The Jain Dilwara temples of India are located nearly about 2½ kilometers from Mount Abu which is Rajasthan's only hill station. These jain temples dating back from the 11th to the 13th century AD are world famous for their stunning use of marble. The five legendary marble temples of Dilwara are the sacred pilgrimage for the clan of Jains. They seems to be a very much overwhelming blend of simple beauty and exquisite elegance. The marble temples have an opulent entranceway. Their simplicity in architecture reminds one that Jainism as a religion "encouraged honesty and frugality". The temples reside amidst mesmerizing surroundings of many mango trees and wooded hills. A high wall, shimmering which is luminous in the sunlight, shrouds the temple complex.
Dilwara Jain Temples is considered one of the finest Jain temple known world over for its extraordinary architecture and marvelous marble stone carvings, some archaeology experts also consider it architecturally superior to the Taj Mahal. It seems very much fairly basic temple from outside but every cloud has a silver lining, the temple interior showcases the extraordinary work of human craftsmanship at its best.
These temples were built between 11th to 13th century AD. The beautiful lush green hills surrounding the temple gives a very pleasant feeling. This kind of ornamental work of marble stone carvings is phenomenal and unmatched, The minutely carved ceilings and the pillars are just amazing. All this was done at a time when no transport or roads were available at a height of 1200+ Mtrs in Mount Abu. Huge blocks of marble stones were transported on elephant backs from the Arasoori Hills at Ambaji to this remote hilly region of Mount Abu.
Five major sections of the Temple:
Shri Mahaveer Swami Temple
This is the temple which was constructed in 1582 and is devoted to Lord Mahaveer, the 24th Tirthankara of the Jains. The temple here is relatively small and the temple's upper walls have pictures of the porch painted by craftsmen of Sirohi in year 1764.
Shri Adinath Temple or Vimal Vasahi Temple
This particular temple was built by Vimal Shah, the Minister of Solanika ruler of Gujarat in 1031 A.D. This temple is the oldest of all and dedicated to Shri Adinath Ji - The first Jain Trithankar. The temple has an open courtyard surrounded by corridors, all beautifully decorated with marble carved stones. Cells inside this temple contain tiny images of Jain saints artistically carved on marble stone minutely. The internal dome of the temple is aesthetically decorated with designs of flowers and petals, the huge hall of the temple pillars decorated with the carving work of female figures playing musical instruments. The temple also has the "Guda Mandapa" - a simple hall decorated with the images of Shri Adi Nath.
Shri Parshavnath Temple-Khartar Vasahi Temple
This temple was built by the Mandika clan between 1458-59 A.D. This temple has the tallest shrine along with four big Mandapas amongst all dilwara temples. The carving on the pillars of this temple is yet another example of these jain temples' architectural superiority.
Shri Rishabdaoji Temple or Peethalhar Temple
This particular temple is known as Pittalhari/Peethalhar temple because in this temple most of the statues are built using 'Pittal' (Brass Metal). This temple was built by Bhima Shah, a minister from Gujarat dynasty, like other temples of Dilwara this temple also has the Gudu Mandapa and Navchowki.
Shri NemiNathJi Temple or Luna Vasahi Temple - This temple was built in 1230 A.D. by two brothers known as Tejpal and Vastupal. They dedicated this temple to the 22nd saint of Jainism - Shri Nemi Nathji.
Dilwara Jain Temple has one hall named Rag Mandapa which has three hundred and sixty (360) tiny idols of Jain trithankar all minutely crafted on marble proving once again why these jain marble temples of Dilwara are superior to Taj Mahal, Among all these white marble idols the idol of Shri Neminath Ji is made up of black marble.The pillars of this temple were built by Maharana Kumbha of Mewar. The Dilwara Jain Temples are open for devotees from 12 P.M. to 3 P.M.
By Airways : The closest airport is Udaipur about (185 km) from Mount Abu. There are several flights from Mumbai, Delhi, and all major cities to Mount Abu.
By Railways : There are direct trains from Mt. Abu to Jodhpur, Agra and Ajmer. As the railhead lies between Ahmadabad and Delhi, there are regular facilities of trains. One can also get halt at Abu road that is 29 km away.
By Roadways : As Abu road is well connected with Jodhpur and Ahmedabad, one can easily travel via roads. From Ahmedabad to Palanpur it is 222 km, from Jodhpur 264 km through Sirhohi and Pali and hence these places are easily connected to Abu road.