Ranakpur is a quaint town in Rajasthan. The town happens to be one of the five most important pilgrimage places of Jainism. It is very popular among tourists. Despite being cut off from other tourist destinations in Rajasthan, Ranakpur is a major pilgrim destination in the state. It is tucked away in a remote valley in the Aravali mountain range and is situated around 96 km north of Udaipur in the Pali district.
Since Ranakpur is mainly a Jain centre, and is frequented by Jain devotees, drinking, gambling, or eating non-vegetarian food is completely taboo.
Ranakpur is named after Rana Kumbha who offered his land for the construction of a great temple. The temple was a dream monument of Dharna Sah, a Jain businessman. This beautiful, serene place is renowned for some amazingly carved Jain temples in amber stone and is one of the five holiest places of the Jain community. These temples were constructed in 1439 AD.
Inspired by a dream of a celestial vehicle, Dharna Shah, started its construction under the patronage of Rana Kumbha, then the ruler of Mewar. The construction is well documented in a 1437 CE copper-plate record, inscriptions in the temple and a Sanskrit text Soma-Saubhagya Kavya. When the ground floor was completed, Acharya Soma Sundar Suri of Tapa Gachha supervised the ceremonies, which are described in Soma-Saubhagya Kavya. The construction continued until 1458AD. The sun temple at Ranakpur dates back to the 13th century. After its destruction, it was rebuilt in the 15th century.
Ranakpur is mainly famous for its Jain temples, which are all exquisitely carved structures. The Chaturmukh Jain temple is the most famous of this place and is also known as the Rishabhadev or the Ranakpur Jain Temple. The huge temple complex is enclosed within walls. Standing against the background of endless desert sands, these temples are a breathtaking sight to behold.
Where to stay
During September to March, accommodation would have to be booked in advance as rooms might be booked.
Budget hotels cost in the range of Rs 600 to Rs 1000 per room for one night, and medium priced hotels cost Rs 1000 to 4000 per room. Luxury accommodation is also available and would cost between Rs 6000 and Rs 7000 per room. During summer the temperature rises to 45 degree Celsius, so air conditioned accommodation might be required, whereas in winter the weather is cool and pleasant.
Where to eat
Good, vegetarian Jain food is available at very affordable rates inside temple premises. One can try the in-house restaurants at the seve Maharani Bagh Orchard Retreat heritage hotel, which offers multi cuisine. In house restaurants are also located in Ranakpur Hill Resort and Fateh Bagh Hotel. The hotel Fateh Bagh has a multi cuisine restaurant that serves Indian and international cuisine. Don’t expect fancy restaurants, bars or coffee al hops.
Best time to visit
While visiting Ranakpur, make sure that you plan your trip during the winter season because this is the best time to visit the place (October to February). Ranakpur has a tropical climate.