|Dilwara jain temples|
|Deity||Rishabhanatha, Neminatha, Parshvanatha & Mahavira|
|Festivals||Mahavir Janma Kalyanak, Paryushan|
|Governing body||Seth Kalyanji Paramanandji Pedi|
|Location||Mount Abu, Sirohi, Rajasthan, India|
|Creator||Vimal Shah, Vastupala-Tejpal|
|Date established||1031 AD|
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The Dilwara Temples or Delvada Temples are a group of svetambara Jain temples located about 2+1⁄2 kilometres from the Mount Abu settlement in Sirohi District, Rajasthan's only hill station. The earliest were built by Bhima Shah and supposedly designed or at least financed by Vastupala, Jain minister of Dholka. They date between the 11th and 16th centuries, forming some of the most famous monuments in the style of Māru-Gurjara architecture, famous for their use of a very pure white marble and intricate marble carvings. They are managed by Seth Shri Kalyanji Anandji Pedhi, Sirohi and are a pilgrimage place for Jains, and a significant general tourist attraction. Although Jains built many temples at other places in Rajasthan, the Dilwara temples are believed to be the most impressive.
The five Dilwara Temples are among the most famous Jain temples. The Vimal Vasahi is much the earliest, constructed by 1031, with the Luna Vasahi by 1230, and the others at intervals between 1459 and 1582. All are in a very white marble that adds greatly to their effect, and remain in use. The oldest and largest two have large amounts of intricate carving even by the standards of the style, reaching a peak in the Luna Vasahi temple. The main buildings of the first three named are surrounded by "cloister" screens of devakulikā shrines, and are fairly plain on the outer walls of these; in the case of the Vimal Vasahi this screen was a later addition, around the time of the second temple. These three have an axis from the sanctuary through a closed, then an open mandapa to an open rangamandapa, or larger hall for dance or drama. Surrounding the main temple with a curtain of shrines was to become a distinctive feature of the Jain temples of West India, still employed in some modern temples.
In later temples in the Māru-Gurjara style, a very pure white marble like that at Dilwara came to be regarded as highly desirable, even essential. In modern times, when the style has become popular in other regions of India, and with Hindu and Jain communities in other countries, local Rajastani marble is often carved and transported to the new building.
The temples have an opulent entranceway, the simplicity in architecture reflecting Jain values like honesty and frugality. The ornamental detail spreading over the minutely carved ceilings, doorways, pillars, and panels is considered to be remarkable. It is said that workmen were paid in gold according to the weight of marble powder scraped off.
The temple complex is in the midst of a range of forested hills. There are five temples in all, each with its own unique identity. All the five temples are enclosed within a single high walled compound. The group is named after the small village of Dilwara or Delvara in which they are located. The five temples are:
- Vimal Vasahi, dedicated to the 1rst Jain Tirthankara, Shri Adinatha.
- Luna Vasahi, dedicated to the 22nd Jain Tirthankara, Shri Shri Neminatha.
- Pittalhar temple, dedicated to the 1st Jain Tirthankar, Shri Adinatha.
- Parshvanath temple, dedicated to the 23rd Jain Tirthankara, Shri Parshvanatha.
- Mahavir Swami temple, dedicated to the 24th Jain Tirthankara, Shri Mahavir Swami.
Vimal Vasahi Temple
The Adinatha or Vimala Vasahi Temple is carved entirely out of white marble and was mostly built in 1026 by Vimal Shah, a minister of Bhima I, the Chaulukya king of Gujarat. The outer mandapa is an addition of the next century. 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 figures of animal life, life journey from dream to incarnation of tirthankars are carved. There are 59 devakulikas(small shrine) facing the main image of Rishabhanatha. There are 7 additional cells are found, 1 cell houses image of Ambaji and 2 cells of Munisuvrata. The mulnayak idol of Rishabhanatha is finally carved with attendant deities and images of 4 Tirthankar carved, giving the idol name Saparikar Panchtirthi. The principal shrine was originally surrounded by 24 sub-shrines but were later 74 shub-shrines in the 12th century.
The Navchowki is a collection of nine rectangular ceilings, each containing carvings of different designs supported on ornate pillars. The Gudh mandap is a simple hall after stepping inside its heavily decorated doorway. The Gudh mandap, houses two idols of Parshvanatha in Kayotsarga position. Installed is the idol of Adi Nath or Lord Rishabdev, as he is also known. The mandap is meant for Aarti to the deity. The ceiling has carvings of horses, elephants, musician, dancers and soldier. The ceiling of the main dome features carving of the sixteen devis associated with learning.
The Hastishala (Elephant courtyard) was constructed by Prithvipal, a descendant of Vimal Shah in 1147-49 and features a row of elephants in sculpture with the members of the family riding them.
The Luna Vasahi or Neminatha 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 Vastupal & Tejpal's late brother Lunig was designed after the Vimal Vashi temple. The temple has a similar structure as Vimala Vasahi but the richness of the carving inside is even greater. 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 marble elephants, polished and realistically modelled. One of the special feature of temple is the two niches of Derani(wife of younger brother) and Jethani(wife of older brother), the wife of Vastupal and Tejpal. Both of the niches have the image of Lakshmi with sculptures of Sambhavanatha and Shantinatha respectively.
There are a total of 47 sub-shrines housing one or more images of Tirthankara. The first shrine houses an idol of the goddess Ambika. The ninth and eleventh enshrines images of Neminatha's life after renunciation and Neminatha's marriage respectively. The fourteenth shrine has images of the life events of Shantinatha. In the thirty-seventh shrine, there are noteworthy images of four Goddesses. There are several images of life events of Krishna as well. There are a total of 130 pillars in the temple of which 38 are beautifully carved.
The Navchowki features some of the most delicate marble stone cutting work of the temple. The ceilings of the temple depicts scenes of the life of Neminatha with image of Rajmathi (who was to marry Neminatha) and Krishna. 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 carvings of devkulikas and Chakreshvari in the ceiling of temple is also noteworthy. The Kirti Stambha(pillar of pride) was constructed by Maharana Kumbha of Mewar. The remaining three temples of Dilwara are smaller.
This temple, also called the Adinatha temple, was built by Bhima Shah, a minister of Sultan Begada of Ahmedabad, between 1316-1432 AD. 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 name of the temple is also mentioned in an inscription dating back to 1432, found in Digambar shrine in Dilwara complex.
There are a total of 107 images in the main shrine. The Shrine consists of a main Garbhagriha, Gudh mandap and Navchowki with idol of yakshi Chakreshvari and yaksha Gomukha on both sides. 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 Sangvi Mandlik and his family in 1458–59. According to popular belief, masons offered free remaining stones of Vimala Vasahi and Luna Vasahi to add the marble since the temple was built by grey stone. It consists of a three-story building, the tallest of all the shrines at Dilwara. Not all the tower remains. On all the four faces of the sanctum on the ground floor are four big mandapas housing a Choumukha idol of Parshvanatha. On the first floor, the Chaumukha idol the front iconography is of Chintamani Parshvanath, second Magalakar Parshvanatha and third Manoratha-Kalpadruma Parshvanatha all are depicted with hood of nine cobras. The image of fourth image of Parshvanatha is illegible. In the corridor there are images of 17 tirthankaras and paintings of flowers. There is depiction of 14 dreams of mother of tirthankars had before their births. On the second floor, the Chaumukha idol is of Sumatinatha, Parshvanatha, Adinatha and Parshvanatha. The idol of Goddess Ambika is also present. On the third floor, the Chaumukha idol is of Parshvanatha.
The outer walls of the sanctum comprise ornate 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. It is small temple with carvings on its walls. On the upper walls of the porch there are pictures painted in 1764 by the artists of Sirohi. There are detailed carvings of flowers, pigeons, court-scene, dancing girls, horses, elephant, and other scenes. On each side of Mahavira, there are 3 idols of tirthankar. Outside the shrine, there is a marble slab of rectangular shape with a triangle stone over it containing 133 images of miniature-sized tirthankar with a larger image in center.
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.
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