On the way from Udaipur and Jodhpur, in the very heart of Rajasthan, after hours driving through the lush forest, lies the splendid Jain Temple of Ranakpur, one of the most beautiful examples of architecture connected to this cult.
The first big surprise when we arrived there was a large group of funny and loud little monkeys, which are the only ones, together with a great amount of birds, allowed to break the holy silence that surrounds this place. I use to say that travelling a lot may makes one lose the ability to be surprised, but looking at the white, sumptuous stairs of the temple I totally had to change my mind on that.
At the arrival, we were welcomed by a few monks dressed in white. Those were svetambara, one of the two major Jain sects, and they explained to us the rules of the temple: being barefoot is compulsory (like in most of the Indian temples), leather and public display of affection are strictly forbidden. In general, the Jainists obey to the “five laws”, which impose respect for any other living being (ahinsa), the pursuit of truth (satya), the prohibition to steal from others (asteya), chastity (brahmacharya), prohibition of personal possession (aparigrah).
I won’t spend much time talking about the architecture of the temple itself. Suffice to say that it has been built to honour master Adinath, and that it is supported by 1144 pillars, each one decorated differently. What I want to focus on is how much this place impressed me on a much deeper level.
Sitting into a recess of the temple with a view towards the forest, with the buzz of several bees keeping me company, I let my mind wander while the temple’s atmosphere washed away all my negative thoughts. Even today, when I think about a happy moment of my life, this one is among the first ones which pop out. India and its seductions surely left its mark on my soul.
I don’t want to force into this article the cliché about the spirituality of India and its miracles; I am in fact pretty sure that if you travel all the way to India specifically to find such a thing, you will probably be disappointed. I wasn’t really looking for anything, when I got involved into the charm and peace that surround these places.
What I want to suggest you is, Ranakpur is a place to see. You can travel in the region independently or with a Rajasthan Tour Packages. It may fill you up with peace and spirituality, like me, or it may not. But it surely is an experience which won’t pass unnoticed.