Gems of the Desert

A 12-Day Spiritual Adventure

with Dandapani in North India

September 2018

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Ranakpur Temple

A Marble Masterpiece of Jain Devotion

Nestled in a valley amongst the Aravalli Hills and home to a large population of monkeys, Ranakpur Temple dates to the 15th century. Local legend holds that construction began in 1437 following a divine vision received by Dharna Shah, a local Jain businessperson. The temple and its town are named after their patron, Rana Kumbha, the Mewar hero of Kumbhalgarh fame.

A Spiritual Citadel of Mesmerizing Beauty

Built to honor Adinath, the first spiritual leader of the Jain faith, Ranakpur Temple was designed by its architect, Deepaka, as a chaumukha—”with four faces”— symbolizing Adinath’s conquest of the four cardinal directions and, hence, the cosmos. The main temple, a complicated series of 29 halls, 80 domes and 1,444 uniquely engraved pillars, was constructed of milk-white marble.

An incredible feat of devotion in the Jain faith covering an area of approximately 60 by 62 meters, Ranakpur Temple is riddled inside and out with lovingly-wrought carving. There is one beautiful carving made out of a single marble rock with 108 snake heads. In this impossibly knotted sculpture, you cannot find the tail ends.

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