Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Jain Circuit

The Cave Temples of Ellora, near Aurangabad (Maharashtra), include five Jain Caves, with exceptionally detailed work. Caves 32 the India Sabha is the finest of the Jain Caves with images of the Jain Thirthankaras : Parasnath and Gummateshvara. Inside the shrine is a seated figure of Lord Mahavira. On the hilltop over the Jain Temples, a 5 metre high image of Parasnath looks down of Ellora. Gujarat has a rich heritage of Jain Temples. To the north of the old city in Ahmedabad is the Hathee Singh Temples, made of white marble. Built in 1848, it is dedicated to the 15th Jain Thirthankara. About 215 km from Ahmedabad is Palitata one of Jainism’s holiest pilgrimage destinations. The Shatrunjay Hill here is held sacred by the Svethambara Jains. Dotting the hill are over 800 Temples dating from the 11th to the 19th century. The Adishvara Temples on the hill contains a large statue of Rishanath with crystal eyes and a golden crown.

The Girnar Mountain in Junagarh District is Gujarat’s second great centre of Jain pilgrimage. High on the summit of the mountain are 12th century Temples, richly decorated with fine carvings. Also of importance are the 16 Temples at Neminatha, the Mallinatha Temples and the hundreds of Temples in Patan, 130 km from Ahmedabad. The Shantinath Mandir and the Adinath Mandir in Jamnagar are dedicated to the sixteenth and the first century Thirthankaras, respectively.

The Jain Dilwara Temples at Mount Abu, in Rajastan, built in the Nagara style are the most popular centres of pilgrimage for followes of Jainism. The group of five Temples here is known to posses the most intricate marble carvings in the world. The Vimala Vasahi Temples the first Jain Temples of Dilwara, is dedicated to the first Jain Thirthanakara, Adi Nath. The most striking feature of the Tejapala Temples is its dome, which stands on 8 pillars. The pendant of the dome is a perfect gem; where it drops from the ceiling it looks like a cluster of half open lotuses. Amassive idol of naminatha adorns the Garbagriha. Also in Rajastan are several other Jain Temples of great significance. These are.

The glorious Temples at Lodhruva. The Satbees Deva in Chittaurgarh, which has 27 images of Jain divinities. The splendid Mahavira Digambara Jain Swami Temples and the Kirti Stamba in Chittaurgarh. The 15th century Temples in the Aravalli Hills at Tanakpur 98 km from Udaipur. The most important of thse is the Chaumukha Temples with 1444 differntly carved pillars and a magnificent ceiling. The Temples of Rishabhadeva, 65 km south of Udaipur is a renowned pilgrim centre for noth Jains and Hindus. Hindus consider him an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

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