Temple Trail to Kiradu Temple Complex with Suryagarh Resort

Kiradu Temples, when I first heard the name I felt the place must be having an aura around it just as its name. Kiradu doesn’t figure in the list of popular tourist destinations of Rajasthan yet. Fear, mystery, myths and numerous stories haunt these temples and nobody dares to set foot within the complex after sunset. Kiradu Temple complex was opened to public few months ago. Each day after sunset this complex of Kiradu Temples wears a deserted look. But not on the days when Suryagarh Resort takes their guests there. Many may believe these stories but not us! We from Suryagarh Resort reached the temple complex at twilight hours of 17 th September 2016.

Kiradu Temple Complex

Main Temple of Kiradu Temple Complex on a Full Moon Night

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Suryagarh Resort has a series of experiential holiday programs to offer its guests; Kiradu Temple Trail is one of them.

History of Kiradu Temples of Barmer

Kiradu ( Kiradkot) history goes back to 6th century when it was ruled by Kirad clan of Rajputs. They were a set of prosperous devotees of Lord Shiva.  The temples that we get to see today were built by King Someshwar of the Parmar dynasty. He ruled Kiradu in the 12th century. It is believed that the place had 108 temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. During his reign Turushkas, (people of Turkistan) invaded his kingdom causing huge damage to the temples. Of those 108 temples only 5 remain standing today.

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Arches - Kiradu Temple
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…just 5 temples remain

Though there is no specific mention anywhere of the other 103 temples, the ruins and scattered temple elements are a proof to the existence of many other temples in addition to these 5. None of these 5 temples have their idols. No worship takes place and the whole area looks deserted and devastated even after so many centuries. An inscription at Kiradu mentions Bhima as the reigning monarch and records the repairs to a temple broken by the Turushkas. It is dated 1178 CE. Bhim Dev was the king of Nahrwala, also called Bhima-II, the brother and successor of Mularaja-II.

Legends surrounding Kiradu Temples

After the devastating attack by Turks King Someshwar invited a great sage to restore safety and prosperity of the Kingdom. The sage, probably after completing his role left the kingdom leaving behind his disciple for the kingdom’s prosperity. With passage of time locals of Kiradu forgot the sage’s disciple. A time came when the disciple was sick. While everybody else ignored the disciple only a potter’s wife looked after him and nursed him back to health. This enraged the sage and he cursed the village to turn into stone but not before asking the potter’s wife to leave the village. Since then the village is under the sage’s wrath and nobody dares to venture in after sunset. Slowly the village got deserted and began to acquire a haunted look.

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Kiradu Temple Trail by Suryagarh Resort

But then legends are legends; nothing to be alarmed about! Suryagarh Resort hosted us within these very boundaries of Kiradu village. As I set foot within the Kiradu Temple complex the first sight that my eyes feasted on was the scene of 30 pujaris in spotless white dress, seated in two rows facing each other right in front of Vishnu temple. At the door step of the temple, idols were centrally placed between the rows and a sacred fire lit in the homakund. Ferocious looking guards with mustaches stood on either side of the entrance of the temple. Hawan was on, the whole atmosphere there was reverberating with collective chants of holy mantras. And this was supposed to be a neglected temple complex? Hard to believe that! The welcoming scene was many times beyond my expectations! Such chants would have for sure invoked all positive energy and rid the place of haunting spirits if any!

Kiradu Temple Barmer

Kiradu Temple

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Architecture of Temples in Kiradu

Incidentally these set of temples at Kiradu are known as Khajuraho of Rajasthan. The temples have Solanki style of architecture. All the temples are built of sandstone. Though the architectural style is different I found some of the features so similar to Hoysala temples of Karnataka. All columns, cornices, base panels here are carved in detail. The themes of carvings were stories from mythological stories, epics and Gods and Goddesses. Several animal forms were sculpted on the panels. These reminded me of the terracotta temples of Bishnupur, West Bengal too. There are some human figures sculpted in erotic poses. Probably that is why the cluster of temples here is compared to Khajuraho temples of Madhya Pradesh.

Round platforms surrounded by pillars seemed like some dance halls. Sabhamandaps has 8 columns and they are joined to one another at the top forming an octagon shape. Interiors of the temples were infested with bats and had unbearable stench. Most mesmerizing were the arches between the columns! How intricately carved, I stood rooted at the spot and admired!

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Satvik Food at Kiradu Temple Complex

Kiradu Temple complex was our dining destination that night! How unique! Team Suryagarh Resort made good seating arrangements in traditional styles. We could sit cross-legged on the chowki style seats with little tables right in front. The thalis were elaborately stuffed with satvik menu. Couple of them like aloo mungodi ki subzi and mirch ka kutta I had never tasted before. They are so typical dishes of Rajasthan. Then there was continuous supply of pooris, pineapple rice pulao, and the mandatory dal-bati-choorma. Finally there were the desserts. Satvik food at the end of ceremony added a lot of value to the event. Chef from Suryagarh Resort prepared the dishes at the site and the food served was hot. Indeed lot of planning and coordination has gone into executing such an experience for us. I consider it as a blessing to be able to witness and experience this.

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Satvik Food

Fact File of Kiradu Temples

How to reach:

Kiradu Temple Complex is 40kms west of Barmer, 157kms south of Jaisalmer. You can take taxi to the temple complex from both these cities. 80kms westward from here is Pakistan border.

Open Timings

Open from 9AM to 6PM. With ASI permission you can stay back to do some twilight hours photography.

Tickets

Tickets cost a nominal 50Rs for Indian adults and 200Rs for foreigners. Students need to pay just Rs.5.

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63 Responses

  1. Great to read, wonderful pics.

  2. Sims says:

    Beautifully explained Indrani and lost this tone of pictures from you.

  3. Centuries old temple still stands tall not ravished by time.

  4. Eileen says:

    Hello, gorgeous images! I love the temple at night, the first shot is my favorite. Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

  5. The temple seems to be strange mix of various forms of architecture of that era.

  6. What a lovely post, Indrani. Very informative too!

  7. Mridula says:

    It is so much fun to see it through your lens again!

  8. What a detailed article with such breathtaking architectural captures. Loved it! 🙂

  9. Maniparna Sengupta Majumder says:

    Thanks for sharing the history. I loved the first picture…it’s like as if the opening scene of some historical movie…

  10. Paula says:

    Such beautiful temples and lot of history there. I would love to visit this place someday.

  11. Yogi Saraswat says:

    Fear, mystery, myths and numerous stories haunt these temples and nobody dares to set foot within the complex after sunset. Each day after sunset this complex of Kiradu Temples wears a deserted look. But not on the days when Suryagarh Resort takes their guests there. A Hindi TV News channel shows it before a month ago and they did experiment in Night , There one of the crew member felt some negative energy so , half is the truth and half is story only.

  12. Linja says:

    Wow, what a remarkable place!

  13. Aah ! Being a Rajasthani, I am overwhelmed by reading this post and seeing the pictures. I have yet to visit this place. Now I take a vow to visit at the first opportunity coming way. Hearty thanks for sharing.

    Jitendra Mathur

  14. Deepa says:

    Beautiful Photos. Now this place is in my travel wishlist 🙂

  15. Jeevan says:

    Great initiative by the resort to arrange for twilight visit to this incredible site, despite the haunt stories! Architecture of these temples is unique and impressive.

    Loved the night shots!

  16. Wow! Gorgeous photographs. I haven’t even heard about this place, despite being from Rajasthan itself. Fabulous storytelling style.

    Wonderful work, Indrani ji.

    • Indrani Ghose says:

      Thank you Shubham for the appreciation. 🙂
      The temple complex has been recently opened to public, may be that is why many are not aware.

  17. sandeepa says:

    It’s amazing how these beautiful places cost such little money to go see! Beautiful pictures, what details in the carvings!

  18. Jyoti says:

    Beautiful temples. Must have been amazing experience.definately would love to visit. Thanks indrani

    • Indrani Ghose says:

      Yes an amazing experience. Do visit and let me know of your experience. Thank you Jyoti for the comment. 🙂

  19. Swati says:

    Rajasthan is guess is sprinkled with fascinating stories… Such a great way to restore the temple and add to their offbeat trails offering guest an unique experience.

    The architecture of the temple is unique and such an amazing write up.

    • Sachin says:

      I would like to correct you here. the architecture which are found here are also found across Karnataka, Andra and Maharashtra. this kind of architecture is called as Carnatic or Chalukyan Architecture.

      This is similiar because the Solanki Dynasty of Rajasthan had a link with The Great Rashtrakuta Empire of Karnata. And it is believed that they were a Kannada Origin.

  20. The night pictures give a mystical atmosphere to the place. The whole experience must have been so amazing. Gorgeous ancient temple ruins set midst the desert and havan and delicious food, just makes it a perfect train to follow. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  21. Looks like we visited temple complex a few days apart. We went there on Sept 4. With the pooja in twilight, it must have been a nicer experience!

    We too felt some resemblance to Karnataka temples (Badami and Pattadakkal). 🙂

  22. ladyfi says:

    Wow – how very beautiful!

  23. Christina says:

    This place looks amazing. The detailing is everywhere. It is almost overwhelming looking at the pictures trying to take it all in. I enjoyed both the night and daytime pictures. I can’t wait to see the Kiradu Temple Complex in person.

  24. Chris says:

    What an amazing looking place!

    I am sending a client to Rajasthan next week, so it’s always great to get fresh ideas 🙂

  25. Wow. This looks amzing. I love looking at temple architectures all the time. they are so intricate and complete with stones and marbles or rocks at different places. I had not heard of this temple before so I got to see a new temple through your post. Thanks.

  26. Vyjay says:

    This is indeed a mesmerizing place. It does have an aura of mystery and intrigue. The architecture is amazing and true to the exquisite style prevalent across Rajasthan. I have not been here but would definitely get there sooner rather than later.

  27. Wow, this is beautiful! And this made me feel like I want to see it by night! 😀

  28. Sachin says:

    Superb and very informative. Thank you. 🙂

  29. Becky says:

    Gorgeous! I know almost nothing about India so this was a great introduction to the history and culture.

  30. Karla says:

    Some of them look like the temples in Cambodia but I love the stories you put into it. It made me appreciate the temple and everything else.

  31. Amazing, cool to see that you were able to dine there. Sad that only 5 of the 108 temples exist – imagine how remarkable that would have been to view back then?

  32. Amy says:

    It is a shame that so few of the structured survived, they architecture and carvings are so beautiful! While a realize legends are legends, the story still lends a very haunting quality to it that will test even the most disbelieving traveler. You evening photos seem to capture such a special moment. Great post.

  33. Love the photos. The temple trail looks great to check out. Love the evening shots 🙂

  34. Gabi says:

    I really enjoyed this post! The legend behind the temples it’s thrilling. The nocturnal pictures are fantastic, yet there is so much detail in the morning pictures that it’s hard to choose! This must have been a great experience.

  35. Joanna says:

    You had such an amazing experience dining right inside the ruins. I wish I could have visited the Kiradu temple complex while I was in India, as it looks so different from all the other places I have seen. The legend behind it is interesting also, but as you say, legends are legends and you won’t transform into stone if you go in by night.

  36. The historically rich land of Rajasthan is many surprises and mysteries. Kiradu sounds very intriguing, hope to make a visit to the temple for our next Rajasthan trip.

  37. verushka says:

    WOW 108 temples and so few remain the ones that remain are so beautiful. Love learning about myths and legends behind temples.
    Would love to experience a feast like you guys did. Have never eaten Sathvic food before ? What is it ?

  38. Lea says:

    I’ve always wanted to go the Angkor Wat as it was the only temple I knew. You make me wish to visit these temples! I’ve always thought temples must be so magical places to see…

  39. If there’s one thing I can’t get enough of, it’s temples. Each one has a story to tell, and you tell yours so well!

  40. Anju says:

    The temple looks so majestic against the full moon. Im always blown away by the expert architecture and sculpting in Indian history. The legends only make it more fascinating. thanks for sharing 🙂

  41. Carmy says:

    The temple looks gorgeous! It seems like quite the experience – I like that there is food offered as it means I won’t have to go search for food on my own after!

  42. Blair Villanueva says:

    I admire every inch of details of these temples. I am wonder what they are thinking while planning and building these beauty. Do they think that someday we will truly appreciate their remains… if yes then they succeed!

  43. Komang Ayu says:

    There I see no lights, lighting equipment that is very simple. Even houses far from the temple. Maybe it was that led to a deserted place at sunset. Temple building looks very old, but it is unique and still strong.

  44. I love to explore places that go so far back in history! The Kiradu temples are beautiful and the element of fear just adds to the experience, I imagine. Still, i wouldn’t be keen on going after dark 😀

  45. suanlee says:

    It is so incredible that only five of the 103 temples are still standing. That is a testament to amazing architecture and solid handwork. Very much loved the detail in the photographs of the buildings and their stone. I really enjoyed reading about your experience being dined at the temple too!

  46. I love the pictures during night time, they give an even more remarkable look to the temples. Haunted or not, I definitely would love to visit the place. It surely has a special and unique atmosphere because they are temples.

  47. Alberto C. says:

    I know very little about Indian religion and mythology in general, but the stories behind this template are just fascinating! Such an incredible construction, another addition to my bucket list! 🙂

  48. How neat! I hadn’t heard of the Kiradu temples and I went to Rajesthan. They remind me a little of the Jain temples in Jaisalmer. The architecture looks so intricate and ornate that every individual structure can easily be identified even with the little differences in carvings.

  49. Ana says:

    Kiradu Temples look splendid and its architecture is quite fascinating! Indeed it gives the vibe of Khajuraho temples of Madhya Pradesh! Also, the ‘satvik thali’ looks delicious!

  50. Shane Prather says:

    The photos of the temples in the dark do look a bit eery! Such a unique style of architecture – I would love to see Kiradu up close and personal one day.

  51. EG III says:

    Brilliant find of a place not inundated by tourists just yet. The photo of the 30 punjaris is absolutely fantastic.

  52. Ami says:

    I have been in love with these since I saw ur pics…. They are lovely and the story behind it makes it even more fascinating….. Someday…. Someday…..
    P. S- love that night shot or the temple

  53. Our kings relished a lavish lifestyle and our history has plethora of myths, stories, adventures and spirituality. No doubt 108 temples were built by that time as number 108 share great importance in Hinduism. But didn’t you feel something creepy at your time of visit to the temple.

  54. Tamshuk says:

    These temples and the sculptures on them are really beautiful. It is quite interesting to read the stories and legends behind these old temples all over Rajasthan. Nicely narrated experience. Definitely will check out this place someday

  55. I can see why there is a lot of legends, myth and mystery around this place having seen the picture of it in moonlight. What an awesome place to visit! Your pictures show it off beautifully too. Very useful to include a fact file. Thanks.

  56. Francesca says:

    I’d never heard of these temples before. Their age is quite impressive, though only 5 remain. The story of the legend is rather fascinating, as well.

  57. Mags says:

    What a magical place. I love how the temple blends in with the natural surroundings

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