Ranakpur: January 2014
It was sad to say goodbye to Chhotaram and his family but we had to move on further south as we had to reach Mumbai in a few days. Finishing breakfast and saying goodbye we then jumped in our Indigo car and headed for Udaipur. As we had gone west from Jaipur and crossed the North edge of the Aravalli Range it made sense to cut down to Udaipur then take two trains back. This would involve us climbing and the descending via the mountain road.
The drive to Ranakpur Temple was very scenic and different to the Expressway to Agra. Lots of of fields with Mustard seeds and the town of Pali along the way. The Range also acts as a natural barrier between the Thar Desert and the fertile lands beyond.
We reached the temple at noon. Built in the 15th Century by a businessman who had seen a divine vision it is one of the largest and most important Temple in the Jain culture. It is also a campus of multiple temples so is quite large.
As Ranakpur Temple is a Jain Temple so it had quite a long list of rules for entry.
This was all fine but what really grinded our gears was that the camera fee was for each camera / phone we had, even if we didn’t want to use it. Karen got caught first and had to pay the extra 100 Rupees charge and was in such a state that she refused to enter the temple until I managed to talk her down.
After all that it was my turn to get caught by the security screening at the entrance to the temple and I had to go marching back to pay the charge. I was fuming and I think I used the word “scam” in my stream of upset dialogue at the tour booth.
Thank god for the envelope cover for the iPad as it remained undetected.
Anyways. The temple inside was very cool. It is said to be the most spectacular of all the Jain Temples and that is no boast as you are drawn in by its white marble exterior which is continued inside. Containing 1,444 unique marble carved pillars – no two were alike – it is some sight to behold and was in the end worth the hassle beforehand.
We spent a good hour inside – taking it all in before We jumped back into the car and took the windy road down through the mountains all the way on to Udaipur. If you ever wondered what happened to all those monkeys from the Wizard of Oz..They have taken up residence in the Chandra Hills.