The Dilwara Temples or Delvada Temples are located about 2½ kilometres from the Mount Abu settlement, Rajasthan's only hill station. These Jain temples were built by Vimal Shah and designed by Vastupala, Jain ministers of Dholka,[1] between the 11th and 16th centuries and are famous for their use of white marble and intricate marble carvings.[2] They are a pilgrimage place of the Jains, and a popular general tourist attraction. Although Jains built many beautiful temples at other places in Rajasthan, the Dilwara temples are believed to be the most beautiful example of architectural perfection.[3][4]. The temples have an opulent entranceway, the simplicity in architecture reflecting Jain values like honesty and frugality.[5] The ornamental detail spreading over the minutely carved ceilings, doorways, pillars, and panels is simply marvellous.[6]

Dilwara temples
Dilwara Jain Temple
FestivalsMahavir Jayanti, Paryushan
Governing bodySeth Kalyanji Paramanandji Pedi
LocationMount Abu, Sirohi, Rajasthan, India
Dilwara Temples is located in Rajasthan
Dilwara Temples
Location within Rajasthan
Geographic coordinates24°36′33.5″N 72°43′23″E / 24.609306°N 72.72306°E / 24.609306; 72.72306Coordinates: 24°36′33.5″N 72°43′23″E / 24.609306°N 72.72306°E / 24.609306; 72.72306
CreatorVimal Shah, Vastupala-Tejpal
Completedbetween the 11th and 13th centuries AD

Five TemplesEdit

The temple complex is in the midst of a range of forested hills. There are five temples in all, each with its own unique identity.[7] All the five temples are enclosed within a single high walled compound. The group is named after the small village of Dilwara or Delvara in which they are located. The five temples are:

  • Vimal Vasahi, dedicated to the first Jain Tirthankara, Shri Rishabhadev.
  • Luna Vasahi, dedicated to the 22nd Jain Tirthankara, Shri Neminatha.
  • Pittalhar, dedicated to the first Jain Tirthankar, Shri Rishabhadev.
  • Parshvanath, dedicated to the 23rd Jain Tirthankara, Shri Parshvanatha.
  • Mahavir Swami, dedicated to the last Jain Tirthankara, Shri Mahaviraswami.

Among all the five legendary marble temples of Dilwara, the most famous of those are the Vimal Vasahi and the Luna Vasahi temples.[8][9]

Vimal Vasahi TempleEdit

Ceiling of Jain Temple

The Adinatha or Vimala Vasahi Temple is carved entirely out of white marble and was built in 1031 A.D. by Vimal Shah, a minister of Bhima I, the Chaulukya king of Gujarat. The temple is dedicated to Lord Rishabha.[10][11] The temple stands in an open courtyard surrounded by a corridor, which has numerous cells containing smaller idols of the tirthankaras. The richly carved corridors, pillars, arches, and 'mandaps' or porticoes of the temple are simply amazing.[12] The ceilings feature engraved designs of lotus-buds, petals, flowers and scenes from Jain mythology.

The Navchowki is a collection of nine rectangular ceilings, each containing beautiful carvings of different designs supported on ornate pillars. The Gudh mandap is a simple hall once you step inside its heavily decorated doorway. Installed here is the idol of Adi Nath or Lord Rishabdev, as he is also known. The mandap is meant for Aarti to the deity. The ceiling has carvings of horses, elephants, musician, dancers and soldier.[13]

The Hastishala (Elephant courtyard) was constructed by Prithvipal, a descendant of Vimalsha in 1147-49 and features a row of elephants in sculpture with the members of the family riding them.[14]

Luna VasahiEdit

The Luna Vasahi or Neminatha temple is dedicated to Lord Neminath. This magnificent temple was built in 1230 by two Porwad brothers - Vastupal and Tejpal - both ministers of a Virdhaval, the Vaghela ruler of Gujarat.[11] The temple built in memory of Vastupal & Tejpal's late brother Lunig was designed after the Vimal Vashi temple. The temple has a similar structure as Vimala Vasahi but rich with extraordinary sculptural decoration.[15] The main hall or Rang mandap features a central dome from which hangs a big ornamental pendant featuring elaborate carving. Arranged in a circular band are 72 figures of Tirthankars in sitting posture and just below this band are 360 small figures of Jain monks in another circular band. The Hathishala or elephant cell features 10 beautiful marble elephants neatly polished and realistically modelled.

The Navchowki features some of the most magnificent and delicate marble stone cutting work of the temple. Each of the nine ceilings here seems to exceed the others in beauty and grace. The ceilings of the temple depicts scenes of the life of Neminatha with image of Rajmathi(who was to marry Neminatha)[16] and Krishna.[17][18] The Gudh mandap features a black marble idol of the 22nd Tirthankara Neminatha. The Kirthi Stambha is a big black stone pillar that stands on the left side of the temple. The carvings of devkulikas and Chakreshvari in the ceiling of temple is also noteworthy.[19][20] The pillar was constructed by Maharana Kumbha of Mewar. The remaining three temples of Dilwara are smaller but just as elegant as the other two.

Pittalhar TempleEdit

Pittalhar Temple

This temple was built by Bhima Shah, a minister of Sultan Begada of Ahmedabad.[21] A massive metal statue of the first Tirthankara, Rishabha Dev (Adinath), cast in five metals, is installed in the temple. The main metal used in this statue is 'Pital' (brass), hence the name 'Pittalhar'.[22][23] The Shrine consists of a main Garbhagriha, Gudh mandap and Navchowki with idol of yakshi Chakreshvari and yaksha Gomukha on both sides.[24] It seems that the construction of Rangmandap and the corridor was left unfinished. The old mutilated idol was replaced and installed in 1468-69 AD weighing 108 maunds (four metric tons) according to the inscription on it.[25] The image was cast by an artist 'Deta' which is 8 ft (2.4 m). high, 5.5 ft (1.7 m). broad and the figure is 41 inches (1,000 mm) in height. In Gudh Mandap on one side, a big marble Panch-Tirthi sculpture of Adinath is installed. Some shrines (devakulika) were constructed in 1474 and 1490, before construction was abandoned.[page needed]

Shri Parshvanatha TempleEdit

Parshvanatha Chaumukha Temple

This temple, dedicated to Lord Parshvanath, was built by Mandlik and his family in 1458-59.[23] It consists of a three-story building, the tallest of all the shrines at Dilwara. On all the four faces of the sanctum on the ground floor are four big mandaps.[26] The outer walls of the sanctum comprise beautiful sculptures in gray sandstone, depicting Dikpals, Vidhyadevis, Yakshinis, Shalabhanjikas and other decorative sculptures comparable to the ones in Khajuraho and Konark.[22]

Shri Mahaveer Swami TempleEdit

This is a small structure constructed in 1582 and dedicated to Lord Mahavira. Being small it is a marvelous temple with carvings on its walls. On the upper walls of the porch there are pictures painted in 1764 by the artists of Sirohi.

Jirnoddhar (Repairs)Edit

The temples have undergone repairs time to time. Allauddin Khilji had attacked and damaged the temples in 1311. In 1321, Bijag and Lalag of Mandore had undertaken repairs.

In 1906, Lallubhai Jaichand of Patan had the temples repaired and reconsecrated on April 25, 1906, under the supervision of Yati Hemasagar.[27] Extensive repairs were again undertaken during 1950-1965 by Anandji Kalyanji with the work done by the Sompura firm Amritlal Mulshankar Trivedi.[28] The older marble has a yellow patina, whereas the newer marble is white.

The temples are currently administered by the Seth Kalyanji Paramanandji Pedi (not to be confused by Seth Anandji Kalyanji Pedhi of Ahmedabad). Seth Kalyanji Paramanandji Pedi also runs a Bhojanshala (dining hall) nearby.


Facilities are available for bathing, which is mandatory before puja is performed for the idols. These facilities use passive solar power to heat up the water for bathing and other things. Guided tour hours for tourists are posted outside the temple.


See alsoEdit



  1. ^ "IMAGES OF NORTHERN INDIA". Retrieved 13 March 2009.
  2. ^ Shah 1995, p. 17.
  3. ^ Adams 1864, p. 127.
  4. ^ White 1996, p. 410.
  5. ^ Kumar 2001, p. 9.
  6. ^ Jain 2009, p. 271.
  7. ^ Coolidge 1880, p. 149.
  8. ^ Balfour 1885, p. 948.
  9. ^ Kumar 2001, p. 67.
  10. ^ Dundas 2002, p. 221.
  11. ^ a b Subramanian 2003, p. 105.
  12. ^ Gupta 2003, p. 45.
  13. ^ Dalal 2010, p. 409.
  14. ^ Mehta 1970, p. 33.
  15. ^ Topsfield 2014, p. 61.
  16. ^ Shah 1987, p. 169.
  17. ^ Titze & Bruhn 1998, p. 253.
  18. ^ Shah 1987, p. 165.
  19. ^ Shah 1987, p. 175.
  20. ^ Shah 1987, p. 229.
  21. ^ Delwada Jain Temples - Mt. Abu, Muni Jayantvijay Ji, Pub. Seth Kalyanji Paramanandji Pedi, p. 16
  22. ^ a b Dalal 2010, p. 106.
  23. ^ a b Titze & Bruhn 1998, p. 158.
  24. ^ Shah 1987, p. 227.
  25. ^ Stott & McCulloch 2014, p. 128.
  26. ^ Forlong 2005, p. 10.
  27. ^ Delvada Pratishtha Mahotsava, Jain Conference herald, May 1906, p. 133
  28. ^ Delwada Jain Temples - Mt. Abu, Muni Jayantvijay Ji, Pub. Seth Kalyanji Paramanandji Pedi, p. 4


External linksEdit