The Temples in Rajasthan signify the great architecture endeavors that took place in the state in the ancient 8th century. The temples symbolize the faith of the people of Rajasthan in their god and religion. Apart from being scared ground these temples are venues for many important festivals celebrated in the state. The two common architectural structures that are generally found in all Rajasthani temples are: mandap and shikhara. The Shikara is basically a spire and comprises of an outer chamber very intricately carved while The Mandap is an inner sanctum where the holy fire/god resides. The architecture and structure of the temples in Rajasthan are exquisite and they are a true feast to the eyes of the visitors. These temples are a part of Rajasthani culture and are present in all small and large villagees, towns and cities of Rajasthan.
The divinity, sacredness, sublimity, loftiness, love, devotion and compassion are all encompassed in the beautiful temples of Rajasthan. It is Hindu belief that birth and death are a part of an eternal cycle. The eternal cycle leads to reincarnation after reincarnation until the soul finds a reason to release itself in the universe and obtain Moksh. Praying in these temples bring the people closer to their God and gives them the required peace of mind. The various forms of Hindu Gods symbolize various aspects of nature and humanity like Hanuman: The Monkey God, Shiva: The Cosmic Dancer, The Mischievous Shri Krishna, The Disciplined Rama, The Elephant Headed Wisdom God Ganesh and their incarnations. Rajasthan has temples which pay respect to all Hindu Gods.
Gupta And Post Gupta Temples
South East region of Rajasthan is rich in temples from the Gupta period. The Guptas were one of the major dynasties in India. In Darrah situated between Jhalawar and Kota, you will be able to find 5th century pillars of an ancient terrace of a Gupta Temple. The remnants present at Darrah and at the Government Museum show various markings and special workmanship that prevailed in the Gupta Period. The Sheetaleshwar Temple situated in Jhalarpatan has certain structure like a sanctum, half man figure of Dapa and a vestibule which dates back to the Gupta Period. This temple is said to be one of the most ancient temples in Rajasthan which dates back to 689 AD. It has a front hall which was added to it a century later, it was highly praised by Fergusson. The Temples at Kota, Kansua and Makanganj near north east past of Chittaurgarh also bear resemblance to Gupta Period Architecture. There are Government Museums at Bharatpur and Ajmer which contains many beautiful and unique artifacts from the Gupta Period.
Gurjara Pratihara Temples
The Gurjara-Pratihara of Mandore near Jalore and Jodhpur had a unique and contemporary architecture style which took inspiration from Gupta architecture. They served to be one of the best Gupta successors in Northern India. The major temples of this style can be found in Chittaurgarh, Abhaneri and Osian.
Osian which is situated in North West region of Jodhpur has some exquisite temples dating back to 8th and 9th century. It also has other temples of later periods. The major temples in Osian include 3 Harihara Temples, 2 Sun Temples and 1 Mahavira Temple. The common structure of these temples is a beautiful single turreted spire and a highly decorated terrace. The Mahavira temple belongs to a later period. The third Harihara Temple is pyramidal in shape. The first Sun temple is located near the 12th century temple. It is the oldest temple among all and is also very elegantly beautiful. The first sun and the Harihara temple have a front porch built right in front of the sanctum while the second sun temple and the rest of the Harihara temples have halls or mandaps. The original Mahavira temple had only a porch, a half mandap and a closed mandap. The first and second Harihara Temples are based on a quincunx style which consist one major shrine in the center and each four corners having four subshrines. There is a pyramidal roof at the Mahavira Temple.
Some of The Temples Are:
Dilwara Temples (Mount Abu)
The most beautifully constructed temples in Rajasthan are undoubtedly the Dilwara Temples of Jain situated in Mount Abu. The Dilwara temples receive Jain pilgrims from all over India. These temples are made from pure white marble. Their construction is said to be between 13th and 11th century.
Govind Devji Temple (Jaipur)
This temple is situated in City Palace of Jaipur. It is a royal temple of Lord Krishna and Radha. The story of this temple is that Raja Sawai Jai Singh of Jaipur brought the imagery of Lord Krishna or Govind Devji from Vrindavan to Jaipur. Jamasthami is the best time to visit this place. The temple along with its deities is beautifully decorated. Various jhankies depicting incidents from Lord Krishna’s life are put on display. The enchanting arti and pooja makes you feel ethereal while the yummy bhog served satisfies the appetite of all worshippers.
Brahma Temple (Pushkar)
The Brahma Temple in Pushkar is the only temple in the whole world which is dedicated to the creator of our universe Lord Brahma. The temple was constructed sometime in the 14th century. The stairs are made of marble lead to the holy sanctum of the temple while the whole construction stands on a high plinth. Inside the silver archways are also made from marble are beautifully inlaid. There are also many structures of beautiful swans made from white marble. The major attraction of the temple is the silver turtle which is sitting on the floor with its face in the direction of the garbagriha or the inner sanctum of the temple. Hundreds and thousands of silver coins surround the turtle. People donate these coins with their names engraved on it.
Osian Temples (Jodhpur)
Osian is basically a desert oasis region which comprises of sixteen Jain and Brahmanical temples which are famous for their heavy sculpting and exquisite carvings. These medieval period temples are all made from redstone and have sky high pinnacles, pillars and pedestals. The sun temple in Osian is the oldest of all the temples and bears carvings similar to the Konark Sun Temple in Orissa. Other major temples include The Mahavira Temple, The Durga or the Sachiyamata Temple and two other important Osian Temples. Majority of these temples are in ruins and require immediate restoration.
Eklingji Temple (Udaipur)
Eklingji is a form of Lord Shiva who was devotedly worshiped by the Maharajas of Mewars from the period of Bappa Rawal. Due to this it is considered to be one of the major pilgrimages in all of Rajasthan. The temple of Eklingji was built in 734 AD and consists of 108 small shrines of red stone and marble. These small shrines are dedicated to other Hindu Gods and Goddesses like The wife of Shiva: Parvati, Kartika, Ganesh, The Holy Rivers of Yamuna and Ganga, Amba and lastly Kalka Mata. The main shrine consists of a chaumukhi that is four faced deity. The four faces are of Brahma, Vishnu, Surya and Mahesh.
Mehandipur Balaji Temple (Dausa)
The temple is devoted to Mehandipur Balaji, a strong and powerful god who also has skill of rendering evil spirits out of a person. People who believe in science don’t see this as a cure but still thousands of believers who have faith line up here every day to get rid of the evil spirits troubling them. Believe it or not but many have been cured too, whether it was magic or just undying faith, we don’t know, but this place does have a miraculously power of curing people.
Karni Mata Temple Deshnok (Bikaner)
This temple is devoted to Goddess Durga and was built in 15th century. This temple is quite unique as it is full of rodents who are actually worshipped here. Due to this, the Karni Mata Temple is also sometimes known as The Rat Temple. The entry to the temple has a beautiful marble archway protected by huge silver doors added by Maharaja Ganga Singh. It is considered auspiciously lucky if a rat scurries over your feet inside the temple. The festival of Navratri is celebrated with great zeal here.
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