Ranakpur Jain temple is one of the four major pilgrimage points for Shvetamber Jains.
Made of marble it was built by Dharanashah, the Minister to Rana Kumbha. It was started in 1396 and took fifty odd years to complete and according to literature provided in the temple involved 2785 workers.
It was named after Rana Kumbha and lies in a forested area which we reached after zigzagging through the zigzag valley!
Built on the principle of Maru Gurjara architecture it has 4 entrances, 84 susidiary shrines, 1444 exquisitely carved columns. Each column is unique.
The garbgriha is chaumukha (4 sided) and faces each entrance with a 72 feet tall idol of first Tirthanker Adinath ji.
The construction of the temple and quadrupled image symbolise the Tirthankara’s conquest of the four cardinal directions and hence the cosmos.
Akbar was keen to know the principles and doctrines of all contemporary religions and held a series of debates in the Ibadat khana of Fatehpur Sikri.
Abul Fazl lists the names of a number of Jain saints of the swetamber sect who attended the discussions in the Ibadatkhana. One of them was Jain Acharya Harvijai Suri.
Dr.Pushpa Prasad in her essay Akbar and the Jain in volume on Akbar Ed by Prof Irfan Habib writes, “From the inscription of the Palitana temple of V.S.I 639/1582-3, it appears that Suri persuaded the emperor to issue an edict ‘forbidding the slaughter of animals for six months to abolish the confiscation of the property of deceased persons, the sujijia tax and sulk, to set free many captives, snared birds and animals, to present the sacred place Satrunjaya to the Jains, to establish a Jain library, and to become a saint like King Srenik, who converted the head of the Lumpakas Meghaji, made many people adherents of Tapa gaccha, caused many temples to be built in Gujarat and other countries, and made many natives of that country of Malwa, etc., undertake pilgrimages to Satrunjaya’.”
Emperor Akbars ‘shila’ of patronage at the #Jain temples of Ranakpur. Late 16thC.
A similar inscription is found on a pillar in Ranakpur temple ( photo) , where it is mentioned that influenced by Jain Acharya Harvijai Suri’s teachings the emperor promised to issue an edict to forbid killing of animals, hunting on the temple grounds.
#ranakpur #ranakpurjaintemple #akbar #fatehpursikri #Jain