Shri Jagdish Temple, located near the City Palace of Udaipur, Rajasthan, is a striking example of Hindu religious architecture comprised of beautifully carved pillars, decorated ceilings, painted walls and lush halls. With a massive gateway, three stories of hand carved stone, and a steeple nearly 79 feet high, Jagdish Temple is the largest temple in Udaipur, India. It was built in 1651 by Maharana Jagat Singh just two years before the end of his reign and dedicated to the Hindu god Lord Vishnu. An estimated RS 1.5 million ($33, 400) was spent to construct the building.
Visitors to the temple are greeted at the roadside by an imposing bank of steps. Above and slightly out of sight is the main hall, which stands on 50 pillars beautifully decorated with carved figures in stone. Two over-size elephant statues carved of stone welcome visitors and devotees at the main entrance located at the top of the stairs. An inscription referring to Maharaja Jagat Singh is also to be found here. To reach the main shrine, visitors must climb a marble flight of 32 additional steps. It is at that point where a brass image of Garuda, a figure of half-man and half-eagle, sits protected under a small raised shrine. This huge idol stands as if it is guarding the doorway of Lord Vishnu.
The main shrine houses the remarkable four-armed image of Lord Vishnu carved out of a single piece of black stone, shrouded in flowers. The outer walls of the shikhar (or steeple) above the idol are decorated with sculptures of dancers, musicians, horse riders and elephants. Walls and ceilings inside the temple are decorated with painted scenes. Four smaller shrines encircle the main shrine housing the idol of Lord Vishnu. These shrines are dedicated to Lord Ganesha, Sun God, Goddess Shakti and Lord Shiva.
Every year, people from far and near come to visit this holy place of worship. The temple continues to be an important pilgrimage stop for sadhus passing through the lake city. Women selling flower garlands sit patiently awaiting tourists and religious followers in front of the main staircase. Sadhus are situated along the main staircase on flat slabs of stone where they pray, eat, sleep and beg for money before they travel to their next destination. Shree Jagdish Temple of Udaipur provides a good opportunity for tourists to snap photos of authentic sadhus; permission should be asked beforehand along with a small offering of Rs 5-10 for each person photographed.
Entry is free. Removal of shoes in mandatory. Be prepared for large groups of tourists and locals.
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