Another professional event provided an opportunity to visit Udaipur. Went around the city the first morning. After walking around the sprawling lakes, dropped in to have a look at the City Palace. It is an imposing structure, part of which is converted to a hotel. It is much alike many palaces in Rajasthan. What is distinctive however is its collection of miniature paintings, one of which I understand has been painted with a single squirrel hair! Three floors up, trees sprout from an inner courtyard because the palace is built into the hill. Frankly Udaipur didn’t interest me much.
I was keen to have a glimpse of the Chatumukha Temple at Ranakpur, which I visited next afternoon. The temple complex is positioned in an isolated valley on the western side of the Aravalli Range and is built entirely with light colour marble. The highlight of the structure is its 1,444 pillars, each one exquisitely carved and distinct in its decoration. The temple ceilings are festooned with foliate scrollwork and geometric patterns. Given the intricacy of the structure it is not surprising to hear that the temple took approximately 65 years to complete.
Glimpses of the Adinath Temple At: http://flickr.com/gp/24876955@N02/47w9sD/
Facing the main temple are two other temples dedicated to Parasvanath and Neminath. While Adinath temple revels in its intricately carved pillars these two are embellished with wonderfully carved figures which adorn their outer walls. Unlike the main temple, which is still in worship, there are no restrictions in these two and one can spend hours savouring their beauty.
Glimpses of these two temples at: http://flickr.com/gp/24876955@N02/j75XR0/
I was wondering as to how to spend the last day in Udaipur. Chittorgarh was an option but the distance and travel precluded a visit since I had to catch the plane that afternoon. The Sas Bahu temple which I came across randomly while browsing the internet interested me. After an hour’s drive through verdant countryside I chanced on it amidst agricultural fields and a small water body. I was the only visitor that morning and the lone watchman sat in a corner looking at me with much curiosity. Though popularly referred to as Sas Bahu temples (a local corruption of the original Sahastra-Bahu, meaning "One with thousand arms", a form of Vishnu) they are now in partial ruins but one can still marvel at their splendour and intricate craftsmanship. Away from the prying eyes of tourists these temples these temples have a inherent charm and I spend several hours savouring its beauty. It was an enchanting experience. As I was leaving, the driver casually asked me whether I would like to back to the temples as he has never seen anyone so absorbed!
Often I feel that we live a wonderful world that is full of beauty and charm which sometimes we discover quite by chance. And Sas Bahu Temples were one such….
Glimpses of Sas Bahu Temple at: http://flickr.com/gp/24876955@N02/9w15a5/