Ranakpur in Rajasthan, India, houses one of the largest Jain temples in the country. This temple dedicated to Adinatha, is replete with 1444 pillars, each carved from single pieces of stone. The mastery of the elaborate craftsmanship of the sculptures in this temple is beyond belief. In this Jain temple, its beauty lies in the complexity of is simplicity.
When you do visit the Jain temple in Ranakpur, you must eat a meal at its temple food hall called the “Bhojan Shala”. Here they serve the simplest of food with the greatest pride. A few cooks in a very basic kitchen prepare the meals here. The food is served to you in a thali (platter) and you can have as many helpings as you wish.
Generally a meal consists of a vegetable, a curry and a daal (lentil). This is accompanied with puris, rice, rotis and fried papads. In addition, they also serve chutneys and curds (yogurt). The food is a simple as can be and yet there is something about it that is so delightful. Perhaps it is the enchantment of the temple and the true devotion of the people who have dedicated their lives to the upkeep and running of it. Whatever it is, I think that a visit to Rankapur would be incomplete without eating a meal here.