India as we know it, is a magnificent land of many religions. In spite of the many differences between each other, India has spectacularly been thriving and protecting every religion and its places of significance. Jainism is one of those religions, which was founded by Lord Mahavira in the 6th century BC. According to Jainism, Moksha or the release from the cycle of rebirth is the ultimate goal of life.
Naturally, in order to celebrate Jainism, many temples have been built all across the country. Not only are they religiously significant, but also reflect an exceptional architecture. A Jain temple is referred to as Derasar in Gujarat and Rajasthan, whereas it is called as a Basadi usually in South India.
Here are some of the most striking Jain temples, that you may or may not have visited.
Sonagiri is a sacred place located about 60 km from Gwalior. There are 103 temples in total in this region, with 77 of them located on the hills and the rest inside the village! Sonagiri literally translates to "the golden peak", and is a popular site of pilgrimage especially to the Jain community.
The 57th temple located on the hills is the main temple of Sonagiri. Here, a 11 ft idol of Lord Chandraprabhu is installed, along with the idols of Lord Parshvanath and Lord Sheetalnath.
Lal Mandir or Sri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir is located in the capital state of Delhi. Situated right across the Red Fort in the Chandni Chowk region, Lal Mandir is an ancient well-known Jain Temple, dedicated to Lord Parshvanath.
Built in 1658, Lal Mandir gets the name due to the construction of the temple from red sandstone. A Manastambha or "the column of honour" welcomes visitors since it is placed in the front. The devotional area is located in the first floor, which is adorned with beautiful idols of Lord Mahavira.
Summer timings of the temple is between 5.30 am to 11. 30 am and 6 pm to 9.30 pm. Whereas winter timings of the temple is between 6 am to 12 pm and 5.30 pm to 9 pm.
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Soniji Ki Nasiyan
Ajmer Jain Temple, popularly known as Soniji Ki Nasiyan is a beautiful Jain temple located in Rajasthan. Its grandeur can be witnessed through the architectural marvel of the temple.
Built in the 1865 AD, the main hall is called Swarna Nagari which means "city of gold" since it has numerous gold-plated wooden figures that depict characters from the Jain history. The golden city of Ayodhya is displayed along with flying peacocks and elephants with several tusks are shown.
It is open from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm everyday.
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Khajuraho Jain Temples
While Khajuraho is well-known for the erotic sculptures found in the interiors and exteriors of many temples, it is also home to a number of Jain temples. The Jain community is said to have lived on the south-east of the Khajuraho village.
Apparently, the site had 85 temples, of which only 25 of them survive. These temples now come under the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Parshvanath, Adinath, Shanthinath and Ghantai Temples are the four main Jain temples of Khajuraho. They all contain beautiful idols and inscriptions of Chandela Dynasty.
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One of the popular Jain temples of South India is the Dharmanath Temple, located in Cochin, Kerala. It is dedicated to Lord Dharmanath, who was the 15th Thirthankara. Built more than a 100 years ago, this beautiful temple has features that are similar to that of the Dilwara Temple in Mount Abu.
With coconut trees flanked around the temple and a serene setting, Dharmanath temple is a very peaceful spot that attracts many Jain devotees. Idols of many different Thirthankaras can be found within the temple, etched on marble.
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Lodurva Jain Temple
Located 16 km from Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, Lodurva used to be the capital of the Bhatti Rajput Dynasty, which was later shifted to Jaisalmer. The Lodurva Jain Temple is a magnificent structure dedicated to the 23rd Thirthankara, Lord Parshwanath.
The pristine beauty of the temple is simply unparalleled. Though ransacked by Muhammad of Ghazni and Muhammad Ghori in the 12th century, The Lodurva Temple was rebuilt and renovated, and stands tall with the remnants showing its beauty.
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Hutheesing Jain Temple
Built in 1848 AD, the Hutheesing Temple is a marvellous structure located in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. The temple is named after the founder, Sheth Hutheesing, who was a wealthy trader in that era. After his death, it was completely supervised by his wife, Shethani Harkunvar, and the total cost is estimated to be of Rs 8 lakh.
The Hutheesing Temple is dedicated to the 15th Thirthankara, Lord Dharmanath. Apart from the beautiful shrines, ornate pillars and the overall architecture, the temple is notable for the rain water harvesting facility that has been practised from its inception till date.
Shri Digamber Jain Atishaya Kshetra Temple
Shri Digamber Jain Atishaya Kshetra Temple, sometimes known as Sanghiji is a Jain temple located in Sanganer of Rajasthan, a town located about 16 km from Jaipur.
The temple is dedicated to Lord Rishabhanatha or Adinatha, who is the 1st Thirthankara. This idol of Lord Adinatha is said to be 4000 years old!
The temple is completely made of red sandstone, with the last phase of the temple getting completed in the 10th century AD. It is a beautiful seven-storeyed temple, with lofty shikharas or spires.
The temple has seven levels even in the underground, and only a celibate saint is allowed to enter and bring the idols of Yaksha that is found here.
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