency Plan 600 years ago!The tunnel has since been closed. A short video clip for you.

 The temple has two huge bells which are rung only during the  time of 'Aarti' आरती. Interestingly one bell has been categorised as a male bell and the other female? What basis? Perhaps its size, tone, frequeny emitted etc. Never heard of temple or church bells being classified as male or female! Video clip for you.

The ceiling at the entrance is decorated with akichaka, a bearded man with five bodies representing fire, water, heaven, earth and air. It is an iconic carving of Ranakpur.
The most popular carving in the temple is of the serpent that protected Lord Parshwanath. Legend has it that a snake was trapped under some wooden logs that were piled up for a 'Yagya' यज्ञ by a Sadhu. Taking pity on the snake Parshwanath set him free. Later the same Sadhu wanted to kill the prince (Parshwanath) by drowning him through his powers to usher a storm. The same snake rescued Parshwanath by enveloping him and spreading his protective hood around him. The carving of the story in Ranakpur is so intricate that you cannot find the ends of the snakes. There are 108 heads of snakes in the carving. But no tails! You may try finding the tails in the picture below.

One last bit about Pillars of Ranakpur. There is an unfinished pillar in the temple. Why couldn't it be completed? Because of Rana Kumbha's 'ahankar' अहंकार  meaning uncontrolled ego, arrogance and narcissism combined together. 'Ahankar'  destroys logical reasoning and good governance. Short video clip:

Hope you enjoyed the marvel in marble-- as I prefer to call Ranakpur Temple.

Ghumakkad's next stop is an Island Palace in Pichola Lake. No, not the Lake Palace but another island close by called 'Jagmandir Island Palace'. Owned and managed by the Royal family of Udaipur, it is an exclusive venue for 'destination weddings'. We all spent an evening there. Preview picture for you.
Bye till the next story. Do share your comments/impressions.

Thanks for browsing

     -  Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/ 12th October 2017

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