After the successful darshans of Choolgiriji (Khaniyaji) and Sanganer; we arrived at our final destination for this quick trip and that was, Padampura. Padampura is a small town (around 33kms from Jaipur) and famous for the temple of miracles i.e. Bara Padampura. This unique temple is known for the beautiful and captivating idol of our 6th Teerthankar (God), Bhagwan Padamprabhuji. This idol had appeared in Vaishakh Shukla 5 V.S. 2001 and is a small idol of 2 feet and 4 inches in a padmasan (sitting) position and made of white (though now looks off-white / yellow) stone.
Continuing my journey (from my previous post Choolgiriji, Khaniyaji) on the Jain temple trail, I reached the small town of Sanganer, which is situated 16 km south of Jaipur City on National Highway No. 12, Kota – Jaipur Road. This is a historical town and famous for textile printing and handmade paper industry. However its most famous for the old and beautiful Shri Digamber Jain temple Sanghiji.
This is an ancient temple in red stone and exquisite carvings, that represents the old style of architecture and was completed in many phases. Per the inscription of V.S. 1011 in one of the pylons (Toranas), the last phase was completed in 10th century A.D. In this temple the Mulnayak Pratima (main idol) is of our first tirthankar, Lord Adinath (Rishabh Dev), made of local stone and expected to be more than 4000 years old. This temple is seven storied and has sky-high ‘shikharas’ (spires) and the inner sanctum is a stone shrine with skyhigh eight Shikharas (pinnacles). The inner temple is a stone shrine with three pinnacles and carvings of lotuses, creepers and elephants pouring water from pitchers held in their trunks all around.
Since I have started traveling, I have discovered numerous new categories within travel – rural, dark, voluntarism, responsible, eco, cultural, spiritual, action, active, etc etc. But along with experimenting with all of these, I have tried another type of travel that is both rural and a spiritual experience. This is the Jain temple trail i.e. visiting ancient Jain temples in smaller unknown villages and towns in India. Initially I didn’t like temples and like everyone my age group around had to be either dragged or emotionally blackmailed by parents into visiting them. But after a few such recent visits something in me has definitely changed. I have now come to like these visits and consider them a photographic and a spiritual delight. Many of these temples are really ancient and hence have a unique architecture, carvings, intricate patterns, some in ruins, etc that make beautiful pictures and on the other hand somehow these temples just bring about a certain sense of peace / harmony within me. My mom says, this because of the ultimate faith that people who built these temples then had in religion which still lingers in these old places / temples.
During our stay in Pushkar, we decided to book a local cab for a day and explore Ajmer. Now Ajmer and Pushkar are pretty much twin cities just separated by a hill and a 15 – 20 minute drive. Based on my own experience, I recommend that everyone stay in Pushkar and visit Ajmer for a day trip only.
We started our day with a visit to the Jain temple of Nareli. Nareli is a new temple complex that is around 7 kms ahead of Ajmer and is a kind of township. There is a main temple building built-in the centre on the ground and 23 small temples built atop the hill behind this main temple. The color of the stone used for these temples is a mix of pink and red which contrasts with the barren hills around this place and contribute to the character of this complex. There are gardens all around the main temple and they have small rooms built with replicas of Jain beliefs on conducting their life and small boards which explain the principles of Jainism in the most simple language.
After an exciting Day 1 of our holiday in Bundi, we had decided to start our second day pretty early with a trip to a nearby Jain temple called Bijoliya Parasnath, then return to Bundi for lunch and then start for our long drive to Pushkar.
And in order to manage everything in time, we started pretty early from Bundi at 6.30am (in fact it was so early that we had to wake up the haveli staff to open the doors J) for our journey to Bijoliyaji Parasnath. Now the distance between these 2 places is only around 50 Kms but the drive takes around 2 hours one way, due to the bad conditions of the road.
Rajasthan, for some inexplicable reason, has been a place that always beckons me to visit, no matter how many times I have already been there (and I have been there 7 – 8 times already). Hence it’s not surprising that I ended up there yet again for a short holiday in October this year. And like always, this holiday didn’t disappoint us in fact we saw a completely new face of Rajasthan.
For this trip, I decided to visit Bundi (a small town in Rajasthan), drive through a few villages (a rural journey) and ultimately visit Pushkar (the temple town). You can read more on my travel planning and itinerary in my previous post – Travel Plans for a quick trip to Rajasthan.
We started our trip when our train dropped us at the Kota station at 5am on Day 1. We had booked a cab in advance (since it was early morning), but you can just reach the station and take a cab for Bundi directly. We found our dozing driver and then set off for our journey towards Kesariya Patan.
On our second last day of the trip, we decided to head out to Ajmer to see two very famous Jain temples of Nareli and Nasiyan. Since it was eid today we decided to skip a visit to the famous Dargah and instead check out the lake and old markets.
Well my verdict on Ajmer, we loved the 2 Jain temples and I recommend it for a visit to all non Jains too. Other than that Ajmer is quite a disappointment and you can give it a miss. There is nothing special about this place that catches your attention or makes it special.
We then returned to Pushkar and continued our lazing around in the local atmosphere, sights and eating some amazing Tibetan food in a beautiful garden restaurant under a canopy of leaves. Also saw the original Pushkar lake which is now dry and called Budhe or old Pushkar. Now ending my last night in Rajasthan under a star filled sky with some famous Rajasthani folk music and dances.
More to follow in a detailed post once I am back, but below is today’s installment of instagram post cards –