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Rajasthan Pilgrimages » Dilwara Jain Temples
About Dilwara Jain Temples

At a distance of around two and half kilometre from the sole hill station of Rajasthan, Mount Abu, is a group of temples famously known as the Dilwara temples or still better, dream in marble. The temples trace their origin during the 11-13th century period. Nestled in the serene surroundings of mango trees and wooded hills, the Dilwara Temples are amongst the sacred pilgrimage site for the followers of Jain community.

The architecture of the temples is reflective of the Jain faith that encouraged simplicity. Though, ornamental details dot every nook and corner of the temple, yet its overall appearance exude a remarkable simplicity. The architectural style can be categorized as the Nagara.

Famous Dilwara Jain Temples

The Vimal Vashi Temple - Built by Vimal Shah, a minister of Raja Bhimdeo, in 1021, the Vimal Vashi Temple glorifies the first Jain Tirthankara, Adinath. The temple stands in an open courtyard circumscribed by corridors. These corridors have numerous cells, each containing smaller idol of Tirthankara. The highlight of this temple are the carvings that adorn the corridors, pillars, arches, mandaps as well as the ceilings. The ceiling engravings, like designs of lotus-buds, petals, flowers and scenes from Jain & Hindu mythology, specially are extremely beautiful.

The grand hall known as the Rang Mandap has 12 richly ornated pillars, arches and a central dome. The pillars of the hall have spectacular carvings of female figurines playing musical instruments and 16 Vidhyadevis or the goddesses of knowledge, each one holding her own symbol.

The Navchowki is the assortment of 9 rectangular ceilings while Gudh Mandap is a simple hall with a magnificent doorway. The Mandap with an idol of Adinath is meant for Aarti. Hastishala is yet another attraction of the temple with sculpture of elephants.

The Luna Vashi Temple

Dedicated to 22nd Jain Tirthankara, Shri Nemi Nathji, the Luna Vashi temple has an interesting anecdote attached to it. It is said that two brothers Vastupal and Tejpal who built the temple had plethora of wealth which they decided to bury under a tree. However, while digging, they came across more wealth. Anupama Devi, wife of Teja Pala asked them to construct temples from these wealth. Accordingly, the two brothers built the Luna Vashi temple in Mount Abu in memory of their late brother Luna. Both the brothers encouraged the craftsmen to improve on their carving and bring it to near perfection. In return they offered gold and silver weighing as much as the marble filled.

The Lunavashi Temple, like the Vimal Vashi Temple, has a main hall or Rang Mandap, Navchowki, Gudh mandap and Hathishala. The Rang Mandap has a central dome with a richly carved pendent; two circular band with figures of 72 Jain Tirthankaras and 360 Jain monks. The Hathishala glows with 10 marble elephant statues while the Navchowki boasts of some exquisite stone cutting work. The Gudh Mandap has the statue of the presiding deity of the temple, Neminathji.

Additionally, there is one more structure in the Luna Vashi Temple, the Kirti Stambh. The black marble tower was built by Rana Kumbha of Mewar.

Pittalhar Temple

This temple was constructed by Bhima Sha, a minister of Sultan Begada of Ahmedabad. The distinctiveness of the temple lies in the impressive statue of Adinath which is made of five metals. The primary metal used in the construction of the statue is pital or brass. It is from here that the temple draws its name of Pittalhar. This temple too consists of the garbhagriha, gudh mandap and navchowki.

Parshavanath Temple

This temple is also known by the name of Khartar Vashi temple. This three storeyed structure is the tallest amongst all the shrines of the Dilwara. Constructed by Mandlik and his family in the 15th century, the temple has four big mandaps bordering the sides of the sanctum on the ground floor. The exterior walls of the sanctum is rich with beautiful sculptures Dikpals, Vidhyadevis, Yakshinis and Shalabhanjikas. The finess of the carvings here are comparable to those of Khajuraho and Konark.

Mahaveer Swami Temple

The Mahaveer Swami Temple is the fifth most important Dilwara Jain temple at Mount Abu. The temple is dedicated to the 24th Jain Tirthankara Lord Mahaveer and was constructed in the 16th century. The highlight of the temple are the paintings on the upper walls by an artist from Sirohi.
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