Every time you go on a trip you discover something new . In our case it is much easier because we do not usually study the itineraries a lot or what we are going to find, it’s about being surprised and getting carried away. So much so that, on our trip to India , we met a religion of which we had no news – well, we knew something about it, but we did not identify it by name. Have you heard of Jainism? Maybe not, or maybe by some of its most extreme branches, but what left us with our mouths open were their temples. After meeting them in Jaisalmer we did not miss the opportunity to visit as many as we could in the rest of theTravel through the Indian Rajasthan .
The most impressive thing we had seen until the moment we crossed the gates of the first Jains temple in Jaisalmer was left behind. We were not prepared for the incredible vision that entered our eyes. Maybe the fact of being in India – where cleanliness and relaxation are not house marks – will help. There were the monks cleaning the figures. Figures that occupied up to the last square centimeter of space , but without overwhelming, with an almost ethereal beauty of fine and precise features: dancers, warriors, frets, psalms carved in marble
If you wonder if the outside is up to the task, the answer is yes, but no. It is impressive to see the pyramidal domes like those of Angkor Wat, pointed to represent Mount Meru , a sacred mountain for Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. But they are not up to the work of the interior, although in other cities there are carvings also outside.
Osiyan, Chandi Ka Mandir
In Chadi Ka Mandir and Amba Mata Mandir , the temples of Chadi Ka and Amba Mata , there are carvings in the pyramidal domes in memory of Mount Meru. To get there you have to go up a staircase that step by step is going to purify you – in our case with the sweat that the pre-monsoon heat of June provoked us.
The desert of Thar continues to make its own and the sand gives that aspect of dream , of dreamlike fantasy , to what your eyes see. As if a mirage had escaped from the depths of the dunes and had sneaked in half Osiyan. You’ll get some sand on your feet, you have to descalzar to enter these and all Jain temples in the country. In the altars you will find food offered to the gods .
The temple of Mahavira was built in the year 775 although, as his restorer told us, much of what is seen today is his and his son’s work … will it be true?
Again the circumstances could have something to do, we arrived after two days without stopping to run from one place to another: trains, buses, races and we found a haven of peace in the middle of all that stress. Ranakpur is like a green and well-kept park , in which the temples are the most spectacular flowers , connected by paved roads. No cows, no horn noise, no people asking … it’s like being out of India .
Marble carved as we were used to, but a white marble , without the sand of the desert having made a dent in it. The company of a monk, with perfectly cut hair, which made us doubt that of pulling it off, completed the visit. Details like that there is a column with a failure made on purpose so that the perfection of the gods was not tarnished by a human, or a Ganesh inside a tree would have gone unnoticed.
Here there are carvings on the outside of the temples , but it is the interior that overwhelms. It is said that the main temple, dedicated to Adinath, is the most beautiful Jain temple in the whole country and what did we think at that time? More than 3,600 square meters with various heights, stairs, rooms, columns -none less than 1,444- , images … and all carved.
Mount Abu, the Monastery of Dilwara
When we arrived at Monte Abu we thought it was impossible to find something more beautiful – and yes, I say beautiful, filling my mouth with the word. Once again, reality showed us that it is above our imagination. If I tell you that just after crossing the door of the Dilwara monastery we had to sit on the floor and stay there for more than half an hour looking at the ceiling, the columns, the walls, the floor … trying to memorize everything because, other temples could not be entered with shoes or water , this can not be entered with a camera .
The Mount Abu , along with Ranakpur, one of the most important centers of Jain pilgrimage : this mountain was a refuge for meditation of Mahavira. The complex has five temples to which more incredible, the most important being dedicated to Adinath and Neminath .
Legend has it that the temple workers received their salary based on the amount of marble dust they raised when carving the figures . When we managed to recover we started walking through the 59 rooms of the temple, reaching a saturation point of beauty that Sthendal could not even imagine.
Jagdish Temple, Udaipur
There are 32 steps that you have to climb to enter and, it is impossible, it is not more beautiful than the previous ones . Perhaps if the order had been different, with Ranakpur and Mount Abu afterwards, we would have also hallucinated with the Jagdish temple , but beyond perfection there is nothing left . Plan your trip to Udaipur through Palace on Wheels train India and visit the Jagdish temple.
The last of the Jain temples we visited in India was the Red Temple of Ajmer . Prepared to see more marble carvings, we were surprised. There is not here Instead, there are golden figures that represent the Jain concept of the ancient world . Here is Mount Meru, with the Yambu Duipa continent at your feet. It is surrounded, in concentric circles, by seven other continents separated by seven seas.
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