India 🇮🇳: Jainism religion basics🙏 & Ranakpur temple

While visiting the impressive temple of Ranakpur, i came across the religion of Jainism for the first time. It is one of the worlds oldest religions (and I hadn’t even heard of it 🙄🤷‍♂️). 

Ranakpur Jain Temple – Fine craftsmenship

About an hour from Kumbhalgarh fort lies Ranakpur – at least when you cut through the hills on windy roads as we did. About two hours drive will get you back to Udaipur.

The temple is dedicated to Tirthankara Rishabhanatha – the first of 24 teachers of Jainism believed to have lived millions of years ago (much further in the past than the last and 24th Tirthankara or teacher, Mahavira, who lived 500BC).

The temple was commissioned by a local Jain-businessman in the 15th century and took 50y to complete. 2,500 craftsmen were involved and used marble for construction. The symmetry and level of detail are truly outstanding.

As to symmetry, the temple design is based on chaumukha (the four faces). This follows the four cardinal directions and hence the cosmos.

Jainism religion basics

The Jain Flag in India

  • Meaning of the swastika: The four arms of the swastika represent the four states of existence in Jain believe – Heavenly beings, Human Benefits, Hellish being and Tiryancha (subhuman like flora or fauna)
  • 24 teachers or victorious saviours are the religions origin

The 24 teachers

  • Values: non-violence, truth, not to steal, celibacy /chastity, no greed (and no attachment to worldly possessions)
  • 4th oldest religion in the world, but only with c5m followers – mainly in India

Age of main religions

  • Some similarities to Buddhism

Note: Come in long trousers (can be rented at fhe ticket booth), entry is free 🤣 but mandatory audio guide (Rp200) and camera fee (Rp300 EACH – they check your pockets at the entrance) make for about Rp500 all in. Food/drinks also not allowed.

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