Posted: 17.03.2007
 
So this is about the last page of this beautiful coffee table book. If you liked this free publication - please support the project by ordering one or more copies: ! Order the Book ! Thank You Dilip Surana Lothar Clermont Thomas Dix & Editors HereNow4U Female musician on the capital of the western sabha mandapa View of a torana and the dome of the western sabha-mandapa from west View across the northern...
Posted: 17.03.2007
 
The later history of Ranakpur Dome of the western meghanada-mandapa During the reign of Aurangzeb (1658-1707), Muslim armies advanced through Mewar and pillaged Ranakpur. In later centuries, famines decimated the population in the surrounding area. The temple, which in parts had collapsed, was abandoned and for a time it became a hideout for gangs of robbers. Pendentif in the centre of the dome of the southern...
Posted: 16.03.2007
 
At sixteen, Parsva undertook the greatest sacrifice and meditated standing in the forest. He was surrounded by an aura of peace. His brother, reborn as a low-level god due to the sustained asceticism, discovered him there and attacked him with all the supernatural powers at his disposal. However, a pair of snakes, the reincarnation of the two killed earlier by Kamatha, spread a gigantic hood over him as...
Posted: 15.03.2007
 
The next time Parsva renounced his throne when he discovered his first grey hair. As an ascetic, he gained such supernatural powers that all around him, land and living beings enjoyed happiness and harmony. As a result, when Kamatha now killed him, he was able to achieve the highest divine form of an Indra. Pillars in the northern meghanada-mandapa Parsva’s life cycle had reached maturation; in his fifth...
Posted: 14.03.2007
 
Subsequent cycles of birth are only as human being and god, since in the very next incarnation, as Prince Agnivega, he for the first time renounced the world and becomes an ascetic, i.e. he had already achieved a higher level of knowledge. This time too his brother, now reborn as a poisonous snake, killed him. Parsva rose to a higher sphere of divinity, whereas Kamatha fell into a lower one of hell. Relief on...
Posted: 13.03.2007
 
Parsva was reborn as an elephant as he had been conscious of regretting death in his previous life. For a long time, he roamed in the forest raging wildly, frightened pious ascetics, until he one day came face to face with his former king. The king had renounced the world and he immediately recognised in the elephant his former minister. He succeeded in calming the elephant and imparted religious instruction to...
Posted: 12.03.2007
 
Excursus: The Life of Parsva As mentioned earlier in the paragraph on Parsva in the chapter on Jainism, in all the previous incarnations of the Tirthankara there was in contrast to him a hostile and evil brother who personified the darker side of human existence: selfishness and a craving for power. The first time, Parsva was born as Marabhuti, the son of a minister. He succeeded his father to the office. His...
Posted: 07.03.2007
 
Stylised representations of the holy mountains are common to Jain temples. On P.74-75, the Shatrunjaya is shown divided almost like a case in which figures of Tirthankaras and shikharas (temple towers) have been arranged. On the southern side of the temple, there is a splendid relief of Parsva, the twenty-third ford maker; he is presented standing, flanked by two Jains and two female serpents carrying fans. A...
Posted: 06.03.2007
 
In the meghanada mandapa on the southern side, there are magnificent carvings on the ceiling. However, it requires much effort to distinguish figures among the highly decorative sculpture. (P. 24) shows a nag demon, a circular medallion, with Krishna in the midst of the tangled coils of intertwined naginis (female serpents). In the balana mandapa on the southern side, two reliefs are facing each other with a...
Posted: 05.03.2007
 
Among the innumerable figures, I would like to focus only on a few: semi-circular ‘carpets’ for purging the soul of hatred and anger are placed in front of thresholds embellished with apostrophic masks of demons (kirthimukhas). Besides those are the typical conches, the sound of these is regarded as holy and is similar to the syllable ‘OM’. If one enters the temple from the western side...
Posted: 04.03.2007
 
Together with the extended shrines (no. 8 in the plan), the temple is surrounded by eighty-four devakulikas (no. 9 in the plan). It has the appearance of a classical vihara (temple based on the ground plan of a monastery), a common structure amongst the Jains. The figure eighty-four is representative of the twenty-four Tirthankaras of the past, present and future, respectively, plus the so-called twelve eternal...
Posted: 03.03.2007
 
View of the pyramidal roof (phamsana) over the western meghanada-mandapa Ground plan of the Adinatha Temple The Adinatha temple conceived of as a chatur-mukha-prasada, i.e., the idol faces all four cardinal directions. This necessitates a cell (garbha griha, no. 1 in the plan) with four doorways. The entire ground plan, which is almost a square, derives from this basic conception. The Sanctum is surrounded by...
Posted: 02.03.2007
 
Dharna Shah and Construction of the Temple The builder of the shrine, Dharna Shah belonged to a Rajasthani Jain family that held the title of Sanghapati (one who has borne the costs of the community pilgrimage). The name Shah or Sah indicates that he accumulated his wealth as a banker or as a merchant. According to Jain tradition, Dharna Shah gained the confidence of the king and was appointed minister. At the...
Posted: 01.03.2007
 
. Ranakpur is located 98 Km NNW from Udaipur The Adinatha Temple At Ranakpur The Adinatha Temple of Ranakpur is also named Dharna Vihara temple after its builder. The impression it conveys is very different from that of the Dilwara temples. In the Dilwara temples, the atmosphere is one of peace and seclusion; this engendered by the smallness of the temples as well as by the illusion of their being hidden and...
Posted: 28.02.2007
 
The Ground Plan Of The Tejapala Temple The shrine, measuring 52 x 28.5 m, is a close approximation of its model, although it faces west and is the exact reverse of the Vimala Vasahi Temple, yet, the sequence of the structural parts is the same as in the Vimala Vasahi Temple. Consequently, a description highlighting the differences between the two temples will suffice here. The T-shaped temple stands in a...
Posted: 27.02.2007
 
The Tejapala or Luna Vasahi Temple The Luna Vasahi Temple is situated a little above the Vimala Shah Temple. This temple was constructed by two brothers, Tejapala and Vastupala, who are perhaps the greatest builders of all time in Indian architectural history. They were the ministers of King Viradhavala. Apart from the Luna Vasahi Temple at Mt. Abu, the brothers also constructed numerous shrines; of these, only...
Posted: 26.02.2007
 
Ground plan of the Vimala Shah Temple The image of Goddess Chakrasuri is three-dimensional and femininely rounded (no. 5 in the plan). Chakrasuri is the esoteric consort of Vishnu; she holds in her six arms, symbols, which also coincide with Jain concepts and philosophy. For example, the bow symbolises the ego and the arrow the senses, which bind humankind to the material world; the round form of the discus...
Posted: 25.02.2007
 
The Sanctum The tourist cannot proceed beyond this point. However, from here, through the gudha mandapa, the Sanctum Sanctorum and the bright statue of the first Tirthankara are visible. The entrance to the cell is flanked by two standing Parsva statues standing erect, and by relief of monks and nuns. The idol of Adinatha or Rishabhanatha deliberately made to appear impersonal and not human. Tirthankaras are...
Posted: 24.02.2007
 
Capitals and toranas in Luna Vasahi/Tejapala Temple The Ranga Mandapa The dance pavilion construction in 1147-1149 and is the most exquisite structure in the temple complex. As the interior had to be free of supporting pillars, a shikhara tower was not possible due to its heavy weight. Instead, a wide vaulted dome with a diameter of 6.6 m is covering the hall. This is the largest existing example of such a...
Posted: 23.02.2007
 
Dome of the ranga-mandapa in Vimala Vasahi Temple Vimala Vasahi Temple ground plan The temple, which is actually quite small, has a base measuring 33 x 14 m. It stands in the middle of a courtyard, surrounded by a double arcade of pillars and an ambulatory lined by devakulikas or subsidiary shrines. The bright light, which overwhelms the visitor on entering the temple, is due to the whiteness of the marble and...
Posted: 22.02.2007
 
Toranas in Luna Vasahi / Tejapala Temple The Vimala Vasahi or Vimala Shah Temple At the beginning of the second millennium, the Solanki dynasty of Gujarat ruled over the west coast of northern India. The Parmars of Mt. Abu were the tribute paying vassals of the Solankis. One of the Solanki ministers, Vimala Shah, an underling of King Bhimdeo (or Bhima Deva), was dispatched to the city of Chandravati to quell...
Posted: 21.02.2007
 
The Jain Temples Of Dilwara Overall plan of the temples The Jain temples of Dilwara are located a few kilometres away from the city in a valley; they are barely visible from a distance since their domes and little pyramids hardly protrude above the boundary wall. Only two of the four temples forming the complex shall be dealt with here. Namely the Vimala Vasahi Temple (marked A in the overall plan) and the Luna...
Posted: 20.02.2007
 
View through toranas surrounding the ranga-mandapa onto the Sanctum Sanctorum in Luna Vasahi /Tejapala Temple Accurate historical information is not available on the early history of Mt. Abu only mythological. We learn of the Bhill’s and Nagas who according to legend, lived here in ancient times. The latter worshipped the Goddess Durga which points to the existence of a fertility cult, traces of which...
Posted: 19.02.2007
 
Toranas in the ranga-mandapa of Luna Vasahi /Tejapala Temple The name Abu derived from Arbudachala (Arhuda’s hill), alludes to the genesis of the mountain. Long ago, the sage Vasishta, Rama’s teacher, is supposed to have lived here; even the national epic, the Mahabharata, whose origin dates back to centuries before the birth of Christ, mentions the place as Vasishtashram (home of Vasishta). The...
Posted: 18.02.2007
 
MOUNT ABU Toranas in Luna Vasahi Temple The Dilwara temple complex at Mount Abu in the southwest of Rajasthan, close to the border of Gujarat, is one of the most important shrines of the Jains. Driving up from Abu Road, along the winding path to the plateau, the visitor finds himself transported from an arid and barren region to an altogether different world. The scenery is characterised by granite rocks, date...
Posted: 17.02.2007
 
Dilware Temple - Mt. Abu Parsva Only Parsva, the Tirthankara who immediately preceded Mahavira, appears to have been a historical personage. This is evident in the fact that his age of ‘merely’ one hundred years appears to be ‘reasonable’ as compared to that of his predecessors. Moreover, his mention in the biography of Mahavira; he is supposed to have lived two hundred and fifty years...
Posted: 16.02.2007
 
Vimala Vasahi Temple (1032 AD) on Mount Abu, Rajasthan, dedicated to Adinatha, with garlandlike, richly decorated arcs (makara toranas) free pending from the middle between two columns, carried by little pillars on each column. Social and religious conditions in 600 BC The 6th century BC witnessed a spiritual and philosophical revival in India. This was comparable to the ferment in intellectual life in China...
Posted: 15.02.2007
 
Dharma Vihara Temple, Ranakpur Western facade of Dharma Vihara temple, Ranakpur, 1439 AD, dedicated to Adinatha, with an imposing flight of steps leading to the main entry and little towers on the numerous by-shrines with Jain typical red-white flag and tinker bells. Jainism While studying Jainism two aspects are particularly fascinating. The first is its antiquity. Jainism numbers among the oldest religious...
Posted: 14.02.2007
 
We are happy being able to present the book Jainism And The Temples Of Mount Abu And Ranakpur by Dix, Clermont & Surana with the kind permission of the publisher and the authors in considerable parts. Click the photos to enlarge, where possible. About The Book Little is known about the Jain faith outside India, for the small Jain community has formed a gentle stream within the strong currents of the Indian...

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