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Jagdish Temple, Mewar

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In January 1680, Aurangzeb had sent his force to vanquish Maharana Raj Singh of Mewar who had come in open support of rebellious Marwar. During this invasion, a famous incident is related to Jagannath temple. We are well aware of the religious bigotry of Aurangzeb. When he invaded Mewar, he sent Ruhillah Khan and Ekka Taz Khan to demolish the famous Jagdish temple which was built in front of the Maharana’s palace.

Saqi Musta’ad Khan writes in Maasir-i-‘Alamgiri,

“Twenty Rajputs were sitting in the temple vowed to give up their lives; first one of them came out to fight, killed some and was then himself slain, then came out another and so on, until every one of the twenty perished, after killing a large number of the imperialists including the trusted slave of Aurangzeb, Ikhlas. Then the Mughal troops entered the temple and the hewers broke the image”.

This chromolithograph is taken from plate 28 of William Simpson’s ‘India: Ancient and Modern’

The temple was originally built by Maharana Jagat Singh at a cost of several lakhs of rupees. The Pran-pratistha ceremony of the temple was held on the 13th May 1652.The three-storied temple is comprised of decorated ceiling and carved pillars and is dedicated to Shri Vishnu .It is the largest temple in the city of Udaipur . The main shrine of Shri Vishnu is located in centre and is encircled by four smaller shrines dedicated to Shri Ganesha, Surya, Shakti and Bhagwan Shiva respectively.

Ishwara here is in four- handed form and is also known as Jagannatha. The temple was originally called the temple of Jagannath Rai but is now called Jagdish Ji. The presiding deity is carved out of single black stone. The architecture of the temple consists of a pyramidal spire, mandap (prayer hall) and a porch. The first and the second storey of the temple possess 50 pillars each.

There are four inscribed panels that flank the entrance into the temple and trace the genealogy of the Sisodia rulers back to Shri Ram and record numerous military victories.

The temple seen today ,was re-built by the Sisodias after its destruction by the Mughals. This temple is not just an ordinary shrine but it demonstrates the will of our civilization that no matter how many time foes shatter us ,we would rebuild ourselves again and again .

Jagdish Temple


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