Have you ever noticed that almost all cities globally have this one particular landmark around which the city is built? For instance, L’Arc de Triomphe in Paris, The White House in Washington D.C., and Connaught Place in New Delhi. Almost all these landmarks have historical significance and they tell us more about the city and its culture.
Our Udaipur trip has been all about exploring the different facets of the city, history is one of it. In one of the tours via Walk and Pedal Travel Tours, we explored the most iconic and important landmarks of Udaipur – Jagdish Temple.
The funny part about our Udaipur trip was that many people told us that a week would be too much for exploring the city. However, we realized that a week is too little to explore the city in the real sense.
This tiny city has so many places to explore that you would need at least two weeks to explore it. At one point in time, I and Sarah began to explore two to three destinations per day to catch up.
A Peek in the Past:
Designed in Indo-Aryan architecture style, Jagdish Temple was built in 1651. Maharan Jagat Singh who ruled Udaipur from 1628 – 1653 dedicated this temple to Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu is the ‘preserver’ in the Hindu triad that includes Brahma (creator) and Shiva (destroyer and transformer).
It still remains the largest temple in the city of Udaipur with a steeple that rises 79 feet high. As per the Wikipedia, the temple cost is estimated around Indian Rupees 1.5 million (equivalent to $22023) in the year 1651. Initially, the temple was known as Jagannath Rai but it is now called Jagdish Temple.
Back to the Tour:
It was a Sunday morning and we had a busy schedule for sure. There were plenty of landmarks to cover but fortunately we had Pushpendra with us. Even before we went ahead with the tour of the temple we did an Udaipur Market tour. This market tour will come later in the series.
After completing our market rounds we headed for Jagdish Chowk. This is the street square where the temple is located. Multiple roads spread out into different corners of the city from this particular square. It is recommended that you park your car elsewhere and come here walking because the lanes are narrow.
Once you are at the chowk (square) you’ll find plenty of stores around that sell antiques, jewellery, refrigerator magnets, embroidery clutches and much more. Jagdish Temple is built on a tall terrace and the structure immediately grabs your attention. The spire of the temple still dominates the Udaipur skyline. The temple is not far from the City Palace.
As you walk closer to the temple you see these 32 white marble stairs that you need to climb. The elephants on both sides of the temple welcome you with a saluting pose. Once you are at the top you clearly see the square. It makes you feel like you’re watching the world right from the top.
The moment you step in you will have to remove your footwear. The caretaker will ensure that they are in place. Just as you move in, you see a separate shrine of The Garuda. This structure has the brass image of the Garuda.
The Garuda is Lord Vishnu’s vehicle (half man – half eagle). He has the wings to reach anywhere swiftly and eyes to keep constant watch to keep evil at bay. The location of the Garuda’s shrine right at the entrance symbolizes as if guarding the doorway of the temple.
As you move around the temple, the beautifully hand-carved pillars, painted walls and ceilings and huge halls, mesmerize you. When Udaipur fell in the hands of the Mughal invaders they were upset with these carvings that depicted war scenes. They vandalized and destroyed some of the carvings, but fortunately most of the carvings are intact.
In terms of architecture, the temple has a two-storey hall that connects with a two-storey sanctum. However, the pyramid bell-roof of the hall has a space that leads to the two more non-functional storeys in the sanctum. Photography within the temple premises is strictly phohibited.
As you walk around the external temple premises you also see four smaller shrines. These shrines are dedicated to Lord Ganesha, Lord Surya, Goddess Shakti and Lord Shiva.
Almost all tour companies and guides provide a tour to Jagdish Temple. It is good to have an experienced guide that can help you with the tour and the information. This will allow you to have a better look at this historical marvel that still stands tall.
We would like to thank Pushpendra who owns Walk and Pedal Travel Tours. If you are in Udaipur, Jagdish Temple must be on your list. Below are few more pictures of the temple walls, sanctum area and everything that you get to see.