Religious Tourism – Jain Temples Of India

The largest Jain temple of India is Adinath Jain Temple located in Ranakpur, near Udaipur, Rajasthan. Built in the 15th century, it is also one of the most beautiful Jain temples. The most remarkable aspect of this temple is the wonderful play of shadow and light on nearly 1,500 pillars. The beauty of the pillars is that each pillar is different from the other in design. The color of the pillars change from gold to pale blue as the sun shifts through the day.

Shri Shatrunjay Tirth is located in Palitana, approximately 280 kilometers from Ahmedabad in Gujarat. This tirth (pilgrimage) is known as the eternal tirth. It has a nearly 216 centimeters high, white-colored and brightly shining idol of Bhagwan Adishvar with a serene and peaceful face and is in the Padmasana (a yoga posture). The Temple has been renovated 16 times. The Temple is a climb of 3950 steps up the Shetrunjaya Hill. Beware, it is no mean feat. Climbing a 3.5 kilometer shadeless stretch in the heat needs some strength; you can neither eat food nor carry it on the way. The descent must begin before evening. There are hundreds of temples on the hill. Some of the temples were built around the 11th century. It must have taken some effort by the non-violent Jain community to perform the mammoth task of clearing the crest of the hill and levelling and fortifying most of the temples, and it took a long time. Till today it is a puzzle as to how the large marble stones were carried to the top when there were no modern machines available. The summit is one of the most revered. Such is the sanctity that climbing the top of the mountain at least once in his lifetime is every Jain’s dream.

Dilwara temple is located in Mount Abut, Rajasthan. The world famous marble temples are a group of 5 temples. They have an unbelievable design and accuracy of workmanship. Vimal Vasahi (Shri Adinathji temple), Luna Vasahi (Shri Neminathji temple), Pithalhar (Shri Rishabh Deoji temple), Khartar Vasahi (Shri Parshavnathji temple) and Mahavir Swami (Shri Mahavir Swamiji temple). The shrines were constructed in various centuries. Shri Adinathji and Shri Neminathji temple are built wholly from white marble. Life stories of various Jain Thirthankaras and scenes from Jain and Hindu mythology are depicted in the design of the temples and no design is repeated – a proof of the brilliance of the architects.

Pawapuri Tirth is situated 90 kilometers from Patna in Bihar. It is believed that it is the ultimate and all sin ends here for a devout Jain. Lord Mahavir, the last of the Tirthankars and founder of Jainism, breathed his last at this place and was cremated here around 500 B.C.

Jain temples in Jamnagar are located in the state of Gujarat. Vardhaman Shah’s temple, Raisi Shah’s Temple, Sheth’s Temple and Vasupujya Swami’s Temple are the various Jain temples in Jamnagar. Besides these, there are sixteen other temples.

Shri Mahudi Tirth is located in Mehsana district of Gujarat. It has a 53 centimeters high, white-colored idol of Bhagwan Padmaprabh in the Padmasana (a yoga posture). It is believed that this place is 2000 years old. An ancient idol of Ghantakarna Mahavir was installed in the temple here by the Acharyadev Buddhisagarsurisvarji. The idol of Ghantakarna Mahvir is very miraculous. In his previous birth, Ghantakarna Mahavirdev was a Kshatriya king named Tungabhadra. He protected religious people, caste and virtuous women and unmarried girls from robbers. He used a bow and arrows. His idol, therefore, has a bow and an arrow.

Shri Samet Shikhar Tirth is located in Giridih district of Bihar. It has a 92 centimeters high, black-colored idol of Bhagwan Parshvanath (Bhagwan Shamaliya Parshvanath) in the Padmasana posture. It is at 4450 feet above see level. It was known also as Samet Shail, Sametachal and many others. Many Thirthankaras attained salvation here. Since this is a land of penance and salvation of many Thirthankaras, each and every particle of this land is holy. Even the mere touch purifies the human birth and a pilgrimage removes all paap (sin) and grants punya (religious merit).

Rikhabdev Jain Temple is situated 40 kilometers from Udaipur in Rajasthan. It is dedicated to Lord Rikhabdev (aka Kesariyaji), the first Jain Tirthankara. It belongs to the Svetambara sect of the Jainism. A large procession of the Lord proceeds to the temple of Pagliyaji (2 kilometers away) in the month of March/April on the birthday of Lord Rikhabdev. It is also called Kalaji (black) by the tribal people due to the black color of the idol. It is believed that Ravana had carried this idol to Ceylon (presently Sri Lanka) but Lord Rama brought it back after his conquest. Such is the influence of the idol that pilgrims, whose wishes have been granted, smear the idol with kesar (saffron) often equal to the weight of the child born.

Shri Mahavirji Jain Temple is 110 kilometers from Sawai Madhopur in Rajasthan. It is one of the holiest Jain temples in Rajasthan, situated on the banks of the river Gambhir, built in honor of Lord Mahavir – the 24th Jain saint. This temple is a combination of ancient and modern Jain architecture unlike other ancient Jain temples, which are highly ornamented and richly carved. It is constructed with white sandstone and the spires are visible from all around. Like most Jain temples, this one too is a complex of smaller temples. The biggest draw is the huge statue of Shantinath, which stands 32 feet high. The well-illuminated temple is a splendid sight to view at night. Nakoda Jain Temple is 135 km from Barmer in Rajasthan. The town of Nakoda was built in the 12th or the 13th century on the slope of a hill called Nagar Ki Bhakarian. The biggest and most impressive of the Jain Temples in the town is the Parshvanath Temple. The town of Nakoda has the only other temple of Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe according to the Hindu mythology, besides the one at Pushkar, also in Rajasthan.

Deogarh Jain Temple is 123 km from Jhansi in Deogarh, Madhya Pradesh. Dashavatar Temple is a fine Lord Vishnu temple at Deogarh. It has a terraced basement above the high temple plinth and is adorned with a continuous row of sculptured panels.

Shri Rishbhanchal Tirth is at Vardhmanpuram in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. It has a 4.5 foot high, white-colored idol of Bhagwan Rishbhnathji in Padmasana posture. It is a large temple and is popular as a center of meditation, yoga and worship. The foundation stone of this temple was laid down by The President of India in 1991. The name of Rishbhanchal is related to Lord Rishabhdevji, the first Tirthankar of Jainism.

Shitalnath Jain Temple is in Calcutta, West Bengal. It was built in 1867. It is dedicated to Sri Shitalnath, whose name literally means the “lord and protector of aquatics”.

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