Resuming our pending work at Ajmer, and we were able to finish off with our assignments by lunch time. For lunch we were directed to a vegetarian restaurant by the name of Khana Khazana. We ordered vegetarian thalis. At first sight, a single thali gave the impression that it had food adequate for 2 people but since we had ordered 2 thalis, we had no choice but to eat, a thali a piece. During the process of eating our lunch, we realized how hungry we were, as we devoured the thalis, in practically no time. For sweet dish, we had vanilla ice cream scoops, which were a part of the thali as well.
Fully “Fed Up”, we thought of looking for some places that were off the beaten track in Ajmer, away from the known circuit of Dargah, Ana Sagar and the fort. Our contact in Ajmer, being a person from the Jain sect, directed us to Dadabari of the Svetamber sub-sects of the Jains. The simple predominantly white religious structure, had idols of tirthankars or main preachers of the Jains, which were adorned with jewellery made of gold. I snapped a photo on my cell, before I was told that photography was prohibited there.
From there we went to Soni Ji Ki Nasiyan, again a religious temple of the Jains. This place, I was told had reverence for the Digamber sub-sects of the Jains. I was taken aback when on entering this red stone temple, I was asked to shell out Rs10 as an entry fee. Any religious fervor that I might have had, evaporated almost immediately. But after climbing the steep, winding stairs of this two storied temple, in the space of 5 minutes, I was taken aback again. Amazing structures (some even life-like) made of gold, silver, bronze and mosaic glass were there enclosed in glass. The place glittered with a splendor and opulence, rarely seen, especially for a religious temple. Actually to call it a temple, for me, is a misnomer. It is basically a museum that depicts the Jain philosophy of the creation of the world through the various models made of precious metals.
(to be continued)