Eklingji, the city dotted with temples, is located about
twelve miles to the North of Udaipur in
Rajasthan. 22 kms from Udaipur, Eklingji is a complex of 108 ancient
temples, incised out of sandstone and marble. The temple, built in AD 734,
to propagate the blessings of Lord Shiva, worshipped as the Ultimate
Reality, the supreme power, and the wholesome one - Parabhrama, is
venerated by the Mewar household.
The temples of Eklingji located here, are exquisitely carved and dedicated to Lord Shiva, guardian deity of Mewar. This deity was regarded as the virtual ruler, by the Maharajas of Mewar - who considered themselves to be regents (Dewans) under Eklingji.
Ekligji (Kailashpuri) is a town situated in a beautiful valley, attracting plentitude of visitors throughout the year. It is a complex with a flight of steps leading to the 'kund'. It has an ornate 'mandap' or pillared hall with the canopy of a huge pyramidical roof composed of hundreds of knots.
The temple occupies an area of about 2500 sq. feet and is about 65 feet in height. The temple area is fortified with a strong wall running around it. The main entrance to the temple on the western side welcomes visitors into a big hall resting on lavishly carved pillars. In this hall, is a silver image of Nandi. There are two more Nandis in the temple, one made of black stone and the other of brass.
Dating back to the 15th century AD, the existing structure is built out of the ruins of a previously destroyed structure. The sanctum sanctorum has a four-faced image of Shiva, representing Brahma facing west, Vishnu facing north, Maheshwar facing south and 'Surya' (Sun) facing the east. The flat top of the composite idol is covered with a Yantra, a mystic symbolic drawing, standing for the ultimate reality.
This temple is said to have been founded by Acharya Viswaroop, a contemporary of Adi Shankaracharya and is linked with the Sharada Math at Dwaraka, which was also founded by Adi Shankaracharya.
Other deities housed in the temple complex include Parvati, Ganesha, Ganga, Kartikeya, Yamuna and Saraswati. There are also small temples dedicated to Amba Mata, Kalka Mata and Ganesh in the temple complex. There is another temple called Nathon Ka Mandir in the temple complex with inscriptions dating back to the 10th century AD. No worship is offered here.
There are two tanks situated on the northern side of the temple - Karz Kund and Tulsi Kund. Water from these tanks is utilized for temple services. Temple services are performed in a very elaborate manner in the Vedic and Tantric styles - everyday beginning at 4 in the morning. Shivratri is an important religious event, when the image of the deity is decked with jewellery.
There are about 70 temples in all. Mention must be made of the Sas-Bahu Marble Temple, dating back to the 11th century. It is a fine specimen of ancient art with sculptural details. The Adbhudji Jain Temple is of black marble and it dates back to the 15th century AD.