Dilwara Temples

By Local Photographer | 2007

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Photography within the temples is not allowed. We were lucky enough to find a photographer who had clicked pictures in 1992 which he gave us. These pictures are reproduced for you. Dilwara temple is about 20 minute drive from the main Mount Abu market. What you see is an overview of the temple complex. You would be surprised to see ghumbaz’s and assume it is an Islamic monument. To avoid catching attention of Muslim invaders people of those times deliberately made a ghumbaz top with simple exteriors so that it did not attract attention of invaders and possible destruction thereafter.

Dilwara is a cluster of five Digambar Jain temples dedicated to the Tirthankaras dated between the 11-12th century a.d. The first of the two imposing temples were built in the year 1031 a.d. by Vimal Vasahi commander in chief of Bhurinder Solankhi, ruler of Gujarat. It was built at a cost of Rs 185.3 million and is dedicated to Adhinath the first Tirthankara. 1500 masons & 1200 laborers worked on this temple for 14 years. An icon of Vimal Vasahi on a horse overlooks the temple entrance. As you enter first big temple there is a Rang Mandap in the centre (you see lower part of mandap) supported by intricately carved columns that lead you to the sanctum. The beautiful carvings connecting two columns are called Torans. They are made of one piece of stone.

The first temple has 57 temple small temples of Tirthankaras on the periphery of the main temple. Ceiling is beautifully carved, some have 3 layers of carving within, other have 2 icons in the ceiling, predominance of elephants & flowers. A closer view of the columns only to give you an idea of the great work done in those times. The four corners of the Rang Mandap have icons of Brahma, Vishnu, Shiv & Ambika. Has Krishna Bhagwan ki Ras leela in temple no 23. In temple nos 30 there is Krishna Bhagwan & Nag demon.

Earlier you see Rang mandap ka lower part. Now you see the ceiling of the Rang Mandap. It has 16 avatars of Ambika Mata or Mata ke 16 rup.

A close up of the pillar for your viewing. There are 12 similar pillars. Every pillar has 68 different dance poses. There are 202 pillars that are placed in a manner that at any time you can see four icons.

Chakeshwari Devi ka icon in temple 1. Destroyed by Khilji, restored between 1950-1965.

Kalpa Vriksha like we saw in Ranakpur. We were told it is important since Bhagwan Mahavir got mukti when he sat below a kalpvraksh.

You see Narasimha Vishnu Bhagwan ka avatar.

You see Mata Saraswati. This is 1,000 years old, made in two horizontal pieces.

You see Goddess in four directions. Taking left to right they are Saraswati with a peacock, Mahalaxmi with a flower, Gajalaxmi with an elephant and Chakeshwari with a garud.

Icon of Adhinath Bhagwan in temple 1 sanctum. Also see in front of temple is Vimal Vasahi elephant cell where you have Vimal on horse with ten huge elephants carved in marble.

We now enter temple two. You see an overview of the temple as we entered. The second splendid shrine was built by two famous brothers Vastupal & Tejpal. They were ministers of Virdhaval Solankhi ruler of Gujarat. It was built at a cost of Rs 125.9 million in the year 1231 and is dedicated to Lord Neminath the 22nd Tirthankara.

You have a Rang Mandap in this temple too.

A close up of the Rang Mandap & columns. In the center is Jhumar ki kala. Took 6 years to make, weight 800 kgs, is 1.25 metres inlength. Destroyed in 1368, was restored between 1950-65.

The toran that you see is 800 years old. We were told some were destroyed by Khilji and restored later.

Rang Mandap of the mandir 2.

You see icon of Bhagwan Neminath, the 22 nd Tirthankara.

Bhagwan Neminath, the 22nd Tirthankara was going to get married to Rajuldevi. The picture shows barat with elephants.

Bhima Shah’s Pittalhar temple has the magnificent icon of Lord Rishabh Dev is built of 5 metres and installed in the year 1482 a.d. The weight of the icon is 4.5 tons, length 8.5 feet and width 5.5 feet. On darshan you are believed to get rid of eye, stomach, feet problems within two years provided you pray sache man see and with shraddha (faith).You see ladies in Gujarati Garbha dance position.

1000 years ago there was no cars. Elephants were used to transport marble from far places to the hills of Abu. Dilwara has a large number of elephant icons by way of a tribute to them.<

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