Amidst the ancient mountains of the Aravalli Range, half an hour’s drive away from the mighty Kumbhalgarh Fort, stands the 15th century CE Jain temple of Ranakpur – an architectural wonder of massive proportions. Dedicated to the first Jain Tirthankar, Rushabhdev, also called Adinath, the temple of Ranakpur has over a thousand intricately carved pillars, each unique! But that is just a small part of this spectacular architectural marvel.
The region of Mewar, (presently in south – central Rajasthan) has been an important centre of Jainism since ancient times. Earlier, the Jains were a trading community, but from the 13th century CE, they also began to serve as treasurers and ministers at the courts of Rajput rulers. Savvy in finance, they were responsible for controlling the state purses. As a mark of respect for this community, it was only a matter of time before the state patronized Jainism and its religious establishments, even though the Rajputs themselves were Hindus. Thus, today we see a major presence of Jain temples even in forts like Chittorgarh.
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