DILWARA TEMPLE – History, Architecture, Temples, Facts, Amenities

Introduction

Rajasthan, the land of the desert also hosts a formidable place for mountain lovers- Mount Abu. A hill station graced by Aravalli. Mount Abu is the crown jewel of this desert state. Due to its rich heritage and tradition, the city has a strong presence on the cultural map of India. Dilwara Jain Temple is the blueprint of this culture- depicted in its sculpture and architecture. The temple is presently administered by SETHI KALYANJI PARAMANANDJI PEDI.

Dilwara Temple History

The Dilwara temples or Delvada temples are considered the most beautiful Jain pilgrimages sites in the world for the spectacular use of marble in its making. These temples are a group of Shvetambara Jain temples located about 2.5km from the Mount Abu settlement. The earliest were built by Vimal Shah and supposedly designed or at least financed by Vastupala, Jain minister of Dholka.
Dilwara temple built by which dynasty? The temples were built between the 11th and 13th A.D. by the Chalukya Dynasty. These temples are in the style of ‘Maru-Gurjara’ architecture, famous for their use of very pure white marble and intricate marble carvings.                         

Dilwara Temple Architecture

Dilwara Temple architecture style is inspired by the Nagara style and is a collection of ancient manuscripts. The Dilwara temples consist of five temples of the same size and all of them are single-storied. There are 48 pillars in all the temples that have beautiful figures of females in different dancing postures. The main attraction of the temple is ‘Ranga Mandapa’ which is a dome-shaped ceiling. It has a chandelier-like structure in the middle of the roof, and sixteen idols of Vidya Devi, goddess of knowledge, made of stone surround it. The other designs of carvings include lotuses, gods, and abstract patterns. All of its ceilings, doorways, pillars and panels have minutely carved ornamental details which show its architectural uniqueness. It is also important to notice that at that time there was no convenience to transport such big blocks of marble at a 1200 meters height. Elephants were used to transport white marble on their back from Arasoori hills at ambaji to Mount Abu.

Five Amazing Temples of Dilwara

Dilwara temple complex consists of five different temples, each devoted to five Jain Tirthankara of Jain’s.

1. Shri Adinath or Vimal Vasahi Temple

This is the oldest temple among all other temples in the complex and is dedicated to the first Jain Tirthankara Adinath Ji or Rishabh dev. It was built in 1032 A.D. by Vimal Shah, a minister of Bhima I, the Chalukya king of Gujarat. The Vimal Vasahi Temple temple stands in an open courtyard surrounded by a corridor, which has numerous cells containing smaller idols of the Tirthankaras. The ceiling features engraved designs of lotus buds, petals, flowers, and scenes from Jain mythology. The figure of animal life, life journey from dream to an incarnation of Tirthankaras are carved. Gudh Mandap is the main hall, where the idol of Lord Adinath resides. It is believed that 1500 masons and 1200 laborers took 14 years to build the temple and it cost Rs 185.3 million.

2. Shri Neminath Ji or Luna Vasahi Temple

This temple is dedicated to the 22nd saint of Jainism- Shri Nemi Nathji. It was constructed by the Porwad brothers known as Tejpal and Vastupal-both ministers of virdhawal, the Vaghela ruler of Gujarat, in 1230 A.D. Black marble idol of Shri Nemi Nathji among 360 minutely crafted tiny idols of Jain Tirthankar in a hall named Rag Mandapa is amazing to see. The pillars of this temple were built by Maharana Kumbha of Mewar. The temple built-in memory of Vastupal and Tejpal’s late brother Lunig was designed after the Vimal Vashi temple. The temple has a similar structure as Vimal Vasahi but the richness of the carving inside is even greater. The main hall or Rang mandap features a central dome from which hangs a big ornamental pendant featuring elaborate carving. Arranged in a circular band are 72 figures of Tirthankaras in sitting posture and just below this band are 360 small figures of Jain monks in another circular band. One of the special features of the temple is the two niches of Derani(wife of younger brother) and Jethani( wife of an older brother), the wife of Vastupal and Tejpal.

3. Shri Rishabdaoji Temple or Peethalhar Temple

This temple was built by Bhima Shah, a minister of Sultan Begada of Ahmedabad between 1316-1432 A.D.This temple is also known as Pittalhar/ Peethalhar temple because ‘Pitthal’ (Brass Metal) is used in the construction of most statues of this temple. This temple is also called the Adinatha temple. A massive metal statue of the first Tirthankara, Rishabha Dev(Adinath), cast in five metals, is installed in the temple. It seems that the construction of Rang mandap and the corridor was left unfinished. The old mutilated idol was replaced and installed in 1468-69 AD. weighing 108 maunds(four metric tons) according to the inscription on it. The image was cast by an artist ‘Deta’ which is 8ft high,5.5ft broad and the figure is 41 inches in height. 

4. Shri Parshvanath Temple or Khartar Vasahi Temple

This is the tallest shrine among all the Dilwara temples. With 4 big mandapas, the temple is constructed by Sangvi Mandlik and his family 1458-59 A.D. This temple is dedicated to Lord Parshvanath. It consists of a three-story building.  On all the four faces of the sanctum on the ground floor are four big mandapas housing a chaumukha idol of Parshvanath. On the first floor, the chaumukha idol the front iconography is of Chintamani Parshvanath, second Magalakar Parshvanath, and third Manoratha- Kalpadruma Parshvnath all are depicted with hoods of nine cobras. In the fourth image, Parshvnath is illegible. In the corridors, there is a depiction of 14 dreams the mother of Tirthankaras had before their births. On the second floor, the chaumukha idol is of Sumatinath, Parshwanath, Adinath, and Parshvanath.

5. Shri Mahaveer Swami Temple

This Jain temple is devoted to Lord Mahaveer the 24th Tirthankara of Jain’s. It was built in 1852. It is a small temple with carvings on its walls. On the upper walls of the porch, there are pictures painted in 1764 by the artists of Sirohi, Rajasthan. There are detailed carvings of flowers, pigeons, court-scene, dancing girls, horses, elephants, and other scenes. On each side of Mahavira, there are 3 idols of Tirthankara. Outside the shrine, there is a marble slab of rectangular shape with a triangular stone over it containing 133 images of miniature-sized Tirthankara with a larger image in the center.

Facts about Dilwara Temple

  1. The dilwara temple boasts of detailed carvings like the lotus pendant and the concentric ring ceiling which adorn the inner sanctum Vimal Vasahi. The carvings make us wonder about the expertise of the artisans of that time. Now, these artisans were quite fortunate to find such a patronizing ruler who encouraged and inspired them to curve out as much as they can. In order to do so, the king pais them as per the quantity of dust collected from the stone carvings. Thus greater carvings lead to greater dust and accordingly the payment. That’s why you come across such detailed work.
  2. Similar to all other architecture of historical importance, Dilwara temple too has seen its share of invasion and aggression. However, it has undergone restoration quite a number of times, some of which are going on to date. In 1311, the temple was invaded by the Delhi sultanate ruler Alauddin Khilji of the Khilji Dynasty. 2 artisans from the mandore, Lalag and Bijag did the restoration at that time. Again in 1906 and 1950-65, another fresh set of repairs were done. Lallubhai Jaichand completed the first set of restorations and the latter was done by Anandiji Kalyan Ji.
  3. Though a sacred place primarily used for religious purposes yet it has a storehouse inside. Here one can get rare ancient manuscripts of a bygone era. Thus, the Dilwara temple holds a significant influence on scholarly activities.

Amenities

Facilities are available for bathing, which is mandatory before puja is performed for the idols. These facilities use passive solar power to heat up the water for bathing and other things. Guided tour hours for tourists are posted outside the temple.No photography is allowed inside the temple complex.

Dilwara Temple Timings

Opening time: 12:00 PM

Closing time: 06:00 PM

‘No time restrictions for Jain’s’

Open: Daily (*During this pandemic, situation temple is closed.)

Contact number : +91-2974-235151

Location of Dilwara Temple

How to Reach Dilwara temple?

Dilwara temple can be easily accessible through the road from Mount Abu (2.5km). Dilwara temple is located in the Sirohi district, Rajasthan & the Geographic Coordinates of this temple are 24o 36 33.5” N 72o 43′ 23” E. It is well connected to Jodhpur (264km) through Sirohi and Pali by Abu-road. The nearest railway station is Abu Road 29km away and the nearest airport is Udaipur (185km).

Dharamshala and Bhojanshala in Dilwara Temple

Jain Dharamshala – Double Bed with attached bath Rs.50/- per day & Double Bed without attached bath Rs. 30/- per day.

Cottages – 3 rooms with attached bath Rs 150/- per day & 2 rooms with attached Bath Rs.100/- per day

Bhojanshala – 20/- for Each Person

Contact Number – The Manager (Dilwara Temple, Rajasthan), 02974- 235222

Tips

  1. Taking a bath before performing a puja for the idols is mandatory at Dilwara Temples. A facility for bathing is available inside the premises.
  2. Cameras, mobile phones, belts etc. are not allowed inside the temple. However, you can take your wallet along with you. There are lockers in the temple to keep your belongings safe.
  3. Women are not allowed to wear shorts or skirts above their knees. Men are also advised not to wear shorts.
  4. Guides are available to take you around for free. So, you don’t have to hire one from outside the temple.

Dilwara temple is one of the best examples of craftsmanship, the genius of carving out so brilliant and intricate a shape out of a block of stone, such that it almost comes to life! The temple is a tourist paradise and a meditative sanctum for the devotees.

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