Digambara Jaina nuns returning from their morning walk to the Ramtek Shantinatha Temple, their temporary abode (see pages 14, 15). The temple, situated at the western foot of a mountain range sacred to the Hindu god Rama, was built in the eleventh/twelfth century.
(The fort and the Rama temples on top of the hill are of a much later date.) In the course of time more Jaina shrines were added to the Shantinatha temple-complex. Outside the wall there is a dharmashala that accepts foreign visitors who are prepared to follow the standard rules. During festive days, meals are available.
Shantinatha Temple, Ramtek. Pilgrims have come to have dharshan (to pay homage and receive blessings) at the feet of Acharya Vidhyasagar. A ritual much appreciated in Jainism, but the chances of performing it in the presence of a leading acharya are rare. A few days after this photo was taken, Acharya Vidhyasagar and his group of monks and nuns left Ramtek for another place of sojourn.
Tower of the Ramtek Shanti- natha Temple, a grand example of north Indian temple architecture before the rise of the Indo-Islamic style. Few temples built in this mode have survived.
Close-up of a figurative section of the frieze below the tower proper.