The essence of the Ekling Ji and Saas Bahu Temple
The Ekling Ji temple is one of the most renowned in all of Rajasthan and is situated a mere 22 kilometres (14 miles) north of the city of Udaipur. Built over a millennium ago, the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, a deity of the Hindu religion, embraced by the Mewar rulers. The temple is elevated and boasts a unique pyramid-like roof, with etched tower architecture that stretches over two storeys, with deep lined steps that descend into the jade-hued water below. The fragrant perfume of incense sticks wafts throughout the hallways, dancing around the many effigies, such as the 15 metres (50 foot), quadratic faced, black marbled idol of Shiva and the shivlinga, an abstract image of Shiva wreathed by a silvery snake. The four corners of the temple represent different deities, encompassing the sun god, the creator god, the protector god and Shiva, the destroyer god.
Close to the Ekling Ji temple lies the Saas Bahu temple, erected in 1092 by a ruler of the Kachchhwaha Dynasty in honour of the Hindu deity Lord Vishnu. Standing 32 metres (105 feet) tall, the name of the temple translates as ‘the man with a thousand hands’. The structure boasts uninterrupted views of the striking city of Gwalior. The impressive architecture and sophisticated carvings employed are celebrated throughout Rajasthan. Records indicate that the temple was split into two distinct structures, one for the wife of the king, a devotee to Lord Vishnu, and the other for the wife of the prince, a devotee of Lord Shiva. The entrance of the temple showcaeses elaborate imprints of various Hindu deities that look down at visitors from the imposing ingress.