HomeAsiaSouth AsiaIndia Ranakpur Jain Temple and Bird Sanctuary By Marcos Detourista on January 9, 2015. The Ranakpur Jain Temple built from white marble and filled with beautiful carvings of awe-inducing detail. Hidden within the lush countrysides of India was an architectural marvel that should not be missed when traveling through the fortress cities of Rajasthan. It was called the Ranakpur Jain Temple, a massive structure carved entirely from white marble and a sacred pilgrimage site of the Jain religion found in Ranakpur village. It was most renowned for its awe-inspiringly intricate and extensive carvings on over a 1,444 towering support pillars. The moment I discovered photos of it online, I knew I just had to see them with my own eyes. I made my way to Ranakpur as an overnight stopover between local bus commutes from Udaipur to Jodhpur. Despite its location in a seemingly isolated and vast hilly forest region, the Ranakpur Jain Temple was easy to find since it was located right along the highway and the locals were very familiar with it. After dropping off at a food stall beside the temple, a convenient motorcycle taxi ferried me to a nearby hotel and then back so I could start exploring the temple. Ranakpur Jain Temple From the outside, the main temple structure was big yet looked unassuming compared to the massive fortress complexes I had visited so far in India. Ranakpur Jain Temple Facade. The interiors were a completely different story. As I walked through the temple’s many corridors and domed halls, I continually kept getting awe struck by its sheer beauty and masterful construction. Almost every inch of the marble interiors seemed to be covered with carvings that form dizzying decorative patterns or depict symbols and ideologies of Jainism. All the pillars were carved in exquisite detail and no two were identical. The light-colored marble gave an effortless feel to the otherwise overwhelming details. These pictures only touch the surface on how I was amazed by the Ranakpur Jain Temple. First view of the interiors of Ranakpu Jain Temple. There was a large hall similar to this on four sides, surrounding the main altar. Each hall had massive support columns and were uniquely designed. The closest I could get to the main altar. Photography was not allowed beyond this point. A peek at one of the domed ceilings. Carved columns from the side. The hall with the elephant ridden by a mahout. My favorite part of the temple. Here are closer views of the detailed wall and column carvings. One of the monks approached me an put a yellow bindi on my forehead :) Row upon row of seemingly countless carved statues. Mind Boggling optical illusions of seemingly endless loops and fractals. One of the most famous carvings at the Ranakpur Jain Temple. Carved on this single block of marble were 108 heads of snakes and numerous tails. One cannot find the end of the tails. The image faces all four cardinal directions. In the axis of the main entrance, on the western side, is the largest image. Symmetry and artistry showcased on one of the domes. Looking up at one of the smaller domes. Views of the balconies and open spaces. View of green hills from one the balconies. A courtyard inside the temple with a living tree. Other structures on the temple complex A smaller temple a few hundred meters away from the main temple structure. Scenic open-air ampitheatre made from the same light-colored marble. The main gate of the Ranakpur Jain Temple Complex. Ranakpur Bird Sanctuary I decided to walk on my way back to the hotel since I still had a couple of hours of daylight with nothing on my itinerary. I saw a sign with a white bird and an arrow painted on it. I couldn’t read what it actually said because all the words were written in Hindi. I followed the path out of curiosity and it led me to a sizable lake with a scenic view of the surrounding hillsides. The area must have been a bird sanctuary or a bird-watching area because, indeed, I did spot some birds. Including a small flock of peacocks and other bird species. Ranakpur was indeed a worthy stopover. The Jain temple exceeded my expectations and I had the chance to see a bit of the wildlife in the area. If I had started the bus ride earlier from Udaipur, it would have been possible to squeeze it in as a day trip. The buses that passed by the highway were quite scarce but there was one every hour or so. I actually saw more more herds of cattle passing along the highway than cars or buses. A sight of cattles with terrifyingly huge horns unfazed by a passing bus, while waiting for my next ride to Jodhpur. Detourista Notes I stayed at Roopam Hotel, which was located along the highway and near the Ranakpur Jain Temple. There weren’t a lot of budget accommodations in Ranakpur for solo travelers. Roopam Hotel was the cheapest one that I found. I arrived in Ranakpur on a local bus from Udaipur. From Ranakpur, I continued my journey on another local bus to Jodhpur. Ranakpur was the 9th destination on my one month trip in India. Discover travel notes on my Ranakpur Itinerary and India Itinerary. Don’t leave yet. There’s more! Discover more blogs and travel tips in: IndiaRanakpur South AsiaAsia See all places Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.