Located inside the Udaipur City Palace complex, Jagdish Temple is distinguished as the biggest and the most splendid temple in the city. The eighty foot high edifice was built in 1651 by Maharana Jagat Singh and is dedicated to Lord Laxmi Narayan (Vishnu). This structure is not too far from Tripolia of the City Palace (only about 300 meters away from Badi Pol) and can be seen rising above its adjacent roofs, clearly visible even from the Lake Palace Hotel.
The temple is most famous because of its intricately carved pillars, painted walls, lush halls and exquisitely adorned ceilings. The carvings on the pillar possess depth and are very clear and detailed, showing excellent levels of maintenance. Indeed, the intricate carvings require an enduring sight to admire the remarkable beauty of this temple.
A fine example of the Indo-Aryan architecture, the spire of Jagdish Temple is about 79 feet high and is adorned with sculptures of musicians, dancers, horsemen and elephants. The first and the second level of the temple have 50 pillars each. This temple was developed bearing in the mind the architectural style of Vastushstra. Every year, multitudes of people from different parts of India come here in this holy place of worship.
This three-storied temple greets devotees and tourists with two large white elephants on both sides of the temple. The temple’s exterior is made from local stone. In front of the temple are the inscriptions of Jagat Singh that are imprinted in stone slab. To reach the main temple, you have to take a flight of 32 steps.
On top, you will find the brass statue of Garuda, an image of a human with face and wings of an eagle – the stead of Lord Vishnu, carrying her on the back. This idol has a specific importance as it is said to be the heaviest and biggest deity in Udaipur. The image guards the doorway of Lord Laxmi Narayan’s shrine. Inside the main shrine is the striking four-armed image of Laxmi Narayan, cut out from a single piece of black stone.
There is a scheduled time for ‘darshan’ to the temple. During this time, you will hear the worshippers as they chant hymns in praise of the god. Inside this famous pilgrimage center in Udaipur are many smaller temples too. One is the temple of Lord Ganesha while another is for the Sun god known as Surya. The third one is devoted to the mother goddess Lord Shiva (Amba or Ambika). A little temple is dedicated for the Lord Radha and Krishna.
Currently, Udaipur has programs to promote an end to begging, and the temple is a good example of this. The money donated by visitors helps the temple feed the poor. Like any temples in India, you have to take off your shoes or wear a piece of cloth so you can protect your shoes. But in this temple, you have to take it off. There is a cubicle or cupboard at the entrance for you to leave your shoes.
The Jagdish Temple is a must-visit place. It is easily reached by any means of transport in Udaipur. Visiting schedule in the morning is from 4:15 am to 1pm and from 5:15pm to 8pm in the evening.