Ranakapur temple, Rajasthan

Rajasthan is a dry, rural region in the north west of India. The landscape is hilly, drab and inhospitable in contrast to the friendly brightly dressed people.

These women were filling their water pots from the communal tap in the village of Narlai. The people of this village seemed to love bright colours.

I’m not sure whether these turbans are one very long sausage of fabric wound around the head or already made up into a turban. The red one is worn at such a jaunty angle to suit the wearer that I think it’s his own design. I love the way the red is repeated in the cloak and in the print on the trousers.

‘ He’s more interested in that old pipe than in my chapatis. I don’t know why I bother, really I don’t.’

The fifteen century Jain temple in Ranakapur was the reason for the groups visit to the area. It is India’s largest Jain temple and every inch of it is covered in carvings. Inside the temple there are 1444 sculptured pillars. The temple is dedicated to Adinath and each day the statue of the deity is washed and dressed in a suit of gold armour. The temple feels very light and open with its many pillars. 

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Our small group of 14 travelled mostly by private bus. Our ‘Imaginative Traveller’ guide was a local from Jodhpur. He was a country boy and really enjoyed showing us around the little villages as well as the big tourist attraction forts and temples. It was a great way to see India.

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