Ranakpur

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The grandest of the Jaina temples built after 1300 is the Adinath Vihara at Ranakpur. It spread over an area of 3720 square meters and the twenty nine halls are supported by420 pillars. The construction work of this temple began in 1389 and was completed in the year 1389.  The contributions of the four people who worked for the construction of the temple are worth noting. First and foremost person who was the main cause for the construction of this temple  was Acharya Somasundara Suri, a great religious leader during the 13th and 14 century. Dharan shah a devotee of Acharya Somasundara Suri a minister in the court of Rana Kumbha  took personal interest in the construction of the temple. He was supported by king Rana Kumbha who gave all the support needed for the construction of the temple. He supported the noble cause by giving the land required for the construction of the temple. The artistic and the attractive plan of the temple was the idea of architect Depaka who worked according to the guidance of Dharan Shah. His artistic ideas has contributed in making the temple very attractive.

Seven metals are used – gold, silver, bell – metal, brass, lead, copper, zinc etc. The foundation is 35 feet deep under the ground and the temple is at a height of 102 feet from the ground. The land under the temple is of 48 thousand square feet. There are 1444 pillars. The whole temple is on pillars. The workmanship of each pillar is different. This temple has 84 idols. They suggest that 84 rotations of the wheel of this world can be got rid of here. A flag is raised on the fifth day of the bright half of the month of Fagan. Besides this, there are temples of Bhagawan Parshvanath and Bhagawan Neminath. The sun temple and the temple of Chakreshvaridevi are also there. From artistic and cultural viewpoints.

From artistic and cultural viewpoints, the whole temple is beautiful, splendid, matchless and outstanding among many wonders of the world. There are 24 pavilions in the – 4 big Meghamandaps and 20 small Rangamandaps. Every pavilion has a different artistry. 76 small temples and 8 groups of five tirths remind us of Nadol and Varkana in the east and Nadlai and Muchchhala Mahavir in the south. In the temple, there are many things worth seeing. From the top of the steps of the chief gate (the western gate), one sees very splendid carvings of leaves of the wish – fulfilling tree. Like the wish – fulfilling tree, the carvings on the leaves fulfill the wishes of the pilgrims. On entering the temple, one sees to the right the idol of Diwanji, the mason, a native of Mandara. He was a yogi and lived in Sadhu’s dress. By the grace of his goddess, he made a plan of this temple. His descendents live there even today. They do the repairing work of the temple. To the left inside the temple, there is an idol of Dharana Shah. The temple was built at the cost of 15 crores of rupees in those days. His idol is made in a pillar so as to avoid the propaganda of his name and always he able to see God well. The Rayan tree, which was planted by Dharna Shah 500 years ago, is present even today. The idols of the feet of Bhagawan Risabhdev are there to remind us that Bhagawan Risabhdev attained omniscience under a Rayan tree. In the center to the right of the temple, Samavasaran of Bhagawan Mahavir is very artistically constructed with marble stone. When Bhagawan is giving sermons, the audience is sitting on three sides. King kumbhaji wished to make Kirtistambh for his fame. But as divine power would have it, it was not completed and remained incomplete. It is called adhuro thambhalo (incomplete pillar). The idol of Bhagawan Mahavir Swami and Risabhdev are face to face in the ambient passage. The idols are polished with real gems. They shine like glass. Air, water and seasons have no effect on these idols. They shine more brightly in the dark. These idols are 61 inches high. Powder is made of not one or two tolas of gems but many kilograms of gems many chemicals are mixed with the powder. Even after 600 years, the idols shine more and more brightly in darkness. The idols in the ceilings of the gates to the east and to the west have one head and five bodies. The incident of the harassment caused by Kamath to the thousand-hooded Parshvanath is very artistically carved. The tails of male snakes and female snakes are shown entangled. Sixteen female snakes help the male snakes to protect Bhagawan. The tails of male snakes and female snakes are very artistically interwoven and it seems that there is net – work of tails. It is a special feature of this workmanship that the whole carving is done on a single stone. The model of Shetrunjay was well designed to give an artistic description when the means and resources were not scientifically developed. The workmanship of the model is beautiful and praiseworthy. The idol of Bhagawan Parshvanath is made out of touchstone. The dolls in the domes are very splendid. The summit of the temple has the built – up area 136 feet. The summit is of plaster and not of marble. It is, therefore, not weighty. It is praiseworthy that the incident of harassment to Bhagawan Parshvanath is very vividly depicted. The temple is so artistically built that one can see God face to face from any corner. Though there are as many as 1444 pillars, not a single pillar comes in the way and the ventilation is equally good everywhere. The temple is so minutely sculptured that in the cold season, one does not feel cold in the temple and in the hot season, one feels cold in the temple. In the construction of the temples, walls are not used at all. In short, even in the modern scientific age, no architect can build such a temple and no engineer can make such a plan. Every pillar displays different artistry and carving design. Every picture has a different significance. Under the influence of the fifth era, the carving and significance are shown by mere stones but in the golden age, every doll would no doubt look dancing. The two pairs of bells are made of metal and they weigh 13 mounds. In each pair, one is a male and the other is a female. One produces a low sound and the other produces a heavy sound. The sound reaches as far as three miles. The sound of Om is produced in a lotus in the form of a navel and passes into the aperture at the crown of head. It lasts for one minute. The chandelier of the ceiling of the open square of the temple is pulled low at the center. This cannot be imagined. How the weight of stones is kept hanging unsupported is a puzzle.

After certain years of its construction pilgrims feared to visit this temple with a fear of theft and wild animals. Later this temple was renovated in the year 1933 under the Anandji Kalyanji trust with the renovation work lasted for eleven years. The most important and amazing fact of this temple is that the priest worshipping this temple is a Vaishnav. This temple has been worshipped by a single family of priests from the past fourteen generations. Every evening the grand pooja is carried out with the devotees assembling in front of the temple. They express their devotion by singing devotional songs and hymns on the God.

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Ranakpur is situated in the region Arvalli hills. The nearest railway station of Falna is at a distance of 35 Kilometers and the nearest at town of Sadadi is at a distance of 8 kilometers from Ranakpur. Good transport facilities are available to this place. The boarding facilities are available in the huge Dharmashala near the temple and in the guesthouses.

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Post Author: JHC