Jaisalmer Jain Temples, Jain Temples in Jaisalmer Rajasthan
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Rajasthan Tours Travel  »  Sacred Places & Shrines  »  Jaisalmer Jain Temples

Jaisalmer Jain Temples

Jaisalmer lies in the interiors of the Thar desert, in a remote corner of Rajasthan. This desert jewel has a rich historical legacy and an unchanged medieval aura. In ancient times Jaisalmer was on the land route linking India to the Middle East, Africa and parts of Europe. The Bhatti Rajputs of Jaisalmer were feudal chiefs who lived off the taxes they imposed on rich caravans, laden with precious silks and spices, which crossed their territory. These taxes earned great wealth not only for Jaisalmer's rulers, but also for the city's merchants. With this newfound prosperity and riches the merchants built not only gorgeous havelis (mansions) but also some of the most exquisite Jain temples. These temples are located within the fort and are a huge draw for the tourist. Constructed in the style of the Dilwara temples, they are dedicated to Rikhabdevji and Sambhavnathji. The Ashtapadhi Jain temple is also worth visiting. Constructed in the12th century, they are pleasing spiritual havens, exquisitely carved in yellow sandstone and redolent with a soothing spiritual energy.

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Jain Temple at Jaisalmer Lodurva was the original capital of the Bhattis, before Jaisal built the Jaisalmer fort in 1156. This town is much older than Jaisalmer and was sacked several times, most notably by Mahmud of Ghazni in the 11th century when he was en route to Somnath, and then by Mohammad Ghori in the next century. The latter invasion persuaded Jaisal to abandon Lodurva, and he shifted his capital to Jaisalmer, making Bhoj the last ruler of Lodurva. Now mostly in ruins, Lodurva is visited mostly for its great Jain temples, they contain the most exquisite jali work screens, grand ceilings and a magnificent triumphal arch at the entrance. The original carriage for the deity, made in 1675, has been preserved till now. The most interesting object dart is Kalpataru, a mythical tree of wish fulfillment. A great number of peacocks inhabit this area and hover around the temple walls, lending spectacular colour to this dry and stony landscape. The river Kak once flowed here and led to many a romance, the famous story of princess Momal, and prince Mathendru of Amarkot is now part of legend and folk songs. It is said that when the lovers perished, the river Kak stopped flowing.

The Parshvanath Temple
The Parshvanath Temple is the main Jain temple here. It predates the others and was even destroyed once in 1152, but was reconstructed in 1615 by Seth Tharu Shah with further additions. Its Torana Dwar or main archway is probably the most ornate of its kind in Rajasthan and interestingly the sentry outside is a Rajput, not a Jain. The ceilings of the Sabha Mandapa support a demonic looking multi-hooded serpent canopy surrounded by five bodies. As you walk around the mandapa the head seems to connect, in turn, with each of these in turn. The walls of the sanctum are carved with animal and human figures. The shikhara, is crowned by an amalak, and a water pot containing a lotus flower

Kalpavriksha(Celestial Tree)
Sculptures at Parshwanath Temple Within the walls of temple complex is the Kalpavriksha or the celestial tree. When the actual tree that grew here decayed, it was substituted by a true to life sculpture in an alloy of eight metals, making it an 'eternal tree' symbolizing enlightenment. The copper leaves are believed to have the power to fulfill the wishes of any one who has a pure heart . On the temple's outer wall there is a low - relief carving on stone, according to legend it is inhabited by a black cobra for more than for 400 years now. Rumour has it that he shows himself only 10-15 times every summer and anyone who catches a glimpse of him is blessed with good luck.

Rishabhnath Temple
This is another Jain temples at Lodurva, located near the ruins of the palace of Moomal and the once gushing watercourse of the river Kak. The temple was commissioned by a wealthy Marwari Seth Sachcha and constructed in 1479. According to mythology Rishabhdevaji was a man who lived 20,00,000 years as a prince and no less than 63,00,000 years as a king. Legend further states that he neglected his body for 1,000 years and then deeply meditated for three and a half days, depriving himself of all food and water. After which, according to Hermann Jacobi in Jaina Sutras, he reached the infinite.

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Shambhavanath Temple
The third important Jain temple in Lodurva it is dedicated to the Jain tirthankara or fordmaker Shambhavnath whose symbol is the horse. The whole temple complex is surmounted by an octagonal pyramidal roof, and a fortification wall nearby suggests that the community was apprehensive about defilement of their places of worship by aggressive Muslim and Hindu groups. A temple in each corner of the complex is dedicated to a different saint; Rishabhnath in the southwest, Parshvanath in the northeast, Ajitanath (whose symbol is the elephant) in the southeast and of course Shambhavnath (of the horse symbol) in the northwest. All these temples date back from 1618.

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