Just one hour away from Kumbalgar Fort, Ranakpur is the proud home of a breathtaking collection of marble Jain temples. Nestled in the shelter of the Aravali Hills between Udaipur and Jodhpur, Ranakpur is often overlooked in favour of the Kumbalgar Fort, but we’d like to see more visitors get the chance to witness the incredible monuments here.
The temples are perched elegantly on the green hilltop near the banks of the Magai River, featuring more than 1,000 marble pillars, with no two alike. Created in the 15thcentury and dedicated to Lord Adinath, the first Teerthkar; they are awe-inspiring examples of northern Indian Jain architecture. They tower three storeys high with 27 magnificent domes and halls supported by the thousand odd marble pillars, all individually adorned.
The main temple houses gorgeous tall statues of frolicking nymphs, and the enormous chamber below was once used to protect the statues from raiders. Two subsidiary temples stand nearby, and the older “Sun Temple” is full of erotically charged carvings.
If you have some time to spare and want to avoid the hectic tourist to-do trip, we’d recommend a relaxed two-night stay with day tours to both the Kumbalgar Fort and the Ranakpur Temples, instead of the usual rushed day trip between Jodhpur or Udaipur. Indeed, it is also possible to take a gentle and peaceful 3 to 4 hour walk between the two. There are comfortable heritage hotels, opulent lodges, or glamping sites to choose from.