Mount Abu: Dilwara Temple, Vimala Vashi Temple, Luna Vashi, Pittalhar Temple, Parshavanath Temple, Mahaveer Swami Temple

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Dilwara Temple, Mount Abu

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Dilwara Temple

The famous Dilwara Jain temples are located about 2.5 km away from Mount Abu. The Dilwara Jain temples were dedicated to the Jain tirthankars and also served as storehouses of illustrated manuscripts and treatises. The temples at Mount Abu were constructed between 800 AD and 1200 AD. Vimala Shah, Vastu Pala and Teja Pala contributed a lot towards the development of Jain art and architecture. The Jain temples at Mount Abu are built in the Nagara style of temple architecture. The first temple of this group can be dated back to 1032 CE, the period in which Brihadeshwar temple at Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu was built. 

Diwara Temple, Diwara Jain Temple in Mount Abu

The Dilwara temples have been described as a dream in marble. According to the inscription, Mount Abu was basically a seat of Saivism and Jainism made its appearance only in 11th century. The first Jain temple of Dilwara, the Vimala Vasahi was built in 1032 A D by Vimala Shah.

Vimala Vashi Temple

The Vimal Vashi temple is the earliest and most important temple among various temples situated here. The Vimal Vashi temple was built in 1032 AD and is dedicated to the first Jain Tirthankara, Adinath. The temple was constructed by Vimal Shah, minister of a local Rajput ruler, Raja Bim Deo. It stands in an open courtyard surrounded by 58 cells or kulikas, which contain small icons of the image in the main shrine. In the main shrine is the gold-brass caste image of Adinath placed in the Gudh Mandap. The length of the temple is 98 feet and the width is 42 feet. The main shrine and the front of the cells are surrounded by elaborate columns. The temple is carved out of white marble. The ceiling is decorated with engraved designs of lotus-buds, petals, flowers and scenes from Jain and Hindu mythology.

Luna Vashi or the Teja Pala Temple

The Luna Vashi temple is dedicated to the 22nd Tirthankara, Shri Nemi Nathji. It resembles the architectural plan of the Vimal Vashi temple although it was built 200 years after that temple. The two brothers, Vastu Pala and Tej Pala, both ministers of a local ruler, built this magnificent temple in 1230 AD. The temple is the among the last few monuments built in the Solanki style. The striking feature of the Tejapala temple is its dome which stands on 8 pillars. From this dome hangs a big ornamental pendant with elaborate carving. From the ceiling this pendant looks like a cluster of half open lotuses.

According to the local legend, the two brothers, before becoming minister, went on a pilgrimage with huge wealth, which they decided to bury it under a tree. While digging, they found more gold. Anupama Devi, wife of Teja Pala advised them to build temples at Satrunjaya and Girnar with their wealth. When they were ministers they heard about the holiness of Mount Abu and decided to build a temple there dedicated to Shri Neminath to commemorate their dead brother Luna.

Amother major attraction in this temple is the principal cell known as Grabagriha, which when lighted reveals the massive idol of Neminath. There are 39 cells each of which contains one or more images. The
ceiling in front of the cell is profusely ornamented. The relief in the porticos of the cell portrays important scenes from the life of Neminath. Another main attraction is the Hathishala or the elephant cell which features 10 beautiful marble elephants. These elephants are neatly polished and realistically modeled. Earlier these elephants carried the idols representing the family of Vastu Pala. Behind the elephants are the 10 slabs bearing a figure of male and female. 

Pittalhar Temple

The Pittalhar temple was built by Bhima Shah, a minister of Sultan Begada of Ahmedabad. This temple is also known as Shri Rishabh Deoji temple. The temple has a massive metal statue of the Rishab Dev Adinath, cast in five metals. The main metal used in making this statue is 'Pital' (brass) and so this temple is known as "Pittalhar Temple". This temple consist of Garbhagriha, Gudh Mandap and Navchowki. 

Parshavanath Temple
The Parshavanath temple is dedicated to Lord Parshavnath. Mandlik and his family built this temple in 1458-59 AD. This temple is also known as the Khartar Vashi temple. The temple consists of a three storeyed building, which is the tallest of all the shrines at Dilwara. On the ground floor, all the four faces of the sanctum have four big mandaps. The outer walls of the sanctum are carved with beautiful sculptures of Dikpals, Vidhyadevis, Yakshinis, Shalabhanjikas and other decorative sculptures in grey sandstone. 

Mahaveer Swami Temple
The Mahaveer Swami temple is a small structure constructed in 1582 AD. It is dedicated to the 24th Jain Tirthankara Lord Mahaveer. On the upper walls of the temple are the pictures of Lord Mahaveer.

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