Mortar is mixed with water for constructing buildings and this system is followed almost uniformly through out the world with very few exceptions. Both mortar and water form an indelible part of the construction in any building.
But did you know that there is a building in
where water was not used to mix mortar. Instead, pure ghee and coconuts were used in the construction. India
This building still stands today and it is universally acknowledged as one of those rare buildings which are a marvel in civil engineering and building construction.
The building is in Rajasthan and it is a beautiful temple belonging to the Jains. The temple is located in
Bikaner which is 331 kms from the State capital of Jaipur and 310 kms from . Jodhpur
The structure I am talking about is called
. It is situated within the walled city of Bhandasar Jain Temple . The temple is dedicated to the fifth Jain Thirthankara, Suminath. Bikaner
It was commissioned by a wealthy merchant, Bhandasa Oswal or Banda Shah in 1468 and was completed only in 1514.
The temple of red sandstone and white marble stands testimony to the artistic grace and intricate workmanship of the Rajputs. It has lavish interiors, breathtaking frescos, sculpted pillars and the ceiling has beautiful paintings.
When the temple was being constructed, 40,000 kg or 40 barrels of ghee was used instead of water in the mortar. This can be felt today too when during the hot days, the ghee melts and seeps through the walls.
The temple is a three storied structure. The gold leaf work, artistically sculpted pillars and frescoes tell us the stories of all the 24 Jain thirthankaras.
As soon as you enter the temple, you can sandstone pillars with floral designs. The first floor is devoted to the carvings of Jain thirthankaras. There are two beautiful idols of sentinels of gods on the first floor. There are beautiful balconies on the first and second floor of the temple.
The marble statue of Lord Sumatinath sits on a silver throne inside a gold-plated marble canopy adorned with floral paintings. The porcelain tiles were imported from
Locals say that even the foundation was filled with ghee and dry coconut.
The temple is open from 6 a.m., to 7 p.m. This is one of the two Jain temples in
. The other temple is that of Sandeshwar. Though its is smaller than the Bhandasar temple, it has beautiful carvings on its doors and pillars. Bikaner
There is another Jain temple worth seeing in Phalodi. It is 184 kms away from
but let me tell you it is worth a visit. The Parasanath temple has beautifully sculpted Belgian glass. It was constructed in 1847 by the Oswal Jains and has been built exclusively with stones, It does not have any girders or RCC construction. It is made of old Bikaner glass. This Jain temple is considered a marvel in architecture. Belgium