Tuesday, March 5, 2024

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Dilwara Jain Temples




Mount Abu, Rajasthan

Best Season


October to March



One of the finest Jain temples in India

Opening Time


12 pm. to 3 pm.

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One of the finest Jain temples in India, Dilwara temples are located just 5 km from Mount Abu Town, Rajasthan. Famous for its architectural marvel, each of these five have their unique identity. Built by Chalukya between 800 AD and 1200 AD, these are dedicated to the Jain Tirthankaras.A major pilgrim center for the Jains, the complex houses five principal temples.

Named after the small village where they are located, these temples are surrounded by mango trees and wooded hills. These five temples are Vimal Vasahi (Shri Adi Nathji temple), Luna Vasahi (Shri Nemi Nathji temple), Pithalhar (Shri Rishabh Deoji temple), Khartar Vasahi (Shri Parshav Nathji temple) and Mahaveer Swami (Shri Mahaveer Swamiji temple). Among these temples, the Vimal Vasahi and Luna Vasahi temple are the most famous ones.

Built in the Nagar style of temple architecture, it described as a storehouse of ancient manuscripts and treatise that indicates the influence of Shaivism and Jainism on the society during that period. The temple's every interior wall and pillar is covered with the most intricate carvings. Vimala Shah, Vastu Pala and Teja Pala were the people who contributed to build these grandiose temples.

Vimal Vasahi (Shri Adi Nathji temple) 
It is the oldest and the most famous among this group. Carved out of white marble, its architecture is very beautiful. It was built in 1021 by Vimal Shah, a chief minister of the Bhimidev I, the Chalukya King of Gujarat. Dedicated to the first Jain Tirthankara (teacher or guide), Adi Nath or Lord Rishabdev, one can see a metallic idol of his with brass and gold over here.

Similar to the Sun Temple in Kashmir, it consists of one single main building and numerous other smaller buildings. The temple stands in an open courtyard surrounded by a corridor. The Rang mandap is the main hall supported by 12 decorated pillars with a breathtaking central dome and arches. It's ceiling is intricately carved with engraved designs of lotus-buds, petals, flowers and scenes from Jain and Hindu mythology. Female figurines playing musical instruments and 16 Vidhyadevis, each one holding her own symbol are carved on the pillars.

The Navchowki is a collection of nine rectangular ceilings while Gudh Mandap is a simple hall with a magnificent doorway. The Gudh Mandap houses a black marble idol of the 22nd Jain Tirthankar Neminatha. There is a small portico known as Hasthishala (elephant Hall), just outside the entrance of this temple. Built by Prithivpal in 1147-59, it contains a figure of the patron, Vimala Shah, the chief minister of the Solanki king, on horseback.

Pithalhar (Shri Rishabh Deoji temple)
Also known as Shri Rishabh Deoji temple, this temple was built by Bhima Shah, a minister of Sultan Begada of Ahmedabad. The temple has a metal statue of the Rishab Dev Adinath. The main metal used in this statue is Pital (brass), so the name was given Pittalhar. The temple consist of a Garbhagriha, Gudh mandap and Navchowki.

Khartar Vasahi (Shri Parshva Nathji temple)

Dedicated to Lord Parshavnath, 23rd Jain Tirthankar Lord Parshva, it is the tallest of all the shrines at Dilwara. The temple was built by Mandlik and his family in 1458-59 AD. It is a three storied building, and on all the four faces of the sanctum on the ground floor are four big mandaps. The outer walls of the sanctum comprises of beautiful sculptures comparable to the ones in Khajuraho and Konarak.

Mahavir Swami (Shri Mahavir Swamiji temple)
It is a small temple built in 1582 AD. Dedicated to the 24th Jain Tirthankara Lord Mahaveer, it houses pictures painted by artists from Sirohi on the upper walls of the porch.  

Luna Vasahi (Shri Nemi Nathji temple)
Dedicated to the 22nd Tirthankara, Shri Nemi Nathji, it is situated a little above the Vimal Shah Temple. Built in 1230 AD by two brothers, Vastupal and Tejpal, ministers of a local ruler, the temple constructed in memory of their late brother Luna. It's architecture is similar to Vimal Shah Temple. 

The main hall of the temple, Rang mandap, features a central dome from which hangs a big ornamental pendent with elaborate carvings. Inside the temple, there are 72 figures of Tirthankars in sitting posture and just below this are 360 small figures of Jain monks, arranged in circular group. The temple has 39 cells, each of which contains one or more images. The elephant cell or hathishala features 10 beautiful marble elephants, is the centre attraction. Another attraction of this temple is Kirthi Stambha - a big black stone pillar that stands on the left side of the temple.The Dilwara Jain Temples are open from 12 pm. to 3 pm. Entry is free. No photography is allowed inside the temple complex.