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Ranakpur - The Chaturmukh Jain Temple is situated in the heart of a remote, lush green and enchanting valley in the Aravalli Mountain range and near the rivulet Maghai. The main deity in the temple is the Jain Tirthankar Swami Adinath. Including the massive basement, the temple has four floors and is constructed out of white marble and granite. It is one of the grandest and most beautiful of the Jain Temples in India. The floor area of the Temple is about 3,600 square meters or 40,000 square feet.
Four devout Jain philanthropists of early fifteenth century, Acharya Somasundarsuriji, Dharanashah, Rana Kumbha (the ruler of Malghad) and Depaka led the endeavor to construct this magnificent temple. Acharya Somasundarsuriji was the spiritual teacher of Rana Kumbha. Dharanshah was a very dedicated Jain scholar who led a life of austerities and celibacy. He was a minister in the court of Rana Kumbha. There is a popular legend that Dharanshah once had a dream in which he saw the Nalinigulma Viman - a heavenly flying chariot mentioned in Jain mythology. This dream inspired Dharanshah to build a temple as beautiful as the Nalinigulma Viman he saw in his dream. Dharanshah requested Rana Kumbha to donate an ideal plot of land where the dream temple could be constructed. Rana Kumbha under the guidance of Acharya Somasundarsuriji decided to donate the land on which the temple was to be constructed in addition to another piece of land in the old village of Madgi in the valley of Mount Madri where a complete new township was to be built. The new town was called Ranpur by Rana Kumbha and later became popularly known as Ranakpur.
Dharanshah then invited the famous artists, sculptors and architects to submit plans with detailed designs. For quite some time Dharanshah could not find any architect who could design something similar to his dream. Finally an easygoing sculptor, Depaka of Mundara Town presented a plan that delighted Dharanshah. The construction of the temple started in 1446 Vikram Samvat (early fifteenth century CE) and took about fifty years to complete at an estimated cost of about $ 2.4 million at that time.
The Temple has four entrances constructed in the typical Jain architecture that lead into the central chamber where four statues of the first Jain Tirthankar (the first revealer of the Truth), Swami Adinath are placed facing the respective four geographic directions. These images are about 72 inches tall. In the central sanctuaries on the second and third floor there are identical images. Because of the four entrances leading to the four statues of Adinath, the temple is called the Chaturmukh or Chowmukha, meaning the four sided/faced temple. Besides the main sanctuary there are four very spacious assembly halls, four principal shrines, 76 smaller domed shrines. The total number of shrines in the temple is 84 - a number signifying 8,400,000 births and deaths in various reincarnations that a human being requires to attain Moksha or salvation according to Jain religion. On the three, above basement floors, there are 1440 very ornately and intricately sculpted pillars that are 43 feet high, supporting the Torana arches and magnificently carved Domes above the various shrines. The entrance path and the pillars are constructed in such a manner that from any place inside the temple the devotee has an unobstructed "Darshan" - view of at least one of the four Adinath statues.
Apart from the Adinath statues, the other important sites in the temple for a Jain devotee are the "Stone slabs depicting the Sahasrafana (a cobra snake with thousand heads, the idol of Jain Tirthankar Swami Parashwanath and the Sahasrakuta.
In the basement there are many cellars where many additional idols are stored. These cellars were constructed to store idols in times of crises. Despite some mindless destruction by Islamic invaders, the temple is still quite well preserved. Being situated in a remote location, for a long time the pilgrims did not find it safe to visit the temple. During this period the temple was surrounded by dense forest with wild animals.
A local religious trust took over the administration of the Temple in 1953 Vikram Samvat (1897) and started an ambitious renovation program that lasted eleven years. They took great care to maintain the shrines original structures and sculptures. The renovated shrine has now become the focus of attention of hundreds of thousands of Jain devotees and art lovers from overseas.
ITC Maharani Bagh Heritage Hotel – 16 rooms
Fateh Bagh Heritage Hotel – 14 rooms & 4 suites
Hotel Rawla Narlai – 25 rooms (40 minutes drive from Ranakpur Temples)
Hotel Rawla Jojawar - 35 rooms (60 kilometers or 37 miles from Ranakpur Temples)
Hotel Fort Rohetgahr - 34 rooms (3 hours drive from Ranakpur)
Ranakpur Hill Resort - 16 rooms & 3 tents
Kings Abode - 28 rooms
Mana Hotel - 45 rooms
Distance from Ranakpur:
City Kilometers Miles
Jodhpur 190 kilometers or 118 miles
Udaipur 90 kilometers or 56 miles
Mount Abu 180 kilometers or 112 miles
Luni 145 kilometers or 90 miles
Deogarh 90 kilometers or 56 miles
Devigarh 160 kilometers or 99 miles
Narlai 35 kilometers or 22 miles
Rohet 150 kilometers or 93 miles