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December 31st 2009
Published: January 10th 2010
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We departed Jodhpur at the extremely civilised hour of 10am and set off for the small town Ranakpur which is about 90kms before Udaipur. Ranakpur is famous for its very elaborate Jain Temple which is constructed from very intricately carved white marble. The Jain religion began in the 6th century BC and is kind of an offshoot from Hinduism. They are very strict vegetarians (no eggs) and the really devout followers cover their mouths with a scarf to avoid inhaling bugs and carry a broom to sweep the path before they walk so they don’t crush insects.

The temple was incredible; elaborate is a massive understatement. As soon as you walk up the stairs into the temple you are overwhelmed by hundreds of carved columns (no two the same) supporting an equally intricate roof. The temple is kept very clean by a few pilgrims who sweep and wash the floor regularly (which is lucky since you have to go barefoot...which I wouldn’t consider anywhere else in India!). It has quite a nice atmosphere; somehow it manages to be relaxed and calm despite the huge number of people who come to admire and worship there every day.

Nearby the main temple there is a much smaller but still equally as intricate temple...which makes things interesting as it is a ‘Karma Sutra Temple’. There is a line in the book Shantaram (highly recommended) which mentions something about Indian men having the sexual maturity of 14 year old boys. After seeing numerous giggling Indian adult males lurking around the Karma Sutra Temple I can 100% vouch for this line.

Unfortunately as we exited the Karma Sutra temple I was confronted by a gang of evil black faced monkeys who had taken over the trees, buildings, car roofs, car bonnets, suitcase racks and just about every other available surface. For some stupid reason Scott seems to get immense amounts of pleasure from making me watch monkeys play and trying to make me go closer to them; I think he just likes to see me freak out. I finally broke free from his vice like grip and jumped into our car, only to hear a huge thud on the roof above me as the monkeys came to attack...or grab the biscuit from the man who was offering it to them right next to me...

Monkeys aside, Ranakpur was well worth the stop over. If you are doing Rajasthan by train/bus I would definitely recommend going on a day trip from Udaipur.

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