Jainism is a religion that prescribes pacifism and a path of non-violence towards all living beings. The purpose of life according to Jainism is to undo the negative effects of karma through mental and physical purification. This process is believed to lead to liberation accompanied by inner peace.
There are many Jain temples in India where travellers can head to and admire the majestic architecture. It gives you an insight into the religion and also boasts of scenic views. Here is a guide to some of the famous Jain temples in India.
Ranakpur Jain Temple
Ranakpur Jain Temple is counted among the five important pilgrimage sites of the Jains and is located on the western side of the Aravalli Range. The temple is dedicated to Lord Adinathji and is made up of light coloured marble. According to legends, a Jain businessman named Seth Dharna Sah and Mewar Ruler Rana Khumba constructed this temple. The main temple complex of Chamukha comprises other Jain Temples as well. The architectural excellence of the artisans of that era is depicted in its 80 domes, 29 halls and 1,444 pillars. The highlighting feature of the pillars is that each of them are unique. The carvings on the pillars differentiates one from the other. The temples of Parasvanath and Neminath face the main temple. Visitors can see the beautiful carvings on these temples which would remind them of the sculptures of Khajuraho.
Photo Courtesy: Nagarjun Kandukuru
The Palitana Temples are considered as the most sacred pilgrimage place of the Jains and are a group of more than 3000 temples located on the top of Shatrunjaya hills, exquisitely carved in marble. The main temple at the top of the hill is dedicated to the 1st tirthankar Lord Adinath (Rishibdeva). The other temples on the hill top are built by different generations of Jains over a period of 900 years. Some of the other major temples are that of Kumarpal, Vimalshah and Sampriti Raja. Every Jain aspires to climb the hill up to the temples at least once in his/her lifetime due to its sanctity. The Jains also believe that many have attained salvation from this hill.
Photo Courtesy: Bernard Gagnon
Dilwara Jain Temples
The Dilwara Jain Temples are a group of five temples elaborately carved out of marble and is a must see attraction. The five temples, the Vimal Vasahi, the Luna Vasahi, the Peethalhar, the Khartar Vasahi and Shri Mahaveer Wami Temple, are all different from one another. Jain devotees come here from far and wide to pay homage.
Photo Courtesy: Surohit
Another wonder in India is the 60 ft tall Gomateshwara Statue at Shravanabelgola. The statue is carved out of a single block of granite and can be seen from 30 km away. It is a Jain religious spot and devotees come here to seek the blessing of the god.
Photo Courtesy: Ananth H V
Adinath Jain Temple
Adinath temple is an important temple belonging to the Jain temples in Khajuraho. It is situated to the north of the Parsvanath temple. The temple was built by the rulers of the Chandeldynasty in the 11th century and was dedicated to the Jain saint Adinath. The construction of the temple is based on the structure of sapta-ratha. The temple is decorated by a single towered shikara, which increases the beauty of the shrine. The walls of the temple have beautiful carvings depicting images and postures of court musicians. The walls also depict a close view of the dance style of Nilanjana, a famed dancer in the court of Adinath. Several figures of various categories of women like Nayikas, Kaminis and Bhaminis are carved on the walls. Such exquisite carvings on the walls attract tourists even today to the splendid craftsmanship of the workers of that era.
Photo Courtesy: Antoine Taveneaux
Sonagiri Jain Temples
Sonagiriabout 60km fromGwalior, has scores ofJain templesof 9th & 10th century on little hills. This sacred place is popular among devotees & ascetic saints to practice for self-discipline, austerity and to attainsalvationsince the time of Chandraprabhu,the 8thTeerthankar. Devotees come here from far and wide to offer worship in the temple and seek the lords blessings.
Photo Courtesy: nkjain
Digambar Jain Temple
The Digambar Jain Temple in Delhi is located close to the Red Fort and is the oldest Jain temple if the region. Built out of beautiful red sandstone, this famous Jain shrine is also known as Red Temple and Lal Mandir. The main presiding deity of the temple is Lord Mahavira who was the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism. Present in the temple are the idols of Lord Adinath and that of Lord Parshwanath. An extremely peaceful holy place, it attracts many devotees towards it and its main devotional area is present on the first floor. For those interested in learning more about Jainism, there is a book stall that sells books related to Jainism literature. Also, sold in the temple complex are souvenirs associated with Jainism. The temple boasts of beautiful architecture with ornate carvings and beautiful paintings.
Photo Courtesy: carol mitchell