Jhalrapatan Famous Bell Temples
Jhalrapatan is located 6 Km from Jhalawar is known as the 'City of
Bells' - derived from its numerous temples and their bells. A unique
feature about this town is that the entire township resides within the
confines of a wall which was built to protect the trade caravans as it
was one of the junction of the trade route.
One can visit some beautiful temples : Surya tempes, Chandrabhaga
temples & Shantinath Jain temple.
¤ Main Attractions
Surya Temple- Replica of Konark
Temple in Orissa
The walled Jhalrapatan is a Jhalawar suburb, and its name is derived
from the towns numerous temples and their bells. It is said that
Jhalrapatan originally had 108 temples built over a few centuries, but
today the finest amongst them is the 11th century Surya temple.
Similar to the Sun temple in Konarak in Orissa, the Surya temple in
Jhalrapatan is crowned with a finely carved shikhara (spire). This
high steeple is an amalgamation of miniature towers which seem to
stick to the main tower, making it a unique one by itself. The
shikhara is built in layers and the size of the pillars decreases as
height increases, following a seven storey pillar format. The base of
the shikhara is made up of larger pillars close to each other around
the main foundation, similar to the Qutub Minar in Delhi.
The Temple Construction
The temple is actually built in two sections; one serving as the
entrance with pillars supporting a second storey followed by the main
sanctum. The roof of the entrance has large and small chatris
(pavilions) surrounding the main pagoda in the roofs centre.
Till the middle of the 19th century the temple housed a
dazzling gold statue of the Sun god Surya but this was carried off by
plunderers during the Uprising of 1857. The columns and arches
supporting the roof at the entrance are, as in most ancient Indian
temples, richly carved with images of gods, goddesses and other Hindu
motifs. Also worth seeing are old tiles engraved with figures of the
gods Vishnu and Krishna on the outside walls of the temple. However,
the Surya temple is no longer used as a temple and has now been
adopted as a meeting place for locals who have little better to do.
Dont be alarmed to see people sleeping on the temples
stone platforms and just hanging around doing nothing, with worship
being the last thing on their minds
Near the Surya temple is a 11th century Jain temple with painted
murals depicting punishments showered upon wrongdoers.
Rajputs trace their ancestory to the Sun and the Moon, and if there
is a Surya (Sun) temple there has to be one dedicated to the Moon. The
Chandravati or Chandrabhaga temples are just that and are located on
the banks of the Chandrabhaga stream on the outskirts of Jhalawar.
Interesting Legends About The Foundation of the Temple
By whom exactly were the foundations of these temples laid is a
little mysterious, but there are a few interesting legends connected
with them. According to one, there was a certain Raja Hoon who founded
the Chandravati temples. Another legend associates it with the
daughter of Chandrasen, the ruler of Malwa (northwest Madhya Pradesh).
The story goes that Chandrasens queen gave birth to a son at
this very spot while they were on a pilgrimage. Pleased with this,
Chandrasen commissioned the building of these temples.
The third myth is more humble and attributes the origin of the
temples not to a king but a mere woodcutter. Jasso was a poor
woodcutter of the ancient Orr tribe. On his way back home from the
forest, Jasso dropped his axe on a stone. Now this stone had magical
features and transformed Jassos axe into one which could turn
iron into gold. With this amazing ability he soon raised enough gold
to build these temples, and lake nearby is till called Jasso ka talaab
(Jassos lake) in his memory. However, there is a catch. From
historical sources it seems that Jasso was not a humble woodcutter but
the grandson of Udaydit, the ruler of Malwa. Presumably all this magic
business occurred during one of the princes forays into the
forest for whatever reasons.
But there is yet another legend which goes back even further in time,
way back to the Mahabharata (circa 4th century BC). Out of the five
exiled Pandava brothers, Bhima was the strongest, and at some point
the brothers reached this forest. A spirit decided to disturb them and
took the form of a boar. Bhima didnt see much humour in a wild
boar grunting near him and he shot it down with an arrow. Anything can
happen in mythology, and it happened this time too where the
boar fell sprang forth a stream which came to be known as
The temples were actually built in the 6th century AD, and lie
scattered along the banks of the Chandrabhaga stream. Most of these
108 temples are in ruins, but there are some that are in remarkable
shape considering their age. A flight of steps lead down to the water,
to ancient ghats which must have been in use centuries ago. Statues of
Hindu gods and goddesses can be found in abundanace here, piled on top
of each other and just lying around all over the place. More common
are those of Ganesha, Narayan, Shiva and Parvati, although only their
remnants remain. Some idols are a little fortunate, placed upon a
pedestal and gazing into the distance.
Imposing Temple Carvings
Temple builders in ancient India had a glorious habit of of going
overboard when it came to carving. From pillars to ceilings, stairways
and arches, everything came under the engravers chisel. Things
are pretty much the same in Chandrabhaga. At the entrance to the
Chandramuleshwar temple stand two stone pillars, carved from base to
top. The lower portion of the columns depict goddesses and their
escorts in a finery rarely seen in Rajasthan, while the steps leading
up and into the temple have also been subjected to a great deal of
chisel work. Near the Chandramuleshwar temple is the rectangular
Sitalasvara temple crowned with a bulbous dome. However, only the
lower parts of the temple remains as the upper portions have long
fallen down. The date given to the construction is 689AD, although
this is refutable. What is certain is that these temples were built
during the 7th century, but the exact date is still officially
unknown. Chandravati was perhaps a centre of music and dance when it
was built, for its structure and general layout suggests that such
activities did occur here.
An ancient inscription still exists in one of the temples, dated
692AD and ascribing it to Raja Durgangul. The writing on the wall
mentions the Pandava brothers and their tryst with the boar `demon
Varaha (Varaha is also worshipped as a god). It states that when
Varaha fell, from his wound sprang out a figure which was the first of
the Khatri clan.
Near the Orr dam there are a few cenotaphs of Jain monks. One is
dated 1010AD and is dedicated to Srimunt Deva, a disciple of Acharya
Sriman Deva whose bust still exists, reading an open stone book. Two
other translated inscriptions on cenotaphs of Jain monks have dates of
1124 and 1233AD.