Sirohi is a district located in southern part of the Rajasthan state in western India. It was founded by the Deora Chauhan Rajputs. The name Sirohi has comes from the amalgamation of two Sanskrit words, ‘Sir’ and ‘Uhi’ which means ‘the one which cuts heads’ i.e. the sword. This place is known for its valor and swords. Its sword was so famous that it used to be a priced entity for even far fetched lands like Iran. There is even a legend of a holy well with its water so pure that once a sword was dipped inside it, the sword used to retain its sharpness again.
Sirohi was a Rajput princely state and was engulfed by Marwar in the north, Mewar in the east and Gujarat in the south. The historical city of Chandravati was the capital of the erstwhile city. The Sirohi district is also known as ‘Devnagri’ or the land of gods. It is believed that this land is home to a billion Gods. This can be seen in the devotion of the people towards the almighty and the large number of temples in the area. Here is a list of notable Sirohi temples:
Sirohi and its temples
The Sarneshwarji Temple
This temple is the one of the most famous and revered temples of Sirohi. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple has its premises on the outskirts of the Sirohi city on Sirnawa Hill.
It is an ancient temple and showcases the art of the Rajasthani sculptures back then. It is surrounded by huge walls on all the sides which make the visitors mistake it for a fort. There are huge sculpted elephants on the temple gate and there are a couple of small Bawris, ‘water holes in the hill’, inside the temple. One can enjoy the company of the langurs and an occasional visit by the leopards in this temple.
The Mandakini pond just outside the temple is considered very holy by the devotees. The pilgrims take bath in this pond on the day of Kartik Purnima which is said to make them devoid of their sins. Legend has it that Mahmud of Ghazni, who looted the famous Somnath temple in Gujarat was suffering from leprosy during the course of his plunder. When he landed in Sirohi to destroy this temple, some water droplets from the Mandakini pond splashed on his body and cured the disease at those places on the skin. Startled, he took bath in this pond, was subsequently cured and left this temple untouched.
The world famous Dilwara temple is located in Mount Abu which is a two hour drive from Sirohi. This temple is considered a master piece of sculptures. The intricacies with which the marble is carved leaves the tourists in awe and amazement of this temple. It involves the classic Jain art and there are five dedicated temples in the premises. The temple is a glaring example of the hard work, patience, skill and workmanship of the Jain artists back then.
The “Pavapuri Tirth Dham” temple is located 25 kms from Sirohi. This temple is one of the recent temples been built in Sirohi and its credit goes to a Jain family. It is run for charitable purposes and have a huge campus. The temple also has a Goshala, or the abode of cows, in this compound. Close to 5000 cows are fed and taken care of daily over here. Apart from cows, there are also buffaloes, camels and bulls at this place. There is also a vegetarian mess inside which is pretty popular with the tourists. It serves affordable, tasty Rajasthani food maintaining hygiene and cleanliness. The Dharamshala or the inn, offers rooms to the tourists who come from far off places. This is one of the temples which promotes love for environment and its surroundings. Lots of trees are constantly planted and most of them by volunteers. It also uses Bio gas technology for preparing food in the kitchen. There is a huge modern art gallery as well which gives the visitors a vivid picture of Jainism and its Gods. There is also a reservoir to cater for the water needs of the temple. Not very widely known, it is a must visit place for the ones traveling nearby.
Bheru Tarak Dham
This is a very picturesque temple situated right at the foothills of Mount Abu. Completely built in white marble, this temple offers spectacular mountain views in the backdrop. There are huge mansions called Dharamshalas in this temple where families can stay and have food. There is a jungle trail next to the temple which leads right upto Mount Abu. This trail was the only way to the hill station earlier and acted as a supply route to Mount Abu. The temple is spacious and one can relax and meditate peacefully at this place. The local icecreams called Gola, sold just outside the temple, is a must have at Bheru Tarak Dham.
Sirohi and its temples
The residents of Sirohi have been devote followers and believers since ancient times. They are committed to their faith and cherish the joys that come along with it. A large number of temples are an evidence to that. The amazing sculptures, paintings and carvings of these temples are difficult to find anywhere else in the world. Though not known to be a tourist destination, the temples of Sirohi are a must visit places for tourists as well as pilgrims. It is not for nothing that this holy land is called ‘the land of a billion gods’.