Vimal Shah, the minister of Raja Bhimdeo (a local Rajput ruler), built the Vimal Vashi temple in AD 1021. The temple is 98 feet long and 42 feet wide and is surrounded by a high wall with 52 cells, or devkulikas, each of which is surrounded by an arcade of carved pillars.
In the main shrine is a majestic image of Adinath cast in gold-brass alloy. The temple consists of an open portico and a vestibule formed by a single grouping of pillars. The octagonal dome of the shrine is formed by eleven concentric rings containing patterns of endless variety and is upheld by eight carved columns.
The richly carved corridors, pillars, arches, and mandaps or porticoes are bewildering. On the ceiling are engraved rich and elaborate designs of lotus-buds, petals, flowers, geometrical designs and scenes illustrating incidents from the Jain and Hindu mythologies.
The Navchowki is a collection of nine rectangular ceilings, each one containing beautiful carvings of different designs supported on ornate pillars. The Gudh mandap is a simple hall once you step inside its heavily decorated doorway. Installed here is the idol of Adi Nath or Lord Rishabdev, as he is also known. The mandap is meant for 'Arti' to the deity. The Hastishala (Elephant Cell) was constructed by Prithvipal, a descendant of Vimal Shah in 1147-49 A.D and features a row of elephants in sculpture.
The entrance to the temple is from the east through a domed porch which leads to a six-pillared pavilion with a three-tiered smosan (a conventional representation of the holy mountain of the Jains) in the center. The smosan is surrounded by 10 statues including that of the founder Vimala and his family, each seated on a beautiful elephant chiseled out of a single block of white marble, about four feet high. These representations are now badly defaced, having been destroyed by plundering zealots.
The Shrine of Jina Adinatha
From the pavilion one passes into a secluded courtyard. Here the temple resolves itself into a colonnade which forms an open arcade containing the shrine. Seated in the center of this shrine is the cross-legged seated figure Jina Adinatha, to whom the temple is dedicated. The entire interior architecture is leniently covered with elaborate carvings, but the splendour
of the domed ceiling of this hall is what sets it apart from all others.
Percy Brown, in his book Indian Architecture: Buddhist and Hindu Period,
details the profusion of imagery that went into this ornate ceiling:
"This dome is built up of 11 concentric rings, five of which, interposed
at regular intervals, depict patterns of figures and animals
The lowest contain the forefronts of elephants, their trunks intertwined, as many as a 150 of these in close ranks. A few mouldings above is another border representing images in nichés, also repeated many times, and again over that a similar course of dancing figures.
This is followed higher up in the concavity by a series of horsemen, finishing in the topmost storey with more figures engaged in an endless dance. Between these various figured courses are ornamental repeats, gradually becoming more pronounced until towards the apex they culminate in a grouping of pendants not like festoons of foliage suspended from the high trees of a forest.
Superimposed upon all this, athwart the outer concentric rings, are 16 brackets that easily catch the eye. Each of these is a female figure, representing a Vidyadevi, or goddess of knowledge.