Dilwara Jain Temple
|Festivals||Mahavir Jayanti, Paryushan|
|Governing body||Seth Kalyanji Paramanandji Pedi|
|Location||Mount Abu, Sirohi, Rajasthan, India|
|Creator||Vimal Shah, Vastupala-Tejpal|
|Completed||between the 11th and 13th centuries AD|
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The Dilwara Temples are located about 2½ kilometres from Mount Abu, Rajasthan's only hill station. These Jain temples were built by Vimal Shah and designed by Vastupala, Jain ministers of Dholka, between the 11th and 13th centuries AD and are famous for their use of marble and intricate marble carvings. The five marble temples of Dilwara are a sacred pilgrimage place of the Jains. Some consider them to be one of the most beautiful Jain pilgrimage sites in the world. The temples have an opulent entranceway, the simplicity in architecture reflecting Jain values like honesty and frugality. The temples are in the midst of a range of forested hills. A high wall shrouds the temple complex.
Although Jains built many beautiful temples at other places in Rajasthan, Dilwara temples are believed to be the most beautiful example of architectural perfection. The ornamental detail spreading over the minutely carved ceilings, doorways, pillars, and panels is simply marvellous.
There are five temples in all, each with its own unique identity. Each is named after the small village in which it is located. These are:
- Vimal Vasahi, dedicated to the first Jain Tirthankara, Shri Rishabhadev.
- Luna Vasahi, dedicated to the 22nd Jain Tirthankara, Shri Neminatha.
- Pittalhar, dedicated to the first Jain Tirthankar, Shri Rishabhadev.
- Parshvanath, dedicated to the 23rd Jain Tirthankara, Shri Parshvanatha.
- Mahavir Swami, dedicated to the last Jain Tirthankara, Shri Mahaviraswami.
Among all the five legendary marble temples of Dilwara, the most famous of those are the Vimal Vasahi and the Luna Vasahi temples.
Vimal Vasahi Temple
This temple carved entirely out of white marble was built in 1031 A.D. by Vimal Shah, a minister of Bhima I, the Chaulukya king of Gujarat. The temple is dedicated to Lord Rishabha. The temple stands in an open courtyard surrounded by a corridor, which has numerous cells containing smaller idols of the tirthankaras. 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 mythology.
The Navchowki is a collection of nine rectangular ceilings, each 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 Aarti to the deity.
The Hastishala (Elephant courtyard) was constructed by Prithvipal, a descendant of Vimalsha in 1147-49 and features a row of elephants in sculpture with the members of the family riding them.
The Luna Vasahi temple is dedicated to Lord Neminath. This magnificent temple was built in 1230 by two Porwad brothers - Vastupal and Tejpal - both ministers of a Virdhaval, the Vaghela ruler of Gujarat. 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 pendant featuring elaborate carving. Arranged in a circular band are 72 figures of Tirthankars 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 Tirthankara Neminatha. 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.
This temple was built by Bhima Shah, a minister of Sultan Begada of Ahmedabad. A massive metal statue of the first Tirthankara, Rishabha 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 Garbhagriha, Gudh mandap and Navchowki. It seems that the construction of Rangmandap and the corridor was left unfinished. The old mutilated idol was replaced and installed in 1468-69 AD weighing 108 maunds (four metric tons) according to the inscription on it. The image was cast by an artist 'Deta' which is 8 ft (2.4 m). high, 5.5 ft (1.7 m). broad and the figure is 41 inches (1,000 mm) in height. In Gudh Mandap on one side, a big marble Panch-Tirthi sculpture of Adinath is installed. Some shrines (devakulika) were constructed in 1474 and 1490, before construction was abandoned.[page needed]
Shri Parshvanatha Temple
This temple, dedicated to Lord Parshvanath, was built by Mandlik and his family in 1458-59. 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 beautiful sculptures in gray sandstone, depicting Dikpals, Vidhyadevis, Yakshinis, Shalabhanjikas and other decorative sculptures comparable to the ones in Khajuraho and Konark.
Shri Mahaveer Swami Temple
This is a small structure constructed in 1582 and dedicated to Lord Mahavira. Being small it is a marvelous temple with carvings on its walls. On the upper walls of the porch there are pictures painted in 1764 by the artists of Sirohi.
In 1906, Lallubhai Jaichand of Patan had the temples repaired and reconsecrated on April 25, 1906, under the supervision of Yati Hemasagar. Extensive repairs were again undertaken during 1950-1965 by Anandji Kalyanji with the work done by the Sompura firm Amritlal Mulshankar Trivedi. The older marble has a yellow patina, whereas the newer marble is white.
The temples are currently administered by the Seth Kalyanji Paramanandji Pedi (not to be confused by Seth Anandji Kalyanji Pedhi of Ahmedabad). Seth Kalyanji Paramanandji Pedi also runs a Bhojanshala (dining hall) nearby.
Facilities are available for bathing, which is mandatory before puja is performed for the idols. These facilities use passive solar power to heat up the water for bathing and other things. Guided tour hours for tourists are posted outside the temple.
- Ranakpur Jain Tirth
- Shankheshwar Jain Tirth
- Shikharji Jain Tirth
- Palitana Jain Tirth
- Nagarparkar Jain Temples
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