Temples of old and new
Duration : 4 Hours
Tips : Dress modestly. Wear a cap/hat, sunscreen, or carry an umbrella.
Available at : RAAS Devigarh, RAAS Jodhpur
If you are RAAS Hopping over to Devigarh you should definitely make the most of the transfer to Udaipur. There are several sites on the route that provide a great opportunity to stretch your legs are some the best off-the-beaten-track gems of Rajasthan. We are more than willing to provide guides and picnics, and we would really encourage you to use the opportunity to explore these treasures.
The temple there houses a Royal Enfield motorbike, affectionately known as ‘Bullet Baba’. The story goes that a man crashed his bike by the side of the road and his bike was taken into police custody. Yet each night the bike returned to the place where it crashed, without anyone touching it. The story turned to legend and the bike gained a mythical status of its own. Now hundreds of pilgrims come each day to visit the bike and get good luck in their travels.
If you’re willing to take a more scenic route, you can make a day of it and take a detour to the incredible temples of Ranakpur and Kumbhalgarh. About three hours from Jodhpur is Ranakpur and the drive, through the Rajasthani countryside and the Aravalli hill range, is beautiful. Ranakpur is famous for having the most spectacular of Jain temples in the area. Non-Jains can only visit the temples after noon, so we advise you not to leave from Jodhpur too early. Jainism is one of the ancient religions of India, which holds at its core a belief in non-violence. This extends to a specific diet, Jain vegetarianism that, among other things, excludes root vegetables because to eat them requires the killing of the plant. It also means that leather objects cannot be taken into their temples. The complex is home to many temples, the largest of which, Chaumukha Mandir, is a complicated series of 29 halls, 80 domes and 1444 individually engraved pillars. The intricacy of the structure is a testament to the 65 years that it took to build. The place is also famous for its large population of monkeys that live in and around it. Once you have explored the site, a further one-hour drive will take you to Kumbalgarh Fort.
One of Rajasthan’s most important forts, Kumbalgarh was built under the reign of Maharana Kumbha, who was highly passionate about art and architecture and in whose memory an annual 3-day music and dance festival is held at the fort. In the surrounding villages many legends circulate about Kumbha’s construction of the fort; after several unsuccessful attempts to lay the foundations of the wall, a spiritual advisor suggested that a voluntary human sacrifice was necessary for the building works to commence. Even now, the main gate houses a shrine and temple in commemoration of the beheading. Within the Fort itself there are 84 smaller fortresses and over 360 temples, mostly Jain and the rest Hindu. The Fort, 38 km long, is the world’s second longest continuous wall after the Great Wall of China. The view from the top is spectacular: the flourishing vegetation of the Wildlife Sanctuary stretches out below the Fort and on a clear day you can see as far as the sand dunes of the Thar desert. The Sanctuary is over 600 km2 in size and is home to many of India’s endangered species, and birds like the Kingfisher. Foot tracking tours and horse safaris leave regularly from the Fort, where in addition to panthers, bears and hyenas you might even encounter lions, which are presently being reintroduced in the region as part of a country-wide wildlife conservation project. From there, Devigarh is two more hours’ drive.
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