India as a country is known to respect travellers and as the verse in the Sanskrit language says, Indians have planted the phrase “Athithi devo bhava” deep in their hearts. The tradition of helping travellers in the minutest way comes from the historic times since when India was known for its scenic beauty and its resource wealth.
The western state of Rajasthan in the Indian subcontinent is very well known for its sands that lead into the Thar Desert, the palaces aging over centuries and the forts that protected the kings and queens of the region from invasions across the border and from neighbouring rulers. But little is known about the temples buried deep in the interiors of the sandy region and we are going to enlighten you about some of the places known among pilgrims here.
Akshardam Temple, Jaipur
Photo by Pranavdadhich, CC BY-SA 3.0
Jaipur is known primarily for its numerous forts and the extravagant palaces which housed the kings and princesses of the region for centuries. Known as the pink city, it would be a disappointment if the structures built out of stone weren’t paid a visit to, but what is missed is the pilgrimage center dedicated to Swaminarayan, the Akshardam temple. Renowned for its antique architecture, elegant idols and the carvings that span across the entirety of the temple and situated amidst the greenery of the gardens and the sounds of the fountains, the temple makes a very popular pilgrimage centre in Rajasthan.
Eklingji Temple, Udaipur
Photo by Dennis Jarvis, CC BY-SA 2.0
Located only 20 kilometres from the city of Udaipur, the Eklingji temple is dedicated to the Hindu god, Lord Shiva. The temple ages back to the 9th century and is said to be built by one of the dynasties in Mewar and Eklingji is believed to be the ruling deity of the Princely state. The specifics that the location is known for is that the entire premises contains 108 temples within its high walled circumference. The main temple is made of marble and stone, and structured pillars that house a four-faced idol of Lord Shiva making it a must see for faithful pilgrims.
Brahma Temple, Pushkar
Photo by K.Vishnupranay, CC BY-SA 4.0
Situated in close proximity to the Pushkar lake, the Hindu temple is dedicated to lord Jagatpita Brahma. Within 50 kilometres from Ajmer, this temple is dedicated to Lord Brahma and because of this it is one of the rarest temple in the whole world. The temple is believed to be over 2000 years old and built from marble and stone. There is also a Pushkarmela which is organised in the town of Pushkar which is an expansive exhibition of camels. Given a chance, do not miss visiting Pushkar for the mela!
Jain Temple, Ranakpur
Photo by BOMBMAN, CC BY 2.0
Situated in the Pali district of Rajasthan, and at a distance of 90 kilometres from Udaipur and 150 kilometres from Jodhpur, and in a valley on the Aravalli range standing tall and massive is the temple dedicated to TirthankaraAdinatha. Very accessible by road and rail, the temple is famous not only for its elegant architecture from the 15th century but also the numerous pillars on which the temple stands. The temple is a most visited place of pilgrimage in the region, but stay tuned for some monkey action while you’re in the temple.
Shrinathji Temple, Nathdwara
Photo by BOMBMAN, CC BY 2.0
Located 50 kilometres from Udaipur is the Hindu temple dedicated to Shrinathji and stands as an important center of pilgrimage for the Vaishnavs, one of the major traditions within Hinduism. The temple enshrines the idol of Lord Krishna but what is amazing is the story behind the temple. While moving the idol initially from Gowardhan to Nathdwara in Rajasthan, the wheels of the cart that held the idol sunk deep into the mud at this particular place and the priest then realized that it was God’s chosen spot, thus building the temple where it stands today.
Pilgrimage is a form of tourism that is very popular in India and is believed to be rewarding to the soul and grants inner peace by relieving you of your sins. So the next time you plan to take a vacation, do check out the pilgrimage sites in Rajasthan.
About the Author: Rohit, an architect by profession, enjoys travelling across the country and sometimes to the temples as he admires the architecturethat dates back to the previous centuries. He writes to share about all his adventures and experiences for Trans India Travels.