Major Jain Pilgrimage Sites in India

Jain Temples in India

  • Site of Worship: Jain Temples, also known as Derasars, serve as crucial sites of worship for Jainists.

Jain Temples – Historical Perspective

  • Origin of Jainism: Scholars widely agree that Jainism originated in the Ganges region of eastern India during the 7th–5th centuries BCE, a period marked by intense religious speculation and activity.
  • Architectural Development: The earliest instances of Jain architecture are evident in the Indian rock-cut building tradition, initially shared with Buddhism and later with Hinduism towards the end of the classical period.
  • Prominent Locations: Notable places like Udayagiri, Bava Pyara, Ellora, Aihole, Badami, and Kalugumalai feature numerous rock-cut Jain temples and monasteries alongside structures of other religions.
  • Ellora Caves: Ellora Caves stand as a late site with temples representing all three religions, transitioning from older Buddhist excavations to later Hindu ones.
  • Architectural Styles: Jain temples in North India typically follow the north Indian nagara style, while those in South India adhere to the dravida style. The Solanki style from the north has influenced some southern developments in the last century or two.
  • Insightful Structures: Numerous Jain temples across India offer insights not only into Jain beliefs but also showcase diverse architectural styles.

Distinctive Characteristics of Jain Religious Structures

  1. Spiritual Tailoring: Jain temples are specifically tailored to align with Jain spiritual beliefs and ritual activities.
  2. Architectural Variety: Jain religious structures exhibit a rich diversity of architectural styles.
  3. Surrounding Structures: Many Jain temples are surrounded by additional structures integral to the overall religious complex.

Important Jain Temples in India

Jain Temples in IndiaLocationSignificance
Ranakpur Jain TempleRajasthan– Built in the 15th century.
– Famous Jain pilgrimage site.
– Architectural symbol globally.
Chaturmukha Temple dedicated to Adinath.
– Entire construction in light-colored marble with majestic turrets and cupolas.
Gomateshwara TempleKarnataka– Also known as Bahubali Temple.
– Located in Shravanabelagola.
– Bahubali statue surrounded by a colossal pillared edifice. – 43 carved representations of Tirthankaras.
– Wall adorned with carved sculptures of animals and females.
Dilwara TempleRajasthan– Magnificent Jain holy edifice.
– Flawless architecture.
– Built between the 11th and 13th centuries by Vimal Shah and Dhokla Jain Ministers.
– Divided into five sections, each devoted to one of the Tirthankaras.
– The oldest section dedicated to Lord Adinath.
Sri Digambar TempleDelhi– Thought to be built during Mughal rule.
– Jain officer’s tent worship led to the temple’s construction.
– Massive figure of Parshvanatha, the 23rd Jain Tirthankara.
Palitana TempleGujarat– First built in the 11th century.
– Took 900 years to complete.
– Destroyed by Muslim invaders between the 14th and 15th centuries.
– Dedicated to Adinath, the first Tirthankara.
Sonagiri TempleMadhya Pradesh– Prominent pilgrimage place for the Digambar Jain community.
Chandraprabha, the 8th Tirthankara, depicted in meditation.
Kulpakji TempleTelangana– Dating back to the 10th century.
– Popular Jain pilgrimage site under the Kakatiya Dynasty.
– Significant for the Svetambar community.
Dharmanath TempleKerala– Site of the salvation of 20 Tirthankaras. – Located in Parasnath Hills. – Renowned as the ‘zenith of concentration.’ – Walls adorned with impressive murals. – Ancient Sanskrit writings dating back to 1678.
Shikharji TempleJharkhand– Site of the salvation of 20 Tirthankaras.
– Located in Parasnath Hills.
– Renowned as the ‘zenith of concentration.’
– Walls adorned with impressive murals.
– Ancient Sanskrit writings dating back to 1678.
Hanumantal Bada Jain TempleMadhya Pradesh– Historic temple situated atop Hanuman Taal.
– Established in 1686, renovated in the nineteenth century. – Largest Jain temple in the country with 22 shrines dedicated to various deities.
Parshvanatha TempleMadhya Pradesh– Built in the 10th century in Khajuraho.
– Initially dedicated to Lord Adinath during the Chandela dynasty.
– Now devoted to Lord Parshvanatha.
– UNESCO World Heritage Site.
– Designated as a ‘Monument of National Importance‘ by Archaeological Survey of India.
Saavira Kambada TempleKarnataka– Also known as the ‘Chandranatha Temple.’
– Dedicated to Chandraprabha, the eighth Tirthankara.
– Seven pavilions supported by fine granite pillars in the Vijayanagara style.
Badami Cave TempleKarnataka– Epitome of ancient Indian rock-cut constructions.
– Four cave temples dating back to the 6th century.
– Centrepiece of temple building during Chalukya dynasty.
– Originally named Vatapi Badami.
Ellora Jain CavesMaharashtra– Meticulously carved around the 9th century.
– Commemorate the end of Ellora’s religious and spiritual activity.
Cave 31 houses a Mahavira idol.
– Carvings of Parshvanatha and Bahubali on the walls.
Navagraha TempleKarnataka– One of India’s holiest pilgrimage sites for Jain devotees. – Development is overseen by Sri Gunadhar Maharaj starting in 2005.
– Houses a 61-foot-tall monolithic figure of Parshvanatha.
Bawangaja TempleMadhya Pradesh– Massive complex with eight Jain temples dating from the 12th century.
– 84-foot megalithic figure of Adinath, the first Tirthankara.
– India’s highest Jain statue.
Girnar TempleGujaratSacred to both Digambara and Shwetambara Jain groups.
Mount Girnar holds spiritual importance.
Lord Neminath, the 22nd Tirthankara, attained Moksha and died at this site.
Sri Humcha TempleKarnataka– History stretching back to the 7th century.
– Recognized as Devi Padmavati’s final resting place.
– Popular Jain heritage centre with the world’s holiest goddess shrine.
– Erected by Shri Jindatt, founder of the Santhara Dynasty.

Jainism, originating in this diverse region as one of the oldest religions, has led to the establishment of numerous Jain temples across the country. However, these temples transcend their role as places of worship. Their architecture stands unparalleled globally, with magnificent pillars, intricate decorations, and carved ceilings exuding a captivating allure that reflects the grandeur of ancient times.

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