My wandering thoughts are doing an introspection of the day’s activity; for the last three hours, I was a tourist in the temple, running all around to capture all things of interest. I took many pictures of the main temple and the other near by temples. Now, it is time of evening prayers; camera is not allowed and I have nothing else to do but to sit, relax and pray. In those moments, for the first time I realize that I am connecting with the spiritual self of the temple. The real peace for which we rush towards these center of spirituality.
“कितना सुकून दिल को मिला कुछ ना पूछिए,
जब भी कभी खुलुस से नामे खुदा लिया|”
Coming back to where I left you in the last article, after exploring the main temple of Ranakpur, we move to see the two other Jain temples in the complex – the temple of Lord Parshvanath and the temple of Lord Neminath. The entrance of the Parshvanath temple is towards north, while that of Lord Neminath’s temple is towards east. The temple of the Lord Neminath is in ruins and there is nothing much to see. The temple of Parshvanath Bhagwan is beautiful (though not comparable to the main temple) and from here we have a complete view of the green surroundings, the mountains and the celestial-craft shaped main temple sitting in the lap of Aravalis.
The temple of Lord Parshvanath is embellished with exquisite carvings on its exterior wall; there are some erotic sculptures as well. This temple is also known as ‘Patriyon Ka Mandir’ (temple of stone cutters/masons). It is believed that this temple was a gift by the stone workers of the main temple. They worked on and constructed this temple in their spare time with the left over stones of the main temple. The garbhgrih has a black idol of Lord Parshvanath. As not many devotees and tourists visit this temple, so it breathes tranquility and quietude.
From here we walk towards the Sun Temple which is around three-hundred meters away from the main temple complex. The Sisodia dynasty of Mewar claims lineage to the Suryavansha, the same genealogy to which Lord Rama also belongs. The Maharana of Mewar used to start his day and eat anything only after paying his obeisance to the Sun God. There is one big golden statue of Sun God in the Palace of Udaipur, where Maharana used to perform prayers on the cloudy days when Sun remain engulfed in the soft embrace of the clouds. The Sun temple of Ranakpur is managed and maintained by the royal trust of Mewar.
This temple is said to be constructed in thirteenth sanctuary, and so it is even older than the main Ranakpur temple. It is believed that it was rebuilt by Maharana Kumbha at the time of construction of the Jain temples of Ranakpur. The entrance of this temple faces east; it is built with white lime stone in classic Nagara style. The sacrosanctum of the temple is topped with a shikhara and there is an octagonal mandap in front of it. The exterior of the temple has numerous images of solar deity riding the horses.
We are captivated more by its peaceful surroundings with the squeaking of numerous rose-ringed parakeets that inhabit a nearby tree. Wow! what a sight to behold. What an experience. We are enjoying the setting sun in the company of peacocks and parrots; the chitter-chatter, the flying and coming back together of all these parrots enliven our evening.
As the sun sets we move towards the main temple complex for the arti.
‘Aarti Utarne kaa ghee. Ek maand paanch rupai. Pachpan maand’, the reverberating voice of the priest in the Ranakpur temple break my free-flowing wandering thoughts.
Jaishree loves the arti time. I kind of understand it. This is the time when the devotees are in oneness with the almighty; the time when the devotees are flowing in unison with their emotions for him and the spirituality is at its peak. The effect of prayers on the devotees get augmented when there are no modern gadgets to spoil the mood; be it mikes, loudspeakers and for that matter in the temple of Ranakpur there are no electric bulbs as well.
The priest is auctioning the right of becoming the first one to perform the puja. I want to participate but I fail to understand the denomination. Even If would have understood it, I might have hesitated as I don’t know how to perform the rituals of puja as well. My sole reason for this desire to participate is to contribute to the well-keep of this beautiful temple. Jaishree hates the process of bidding in the temple.
For my understanding she explains that this is an old unit of measurement; one maand of ghee means forty kilo. This auction is at-least as old when forty-kilo of ghee was available in five rupees. The donation amount is used by the priest to purchase the ghee used for the diya-bati of the temple.
‘Sattar maand ek’
‘Sattar maand do’
‘Sattar maand teen’
An assistant of the priest repeat the highest bid thrice and when no one else bids higher than that the deal closes. Among the handful of devotees, I think the deal closed cheap. The next bid is for ‘Mangaldeep kaa ghee’. A few more devotees arrive. The bid reaches ‘Sau maand’, however the assistant is not prolonging the process to allow fringe players to make their mind. Why he is so fast in making it ek, do and teen. Jaishree explains me later that he had to be fast as he has to finish the process of auction before seven pm.
We then participate in the soulful arti where the idol of Bhawan Rishabhdev is glowing in the flickering light of the deepak. After the aarti we return back to Rajasamand in this peaceful state of mind. We reach Rajasamand at around eleven pm. We are welcome by relieved but agitated hosts.
‘Where were you? Why were you not picking up the phone?”
I take out my phone. There are forty missed calls. While entering the temple I put my phone on the silent mode and I forgot to change the mode again. Our hosts were frantically trying to contact us as we were late.
The drivers phone was also not reachable as his phone battery got discharged. My brother-in-law is angry on the driver also and scolding him as if it was his fault only. As both the phones were unreachable, it made everyone worried, as we were crossing the dense and desolated stretches of road from Ranakpur to Rajasamand. They were so tense that my sister-in-law almost forced my Brother-in-law to drive all the way to Ranakpur to see that we are not in trouble. Luckily, we reached in the last ten minutes that they decided to wait. Oops! This peaceful outing did come out at a cost. We felt extremely sorry for the tense time we let our hosts to pass through.