Dilwada Jain Temples
Image credit : Elizabeth
Image credit : naohuth
The Jain Dilwara temples of India are located about 2½ kilometers from Mount Abu, Rajasthan. It is at hill station. These temples dating back from the 11th to the 13th century AD are world famous for their stunning use of marble. They are an overwhelming blend of simple beauty and exquisite elegance. The marble temples have an opulent entranceway. The simplicity in architecture verily reminds one that Jainism as a religion “encouraged honesty and frugality”. The temples reside amidst mesmerizing surroundings of mango trees and wooded hills. A high wall, shimmering luminous in the sunlight, shrouds the temple complex. The five legendary marble temples of Dilwara are the sacred pilgrimage of the Jains.
Image credit : east med wanderer
Although the Jains built some beautiful temples at other places in Rajasthan but none come close to these in terms of architectural perfection. The ornamental detail spread over the minutely carved ceilings, doorways, pillars and panels is simply marvellous and has to be seen to be believed.
Vimal Vasahi Temple :
Image credit : Zé Eduardo…
This temple carved entirely out of white marble was built in 1021 AD by Vimal Shah, a minister of Raja Bhimdeo. The temple is dedicated to the 1st Jain Tirthankara (teacher or guide) Adi Nath. The temple stands in an open courtyard surrounded by a corridor, which has numerous cells containing smaller idols of the Tiranthakaras. The richly carved corridors, pillars, arches, and ‘mandaps’ or porticoes of the temple are simply amazing. The ceilings feature engraved designs of lotus-buds, petals, flowers and scenes from Jain and Hindu mythology. The Rang mandap is a grand hall supported by 12 decorated pillars and nicely carved out arches with a breathtaking central dome. On the pillars are carved female figurines playing musical instruments and 16 Vidhyadevis or the goddesses of knowledge each one holding her own symbol.
The Navchowki is a collection of nine rectangular ceilings, each one containing beautiful carvings of different designs supported on ornate pillars. The Gudh mandap is a simple hall once you step inside its heavily decorated doorway. Installed here is the idol of Adi Nath or Lord Rishabdev, as he is also known. The mandap is meant for ‘Arti’ to the deity. The Hastishala (Elephant Cell) was constructed by Prithvipal, a descendant of Vimal Shah in 1147-49 A.D and features a row of elephants in sculpture.
Image credit : jaikant
Luna Vasahi (Shri Nemi Nathji temple) :
Image credit : Arvind
The Luna Vashi temple is dedicated to the 22nd Tirthankara Shri Nemi Nathji. This magnificent temple was built in 1230 AD by two brothers – Vastupal and Tejpal – both ministers of a local ruler. The temple built in memory of their late brother Luna was designed after the Vimal Vashi temple. The main hall or Rang mandap features a central dome from which hangs a big ornamental pendent featuring elaborate carving. Arranged in a circular band are 72 figures of Tirthankaras in sitting posture and just below this band are 360 small figures of Jain monks in another circular band. The Hathishala or elephant cell features 10 beautiful marble elephants neatly polished and realistically modelled.
The Navchowki features some of the most magnificent and delicate marble stone cutting work of the temple. Each of the nine ceilings here seems to exceed the others in beauty and grace. The Gudh mandap features a black marble idol of the 22nd Jain Tirthankara Neminath. The Kirthi Stambha is a big black stone pillar that stands on the left side of the temple. The pillar was constructed by Maharana Kumbha of Mewar. The remaining three temples of Dilwara are smaller but just as elegant as the other two.
Image credit : Perrine
Pittalhar Temple :
This temple was build by Bhima Shah, a minister of Sultan Begada of Ahmedabd. A massive metal statue of Rishab Dev (Adinath), cast in five metals is installed in the temple. The main metal used in this statue is ‘Pital’ (brass), hence the name ‘Pittalhar’. The Shrine consists of a main Garbhagraha, Gudh mandap and Navchowki.
Parshavanath Temple :
This temple, dedicated to Lord Parshavnath was built by Mandlik and his family in 1458-59 A.D. It consists of a three storied building, the tallest of all the shrines at Dilwara. On all the four faces of the sanctum on the ground floor are four big mandaps. The outer walls of the sanctum comprise of beautiful sculptures in gray sandstone, depicting Dikpals, Vidhyadevis, Yakshinis, Shalabhanjikas and other decorative sculptures comparable to the ones in Khajuraho and Konark.
Mahaveer Swami Temple :
This is a small structure constructed in 1582 A.D. and dedicated to the 24th Jain Tirthankara, Lord Mahaveer. There are pictures on the upper walls of the porch painted in 1764 A.D. by the artists of Sirohi.