Dilwara Jain Temple, Mount Abu

The Dilwara Jain Temples are open from 12 P.M. to 3 P.M. for tourists for free and No photography is allowed inside the temple complex.

These temples are open for Jain community from morning to evening for performing puja.

These famous Jain temples are situated at Delwara village about 2½ Km’s from the beautiful city of Mount Abu.

Dilwara Jain Temples is one of the finest Jain temples known world over for its extraordinary architecture and marvelous marble stone carvings. The design and accuracy of workmanship is unbelievable. Some experts also consider it architecturally superior to the Taj Mahal. It seems fairly basic temple from outside but every cloud has a silver lining, the temple interior showcases the extraordinary work of human craftsmanship at its best. These temples were built between 11th to 13th century AD, The beautiful lush green hills surrounding the temple gives a very pleasant feeling. The ornamental details of marble stone carvings are phenomenal and unmatched. The minutely carved ceilings and the pillars are just amazing. All this was done at a time when no transport or roads were available at a height of 1200+ Mtrs in Mount Abu; huge blocks of marble stones were transported on elephant backs from the Arasoori Hills at Ambaji to this remote hilly region of Mount Abu. Dilwara temples are also a popular Jain pilgrimage attraction.

Dilwara Temple complex consist of five major temples devoted to five Jain trithankaras(saints). All these shrines belong to different centuries. The first two are build wholly of white marble, they have got exuberant carvings and ornamentation work on the walls, doors, pillars, mandaps, torans, ceilings etc. The designs depict life stories of Jain Tirthankars, scenes of Gods & Goddesses and great men from Jain and Hindu Mythologies. There are many works that depict royal courts, marriage processions, dance figures and many other functinons. No design is repeated, this in itself is a proof of human ingenuity and creativity:

  1. Shri AdiNath Temple or Vimal Vasahi Temple –

This temple is build by Vimal Shah, Minister & Commander-in-chief of Bhima Dev I, Solanki ruler of Gujarat in 1031 A.D. Vimal Shah was remorseful and spent the rest of his life in religious discourse at Chandravati (near Abu road); inspired by Jain Acharaya, to wash-out his sins perpetrated in the battle fields, with the blessings of tutelary deity Ambika, constructed this temple. It took 1500 artisans and 1200 labourers and time span of 14 years to build this brilliant piece of architecture.

This temple is the oldest of all and dedicated to Shri Adinath Ji – The first jain trithankar, the temple has an open courtyard surrounded by corridors all beautifully decorated with marble carved stones. Cells inside this temple are containing tiny images of Jain saints artistically carved on marble stone minutely. The internal dome is aesthetically decorated with design’s of flowers and petals, the huge hall of the temple pillars decorated with the carving work of female figures playing musical instruments. The temple also has the “Guda Mandapa” – A simple hall decorated with the images of Shri Adi Nath.

The whole shrine covers an area of 140 ft. long and 90 ft. broad. As we enter the temple we get a glimpse of the grandeur of sculptured marble, exquisite carvings of ceilings, domes, pillars and arches of the temple which is beyond anyone’s expectations. It has a sanctum, a Gudha Mandap, Navchowki, Rang Mandap and a circumambulatory corridor having 57 cells. In each cell, image of one or the other Jain Tirthankar is installed. In front of every cell, double carved roofs are screened by double arcade of pillars. Cell numbers are marked and the name of the idol installed in it is also written.

One of the decedent of Vimal Shah named Prithvipal carried out constructions and repairs in 1147-49 A.D. and to commemorate the glory of his family erected a ‘Hasti-Shala’ in front of this temple.

As we walk along the corridor we enter the various cells. Each cell has an image of one or the other Tirthankar installed. All the images are unique in its creation.

Rang Mandap
A grand Hall supported by 12 decorated pillars and nicely carved out arches with a central dome in the most exquisite design. You can also see designs with heavy ornamentation work. On the pillars are placed the female figures playing musical instruments and 16 Vidhyadevis – the goddesses of knowledge – each one having her own symbol.

Navchowk
It comprises of the nine rectangular ceilings, each one containing beautiful carvings of different designs supported on the ornate pillars.

Gudh Mandap
Inside the profusely decorated doorway is installed principal deity – Lord Rishabdev, also called Adinath, the first Jain Tirthankar. Gudh-Mandap is simple, meant for obeisance and ‘Arti’ to the deity.

Hastishala (Elephant Cell)
This was constructed by Prithvipal, a decedant of Vimal Shah in 1147-49 A.D. In the front entrance statue of Vimal Shah originally carved in marble is seen, the statute was mutilated and was repaired by plaster. A Smavasaran, circular in shape, is also noteworthy.

2.  Shri NemiNathJi Temple or Luna Vasahi Temple –

This temple was built in 1230 A.D. by two brothers known as Tejpal and Vastupal, Ministers of Solanki Raja Bhindev II of Gujarat in memory of their late brother Luna. The Architect was Shobhandev. They dedicated this temple to the 22nd saint of Jainism – Shri Nemi Nathji. This temple is smaller than Vimal Vasahi but the ground plan and architecture is similar. This temple is far more in perfection and refinement. This temple has one hall named Rag Mandapa which has three hundred and sixty (360) tiny idols of Jain trithankar all minutely crafted on marble proving once again why these jain marble temples of Dilwara are superior to Taj Mahal, Among all these white marble idols the idol of Shri Neminath Ji is made up of black marble.The pillars of this temple were built by Maharana Kumbha of Mewar.

During the recent repairs of the 52 cells in the corridor four were newly built (23 – 26) and (27 – 30) were renovated. In front of every cell the ceiling is divided into two sections with double row of columns and in each cell image of one or the other Jain Tirthankar or Devi is installed.

Hathishala (Elephant cell) :- 10 beautiful marble elephants of fine worksmanship, neatly polished and realistically modelled etc are the main attraction of this cell.

Ragmandap :- This is the main hall, where in the centre of the dome hangs a big ornamental pendent of beautiful carving. Arranged in a circular band 72 figures of Tirthankaras in sitting posture and just below this band 360 small figures of Jain monks in circular band are depicted.

Navchowki :- The most magnificient and delicate marble stone cutting work can be seen here. Each of the nine ceilings exceed the other.

Gudha Mandap :- Black marble idol of 22nd Jain Tirthankara Neminath is installed here.

Kirthi Stambha :- A big black stone pillar ‘Kirthi Stambha’ stands on the left side of Tirthankar temple. It was constructed by Maharana Kumbha of Mewar.

Small cell :- There is a small cell, in between the trees, dedicated to the worship of foot-prints of ‘Dada Sahib’ Jain Acharaya Shri Jindutt Suri.

 

The remaining three temples are smaller, but, are as elegant as the above two.

  1. Shri Mahaveer Swami Temple –

This temple was constructed in 1582 and is devoted to Lord Mahaveer the 24th Tirthankara of Jain’s. This temple is relatively small. The temple’s upper walls have pictures of the porch painted by craftsmen of Sirohi in year 1764.

  1. Shri ParshavNath Temple or Khartar Vasahi Temple –

This temple was built by Mandika clan in1458-59 A.D. This temple has the tallest shrine with three storeyed along with four big Mandapa’s amongst all dilwara temples. The carving on the pillars of this temple is yet another example of Jain temples architectural superiority. This temple is dedicated to Lord Parswanath wherein in storey, in all the four sides, images of Parswanath are installed. The outer walls of the sanctum contains some beautiful and vibrant sculptures in grey sandstone, depicting Dikpals, double set of Vidhyadevis – one of standing figures and other sitting ones and a set of all the 24 Yakshinis, Shalabhanjikas and other decorative sculptures especially females comparable to the ones Khujrao, Konark etc.

  1. Shri Rishabdaoji Temple or Peethalhar Temple –

This temple is known as Pittalhari/Peethalhar temple because in this temple most of the statues are built using ‘Pittal’ (Brass Metal). This temple was built by Bhima Shah; a minister from Gujarat dynasty, like other temples of Dilwara this temple is also having Gudu Mandapa and Navchowki. A massive metal statue with rich carving of its elaborate parikar of Rishabdev (Adinath), cast in five metals, mainly Pittal ( brass) is installed. The Shrine consists of main Garbhagraha, Gudh Mandap and Navchowki. In Gudh Mandap on one side, big marble stone Panch-Tirthi sculpture of Adinath is installed. The niches were constructed in 1474 A.D. while some cells were created in 1490 A.D.