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Rajasthan in Details >> Temples of Rajasthan

Temples of Rajasthan


Temples of Rajasthan are known for their great architectural magnificence. The temples of Rajasthan reflect the artistic excellence of the sculptors of yester years. Some of the prominent temples of Rajasthan are Eklingiji temple, Dilwara Temples, Ranakpur Jain temples and the Mahavira Temple. The most common feature of the temples of Rajasthan, located in the western part, is single sikhara and intricately carved outer chamber known as Mandap.

Brahma Temple Pushkar
Brahma Temple is the only temple that is dedicated to Lord Brahma in India. Located near the Lake at Pushkar in Rajasthan, Brahma Temple receives many pilgrims to its doorsteps every year. Built in the 14th century, Brahma Temple commemorates Lord Brahma, who is considered as the creator of this Universe according to the Hinduism. Lord Brahma is one amongst the trinity of Hindu Gods, the other being Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. For the Hindus, Brahma Temple is an important pilgrim place. Raised on a high platform, the temple lies in the Pushkar valley that is known for its scenic beauty.

Brahma Temples PushkarPushkar is regarded as a holy place by the Hindus, since all the Gods & Goddesses of Hindu pantheon observed a 'Yajna' here. Moreover, the Pushkar Lake near this temple is believed to have been appeared when a Lotus flower fell from the hands of Lord Brahma in this valley. According to the Hindu mythology, once Lord Brahma was cursed that he would be not worshipped frequently by the people. Due to the reason, this is the only known temple in the world, where Lord Brahma is worshipped.

Constructed entirely in marble, the Temple can be easily identified with its tall red spire. The temple is accessible by a flight of marble steps. An image of 'Hans' (Goose) can be traced on the entrance of the main shrine. One can also spot the silver turtle, which is embossed on the floor in front of the sanctorum. In the vicinity of the turtle, many a silver coins are placed on the floor. Even, the inner walls of the temple are studded with silver coins.

The main shrine houses the life-size image of Lord Brahma with four hands and four faces, facing the four basic directions. An image of Goddess Gayatri, who is known as the milk Goddess, can be seen near the idol of Lord Brahma. The walls of the temple are adorned by beautiful images of Peacock and Goddess Saraswati. From the temple, there is a silver door that leads down to a small cave. This small cave comprises a temple of Lord Shiva.

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Dilwara Jain Temples Mount Abu
Dilwara Temples of Rajasthan are popular for their beautiful artistic work. Located near Mount Abu in Rajasthan, Dilwara Temple is easily accessible from any town or city of Rajasthan. Mount Abu is a beautiful and one & only hill station of Rajasthan. Several train services are available by Indian Railways for Mount-Abu from different cities. Dilwara Temple lies at a distance of 2.5 kms from Mount Abu. From Mount Abu railway station, many bus services and taxis are available for Dilwara Temple.

Dilwara Jain Temples, Mount AbuDilwara Temple forms a famous pilgrimage of the followers of Jainism. The striking use of marble, in the construction of this temple, is truly worth-admiring. However, the simple architecture of the temple, reminds one of the virtues of Jainism. Set amidst the picturesque hills, Dilwara temples are said to have built during the 11th and 13th century. In the huge temple complex, there are five shrines that are dedicated to Lord Adinath, Lord Rishabhdeo, Lord Neminath, Lord Mahavir Swami and Lord Parshvanath respectively.

Dilwara Temples are considered to be an example of perfect architecture, in terms of Jain Temples. The intricately carved ceilings, entryways, pillars and panels highlight the aesthetic appeal of this temple. For its mastery over architecture, Dilwara Temple is sometimes regarded as one of the most stunning pilgrimage sites of Jains. The temples of Vimal Vasahi and Luna Vasahi get the maximum attention due to their sheer size and grandeur.

Vimal Vasahi Temple
Out of the five temples, the first temple is Vimal Vasahi Temple that is dedicated to Lord Adinath, the first Jain Tirthankar Lord. In 1021, Vimal Vasahi Temple was built by Vimal Shah, the Solanki Maharaja of Gujarat. Encircled by a passageway, the temple is erected in an open square. This temple is adorned with carved passages, columns, arches and doorways. The ceilings of this temple are festooned with patterns of petals, flowers, lotus-buds and murals depicting scenes from the mythology.

There is a huge hall, which is known as Rang Mandap. This hall looks marvelous with its 12 ornamented pillars and beautifully carved out arches in the midst of a spectacular central dome. The temple also comprises an assortment of nine rectangular ceilings that is commonly recognized as Navchowki. Gudh Mandap is the main hall, where the idol of Lord Adinath is placed. Another feature is 'Hathishala' (Elephant Cell) that portrays a lane of sculpted elephants.

Luna Vasahi Temple
This is the second most important temple amongst the temples of Dilwara. Built in 1230, Luna Vasahi Temple is dedicated to Lord Neminath, the 22nd Jain Tirthankara Lord. The main hall of the temple is known as Rang Mandap. This hall comprises a central dome with a carved pendant. Here, not less than 72 figures of Tirthankars are positioned in a circular band.

Made on the same structural pattern, Luna Vasahi Temple also has a Hathishala with 10 marble elephants. Again, Navchowki holds nine delicately carved ceilings with intricate marble work. The main hall or Gudh Mandap has the idol of Lord Neminath that is carved out of black marble. On the left side of the temple, there is a big pillar made out of black stone by the name of 'Kirti Stambha'.

Pittalhar Temple
Pittalhar Temple is dedicated to Lord Rishabdeo, the first Jain Tirthankara Lord. Built by Bhima Seth, the temple comprises a huge image of Lord Rishabhdeo. This image is made of five metals and brass (pital) forms the major part of composition. Due to this fact, this came to be known as 'Pittalhar'. Once again, the temple contains a Garbhagraha, Gudh Mandap (main hall) and a Navchowki.

Parshvanatha Temple
In 1459, Parshavanath Temple was built by Mandlik. This three-storied building is dedicated to Lord Parshavanath, the 23rd Jain Tirthankar Lord. This has the tallest shrine at Dilwara. At the ground floor, there are four big halls on all the four sides of the chamber. The exterior walls are imprinted with striking sculptures carved out in gray sandstone.

Mahavir Swami Temple
Mahavir Swami Temple is the small structure that is dedicated to Lord Mahavir, the 24th Jain Tirthankara Lord. Built in 1582, this temple showcases several pictures on the ceilings of its portico.

Every year, thousands of devotees come to visit this pilgrimage of religious importance. This ancient temple attracts tourists as well, with its magnetic lure. Dilwara Temples truly present a sight to behold and to praise the artistic beauty of their magnificent structure.

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Eklingji Temple Udaipur
Eklingji Temple is a marvel structure carved in stone and one of the most famous temples of Rajasthan. Eklingji Temple is positioned in the small town of Eklingji, which is also known as Kailashpuri. In terms of national geography, Eklingji Mandir lies on National Highway No.8. The temple is easily accessible from all the cities and towns of Rajasthan. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Eklingji Temple was constructed by Bappa Rawal in 734 A.D. Ever since, Lord Eklingji became the presiding deity of the rulers of Mewar.

Eklingji  Temples, Nagda, UdaipurLater on, the temple was renovated and repaired by different Kings, to clean the remains of destruction caused by the attacks of Mohammedans. The outstanding structure of this temple boasts about the architectural science of those times. This double-storied temple is certainly an eye treat along with its pyramidal style of roof and beautifully carved tower. In the temple complex, the main shrine is comprised of a huge pillared hall (mandap). A colossal pyramidal roof makes the cover of this hall.

The entrance to this hall is adorned by a silver idol of Nandi. Inside the shrine, one can see two other images of Nandi, one is made out of black stone and the other is made out in brass. A mesmerizing aroma maintains the refreshing atmosphere of this temple. The shrine encompasses a remarkable four-faced idol of Eklingji (Lord Shiva). Carved out in black marble, the idol lengthens to the height of 50 feet. The four faces of the idol represent Lord Shiva in his four forms.

The east, west, north and south facing parts are recognized as Lord Surya, Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva respectively. The apex of this comprehensive idol is called as 'Yantra'. It depicts the ultimate reality of this life. A silver snake festoons the shivlingam (the phallic form of Lord Shiva) that gathers the major attention of the people. Here, the whole family of Lord Shiva can be sited including Goddess Parvati, Lord Ganesha and Lord Kartikay. There are idols of Goddess Saraswati and Goddess Yamuna as well.

The shrine also boasts of heavy silver doors that are imprinted with the images Lord Ganesha and Lord Kartikay. In the northern part of the complex, there are two water tanks by the names of Karz Kund and Tulsi Kund. For the services of the Lord, the water of these tanks is used. Shivratri is the major festival that is celebrated here with full enthusiasm and zeal. Since centuries, the divine aura of Eklingji Temple is attracting pilgrims and tourists to its doorsteps.

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Ranakpur Jain Temples
Ranakpur Temple is a beautiful structure carved in stone. Renowned for its fabulous architectural style, Ranakpur temple is situated in Ranakpur village that falls under Pali district of Rajasthan. For the followers of Jainism, Ranakpur temples are of great importance, as they make one of the five major pilgrimage sites. One can easily reach Ranakpur Temple from anywhere in Rajasthan. However, the nearest airport and railway station is made by the city of Udaipur. Acclaimed worldwide for its brilliant architecture, Ranakpur Temple is the largest and the most significant temples of the Jains.

Ranakpur Jain TempleRanakpur Temple is thought to have been built by Seth Dharna Shah, who was a prominent Jain businessman, with the help of Rana Kumbha in the 15th century. The king helped the Seth on a condition that the temples would be named after him and accordingly the temples were tabbed. Sited in a solitary valley on the western part of the Aravalli Hills, the temples are undoubtedly laudable for their wonderful architecture. The huge structure of the temple is entirely raised in light color marble. One of the largest subterranean vaults makes the base of this colossal temple sprawling in an area of 48000 sq ft.

The vast temple complex comprises Chaumukha Temple, Parsavanath Temple, Amba Mata Temple and Surya Temple. Chaumukha Temple is the most prominent amongst all of them. The term 'Chaumukha' means four-faced. Lord Adinath (the first Jain 'Tirthankara') is the main presiding deity of Chaumukha Temple. The complex structure of the temple has four separate entrance doors to penetrate in the chambers. These chambers lead to the main hall or 'Grabh-Griha', where the idol of Lord Adinath is placed.

The four-faced image of the Lord is facing all the four directions. This image suggests the pursuit of Tirthankara's for the four directions and eventually the cosmos. The idol of the Lord is encircled by many other smaller shrines and domes. Again, one more array of cells with detached roofs surrounds these small shrines and domes. The five spires raise high in the sky and not less than 20 cupolas elevate from the roof the main pillared hall. There is a shrine under each spire and the largest spire houses the image of the Lord Adinath. The ceilings are decorated with pliable scrollwork and geometric designs.

This magnum opus of architecture possesses around 1400 intricately carved pillars. The temple comprises 24 pillared halls in the company of 80 domes, which are sustained by 400 columns. A series of brackets makes a connection between the upper and lower parts of the domes. These brackets have sculptures of deities on their surface. Apart for this, the sight of carved nymphs at the height of 45 feet catches the main attraction. It is startling to know that every single pillar is carved gracefully and not one pillar resembles the other.

The 'mandap' or the prayer hall boasts of two colossal bells that weigh 108 kg each. Chaumukha Temple is shaped in the form of 'Nalinigulm Vimana' (heavenly aircraft). This beautiful shape and structure provide a celestial appearance to the temple. Perhaps, the temple took more or less 65 years due to the convolution of its structure. Besides Chaumukha Temple, Parsavnath Temple is another attraction of Ranakpur. This temple was constructed in the mid 15th century and known for its carved windows. In the vicinity of this temple, there are two other temples. These temples are dedicated to Lord Neminath (the 22nd Tirthankara) and Lord Surya Narayan (Sun God).

Distinguished for its architecture, Ranakpur Temple was also voted amongst the top 77 wonders of the World. The religious intensity and stunning architecture of the temple drag the pilgrims and tourists from around the World to the lands of Ranakpur.

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Karni Mata Temple Deshnok (Rat Temple)
Karni Mata Temple is a popular and unusual holy shrine of India. This Temple is in a small town of Deshnok, which is located at a distance of 30 kms in south of Bikaner in Rajasthan. Karni Mata Mandir is easily accessible by regular buses from Bikaner and Jodhpur. To ensure a comfortable journey, one can also opt for taxis that can be availed from anywhere in Rajasthan. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Karni, who is regarded as the incarnation of Maa Durga.

Karni Mata Temple Deshnok BikanerIn the 14th century, Goddess Karni is said to have lived and performed many miracles during her existence. Karni Mata was a mystic, who led a virtuous life committed to the service of the poor and the oppressed of all communities. The goddess is said to have laid the foundation of Deshnoke. As per the stories, once when her youngest son drowned, Goddess Karni asked Yama (the god of death) to bring him back to life.

Lord Yama replied that he could not return her son's life. Thus, Karni Mata, being an incarnation of Goddess Durga, restored the life of her son. At this point of time, she announced that her family members would die no longer; in fact they would incarnate in the form of rats (kabas) and ultimately, these rats would come back as the members of her family. In Deshnok, there are around 600 families that assert to be the descendants of Karni Mata.

The present temple dates back to the 15th century, when it was built by Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner. The striking façade of the temple is wholly built in marble. Inside the temple complex, one can see a pair of silver doors before the main shrine of the Goddess. These solid silver doors were donated by Maharaja Gaj Singh, on his visit to this temple.

In the main shrine, the image of the goddess is placed with holy things at her feet. Surrounded by rats, Karni Mata is holding a trishul (trident) in one of her hands. The image of Karni Mata is 75 cms tall, decked with a mukut (crown) and a garland of flowers. On her either side, images of her sisters are placed. Karni Mata Temple attracts numerous tourists and pilgrims throughout the year, due to its unique presiding beings.

The temple has around 20,000 rats that are fed, protected and worshipped. Many holes can be seen in the courtyard of this temple. In the vicinity of these holes, one can see rats engaged in different activities. The Rats can be seen here eating from huge metal bowls of milk, sweets and grains. To make the holy rats safe, wires and grills are sited over the courtyard to avoid the birds of prey and other animals.

It is regarded auspicious, if a rat (kaba) runs across one's feet. Even, a glimpse of kaba (white rat) is considered promising and fruitful. Twice a year, a festival is celebrated in the honor of Karni Mata. A grand fair is organized during this time and people come here to seek the blessings of the Goddess.

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Shrinathji Temple Nathdwara
Shrinathji Temple is one of the most revered shrines of Lord Krishna. Located at Nathdwara in Rajasmand district, Shrinathji Mandir is easily accessible from anywhere in Rajasthan. Nathdwara is small town that is truly famous for this temple. Shrinathji lies at a distance of 48 kms from Udaipur, the city of lakes in Rajasthan. Udaipur is well-connected to the major cities of the country by road, rail and air. From Udaipur, one can take regular buses or hire taxis in order to reach Nathdwara.

Built in the 17th century, Shrinathji Temple is dedicated to Lord Shrinathji (form of Lord Krishna). 'Haveli of Shrinathji' is the synonymous phrase used for Shrinathji Temple. The word 'Nathdwara' is made up of two terms, one being 'Nath' that means 'the Lord' and the other is 'Dwara', which suggests 'gate'. Thus, Nathdwara implies the 'gate of the lord'. Shrinathji forms an important pilgrimage site for the Vaishnavites.

Like other temples of India, Shrinathji Temple also has a story behind its foundation. As per the story, the idol of Shrinathji was consecrated in Vrindavan (land related to Lord Krishna). In the 17th century, Aurangzeb attacked the Hindu temples in rant and rave. To safeguard the idol of Shrinathji, many Rajput rulers tried their best, but all in vain. In 1672, Rana Raj Singh made an effort to liberate the idol from the monarchy of Aurangzeb.

Shrinathji Temples NathdwaraIt is believed that when the idol was being transferred to an unapproachable place, the wheel of the cart sank deep down in the mud at a particular place. The escorting priest perceived that this place has been chosen by the Lord himself. Consequently, the temple was constructed on the same spot. The temple is built in simple terms of architecture, yet the divine aura of this temple is eternal.

The striking idol of Shrinathji gets the major attraction and is actually worth seeing. A glimpse of Lord makes one to feel the aesthetic world. Shrinathji represents the form of Lord Krishna, when he raised the 'Govardhana' (a hill). Made out in black stone, the image of the Lord appears majestic with his left hand raised and the right hand confined in a fist. The Lord's chin is adorned with a dazzling diamond, which is visible from a distance.

Shrinathji Temple is one amongst the richest temples of India. It receives millions of rupees as offering to the Lord. The temple authorities possess approximately 500 cows and the milk of these cows, is used for the preparation of sweets and milk products. Among these cows, there is one cow that is considered as Shrinathji's cow. This cow is believed to have come from the lineage, which served the Lord from ages.

Formerly, the temple used to receive wagon-loads of food and these were whispered to be consigned by and consigned to Lord Shrinathji. The temple has food-grinders made of gold and silver. It is also said to have four wells of 'Desi Ghee'. The huge temple complex is divided into many sections, like the main shrine, food, Prasad, Priests' lodges and stiching department, where tailors stitch marvelous dresses of Shrinathji.

During the festivities of Holi, Diwali and Janmashtami, devotees come in large numbers. Besides Holi and Janmashtami, Annakutta is a major festival that is observed here with a whole-hearted passion. Non-Hindus are allowed to visit this temple, however with the exception of foreigners. Undoubtedly, Shrinathji Temple is a place worth-visiting and feeling the spiritual delight.

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