“Ranakpur turned to out to be the much needed respite from the maddening crowd of the city of lakes (Udaipur)” wrote fellow Travel Blogger Svetlana on her facebook update for Ranakpur. She was on a family holiday in Rajasthan (Udaipur specifically) and had taken a detour to this small town. Those lines (and the beautiful photographs) got me intrigued. We were in the process of finalizing our family road trip to Rajasthan and Udaipur was one of the destinations. I asked Svetlana about the logistics and she so graciously shared all the details. Udaipur turned out to be a mixed bag of pleasant moments and disappointments; the husband who wasn’t so keen in the beginning of our trip decided to take a detour to Ranakpur (and if possible Kumbhalgarh) on way to Mount Abu, on the last night in Udaipur (mostly to appease me and also to get over the disappointing experience of city of lakes). The visit to Ranakpur turned out to be one of the prettiest drives of our whole trip and the Ranakpur Jain Temple certainly bedazzled us with its serenity and beauty.
Ranakpur is a village located near Sadri town in Pali district of Rajasthan; its around 91 km from Udaipur and searching on google maps, we learnt that if we started really early from Udaipur, we may be able to visit both Ranakpur and Kumbhalgarh. However, it would be a really tight drive and with a toddler in tow, we decided to keep things open and first head to Ranakpur. We started at around 6:00 am from Udaipur and got to see a beautiful sunrise on the highway (small pleasures of a driving holiday). The road to Ranakpur is State Highway 32 for almost more than half of the distance and it is one of the most scenic drives, with villages along the road, farm lands and villagers going about their daily life. We reached Ranakpur around 9 am and the temple was located at the beginning of the village.
The Ranakpur Jain Temple is quite renowned it seems, among the Gujrati community and all the signboards inside the temple were in Gujrati and English (surprising for a monument located in Rajasthan). There were very less people in the temple complex, since it was early morning, with most guests being the ones who were staying at the temple complex Dharmasala and were up in morning for offering prayers.
The Ranakpur Jain Temple is dedicated to Tirthankara Adinatha of Jain faith. The temple building is a three storeyed marble edifice with exquisite carvings and artwork in marble. The temple is said to be built sometime in the 15th century (1446 vikram samvat) by Dharanashah and it took around 50 years to complete the construction.
Photography is only allowed inside the temple from 12 pm and since were there in the morning, we could not take photographs of the temple interiors. However, we actually did not feel taking photographs. Rather, the temple premises had such a beautiful calming aura, that we just walked around with our toddler (and the toddler was much bedazzled too; she loved walking around the temple). We did take some photographs of temple exteriors, walking around the periphery of the temple building. The husband was taken in the beauty of the temle, so much so that he thanked me for pushing him to take this detour (now that’s a real compliment).
We spent about an hour at Ranakpur Jain temple, before moving on to Kumbhalgarh Fort. The Ranakpur Jain temple is highly recommended for visitors to Udaipur (or Kumbhalgarh); it is a day trip from both these destinations and is a beautiful serene experience.