A temple made with ghee instead of water!
Yes, such a temple exists in Bikaner, Rajasthan.
Bhanda Shah Temple is a very famous Jain Temple of Bikaner, Rajasthan. Famous for several reasons like: it is the oldest Jain Temple of Bikaner, only Jain Temple known more for its paintings inside instead of sculptures, the only three storied temple in Bikaner with a good view of the city from its roof top and most important of all it is the only temple made with mortar mixed with ghee(clarified butter).
Aren’t these reasons enough to add Bhanda Shah Temple to your itinerary of Bikaner tour?
History of Bhanda Shah Temple Bikaner
A rich Jain merchant Bhanda Oswal and his brother started the construction of this temple in 1468AD. After his death, his daughter completed the construction of this temple in 1514AD. It is popularly believed that they used ghee in the making of mortar for this temple. During summers, when the temperature of desert city Bikaner is at its peak, the walls of the temple ooze out oil. Purohit there said the floors become slippery. There are a couple of stories which lend support to this belief.
Story 1 – The merchants were very religious. He generously donated 4,00,000kgs of ghee and dry coconut during the laying of foundation of the temple.
Story 2 – Locals taunted him saying people don’t have water to drink and he is using it for construction of temple. The taunt provoked him to use ghee instead of water for the construction of Bhanda Shah Temple Bikaner.
Architecture and Interiors of Bhanda Shah Temple Bikaner
This temple is made of red sandstone and white marble. As you climb up to the 3rd floor of the temple you can see the ‘Sringas’ and ‘Upsringas’ – spires on shikharas of the temple and its gilded flagstaff. Temple towers are high above the rest of the city and can be seen from far. This temple is dedicated to Sumatinath Ji, 5th Tirthankar of Jains. Floor is of white marble, smooth now after years of wearing away.
The temple has been done up, repainted several times. In fact when we were touring the temple, a fresh coat of painting was on. Most noteworthy are the pillars which are made of marble. Each of them so beautifully painted with stories of 24 Jain Tirthankaras. The wooden doors are not spared either. We were shown one door that survived many centuries, rest are replaced with new doors and painted with same theme and figures. Furthermore the ceilings too have commendable works of art on them. They are painted with stories and designs.
Purohit of the temple shared with us some cool tips to take selfies with ceiling in background. Do chat up with him; he is a walking encyclopaedia on the temple. The paintings from Jain scriptures on the interior walls and ceiling of this temple are later works of art. Work on sacred sanctum walls are made with gold and Meenakari work. They resemble Usta work. Very fine and intricate designs all over the place!
Opening Hours: 5am-1pm & 5.30-11.30pm
Entry to Bhanda Shah Temple is free. A local trust maintains the Temple.
Travel Tips for Bhanda Shah Temple Bikaner
- The temple priest is knowledgeable. Chat up with him to get stories on temple and good angles for photography.
- The road leading to temple is narrow. Take local transports like autos and cycle rickshaws.
- Paintings here tell more stories than the sculptures.
- Good view of Bikaner city from roof top.
- Dress modestly, footwear not permitted inside the temple premises.
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