Hidden in the forested hills of Rajasthan, a carved marble Jain temple of exquisite beauty can be found. Outside, the temple displays modesty.
Inside, however, the temple displays thousands of carved columns, intricate statues and designs, idols of the Jain Tirthankara, domes, and arches.
The temple, dedicated to Adinath, the first Jain Tirthankara, was suffused with diffuse light from the rainy skies, entering through the open air courtyards and between the domes. Deepaka, the architect constructed the temple using the display of light to perfection.
Outside, the light changed as the sun emerged, bathing elephant statues and columns in a bright light that bounced through the temple interior. A rainbow graced the hills behind the temple, as priests watched the first precipitation in months bathe the landscape, moistening the courtyards.
At every corner of the temple, nominated as one of the new wonders of the world, a new detail emerged along with a new feel to the temple, which captured multiple perspectives at once, through its design.
After a wholesome dinner at the Jain dharamshala, I retired to a small square room reserved for visitors and priests alike, sleeping on a bare floor with a small mattress and blanket.
My visit to Ranakpur was a quick visit, but well worth the stop as I head south by bus and train.