Famous Jain Temples Of India
A place of worship for Jains (the followers of Jainism), Jain temples abound in plenty in different parts of India and are known by various names in different regions. Basadi, Derasar, Vimala Vasahi, Luna Vasahi etc. are some of the names associated with Jain temples, which are built with various architectural designs. Jain temples are basically of two types; one with the dome (Shikhar bandhi Jain temple) and one is the Jain house temple without the dome (Ghar Jain temple). A common feature present at these temples is the Manastambha (the column of honour), a pillar constructed in front of the temple and containing 4 stone figures of the main deity of the temple, each facing the north, south, east and west directions. A Jain temple which is more than a 100 years old and well known as a pilgrimage centre is called a Tirtha.
Mentioned below are some of the famous Jain temples of India :
Dilwara Temples, Mount Abu :
These famous Jain temples are located about 2½ kms from Mount Abu and are famous for their marble construction and intricate marble carvings. The Dilwara temples, comprising of five marble temples, are a sacred pilgrimage place of the Jains. Situated in the hills, these temples lie within dense forests and are bounded in with high walls. The astounding detail over the minutely carved opulent doorways, pillars, panels and ceilings lead some to consider them as the most beautiful Jain pilgrimage sites in the world.
Timings: 6 am to 6 pm (for Jains) & 12 pm to 6 pm (for Non-Jains)
How to reach :
By Air – The Dabok Airport in Udaipur has regular flights to and from many other cities.
By Train – The nearest railway station is at Morthala in Rajasthan.
By Bus – Regular buses are available from close by cities to Mount Abu.
Ranakpur Jain Temple, Rajasthan :
This Jain temple at Ranakpur is dedicated to Tirthankara Rishabhanatha and is well known as the Ranakpur Jain Temple or also called the Chaturmukha Dharanavihara. Considered as one of the most important and largest temples of Jain culture, the Ranakpur temple complex comprises of various temples like the Chaumukha Temple, Surya temple, Parsavanth Temple and Amba Temple. Constructed with light coloured marble, this grand temple with its distinctive domes, turrets, shikharas and cupolas, stands out from the slope of a hill. With over a thousand pillars supporting this structure and not one pillar resembling the other, one can only marvel at this exquisite architecture of the temple as well as the various carvings in the temple and complex.
Timings: 7 am to 7 pm
How to reach :
By Air – The nearest airport to Ranakpur is the Dabok Airport in Udaipur.
By Train – As Ranakpur does not have its own rail station, the nearest railway station is at Khimel.
By Bus – Buses are available to Falna on regular basis.
Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh :
Located in the Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh, Khajuraho is a small town which is world famous for its spectacular temples decorated with erotic and sensuous carvings. Famous for the brilliant architecture of these Hindu and Jain temples, the carvings on the walls display passion and eroticism, yet aesthetically. These temples were built by various members of the Chandella dynasty and made of sandstone with a granite foundation which is almost hidden from view. The Jain temples are located on the east-southeast region of Khajuraho monuments.
How to reach :
By Air – Khajuraho has its own airport which is connected with major metros as well as Varanasi and Agra.
By Train – Direct trains are available from Delhi to Khajuraho. The city also has rail connectivity with major metro and other cities through Jhansi.
By Bus – Regular buses to Khajuraho are available from Jhansi or Satna.
Palitana, Gujarat :
Palitana, located to the south-west of Bhavnagar in Gujarat, is acknowledged as the largest cluster of Jain temples. A total of 863 marble-carved temples extends from the base to the peak of the Shatrunjaya Hill which is considered sacred by the Svetambara Jains and where these temples are located. The main temple can be accessed by ascending almost 4000 steps over a span of 3.5 km over the hills and is dedicated to Rishabhanatha, the first Tirthankara.
How to reach :
By Air – Bhavnagar is connected with Mumbai and Ahmedabad through various domestic airlines.
By Train – It is connected with Mumbai via Ahmedabad through the Western Railway.
By Bus – Several State Transport Buses as well as Private coaches connect Bhavnagar to Ahmedabad and other close by cities.
Gomateshwara Temple, Karnataka :
The Gomateshwara statue is dedicated to the Jain God Bahubali and almost 57 feet high, is one of the largest free standing statues in the world. Located in Vindhyagiri hills at Sravanabelagola in Karnataka, the Gomateshwara temple is the largest in the state and one can have a splendid view of the surrounding areas from the top of the hill. One of the most famous festivals celebrated here, once in every 12 years, is the Mahamastakabhishek, which attracts devotees and the faithful from all over the world. At this time, the statue is anointed with milk, saffron, ghee, sugarcane juice, etc. from the top of the statue. The grandeur of this statue is worth witnessing.
How to reach :
By Air – The Mysore Airport at a distance of about 66 kms away has regular flights to and from other cities across India. From here one can travel to Shravanabelagola.
By Train – Nearest railway station to Shravanabelagola is Mandagere.
By Bus – Regular buses to the city are available from other close by places in the south.
Picture Credits : Dilwara Jain Temples – Pinterest, Ranakpur Jain Temple – Remote Traveler, Khajuraho Jain Temples – Tripadvisor, Palitana – The Grand Indian Route, Gomateshwara Temple – The Economic Times