Ranakpur is a village located in Desuri tehsil near Sadri town in the Pali district of Rajasthan in western India. It is located between Jodhpur and Udaipur. 162 km from Jodhpur and 91 km from Udaipur, in a valley on the western side of the Aravalli Range. The Nearest Railway Station to reach Ranakpur is Falna Railway station. Ranakpur is one among the most famous places to visit in Pali, Rajasthan. Ranakpur is easily accessed by road from Udaipur.
Along with magnificent architecture and numerous pillars, the place is also famous for large population of monkeys that live in and around the place. The ladies of the town donated 90 ounces of gold to the construction of the temple.
Ranakpur is widely known for its marble Jain temple, said to be the most spectacular of the Jain temples. There is also a small Sun temple which is managed by the Udaipur royal family trust.
The renowned Jain temple at Ranakpur is dedicated to Tirthankara Rishabhanatha.
Dharna Shah, a local Jain businessperson, started construction of the temple in the 15th century following a divine vision. The temple honors Adinath, the first Tirthankar of the present half-cycle (avasarpiṇī) according to Jain cosmology. The town of Ranakpur and the temple are named after the provincial ruler monarch, Rana Kumbha who supported the construction of the temple.
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 from Ghanerao, commenced its construction, under the patronage of Rana Kumbha, then ruler of Mewar. 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 Dharanka, 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 1458 CE.
The temple was renovated time to time. Some famililies supported the construction of devakulikas and mandaps. The descendants of Dharna Shah now mainly live in Ghanerao. The temple has been managed by the Anandji Kalyanji Pedhi trust in the past century.
Light colored marble has been used for the construction of this grand temple which occupies an area of approximately 60 x 62 meters. 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. Also all the statues face one or the other statue. There is one beautiful carving made out of a single marble rock where there 108 heads of snakes and numerous tails. One cannot find the end of the tails. The image faces all four cardinal directions. In the axis of the main entrance, on the western side, is the largest image. The moolnayak of this temple is a 6 feet tall white colored idol of Adinatha.
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 architecture and stone carvings of the temple is based on the Ancient Mirpur Jain Temple at Mirpur in Rajasthan.
The sun temple at Ranakpur dates back to the 13th century CE. After its destruction, it was rebuilt in the 15th century.
A temple dedicated to Suparshvanatha is also present here. The temple has an intrinsic architecture & this temple is also famous for erotic arts on the wall.
Māru-Gurjara Architecture show the deep understanding of structures and refined skills of Rajasthani craftmen of bygone era. Māru-Gurjara Architecture has two prominent styles Maha-Maru and Maru-Gurjara. According to M. A. Dhaky, Maha-Maru style developed primarily in Marudesa, Sapadalaksha, Surasena and parts of Uparamala whereas Maru-Gurjara originated in Medapata, Gurjaradesa-Arbuda, Gurjaradesa-Anarta and some areas of Gujarat. Scholars such as George Michell, M.A. Dhaky, Michael W. Meister and U.S. Moorti believe that Māru-Gurjara Temple Architecture is entirely Western Indian architecture and is quite different from the North Indian Temple architecture. There is a connecting link between Māru-Gurjara Architecture and Hoysala Temple Architecture. In both of these styles architecture is treated sculpturally.
The sun temple at Ranakpur dates back to the 13th century CE. After its destruction, it was rebuilt in the 15th century. This temple built in the classic Nagara style exhibits a profusion of intricate sculptural work. It is built of white lime stone, and is very intricately ornamented.
This temple faces east, and it has a sanctum crowned with a shikhara, and an octogonal mandapa preceding the sanctum. The octogonal mandapa has six verandas. The projections on the exterior of the sanctum are sculpted with images of the Sun God seated on (a chariot of) rearing horses. The mandap houses exquisitely carved pillars, with lathe turned capitals. Sculpted toranas join the columns, leading to the sanctum.
What To See And Do
As mentioned main attraction is Jain Temple and Sun Temple at Ranakpur.
Where To Stay
RTDC Hotel is available at Ranakpur.
How To Get Around
How To Reach Sun Temple, Ranakpur
By Road: Sun Temple is located in the Pali district in Ranakpur and 91 km from Udaipur. One can easily reach here by bus or taxi.
By Rail: Sun Temple is well connected through nearest Falna and Rani Railway station to major cities railway stations like Delhi, Agra, Mumbai, Chennai, Bikaner, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Ahmedabad.
By Air: Sun Temple can be reach through nearest Udaipur Airport which is well connected with regular domestic flights to Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Jodhpur and Jaipur.