Bhanda Shah Temple Bikaner, Rajasthan, Made with Ghee

A temple made with ghee instead of water!
Yes, such a temple exists in Bikaner, Rajasthan.

Bhanda Shah Temple is a very famous Jain Temple of Bikaner, Rajasthan. Famous for several reasons like: it is the oldest Jain Temple of Bikaner, only Jain Temple known more for its paintings inside instead of sculptures, the only three storied temple in Bikaner with a good view of the city from its roof top and most important of all it is the only temple made with mortar mixed with ghee (clarified butter).

Aren’t these reasons enough to add Bhanda Shah Temple to your itinerary of Bikaner tour?

Bhanda Shah Temple Bikaner

Inner sanctum of Bhanda Shah Temple, Bikaner

Inner sanctum of Bhanda Shah Temple Bikaner

History of Bhanda Shah Temple Bikaner

A rich Jain merchant Bhanda Oswal and his brother started the construction of this temple in 1468AD. After his death, his daughter completed the construction of this temple in 1514AD. It is popularly believed that they used ghee in the making of mortar for this temple. During summers, when the temperature of desert city Bikaner is at its peak, the walls of the temple ooze out oil. Purohit there said the floors become slippery. There are a couple of stories which lend support to this belief.

Story 1 – The merchants were very religious. He generously donated 4,00,000kgs of ghee and dry coconut during the laying of foundation of the temple.

Story 2 – Locals taunted him saying people don’t have water to drink and he is using it for construction of temple. The taunt provoked him to use ghee instead of water for the construction of Bhanda Shah Temple Bikaner.

Old door on your left, new one in the right.


Architecture and Interiors of Bhanda Shah Temple Bikaner

This temple is made of red sandstone and white marble. As you climb up to the 3rd floor of the temple you can see the ‘Sringas’ and ‘Upsringas’ – spires on shikharas of the temple and its gilded flagstaff. Temple towers are high above the rest of the city and can be seen from far. This temple is dedicated to Sumatinath Ji, 5th Tirthankar of Jains. Floor is of white marble, smooth now after years of wearing away.

Paintings on ceilings and pillars.

The temple has been done up, repainted several times. In fact when we were touring the temple, a fresh coat of painting was on. Most noteworthy are the pillars which are made of marble. Each of them so beautifully painted with stories of 24 Jain Tirthankaras. The wooden doors are not spared either. We were shown one door that survived many centuries, rest are replaced with new doors and painted with same theme and figures. Furthermore the ceilings too have commendable works of art on them. They are painted with stories and designs.

Purohit of the temple shared with us some cool tips to take selfies with ceiling in background. Do chat up with him; he is a walking encyclopaedia on the temple. The paintings from Jain scriptures on the interior walls and ceiling of this temple are later works of art. Work on sacred sanctum walls are made with gold and Meenakari work. They resemble Usta work. Very fine and intricate designs all over the place!

Usta work in the Interiors of Bhanda Shah Temple Bikaner

Opening Hours: 5am-1pm & 5.30-11.30pm

Entry to Bhanda Shah Temple is free. A local trust maintains the Temple.

Travel Tips for Bhanda Shah Temple Bikaner

  1. The temple priest is knowledgeable. Chat up with him to get stories on temple and good angles for photography.
  2. The road leading to temple is narrow. Take local transports like autos and cycle rickshaws.
  3. Paintings here tell more stories than the sculptures.
  4. Good view of Bikaner city from roof top.
  5. Dress modestly, footwear not permitted inside the temple premises.

Bhanda Shah Temple Bikaner Rajasthan. Oil used in mortar mix for making the temple.

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45 Responses to “Bhanda Shah Temple Bikaner, Rajasthan, Made with Ghee

  • What a great temple – I’ve never heard of ghee used as a building material before!

  • That architecture is a photographer’s dream!

  • Wow, this temple has some fascinating history. I’ve certainly never heard of a temple made from ghee! The detail in the design is pretty incredible. How wonderful that it’s open for visitors to admire for free.

  • Wow. Not only does the temple has such fascinating story but its look is equally fascinating. Love the intricately designed ceiling and walls. Even the outside is beautiful to look at.

  • First off, that painting is amazing – incredibly intricate and beautiful. But, back to the ghee. Do they know for sure that ghee was used in the construction? Or is it just an assumption (given the slippery floors, etc)? If it is truly ghee, it will be the first temple I’ve ever heard made out of one of the best ingredients I know!

  • Indian architecture and decor are really ornate and I can’t help but be amazed every time I see a picture. Every piece looks like it was painstakingly done with extreme precision and pure artistry. The eye for details is really impressive. I’m a fan! Thank you so much for sharing these photos.

  • It is interesting to know that they used butter instead of water in making the temple. That is odd but still interesting. The inside of the temple is a great sight. I was amazed looking at your photos. I’m sure I’ll be enthusiatic when I see that in person.

  • Amazing temples, look at the design of the ceilings. The buildings are massive and impressive. The churches in Europe are almost boring compared to this. I would love to see this in real life! xo Sabine

  • I would love to see a temple made with ghee! I love the story about how the locals taunted him into doing it. The designs inside are so beautiful and plus it is free to go in! Your posts are making me want to see India so badly! I expect to go within the next two years.

  • Whoah. A temple made of butter? This is one of a kind. I’ve never seen anything like this. The interiors look magnificent. The fact that everyone can enter for free is simply amazing.

  • Alyssa tuangco
    12 months ago

    Wait butter?! Wow ok I’m fascinated! How did they do that? The temples look beautiful especially those designs and patterns. I’m interested with this temple.

  • From the facade to the story, everything about it is magical! Sharing a piece of your heritage is always one of the best things one can do for their culture. What you’re doing inspires me to love my own culture and to explore more about it. Learning one’s roots is definitely an adventure!

  • Wow! I just love all the details in temples like this–so gorgeous. It’s cool that there is a good view of the from the roof, as well! Such an interesting history, too-thanks for sharing!

  • I love visiting temples. It is one of those things we do not skip whenever my boyfriend and I travel. It is a good thing that the people there are not strict in taking photos. I remember a temple in Hongkong where cameras are not allowed.

  • What a beautiful temple. Its not as grandiose as the ones I usually see in Asia but its very interesting. I cant believe the temple is made of ghee!

  • Such a nice temple, I really like the paintings inside it so colourful and beautiful. I also like that you can climb on the top and admire the view

  • I am always amazed of Indian architecture, how much details they can put on everything and a lot of golden colours and the tiles, crazy… I don’t know much about architecture and I am still wondering how they could use butter as a building material.

  • How bizarre to use clarified butter as a building tool. It’s always interesting to me that these types of stories always have two or three variations! Locals can never agree… 😉

  • The artwork in the Bhanda Shah Temple is just stunning. I could spend hours looking at it all. It must have taken years to make those intricate paintings!

  • Temples are really fascinating. It gives me the feeling that is indeed a sacred place and a resting place as well. The structure is really awesome and it shows how elegant it is especially the rich culture.

  • This temple sounds amazing… and delicious. We’d love to see this unique place for sure. Thanks for the intro to it.

  • Amazing! Beautiful images and fascinating narration!

  • Another temple that is a must to visit in Rajasthan… so unique. Does it still become slippery now during hot summers?

  • How beautiful and interesting that it was built using ghee! Wish I knew about the Bhanda Shah Temple when I was in Bikaner. :\

  • Ghee instead of water in the construction of the temple. Wow! that is something! We were in Bikaner but did not visit this temple, hope we had known about it earlier. The paintings inside the temple too look exquisite. Hope to include it in our itinerary when we are in those parts next.

  • The world is indeed full of wonderful places. A temple made of ghee!! I had never heard of that. I am going to put it high on my list of places to visit in Bikaner. And as usual in Rajasthan, it seems to have such beautiful and intricate work inside. Although, I had not seen such a colorful jain temple so far.

  • India astounds me at times! What an architectural wonder! 🙂 Never heard of this at all. Love the intricate ceilings!

  • India astounds me!! There is just so much in every now and corner! I hadn’t heard of this temple at all. Love the architecture especially the ceilings!

  • Such beautiful photos. The detail in the temple is so amazing. Thanks for sharing the travel tips, as well.

  • Usage of Ghee for construction is news to me! I have been to Rajasthan, but due to some or the other reason, Bikaner is yet to happen. Bookmarking this recommendation.

  • Beautiful temple! In the past in Europe they used white egg as a mortar for construction so the ghee thing does not surprise me. What’s the meaning of “Jain” by the way? Thanks

  • Those days, they have used such ingredients in construction. My grandfather has told me about the buildings/houses constructed using raw eggs in old days. The temple’s artisanship is really amazing.

  • What a gorgeous temple! Thanks for the info!

  • With butter?! That’s incredible! I love all the colors and the architecture, and I really can’t believe it’s mixed with butter!

  • Your country has unique and rich architectures in each city. The temples look wonderful and even more interesting inside. That ceiling is everything!!!

  • The temple is beautiful indeed! First, the title of this post is very catchy that we couldn’t wait to find out more about it! Second, its truly an amazing one, all those colours and art add such opulence to the interiors. would love to visit someday.

  • Interesting to know that Ghee can be used as a building material too. All Jain Temples are rich in architecture and this too looks pretty awesome. Will Love to check this Temple out whenever traveling to Bikaner.

  • Such a beautiful temple, I’m always impressed every time I read an article about India! Another one for my bucket list, there’s so many in there now that I think I’ll need an entire lifetime to visit this country! 🙂

  • Both legends of why the builder used ghee instead of water to build this temple are interesting. I love how lively the paintings and decorations inside the temple are! So beautiful!

  • Mortar mixed with ghee?!!! Wow! The entire paintings and minakari work are just mindblowing!

  • Did you say butter? whoo, I didn’t know about this. great post indeed

  • The architecture of Bhanda Shah Temple Bikaner looks quite fascinating. Those intrinsic designs and paintings look magnificent. Can’t believe that it’s mortar is mixed with ghee!

  • What an intricate architecture! And ghee..Wow. Nice narration and pictures.

  • Absolutely interesting… not only that the temple is made of ghee but the architecture, interior designing and painting all make impressive! Beautiful capture on the temple

  • Fascinating this place seems to be. The paintings are quite beautiful, can see the glory of Usta Art. However, it is the fact that it is made of ghee that fascinated me even more. Cheers

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