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Dilwara Temples

Dilwara Jain Temples Marble Stone Craft at Its Best

Location Near Mount Abu, In Rajasthan
Built During 11th - 13th century
Dedicated Adinath, Rishabh Dev, Neminath, Mahavir Swami, Parshvanath
Significance Famous pilgrimage of the Jains

How to reach: One can easily reach Dilwara Temple by taking regular Buses or by hiring taxis from anywhere in Rajasthan

The Dilwara Temples are Jain Temples which are situated in Mount Abu Rajasthan. They are very ancient temples which go back to 11th and 13th Century. These temples are extremely beautiful and made from pure white marble stone and are built in memory of the Jain Tirthankaras.

The Jain Dilwara Temples are the most sought out Jain temple in all of India. Jains from all over India come to worship in these temples. These temples are the epitome of Jain architecture and Jain carvings on marble stone. Mount Abu is by far the only hill station situated in the desert state of Rajasthan. The Jain Temples are located 2.5 kilometers from the main city of Mount Abu. The temples are ancient because they are believed to be built between 11th and 13th century. They are popular because of their exquisite marble carvings. It is a very important place for all Jain Pilgrims. Some inscriptions which were found at Mount Abu reveal that these temples have a Shaivism and Jainism origin. These two were quite new religious beliefs that were starting to come up during the 11th century. They opened the door to a world of beauty, elegance and peace. A High Wall acts as fortification for the entire temple complex. Apart from that the temples are surrounded by woody hills and mango trees. The ornamental intricacies in the form of carvings and sculptures of walls, pillars, doorways, ceilings and panels are a true feast to the eyes of visitors. The first Dilwara Jain Temples was built in the year 1032 AD.

The Dilwara temples apart from being a major Jain Pilgrim place are quite high in terms of aesthetic beauty which makes them a very popular tourist destination in Rajasthan. You can easily reach the Dilwara Temples from any major town and city. Mount Abu the one and only Rajasthani hill station is also a major city of the state. Due to this Indian Railway has many trains passing through the Mount Abu Railway Station. Trains to and from Mount Abu are available for many major cities of India. The temples are at a mere two and a half kilometer from Mount Abu. You will find numerous taxis and buses which will take you to the Dilwara Temples at an affordable price.

Jainism Followers consider The Dilwara Temples one of the most auspicious places on Earth. People are generally admiring the beautiful marble work and intricate construction of these temples. Jainism is a religion which is known for its simplicity.  The simple architecture of The Dilwara Temples truly signifies the virtues of Jainism. It is situated in the lap of Mother Nature. The temples contain five shrines each of which is dedicated to a Jain Lord. These five Jain Lords are Lord Parshvanath, Lord Mahavir Swami, Lord Neminath, Lord Rishabdeo and Lord Adinath.

The Dilwara Jain Temples are the depiction of true Jain Architecture and Carvings. The exquisitely carved ceilings, the grand entryways, the intricate pillars and the beautiful panels make these temples so beautiful and divine. The great architecture, intricate carvings and aesthetic surroundings make the Dilwara Jain Temples the holiest Jain pilgrimage in all of India. The grand temples of Luna Vasahi and Vimal Vashi are vast and get most of tourist attraction.

History of Dilwara Temples

Mount Abu is a major part of the Aravalli Hill Range and lies in the South Western Region of Rajasthan. Mount Abu is separated from Aravalli by a steep narrow valley. Gurushikar, situated at the Northern End of Aravallis is its highest point.

If legends are to be believed then Hindus say that once Saint Guru Vashisht’s cow called Nandini was trapped in a very deep and narrow gorge here. The cow Nandini was unsuccessful in freeing herself so the saint worshipped to Lord Shiva to help her out. Lord Shiva sent Goddess Saraswati to help out the poor cow. Saraswati, a divine stream flooded the gorge so that the cow can float up. Guru Vashisht was a little traumatized by this incident so he requested the youngest son of Holy Himalaya to fill water in the gorge permanently. The snake Arbud helped in achieving this goal. Originally this place was called Mount Arbud, in recent times this name was shortened to become Mount Abu. It is also known as Arbudgiri in the ancient Jain and Hindu scriptures. These temples were built in reminiscence of the Jain Tirthankaras and also played a major role in securing important religious scriptures, documents and manuscripts. The Mount Abu Jain Temples were built between 800 AD and 1200 AD. The three major figures who contributed towards development of Jain architecture and temples were Teja Pala, Vastu Pala and Vimala Shah.

Temples of Dilwara

There are five major Dilwara Temples. The name of each temple is based on the village in which it is situated. Each temple is different from one another and serves a different purpose. These 5 temples are

  • Vimal Vasahi (Shri Adi Nathji temple)
  • Luna Vasahi (Shri Nemi Nathji temple)
  • Pithalhar (Shri Rishabh Deoji temple)
  • Khartar Vasahi (Shri Parshavnathji temple)
  • Mahavira Swami (Shri Mahaveer Swamiji temple

Vimala Vasahi Temple

This temple is in devotion of Lord Rishab Dev, who was the first Jain Tirthankara. It is one of the oldest and most important Jain Temples in the region. The main shrine contains an icon of Rishab Dev. The main shrine is surrounded by 58 similar cells which contains small icons of the lord which resemble the big icon in the main shrine. The whole temple is situated in an open courtyard. The layout of the temple resembles the Martan Sun Temple situated in Kashmir. The main shrine is columned with porticoes while 59 cells surround the courtyard. The true beauty of this temple is because of the white marble stones and carvings. You will find intricate carvings on all structure like the pillars, mandaps, arches, corridors, gateways, etc. The best carvings are found on the ceilings. You will find beautiful carvings of petals, lotus buds and important scenes from Hindu and Jain mythology on the ceiling. The most attractive part of this temple is a vast hall called Rang Mandap. This mandap is held on 12 intricately decorated pillars, beautifully carved archways and the exquisite central dome. There are eleven concentric rings in it. Five of these rings represent figures of animals. The lowest ring forms a beautiful circle of 150 elephants that are intertwined together by their trunks. The Pillars have figures of Vidhya Devis also known as Goddesses of Knowledge holding their symbols and other female figures playing musical instruments. There is also the Navchowki which is a collection nine ceilings of rectangular shape. These ceilings contain beautiful carvings and designs and stand on richly carved ornate pillars.

Another hall situated in its premises is the Gudh Mandap. It is a considerably smaller hall which has a richly decorated doorway. The idol of Adi Nath resides in this mandap. Aarti of Adi Nath takes place here every day. There is also a Hathishala constructed inside it which contains sculptures of elephants in series of rows. The Hathishala was constructed in 1147-49 A.D. by Vimal Shah who happened to be the descendant of Prithvipal.

The Luni Vasahi

This temple is devoted to Jain Lord Neminatha. Another name for this temple is Tejpala Temple. Its architecture is very similar to that of Vimala Vashi Temple which was constructed 200 years before this temple. The temple’s layout is based Solanki Architecture and is one of the last remaining structures of this style. Solanki Dynasty ended during 13th century during Gujarat’s occupation. Tejpal and Vastupal constructed this temple in the year 1230 AD.

The dome is the major attraction of this temple. The exquisite dome drips in grandeur and is supported by eight ornate pillars. The dome’s pendant is breathtakingly beautiful as its drops from the ceiling in the shape of a half opened lotus flower. The garibhagriha is the next major thing in this temple. When fully illuminated it gives a breathtaking view of the idol of Jain lord Neminatha. The ceilings are mostly richly ornamented with carvings and paintings and drawings. The temple has total 39 cells and each cell contains a small imagery of the Lord. The porticoes in cells show life incidences and stories of Lord Neminatha like his marriage, his deification, etc. There is a marriage pavilion which depicts the scene where Neminatha chose to convert to Jainism. He was betrothed to King of Girnar’s daughter Rajimati.

The Rang Mandap also has a centrally situated dome which has an ornate pendant hanging from it. On this pendant you will find the figures of 72 Jain Tirthankaras all placed in a circular band. There is another circular band beneath this one and it contains 360 small sized figures of Jain monks.

It also has a Hathikaran which consist ten carvings of elephants. In early times it is believed that these elephants used to carry Vastupula family members but with time these figures have disappeared.  In the north end of the temple you will find figures of Vastupula with Viryta Devi and Lalith Devi and Tejpala with Anupama Devi.

The Navchowki is the best part of the temple and is famous for its excellent marble stone cutting work. All nine ceilings are beautiful. There is a Gudh Mandap which contains an idol of Neminath, the 22nd Jain Tirthankara. The idol is made of black marble. There is a black stone pillar called Kirtistambh which is located in the Northern end of the temple.

Pittalhar Temple

Bhima Shah, a minister of Sultan Mohammed Begada, royal of Ahmadabad, was the one who built this extraordinary Jain Temple. This temple has a huge idol of Jain Lord Rishab Dev or Adi Nath. The idol is said to be cast from five different metals and then installed in the main shrine of the temple. The major metal used to cast the idol of Adi Nath was Brass or Pital. That is why the temple if known Pittalhar. The main sections of the temple include Garbagriha, Navchowki and Gudh Mandap. Another common name of this temple is Shri Rishab Deoji Temple.

Parshavanath Temple

This temple as the name suggests is dedicated to Jain Lord Parshavanath. It was built in 1458-59 AD by a Mandlik and his family. This Jain temple is three storeys tall which makes it the tallest of all the Dilwara Jain Temples. The sanctum is surrounded by four big mandaps on all four sides on the ground floor. The outer wall of this temple is made from gray stone and consists of some very rich and heavy artwork, sculptures and carvings. The sculptures generally depict Vidya devis, Dikpals, Yakshinis, Shalabhanjhikas, etc. Kharta Vashi is another name for this famous Jain Temple.

Mahavira Swami Temple

This temple is dedicated to Lord Mahavira who was the 24th Jain Tirthankara. It is pretty small when compared to other Dilwara Temples and was built in 1582 AD. Sirohi artists were responsible for the beautiful paintings and drawings on the walls and the ceilings of the porch. These paintings date back to 1764 AD. Other tourist attraction in this place includes The Nakki Lake, the Bikaner Palace, Achalgarh Shiva Temple, the Adhar Devi Temple and the Gaumukh Shiva Temple.

Architecture of Dilwara Temple

The Dilwara Jain temples have a magnificent and unique architectural structure which consists of beautifully carved ceilings, heavy pillars, entryways, panels and other sculptures and paintings. Nagara style of architecture is used for construction of these temples. The Dilwara Jain Temples are generally spread on large area of land and are single storeyed. In totality you will find 48 pillars in these Jain Temples. The bhamani part of the ceiling surrounds the main shrine vimana which is carved with beautiful figures of gods, lotus buds and petals of flowers.

How to Reach Dilwara Temples

The Dilwara Temples of Mount Abu can very easily accessed because the city of Mount Abu is well connected with major cities inside as well as outside the state.


The nearest airport is 185 kilometers away in Udaipur. Many buses and taxis are available from Udaipur to Mount Abu.


The nearest railway station is 29 kilometers away on Abu Road which is connected to both Jodhpur and Ahmadabad.


Via Palanpur Ahmadabad is 200 kilometers away while Via Sirhoi and Pali Jodhpur is 250 kilometers away. You can get taxis and buses to Mount Abu from these places.

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