The famous Dilwara temple of the Jain sect is located at around 2.5kms from the main town of Mount Abu. This masterpiece is at its architectural supremacy and is considered at par with Taj Mahal of Agra. During the rule of the Solanki dynasty, the temple was built by two renowned sculptors of the time, Vistupal and Tejpal. The temple was built between 11th and 13th century AD when the Solankis were at the pinnacle of their glory. Many Jain temples had been built across Rajasthan during this time, but none were as exquisite as the Dilwara Temple. This temple is referred to as the best Jain pilgrimage site of the world.
This temple complex is situated amidst the green forest of the Aravallis and the marble work looks more beautiful on this natural background. The temple structure is not a complicated one and looks like a plain temple from outside. Once inside, the temple portrays amazing architecture. The temple complex comprises of five different smaller temples, named after five villages. They are namely, Vimal Vasahi Temple, Luna Vasahi, Pittalhar Temple, Parsvanatha Temple and Mahavir Swami Temple.
Vimal Vasahi Temple
Built in 1031AD, this is a white marble temple. This was built by Vimal Shah and dedicated to Lord Rishabha. The outer body of the temple is blocked into small cells each containing the idol of the first Jain Tirthankara, Adinath. The central hall is called the Rang Mandap supported by 12 decorative pillars. These pillars are intricately carved with female figurines playing various musical instruments, 16 Vaidhyadevis and other goddess. There is a central dome with heavily decorate corridors, pillars doors and arches on all sides.
Built in 1230AD, this temple is the abode of Lord Neminath. Vastupal and Tejpal built this temple in memory of their late brother “Luna”. The main hall has carved hanging pendants with 72 figures of Tirthankar in sitting position. There is the black marble idol of the 22nd Jain Tirthankar at the centre of the mandap. Main attraction of this temple is the “Navchowki,” named after its nine marble ceilings raising awe and amazement of the viewers.
This temple is dedicated to the first Jain Tirthankara Rishabha Dev (Adinath), and a huge metal structure of him is placed in the main Garbagriha. Metal used is “Pital” or brass from where the temple got its name. The figure is 8ft long, 5.5ft broad and weighs around 108 maunds or 40 quintals.
This is a three storied temple built in 1458-59 and dedicated to Lord Parsvanatha. Inside the temple, there are four big mandapas with sculptures made of grey sandstone. The artwork on the temple walls looks similar to the ones present in Konark and Khajuraho.
Mahavir Swami Temple
This Mahavira Temple was built in 1582 and is the only temple with lovely paintings on the walls of the porch. This temple complex is very popular because of the fact that it was built at a height of 1200m on the Aravallis and huge marble blocks were being transported on elephant’s back. The marbles came from the Arasoori Hills at Ambaji to this remote hilly region of Mount Abu. The temple complex remains open throughout the year with people visiting it between 12pm to 3pm, against an entry fee. Photography is prohibited within the temple complex.
How To Reach
Dilwara temple complex is well connected by roads with all the major cities like Ahmedabad, Jodhpur, Udaipur and Jaipur. RSTC buses run on this route everyday from the main town centre. Cabs and Jeeps are available for rental for a day’s trip.