The Dilwara Jain temples rank among the most sacred centres of pilgrimage for the Jain community. The temples are
located in Mount Abu, the only hill station of Rajasthan. Mount Abu is located at an altitude of 1220 metres above
sea level. Lord Mahavira had also visited Mount Abu a few times during his lifetime and blessed the place. The
temples are known the world over for their stunning use of marble and some great carvings on the marble walls.
There are a total of five temples and each one of them is credited for its architectural perfection. The lush green
surroundings of the temple are full of mango trees.
The Dilwara temples were built between the 11th and 13th centuries. The temples have been built by different
people. The temples are dedicated to different Jain tirthankaras.
The Temple Complex
There are 5 temples in all, each one named after the small village in which they are located. Moreover, each temple
is dedicated to a different Jain tirthankara.
Vimal Vasahi Temple
This temple is dedicated to Jain Tirthankara Shri Adi Nath. It was built in the year 1021 AD by Vimal Shah, who
served as a minister under Raja Bhimdeo. This temple has been carved entirely out of marble. Standing in an open
courtyard, the corridors of the temple have numerous cells that contain small idols of the Tirthankaras. The ceiling,
corridors, pillars, arches, and mandaps of the temple have rich carvings. The best carvings could be seen on the
ceiling featuring lotus-buds, petals, flowers and scenes from Jain and Hindu mythology. There are also some fine
sculptures of elephants in the Hastishala (Elephant Cell).
Luna Vasahi Temple
Dedicated to the 22nd Jain Tirthankara Shri Nemi Nath, Luna Vasahi is another richly carved temple. This temple
was built in the year 1230 AD by two brothers - Vastupal and Tejpal. The temple was built in memory of their
brother Luna. The chief attraction of this temple is its main hall- Rang mandap. The elaborate carvings here include
72 figures of Tirthankaras in sitting posture and 360 small figures of Jain monks. The Hastishala features a group of
10 neatly polished marble elephants. The nine ceilings of the temple also look very beautiful.
Pittalhar temple was built by Bhima Shah, who was a minister under Sultan Begada. The most striking feature of
this temple is a massive metal statue of Tirthankara Rishab Dev. Though brass is the main metal used in this
statue, four other metals have also been used. Brass is called pital and hence the name Pittalhar temple. The
temple consists of a Garbhagriha, Gudh mandap and Navchowki.
Dedicated to Jain Tirthankara Shri Parshavanath, this temple was built by the Mandlik family in 1458-59 A.D. This is
the tallest of all temples having three storeyes. The outer walls of the sanctum sanctorum has beautiful sculptures
in gray sandstone showing Dikpals, Vidhyadevis, Yakshinis and Shalabhanjikas. These beautiful sculptures are
frequently compared to the ones in Khajuraho and Konark temples.
Mahaveer Swami Temple
Mahaveer Swami is the smallest of Dilwara temples. Constructed in the year 1582 AD, the temple is dedicated to 24th Jain Tirthankara Lord Mahaveer. The temple is best known for the paintings done on its upper walls by the
artists of Sirohi.
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