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Must Visit Places for Jains

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Must Visit Places for Jains

There are a number of Jain pilgrimage sites one can visit and know more about this religion. These include Jain temple (Ranakpur in Rajasthan), Lal mandir (Delhi), Khajuraho Jain temples, Gomateshwara temple, Dilwara temples (Rajasthan), Palitana, Ayodhya, Shravanabelagola (Karnataka), Girnar Jain temples, Kulpakji Shrine (Andhra Pradesh), Shikharji (Jharkhand) and Dharmanath Jain temple (Mattancherry in Kochi city). Let us know more about these Jain Pilgrim sites.

Must Visit Temples for Jains

Jain Temple, Ranakpur in Rajasthan

This Jain temple is dedicated to first thirthankara Adinatha and is a beautiful temple. It has been constructed using marbles and has distinct domes, cupolas, shikharas and turrets. Do you know that there are around 1444 skilfully carved marble pillars in this temple? You won't be able to count the number of pillars which are all adorned with unique designs with no two pillars bearing the same design!

Well, another remarkable feature here is that heads of 108 snakes and their tails have been carved out of a single stone. This temple is chaumukha, that is, it exhibits a quadrupled image (has four faces).
The temple was probably built in the late 14 or mid-15 century.Jain temple in Ranakpur is situated in Pali district (Rajasthan). It stands aloft in a valley in Aravalli hills between Jodhpur and Udaipur. Visit this temple for witnessing its architectural excellence as well as spiritual atmosphere it offers you.

When the new 'Seven Wonders of the World' were being decided, this temple was one of the 77 nominees for the same! It finds place among the five sacred places among the Jains.

Another fact which is surprising is that the temple comprises of a 6-foot white marble statue of first thirthankara Rsabha, facing four directions. You can approach the temple from four directions. This temple complex covers 40,000 square feet and is surrounded by a high wall. The temple uses only natural light of the sun as a means of illumination. The temple is located on top of the hill and is a test in your endurance and patience to climb up and reach the main temple.

Sri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir, Delhi

Delhi Lal Mandir

Lal mandir is located opposite Red fort in Delhi. It is the oldest Jain temple in Delhi and was built during the reign of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1656. The temple has been renovated and beautified time and again. Since it has been constructed using red stone, the temple is known as 'lal' mandir. This Sri Digambar Jain mandir is dedicated to Lord Parshvanath the 23rd thirthankara.

There is an Avian veterinary hospital behind the temple in another building.It is a charitable bird hospital which started in 1956. This hospital too stands for an important tenet of Jainism that all living organisms, however small, have the right to life and freedom.

Khajuraho Jain Temples, Madhya Pradesh

Khajuraho is an important tourist destination in India. There are a number of Hindu and Jain temple here especially famous for their erotic sculpture! All these temples were gradually built in a span of 200 years from 950 to 1150 CE. A large number of Jains resided on the east side of the town during Chandella rule. This is one of the reasons why there are many Jain temple in the Eastern part of Khajuraho (Sevagram).

The Khajuraho temple complex is built of sandstone and is famous for its grand architecture. It is called the Nagara style of architectural symbolism due to depiction of eroticism. The temples are examples of Medieval Indian architecture.

Two of the most popular Jain temples here are those of Lord Adinath and Lord Parshvanath. The temples are spread across 20 square kms. and are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Out of the 75 temples that existed earlier, only 20 temples exist now.

The entire temple complex is divided into Eastern, Western and Southern zones. Popular temples are in the Western zone which also comprises of the largest temple in Khajuraho Kandariya Mahadeva temple.
You must surely become a part of the Annual Khajuraho Dance Festival held in first week of February every year. Classical dances are performed by renowned artists against the backdrop of Chitragupta or Vishwanath temple.

Jain Temples in Sonagiri

Jain Temples in Sonagiri

Sonagiri literally means 'golden peak'. It is a small town located on a hill and comprises of many spotless white Digambar Jain temples which spread all around Sonagiri. You have to climb 300 steps barefoot and the view of so many white temples or chhatris from the top looks marvellous!

Sonagiri is situated near Datia district in Madhya Pradesh and is a sacred place for Jains. There may be around 84 Jain temples which have been built on a hill in Sonagiri.

This is a place where the monolithic statue of Gomateshwara (Lord Bahubali or Gommata) stands aloft on the Vindyagiri hill in the city of Shravanabelagola (Hassan district) in Karnataka. Gomateshwara was the second son of Lord Adinatha the first thirthankara. This statue is 17.38 metres (58.8 feet) high and is the largest free-standing monolithic statue in the world. It has been carved out of a single black granite rock! It stands without any external support. At the base of the statue, there are inscriptions written in Marathi, Kannada and Tamil languages. A minister of the Ganga Kingdom, Chavundaraya, built it around 983 AD.

Every 12 years, Mahamastakabhisheka festival is held here when the statue is bathed and smeared with milk, gold coins, curd, saffron paste, sugarcane, turmeric, vermilion, precious stones and ghee. This place is one of the most sacred places for Jain devotees. This is one of the largest temples in the state.

It is said that Bahubali stood so deep in meditation that climbers grew over him. The nude statue and his limbs entwined by creepers depict renunciation of worldly pleasures. Every day, only his feet are worshipped. However, during Mahamastakabhisheka festival, a structure is erected so as to reach his forehead from where he can be bathed in milk and smeared with turmeric and ghee. In 1981, the thousandth anniversary of the consecration of the statue was celebrated!

Dilwara Temples, Rajasthan

Dilwara temples are located near Mount Abu a hill station in Rajasthan. These temples have been built using marble and look marvelously beautiful with intricate carvings on the ceilings, pillars, panels as well as doorways. Actually, there are five temples here which are named after the village where they are situated. These temples were built by rulers of Chalukya dynasty sometime between 11th to 13th centuries.

Nasiyan Digambar Jain Temple in Ajmer (Rajasthan) is yet another Jain temple located on Prithviraj road. It is popular as 'Red temple'.
  • Distance from Mount Abu: 3 kms.
These temples are located amidst dense and green forests and tourists love to visit these temples to explore their architectural beauty and peaceful surroundings. The carvings in these temples look translucent because it is believed that the masons did not chisel the marbles; instead, they scraped away the marble to bring out sculptures. These mansions were paid as per weight of marble dust removed by them!

Jain Temples in Palitana, Gujarat

Jain Temples in Palitana

These temples in Palitana (in Bhavnagar district, Gujarat) occupy a sacred place among all the pilgrimage centres of the Jains. There are a hundred temples on Mount Shatrunjaya which have been built using marble. These temples have been built over a period of 900 years beginning from the 11th century onwards! Your resilience will be tested here as you will have to climb 3,572 steps before you reach these temples! These temples are dedicated to Svetambara Jains and thousands of devotees throng to these temples every year. The main temple is at the top of the hill.

Jain Temples in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh

Ayodhya is believed to be the birth place of five thirthankaras out of the twenty four thirthankaras. Well, you can visit many Jain temples while you are in Ayodhya. Ratnapuri on the National Highway is the birth place of Lord Dharamnath and also the site of his sacred grove. Swargdwar is dedicated to the first thirthankara Lord Vrishabhnath.

There is another Jain temple dedicated to thirthankara Lord Ajitnath at Baksaria Tola (also known as Begampura). Next, you can visit Ramkot Muhalla Rajghat which is believed to be the birth place of Lord Abhinandan Nath and also of Lord Anantnath. Here, you will find temples which are dedicated to both these thirthankaras. In Rajganj, you will find a Digambar temple with a 21 feet tall idol of Lord Vrishabhdev.

Some Other Pilgrimage Destinations for Jains

Girnar Jain Temples

Girnar Jain Temples

The Girnar mountain range comprises of a number of beautifully built Jain temples. One of the popular temples here is the one built for Lord Neminath.

Kulpakji Shrine, Andhra Pradesh

Kulpakji temple is situated in Kolanupaka village (Nalgonda district). There are idols of Lord Rishabha or Manikyaswami (carved out of green stone), Lord Neminath (carved out of Jade and 130 cms. tall) and Lord Mahavir in the inner sanctum of this temple. Many Jain inscriptions have been found in this part of Andhra Pradesh. A Manasthamba belonging to 1125 AD was also found here due to which this became an important pilgrimage centre for the Jains. Kulpakji Shrine is particularly visited by Svetambara Jains of South India too.

Shikharji, Jharkhand

Shikhar in Hindi language literally means peak. This Jain pilgrimage centre in Jharkhand state is, no doubt, rightly known as the 'peak of concentration' or Shikharji because twenty out of the twenty four thirthankaras attained nirvana here! This place holds great spiritual importance for the Jains.

Dharmanath Jain Temple, Kerala

Dharmanath Jain temple is situated in Mattancherry in Kochi (Cochin). It is about hundred years old and is an important Jain pilgrimage centre of Kerala. A number of Jain temples are also located in Wayanad in Kerala.

Not only Jain devotees but anyone can visit these Jain temples and imbibe spiritual lessons and lessons in leading a peaceful, non-violent and charitable life full of happiness.
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