RANAKPUR JAIN TEMPLE – A GUIDE
Devotion is a powerful tool that can make anyone travel any leaps and bounds.
It is an anchor of belief that perpetuates the prowess of human emotions, so much so that creating something unimaginable seems possible. And, Ranakpur temple under India’s temple tourism is a living example of this any day.
Walk into the oasis of spirituality at the Ranakpur Temple in Rajasthan.
Revered as the paradise for Jain devotees around the globe, and a potential contender of the “wonder of the world list”, this temple redefines beauty with splendid architecture and carvings.
Accompanied by a picturesque drive through the countryside of the state, a trip to Ranakpur is drop dead gorgeous.
It’s a treat for anyone who loves exploring the hidden gems of the world and also enjoys learning about different cultures.
Wondering what makes this place stand out on your Rajasthan adventure? Well, read into this blog and get to know about it yourself.
Before we talk about Ranakpur Jain temple
Ranakpur temple in Rajasthan is dedicated to Adinatha, first Tirthankar of the present day half-cycle in Jain Cosmology.
No idea what that means? Well, let’s break it down for you.
Tirthankaras are spiritual leaders in Jainism that are revered to have conquered the cycle of life and rebirth on their own.
They are sacred among their followers because they open up a passage for others to get rid of the cycle of rebirth as well.
There were 24 of these spiritual leaders in Jainism in the present cycle. And, Adinatha was the very first propagator of dharma out of them.
But that is not the only reason why this name is famous on the golden pages of Jainism.
The fact that he was the founding father of the Ikshvaku dynasty makes his position in the religion very profound.
Now that you know the significance of this deity, it’s time to talk about the majestic temple.
The manifestation of a dream construction:
History of Ranakpur Temple revolves around the prophecy of a bigger vision.
It is the epitome of the imagination of four devotees- Acharya Somasundatsuri, Dharma Shah, Rana Kumbha, and above all Depa or Depaa (the architect of this man-made wonder).
Dharma Shah laid the foundation of this temple during the 15th century as a part of a “bigger plan”.
His idea was supported by the then ruler Rana Kumbha, who also aided the businessman financially to commence this architectural masterpiece.
Legend has it that Dharma Shah once dreamed about a celestial plane. It was at that moment he decided that he wanted to build a temple to look just like that.
In the gist of which, he invited a plethora of sculptors and artisans but he wasn’t pleased by anyone’s design, until, he met Deepa who helped him turn his dream into reality.
Later, Shah requested the ruler of Mewar, Rana Kumbha for land. Since Dharna Shah was also a minister in his court, the king agreed.
To return the favour and as a gesture of gratitude, the temple was then named ‘Ranakpur’ after the gracious ruler, Rana Sanga.
It took the temple 50 years to concrete its name into the golden pages of Indian history. However, after these 50 laborious years, the result was absolutely worth it.
For two centuries, the temple was a paragon of devotion. However, for a brief time everything went downhill.
As history recollects, around the 17th century, during the reign of Aurangzeb, the entire region was ravaged by war.
As the invaders advanced to Ranakpur, the priests, scared to lose the statues to the hands of invaders, hid them in cellars and fled.
With the temple vandalized and priests missing, the temple fell into neglect, so much so that at one point this place became the refuge of dacoits.
However, with the onset of the 20th Century, the community took notice of the temple and its architectural prowess and decided to restore it.
Intelligently designed Ranakpur Temple layout
Chaumukha Temple/ Ranakpur Jain temple’s architectural inspiration was a ‘Nalini gulm Vimana’ (heavenly aircraft).
So, it was only fair for it to turnout as a celestial marvel.
Moreover, this shape not only made this temple whimsical but also very massive.
So much so, that it took an area of whopping 40,000 ft2 to confine the vision of Dharma Shah. As a result of which, even today, this three storey structure stands sturdy as the ivory enchantress of the desert.
This complex has a main temple, two smaller temples and a sun temple along with 29 halls, 84 idols and intricately carved Shikhar Raj Meena Pillars that speaks volumes about the architectural finesse of the artisans during those times.
Once you enter the complex, you’ll be embraced by four entrances that will lead you to the inside chambers.
These four entrances are symbolic to the main deity of the temple who is Chaumukha (Four Faced).
After walking past these chambers, you’ll enter the main hall/ Mandapa where the idol of Chaumukha Adinatha resides.
In Jainism, there is a reason as to why the deity faces four directions. According to this religion, the idol being four faced symbolizes the four directions and the far-fetched extents of the universe.
This ‘mandapa’ or the prayer hall boasts of two mammoth bells weighing 108 kg each. The roof of the temple has five large shikhars, of which the largest crown bejewels the central one.
This complex also features four Ranga Mandapam (assembly halls), four Mahadhar Prasads (principal shrines), and 84 big and small Devakuikas (subsidiary shrines) to complete the ensemble.
There are 80 domes in this temple, each with a unique theme representing important elements of Jain theology.
Globally acclaimed Pillars
Ranakpur Temple is supported on 1444 marvellously carved pillars. All surprisingly distinct from one another. This makes them a spectacle to encounter.
Talking about pillars, do you know that these pillars are arranged in such a manner that they allow ample light and air to penetrate into the complex?
Not only this, these pillars change colours every hour from gold to deep blue.
Last but not the least, all the chambers in this complex open up to a dancing hall, which then opens up to five Shikharas.
Note: Shikaras in the temple is the symbol for Mount Meru that is considered sacred MOUNT MERU.
In Spotlight: Intricate Carvings
No doubt; there are a plethora of carvings in Ranakpur temple. However, the following are the ones we really want you to explore while you are there on a Rajasthan adventure.
Let’s start this list with the very gorgeous carving of the wish-fulfilling tree called the “Kalpavriksha”. In Jainism, children are born in pairs without any karma.
These Kalpavriksha (total 10 in number) grants them 10 distinct wishes for abode, garments, food, light etc. for a comfortable existence.
2. The man with five bodies
This carving is a figurine of a man with five bodies, depicting fire, water, air, heaven and earth.
Can you notice the difference of colour shade in the above figure?
This difference in shade is because of the restoration work that took place in the 20th century like those mentioned above.
3. The sculpture of Parshvanatha
Above carving is one of the most famous pieces of Ranakpur temple admired for its details.
Carved from a single marble, this sculpture represents 108 snakes protecting Parshvanatha, the 23rd Tirthankar of the present day Jains.
A little back-story for fable lovers: Parshvanatha is the first Tirthankar for whom there is a historical evidence.
He was the one who established the “four-fold restraint” for his followers, which is a set of four vows that prevent them from killing, stealing, lying and owning property.
4. Pillar carvings of Ranakpur
In the picture above is the carving of nymphs playing the flute in various dance postures. The carvings on these pillars are mostly floral motifs and abstract designs.
5. Flamboyant elephant sculpture
This elephant carving is yet another sculpture that’s worth mentioning. For starters, there is a strange ritual among devotes to pass under the sculpture for some reason.
This sculpture flaunts a graciously jeweled elephant with a mahout riding it and a lady lying at the back.
6. The amalgamation of religions at the entrance
At the entrance of Ranakpur Temple, you’ll come across a beautiful doorway decked in carvings.
If you look closely, you’ll find the figures of Hindu gods and goddesses here. Don’t believe us?
Look to the top left of this image and you’ll find the sculpture of Lord Ganesha from Hinduism.
Other Ancient Temples in Ranakpur:
Within the ivory boundaries of this bestowed temple, there is another revered site celebrating Suparshvanatha in Jainism.
Suparshvanath Temple is another major attraction of Ranakpur. This temple was constructed in the mid 15th century and known for its carved windows.
Leave aside the structural grandeur that bejewels this place, much to people’s surprise, this temple is also famous for erotic arts on its wall
Sun temple or Surya Narayan Temple
Ranakpur temple is home to another ancient temple that dates back to the 13th century CE.
Devoted to the Sun God, this temple resembles the sun temple of Konark.
Built in Nagara style with multiple intricate carvings of warriors and horses, this temple is a treat for the eyes.
This temple was also plundered during the Muslim invasion. However, it too was rebuilt in the 15th century.
Sethi ki Badi Mandir
Are you a fan of exquisite mural? Then, welcome to Sethi Ki badi the third temple after the Jain temple in Ranakpur temple complex.
Dedicated to Shwetambar, this temple is no less than any other structure within the complex.
It is another small doses of what you already loved about the main temple, which is; heaps and heaps of beauty.
Outside the Ranakpur temple complex:
Chougan ka mandir
Although Chougan ka Mandir is outside Ranakpur temple complex, it is worth mentioning as it too is laden with beautiful architecture.
This temple is famous for an idol of the first Tirthankar of next time cycle.
Within vicinity are two other temples. One dedicated to Shantinatha and the other to Mahavira.
Planning your Ranakpur temple tour
Location of Ranakpur temple
Ranakpur temple is located in the Desuri tehsil of Saduri town. A part of the Pali district in Rajasthan, this temple is somewhere between Jodhpur and Udaipur.
Talking numbers, these temples are located 162 kms from Jodhpur and are around 91 km from Udaipur in the western side of the Aravalli Range.
How to reach
As Ranakpur is a mobile town, the only ways you can reach this place is via rail and road. If you are traveling here by air, then, the nearest airport will be in Udaipur.
Maharana Pratap Airport, Udaipur.
There are daily flights that connect Udaipur with Jodhpur, Jaipur, Mumbai and Delhi.
Udaipur to Ranakpur Jain Temple – 93kms (1hrs 51min)
Road Distance from famous cities of Rajasthan.
Udaipur City – Ranakpur Temple: 93kms ( 2hrs )
Jodhpur City- Ranakpur Temple: 156kms ( 3hrs )
Jaipur – Ranakpur Temple: 357kms ( 5hrs )
Nearest Railway Station:
Distance to Falna from
Jodhpur – 170 kms
Jaipur – 341 kms
Falna to Ranakpur Temple distance is 34kms(36mins)
Entry fee to Ranakpur Temple: 100 for Indian National and 200 for a foreign National.
Extra Fee for professional cameras: 100 INR.
Opening and Closing Hours:
Ranakpur Temple Timings: 12 PM TO 5 PM
Should one take a Guide in Ranakpur Temple?
Yes, despite all the in-depth information we’ve rendered, having a guide in a temple like this, is a big time help.
One, the structure is massive so without a guide, there are chances that you can miss out on some carvings.
Second, only a guide can help you with every piece’s history or telling you whether it’s restored or not.
How to cover Ranakpur temple on a road trip?
Undoubtedly the best way to cover Ranakpur Temple and Kumbhalgarh Fort is on a Udaipur to Jodhpur Road trip.
Hit the road at Udaipur (via Rajasthan SH 32) and in 2 hours you’ll reach Ranakpur.
It will hardly take you 2 hours to explore every nook and cranny of this place.
Later, you can travel to Kumbhalgarh Fort for a little adventure in history and then further, head for Jodhpur.
What are some rules for travelers in Ranakpur Temple?
- While there is no set attire for Ranakpur Temple, the authorities expect travelers to dress modestly. Other than that, if you are a women, kindly cover yourself properly including your legs.
- Visitors cannot take anything made of leather inside the premises of this temple complex. So, if you have any leather item it will be deposited at the entrance.
- You have to pay a donation of 100 rupees for carrying camera into the premises. However, even if you are carrying a cell phone with a camera, it will also be considered as a camera.
- While exploring do not touch the deity or any of the carvings in the complex. Not only is it against the rule, it is also disrespectful to the religion.
What are the other things to do near Ranakpur Temple?
There are a plethora of things that you can do while on a trip to this magical land. Amongst which, the top picks are mentioned below.
Wolf Spotting in Ranakpur
Seeing a wild animal from close proximity is a popular bucket list item, if it’s on yours too, then, taking a trip to the Joba Wolf Point might render you all the pleasures that are attached to spotting wildlife.
Yes, we actually mean all of it, the adrenaline rush, and the uncertainty and of course the jaw-dropping, once you spot these wild animals.
The best part about this experience is that you’ll get to do a little off-roading for 6 kms to reach the Joba Village from Ranakpur. Isn’t that just amazing?
Treks from Ranakpur Temples
Are you someone who likes to blaze a trail? Then the offbeat 6-hour long trek on the laps of Aravalli will surely entice you in a heartbeat.
Trekking through the monochrome jungles, encountering wildlife is the highlight of this trek.
There are thick forests, water streams and steep slopes, perfect ingredients to make a wonderful trek.
Interested? Then these are the few treks you can take:
- Ranakpur to Thandi Beri Trek
- Ranakakar Trek
- Ranakpur to Kumbhalgarh Trek
- Roopmati Trek
Pamper the wildlife lover in you at Sunset Leopard Jungle Safaris
Imagine, an orange streaked sky with the wind brushing on your face and the roars of leopards in the background.
Wouldn’t that be an adventure of a lifetime? Well, we second that!
Areas near Ranakpur Temple Rajasthan are blessed with natural bounty.
So, it makes absolute sense to make the most out of it on a visit here and take back memories, or for that matter, pictures of leopards against the setting sun. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it?
Rekindle your inner naturalist at Tirthankar Nature Trail
If you are a naturalist with a knack for flora and fauna, then, you are in for a treat. Tirthankar Nature’s trail flaunts the wide ranging of the Aravalli Range.
Here, forget about the time when Rajasthan was just about forts and palaces, it’s certainly has a bigger and brighter picture that you can peek into while on a nature trail here.
Click! Click! Click! At Ranakpur Dam
Are you a fan of panoramic views? Then, Ranakpur brings you the oldest Rajasthani dam that’s also the hub for avid bird watchers.
Just pull out your camera and capture the magic that the place beholds. Believe us, you won’t be disappointed.
If you are planning on visiting it, take an early morning hike and you’ll be stunned with the beauty that will surround you. Also, this place is great for sunset views, so, don’t miss it for the world!
What are some attractions near Ranakpur Temple?
About 32 km east of Ranakpur lays Kumbhalgarh, a remote historical fort, bringing to life the chivalrous and warlike Rajput era.
It is guarded by humongous walls, making it the rightful successor of the Great Wall of China in every aspect.
Kumbhalgarh was the most important Mewar fort after Chittorgarh.
If taken into consideration all the forts and palaces of Rajasthan, Kumbhalgarh was where the rulers took refuge in times of danger.
History gives the testimony of the strength of this fort with an incident where the combined forces of Amber, Marwar and Mughal emperor Akbar couldn’t breach the thick walls of this fort.
Walls of this fort stretches for 36km and they’re so wide in some places that eight horses can ride side-by –side. Inside the structure, lie around 360 intact and ruined temples.
As a matter of fact, some of them are so old that they date back to the Mauryan period in the 2nd century BC.
Other than that, for your excursions, this fort also has palaces, gardens, step-wells and 700 cannon bunkers.
Come bridge the present to the past, at a village stay in Rajasthan.
Here, you will get to experience that part of Rajasthan’s culture and heritage of a city that is less explored by travelers.
Located only 9 km from Ranakpur, the Sadri village is a great place to connect with the colossal roots of Rajasthan.
Here you’ll get the opportunity to interact with imminent artisans and buy some one-of-a-kind pieces that will later adorn your living space.
Sadri acts as a gateway to Mewar and is the major worship place for the Jain community/
That’s not all. If you are a photographer, and you love to capture life, then you might have hit a jackpot. Click some amazing frames while visiting the local bustling bazaars and temples nearby.
About 6 kms from Ranakpur you’ll find the quaint town of Narlai settled beneath a ginormous hill.
Besides being in close proximity to the Jain haven Ranakpur, Narlai is the hub for Hindu temples.
If you want to see village life in all its less-glittery light, you can consider this place for a brief visit.
Famed to have equally exceptional carving like Taj Mahal, Dilwara Temple in Rajasthan is a treat on any Rajasthan itinerary.
Built in the 11th and 13th century AD amid the picturesque hills of Mount Abu, Dilwara temples have a unique aura that is hard to explain.
These remarkable Jain temples are Mt Abu’s pride. It is an understatement to say that these temples feature some of India’s finest temple carvings.
They have resided in this wilderness for centuries and have served the purpose of embarking peace into the region.
Keeping aside the beauty that its renders, the fact that the artisans were paid according to the amount of dust they collected, encouraging them to carve ever more intricately are just remarkable.
Udaipur has an unmatched romantic setting in all of Rajasthan and to be honest in all India.
Draped in the crystal curtains Lake Pichola amid the nutty Aravalli Range, Udaipur looks like pearl from a distance.
This city is famous for its pristine palaces, temples, Havelis (traditional Manors) and countless narrow, timeless streets that give this city its life.
There is so much to do in Udaipur beyond the usual palace hunts.
This includes enjoying the serene boat rides on the lakes, enjoying the bustle and colour of bazaars, falling for beautiful arts scenes and enjoying the wonder that is life.
In the patronage of the mighty Mehrangarh Fort, is the blue city of Rajasthan, creating a spectacle on its own.
Brimming in cultural facets and arrays of indigo blue houses, this ancient settlement is a star on every Rajasthan itinerary.
This blue city is free of blues.
Come here for the elixir of life, for the winding streets and bustling bazaars.
For the leap in history that can make you travel in time and for the jump in future that justifies the chaos that surrounds it.