In Rajasthan state there is only one hill station called Mount Abu. The most famous Jain pilgrimage called the Dilwara temples is located just 2.5 km from Mount Abu. This holy pilgrimage was also known by the name of Arbudgiri in the ancient times.
The temples of this Jain pilgrimage are famous for the remarkable use of marble and the Nagara style of architecture. The Dilwara temples were constructed by Chakulya dynasty between 800 and 1200 A.D. The simple and finely carved architecture of the temples reflect the values of the Jain religion. The main contributors towards the construction and development of these temples are Vimal Shah, Teja Pala and Vastu Pala. There are 5 main temples which come under this
Jain pilgrimage destination.
The five temples of the Dilwara temples:
- Vimal Vasahi Temple: The first and the most important temple of the Dilwara temples is the Vimal Vasahi temple. The temple is completely carved in white marble and is the oldest temple. It was established in the year 1021 by Vimal Shah. The main deity of this Jain temple is Lord Adinath the first Jain tirthankar. This temple is constructed in an open courtyard which is surrounded by a corridor having many rooms. Each room has idols of Jain tirthankars. The pillars, corridors, mandaps and arches are beautifully carved. The ceilings of the temple are carved with the designs of petals, flowers, lotus-buds and some pictures from the Hindu and Jain mythology.
The temple consists of a Rang Mandap which is supported by 12 nicely carved and decorated pillars. There are figures of women playing musical instruments on these pillars. In addition there are 16 figures of the goddess of knowledge on the pillars each holding her own symbol.
The other places which this temple has are the Navchowki which is a collection of 9 ceilings each one carved fantastically. Gudh Mandap is another simple hall which is mainly meant for performing "Arti" of the deity. There is also a Hathishala where there are 10 elephants which are made from marble.
- Luna Vasahi Temple: The second important temple is the Luna Vasahi temple which is dedicated to Lord Neminath the 22nd Jain tirthankar. The temple was constructed in the year 1230 by Vastupal and Tejpal Porwad brothers. A beautifully carved ornamental pendent hangs from the central dome of the temple. There are 72 figures of Jain tirthankars which are in the sitting position arranged in a circular band in this temple. In addition there are 360 figures of the Jain monks arranged in a circular band below the figures of the tirthankars. This temple also consists of a Navchowki, Gudh Mandap and Hathishala. An idol of Lord Neminath made in black marble is situated in the Gudh Mandap. A pillar called the Kirti Stambha is situated on the left side of the temple.
- Pittalhar Temple: This is the third temple which was made by Bhima Shah. The main deity of this temple is Lord Adinath, the first Jain tirthankar whose idol is situated in the Gudh Mandap. The idol is made by using 5 metals out of which brass is used in a greater proportion. Brass is known as "pittal" and hence the name Pittal temple. This temple consists of the Gudh Mandap, Navchowki and the main Garbhagriha.
- Parshvanath Temple: This temple is the tallest amongst Dilwara temples which was constructed by Mandlik in the year 1458-1459. The temple is dedicated to Lord Parshvanath the 23rd Jain tirthankar. The temple is 3 storied having 4 big Mandaps on the ground floor. On the outer walls of this temple there are sculptures made in grey sand similar to the ones in Konark and Khajurao.
- Mahavir Swami Temple: This is the fifth temple whose main deity is Lord Mahavir the 24th Jain tirthankar. This small temple was built in the year 1582 which has mesmerizing paintings on its porch and upper walls.
- Airways: Udaipur is the nearest airport.
Railways: Mount Abu is the closest railway station and it is well connected with all the other major cities.
Roadways: Many bus and taxi services are available from Jaipur, Mount Abu, Delhi, Ajmer and the other cities.