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Ravishing Ranakpur

Ravishing Ranakpur
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Ranakpur in Rajasthan, which is located between Jodhpur and Udaipur in a valley on the western side of the Aravalli Range, is well-known for its...

Ranakpur in Rajasthan, which is located between Jodhpur and Udaipur in a valley on the western side of the Aravalli Range, is well-known for its spectacularly beautiful marble Jain temple. Ranakpur has one of the biggest and most important Jain temple complexes in India, covering an area nearly 4500 square yards and 29 halls Beyniaz Edulji The two-hour drive to Ranakpur from Udaipur was extremely scenic. It was April, but Nature provided splashes of various colours: the soothing greens of trees and shrubs, the bright red of flowering Gulmohar Trees and the ever present brown rocks and hilly countryside. The temple, with its distinctive domes, turrets and cupolas rises majestically from the slope of a hill. Sparkling marble has been used for the construction of this grand temple. The marble felt ever-so-cool under my bare feet. What impressed me the most was the scrupulous cleanliness of the floors and gorgeous carved pillars. Over 1,444 marble pillars, carved in exquisite detail, support the temple. The pillars are all differently carved and no two pillars are the same. It is also said that it is impossible to count the pillars. Flower vendors inside the temple were selling their fragrant flowers in baskets. A priest came to show us a beautiful carving made out of a single marble rock where there are108 heads of snakes and numerous tails. One cannot find the end of the tails. The image faces all four directions. The temples are over 500 years old but are extremely well looked after. Ranakpur temple's beauty has been augmented by its isolated setting. Surrounded by the Aravali hills and located on the banks of Magai River, this grand and gigantic structure was erected in the 14th Century. The temples in Ranakpur are unique in style and design.
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The ceilings of the temples are carved with fine, lace-like scrollwork and geometric patterns. The domes are carved in concentric bands and the brackets connecting the base of the dome with the top are covered with figures of deities. The Temple is three storied, 102 feet high and its spread over an area of 48,000 sq. ft. The present structure of the temple came into being after 50 years of work put in by various artisans and sculptors. The land of this temple which situated at the foot hill of Madri Hills was gifted by Maharana Kumbha of Mewar. Along with this temple a small town, about 2 kilometers from the temple also came into existence. This town got its name from 'Rana' & was named 'Ranpur' which later came to be known as 'Ranakpur'. The temple is dedicated to the first Jain Teerthkar 'Lord Adinath'. It is built on high platform, which has about nine basements. It has 84 idols of Gods and demi-Gods. The special effects are provided by the sun's rays. There is an amazing play of shadow, light and colours. As the light shifts through the temple in the course of the day, the colours of the lacy pillars change from white to bluish to gold. The temple is also said to be bathed in a special ethereal light of moon beams on a full moon night. In the assembly hall, two big bells which weigh 108 kg each produce melodious sounds. When the mogul emperor Akbar visited this temple he was full of admiration got an inscription put on one of the pillars which says that no one will be allowed to destroy this incomparable jewel of architecture. There are many resorts and hotels in the lush green valleys for miles around the temple. The place where we stopped for lunch had drummers in colourful Rajasthani clothes at the entrance to welcome guests and make each one feel very special. The food was delicious and the ambience was unique since the tables and chairs were set in the middle of a mango orchard. Birds chirped and squirrels darted close to our table to look for treats. One even ate the peanuts offered to him from a spoon. Trekking around this area can be a wonderful experience as the backdrop of hills provides an ideal paradise for the nature lovers and the Trekkers. The Trekking routes pass through the valleys so that the dense forest, fresh water streams and steep hills provide enough adventure to the tourist. The most popular Trekking Route is the 25 km trek from Ranakpur to Kumbhalgarh. The natural environment around Ranakpur provides an ideal escape from urban life. There are a numerous spots ideal for viewing a number of species of animals & birds like the Indian Wolf, grey Jungle fowl, Sambhar, Leopard and Sloth Bear.
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