Friday, March 04, 2011

Ranakpur - Worth the Stop

Although it would have been quite a bit cheaper to take the train (or bus) directly to Jodhpur, I recommended to my friends that we take a taxi so we could stop in Ranakpur for a few hours. Just slightly under 100 km (56 mi) NW of Udaipur, this small town in the valley of the Aravalli Hills is home to the Adinath Temple. This 15th century Jain temple complex (dedicated to the god Adinath) is one of the five of the great holy places for the Jain religion. While one could rightly marvel at its scale (29 halls and four separate entrances), its sheer beauty carved in white marble makes it so remarkable. In contrast to the smooth marble floor, the rest of the interior is a feast for the detail-lover’s eyes. A forest of columns (1,444 in all - no two of which are alike) pushed upward on the corbellled ceilings with their radial depth. Sunlight poured through openings and courtyards, radiating the interior with a peaceful glow. Soft chanting and the ringing of bells could be heard in the otherwise quiet complex. Such serenity and beauty - definitely worth the stop.

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