Driving in Rajasthan in India has its rewards. A slight detour off the road from Jodhpur to Udaipur, led us to the magnificent Jain temple of Ranakpur. We were only an hour from Udaipur but with the Aravali Hills around us, we felt us though we were miles away.
Jainism is a religion who’s main belief is of non violence towards any living thing. This includes the tiniest living micro-organisms to insects and larger species. They also try not to injure plants…root vegetables are not eaten as pulling up these vegetables involves killing the entire plant. Honey is also forbidden as its collection would amount to violence against the bees.
The Jain temple at Ranakpur dates back to 1439AD. This date has been inscribed into one of the 1444 carved marble pillars that supports the many turrets, domes and cupolas…all of them marble…..the entire temple is constructed from beautiful white marble!
Ranekpur-5
 
The Jain Temple at Ranekpur
 
As we entered the temple, I was taken back by the sight of all these beautiful marble columns. The carvings are exquisite. Incredibly, no two columns are alike. There’s twenty nine halls within the temple complex and as well as the main temple, Chaumukha Mandir there are two other smaller temples and a sun temple.
 
The carved columns at the Jain Temple at Ranekpur
 
Carvings like the one below can be find in the temple. You can see how intricate the work is in the close up picture.  
Exquisite carvings at the Jain Temple at Ranekpur
 
 
Exquisite carvings at the Jain Temple at Ranekpur
 
One of the priests will welcome you to the temple by marking your forehead with a mixture of sandalwood coloured with saffron. They will also offer their services as a guide to show you around the temple in return for a small donation.  I can recommend it…it’s definitely the way to learn about the intricacies of this magnificent temple.

Jain Temple at Ranekpur
Temple worker making the sandalwood and saffron dye for the blessing,

 
Have you been to Ranakpur? 
 
Other articles you may enjoy:
Romantic Udaipur
Sightseeing in Jaipur
Udaipur’s Markets
The Faded Frescoes of the Shekawati