RANAKPUR : TRANQUIL PILGRIMAGE TOWN OF THE JAINS
Renowned for some marvelously carved Jain temples in amber stone, Rankapur is one of the five holy places of the Jain community. 96 kms. from Udaipur, these temples were created in the 15th century A.D. during the reign of Rana Kumbha and are enclosed within a wall. The central `Chaumukha' or four faced temple is dedicated to the venerated Tirthankara Rishabhji. Open on all four sides, it enshrines the four faced image of Adinath. Sprawling over 48,000 sq. feet, the temple is an astounding creation with 29 halls and 1,444 pillars - all distinctly carved.
Images of 24 tirthankaras are carved on the `mandaps' or porticoes in a corridor around the shrine with each mandap having a `shikhar' or spire adorned with little bells creating celestial music all around the complex. Rising in three storey , the temple has four small shrines with 80 spires supported by 420 columns.
Two temples, dedicated to the Jain saints - Parsvanath and Neminath, face the main temple. The temples have beautiful carvings similar to that of Khajuraho. Another temple worth visiting is the nearby Sun Temple, an 8th century A.D. temple dedicated to the Sun god. The temple has polygonal walls, embellished with carvings of warriors, horses and solar deities riding splendid chariots.
Sadri (8 kms.):
Famous for some beautiful temples and an old Dargah of Khudabaksh Baba. The Varahavtar temple and the Chintamani Parsvanath Jain Temple are the most ancient of the temples situated here.
Desuri (16 kms.):
Three Jain Temples, dedicated to Lord Shiva, Lord Hanuman and Navi Mata are among some noteworthy temples at Desuri. An old mosque situated here is also worth a visit. A temple dedicated to parsuram mahadeo, nestled in the hills, is also close by. It is situated in the Kumbhalgarh tehsil of Rajasthan.
Ghanerao abounds in Jain and Hindu temples. Most notable is the temple of Gajanand with a life-size statue of the goddesses Ridhi and Sidhi. The statue is guarded by Hanuman and Bhairon on either side.
Narlai (6 kms):
Lying at the base of a hillock, on the top of which is a colossal statue of an elephant, Narlai has many Hindu and Jain temples. The temple of adinath is an ancient one. The outer `mandap' of the temple has beautiful mural paintings on its ceiling which still retain their original splendor.
This jain temple is situated about 5 kms. From Ganerao in the Kumbhalgarh Sanctuary. Its distinctive feature is the statue of Lord Mahavira with a moustache. The two statues of elephants guarding the gateways are splendid examples of architecture. In the vicinity are the Garasia tribal villages famous for their colorful costumes.
Falna (35 kms.):
The railhead for Ranakpur, Falna has some beautiful temples too.