Somewhat isolated in the Aravalli mountains, Ranakpur is the site of a huge Jain temple. We visited on a grey day, which brought out the stone even more. The outside is relatively unornamented, but every inch of the interior is covered by intricate carving in stone. There's a forest of stone pillars inside. I did my best with available light on the inside, and with what good manners allow you to photograph.
|The Chaumukha Temple
The main temple in the complex, built in 1439.
|The Chaumukha Temple, again
Closer and more upward-looking. The towers on the side give a feeling both of strength and other-worldliness, and are a common form for Jain temples.
|Detail of the entrance|
The entire temple is supported by 1,444 pillars, and it's said that no two are alike. I was referred to one pillar with an imperfection, though it was nearly as impressive as the other 1,443. All of this was done by hand, and represents superb craftsmanship and a huge amount of work.
The entire temple is open, letting in light from the outside. Though much of the carving follows straight lines, the builders of the temple weren't afraid of curves.
In a chamber near the altar
|A tree grows in Ranakpur
On the side of the entrance, this large tree is integrated into the design of the temple.
|Tree meets temple|
|Side temple, from the front|
|Tourist taking a break
No, actually, one of a tribe of monkeys that hangs around at the Jain temple. Jains preach non-violence, and the monkeys know a soft touch when they see one.