Temples of Udaipur
Udaipur and its vicinage is famous for temples and shrines which are. not only the embodiment of the religious feelings and sentiments, but are also a fine realisation of the superb taste and sense of art and architecture of the people who dedicated their soul, mind and money for the cause. Vaishnav and Jain temples, many in number, are held highly in reverence and visited by thousands of Hindus and Jains. The followings are some of the important temples a tourist should include in his itinerary:
Only 150 meters north of the entrance to the City Palace, this fines Indo-Aryan temple was built by Maharana Jagat Singh I (1628-53) in 1651.
The pinnacled Jagdish Temple was built at a cost of Rs. 15 lacs. It enshrines a beautiful four-armed black image of Lord Vishnu. A brass image of the Garuda is in a shrine of the temple and the steps up to the temple are banked by elephants. The temple, 80 feet high, is on a 25 feet high platform accessible by a flight of 32 steps.The bold structure of the temple, representing the variety of scenes relating to the life on this Earth as well as the World beyond, is a delight to an architect who should minutely examine these figures engraved with all well-thought details. The ornamental decorum and the architectural beauty of the temple defies any description.
JAIN TEMPLES OF UDAIPUR
There are more than 30 mentionable Jain temples in Udaipur of which the temples of Sheetal Nathji and Vasupoojyaji (both being incarnation of Mahaveer Swami) deserve special reference. The temple of Sheetal Nathji is the oldest of all the temples said to have been founded with the foundation of Udaipur. It is on the right side of the way from Clock Tower to city palaces and contains beautiful glass work. But more beautiful is the temple of Vasupoojyaji wherein there is a bewitching glass mosaic and paintings. It is in Bada Bazar hardly half a furlong from the Clock Tower.
15th century famous temple of Bhagwan Shiv (Eklingji or Eklingnath) at Kailashpuri. The four-faced idol of Eklingji is carved in black stone. The temple is at a 20 km distance from Udaipur on the National Highway No. 8, while going towards Nathdwara. The temple was built originally by Bappa Rawal in the third decade of the eight century, and later on repaired and remodelled by different Maharanas to wipe out the vestiges of destruction caused by attacks of Mohammedans. By dint of the kindness of Eklingnath, Bappa Rawal got the kingdom of Mewar and hence Eklingji was the ruling deity of Mewar and the Maharana was the devotee and Dewan of Eklingji.
Inside the temple is a beautiful four-faced image of Lord Shiva carved out of black marble open for darshan for a number of times throughout the day, but the most lovely darshan is had at the time of the evening worshipping (arti) held between 7.00 and 7.30 P.M. The temple has a double-storeyed porch, ornamented by a pyramidal roof and peculiarly ornate tower over the sanctuary proper. Carvings require critical and patient eyes to enjoy.
The ancient capital of Mewar founded by Nagaditya in the sixth century.. The place of historical importance & the beautiful temple of Sas-Bahu with intricate carvings. At a 1 1/2-mile-distance in the west from Eklingji, are the famous ruins caused by Mugal invaders, (especially Altumush) of the temples of Nagda.
The Jain temple, having in it a nine-foot-sitting idol of Adbhutji Baba and the temples of Sas-Bahu which expose an enviable specimen of fine texture of the material that dictates a more tender care for details than the buff and red sandstone of Rajasthan and the mastery over this material and difficulties of chiselling granite, have paved the way for similar sculpture elsewhere.
The temple-town of Nathdwara situated on the right bank of river Banas, at a distance of 50 km from Udaipur, connected by a rail-link as well as by a regular bus-service is well known far and wide for the Vaishnava (Vallabhacharya Sect) temples, the chief of which is the temple of Shrinathji. The full-view-black-idol of Shrinathji is seated in a simple but grand temple where thousands of pilgrims come every month- Also the temple is fabulously wealthy and until some years ago wagon-loads of supplies of food stuffs used to arrive there both consigned by and consigned to ‘Shrinathji’.
Rana Raj Singh in 1672 A.D. rescued the idol of Shrinathji from the persecution of Aurangzeb when no ruler of Rajputana could dare do so for the fear of incurring the displeasure of Aurangzeb. There are 7 Darshans of the deity every day.Nathdwara has about more than a dozen Dharmshalas for the stay of pilgrims coming to this town.
Ivory articles, paintings and tasteful prashad (sweets which are offered to the deity and later on sold in shops regularly) purchased from here will always form sweet memories of the visit to this place.
Kankroli situated on the bank of the famous Rajsamudra lake, 60 km away from Udaipur but linked by railway as well as a regular bus-service is famous for the temple of Dwarkanathji revered by the Vaishnava sect. The idol was drought in 1671 A.D. (during the reign of Maharana Raj Singh) which was seated in its present temple constructed at the time of the inauguration of the Rajsamudra lake in 1676 A.D. Those visiting Udaipur and Nathdwara, generally visit this town too which has the additional attractions of the famous Rajsamudra lake and its exquisite Nau-chowkis and the fort of Dayal Shah – a famous Jain personality.
The temple of Charbhujaji about 60 km from Kankroli and 27 km from the Railway station of Charhhuja Road has a four-armed deity of Charbhujanathji worshipped by Vaishnavites. On the eleventh day of Bhadra-Shukla a grand fair is held which is attended by thousands of pilgrims from Mewar, Marwar and Gujrat.
Unsophisticated way of performing puja of Charbhujaji is a mentionable speciality here. Gurjars (a community residing in the town here) manage the affairs of the temple and perform puja turn by turn. Glass-work inside the temple imparts a beautiful look to the interior of the structure. The temple is said to be much older.
The town Rikhabdeoji (or Dhulev) situated at 65 km south of Udaipur is famous for the well-famed 15th century temple of Rikhabdeoji, one of Tirthankar of Jain religion (also called Keshariyaji on account of the saffron offered to the idol by thousands of the pilgrims). The 3 feet high black stone idol of Rikhabdeoji is in a sitting position carved out of one entire black stone. The temple is a centre of faith of Jains, Meena tribals and other Vaishnav Sanatan community believers.
Rikhabdeoji being one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu, is also worshipped by Vaishnavites apart from the thousands of Jains who come every month this place through Udaipur. There is a good Dharmshala for the pilgrims to stay at the place.
Rishabhdev is now become a main export center or Green marble (serpentine).