Ranakpur is widely known for its marble Jain temple, said to be the most spectacular of the Jain temples. The temple, with its distinctive domes, Shikhara, turrets and cupolas rises majestically from the slope of a hill. Over 1444 marble pillars, carved in exquisite detail, support the temple. The pillars are all differently carved and no two pillars are the same. It is also said that it is impossible to count the pillars. The most striking feature of the temple is its seemingly infinite numbers of pillars. The construction is well documented in a 1437 CE copper-plate record, inscriptions in the temple and a Sanskrit text Soma-Saubhagya Kavya. Inspired by a dream of a celestial vehicle, Dhanna Shah, a Porwal jain businessman., commenced its construction, under the patronage of Rana Kumbha then ruler of Mewad. The architect who oversaw the project was named Deepaka. There is an inscription on a pillar near the main shrine stating that in 1439 Deepaka, an architect, constructed the temple at the direction of Dharna sha , a devoted Jain. When the ground floor was completed, Acharya Soma Sundar Suri of Tapa Gachha supervised the ceremonies, which are described in Soma-Saubhagya Kavya. The construction continued until 1458AD.
The temple was renovated time to time. Some famililies supported the construction of devakulikas and mandaps. The descendants of Dharanashah now mainly live in Ghanerao. The temple has been managed by the Anandji Kalyaanji trust in the past century.
Spread over an area of 48,000 sq.feet the whole temple is made of Sevali and Sonana stones and based on pillars. Also all the statues face one or the other statue.
A marvellous piece of workmanship is that on “Torans” which means decorative arches carved from a single piece of stone. somebody casually mentioned that once there were many Torans , appx. 108 to 128 but now only 3 are left. .
The temple is designed as chaumukha —with four faces.The construction of the temple and quadrupled image symbolize the Tirthankara’s conquest of the four cardinal directions and hence the cosmos.The image faces all four cardinal directions. In the axis of the main entrance, on the western side, is the largest image
Location: In Ranakpur, near Sadri, in the Pali district of Rajasthan
Built by: Seth Dharna Sah with the help from Rana Kumbha
Built in: 15th century
Dedicated to: Lord Adinath
Attraction: Marvelous architecture
Significance: One of the five major Jain pilgrimage sites
How to reach: One can easily reach Ranakpur Temples by taking regular Buses or by hiring Taxis from anywhere in Rajasthan. nearest airport is Udaipur, nearest railway station is Falna.