The infinite Jain Shrines of India are dedicated to the Jain Tirthankars (Jain religious preachers who through austere penance offered to humanity the recourse to salvation by liberating their souls from the sequence of phenomenal existence, cycle of birth and rebirth. They propagated the message of peace, non-violence, love and enlightenment to humanity. The preaching of the Tirthankaras fascinated millions of people across the nation as well as the world. Today, around 3.2 million Jain devotees live in India.
India is a rich repertoire of meticulous Jain culture well preserved in the Jain temples. The Jain temples are the most authentic source to behold the effulgence of Jain architecture and to understand the teachings of the great Tirthankars. The quintessence of Jainism and its preaching is flagrant in the cave temples, in the ornately decked carved stones and the several illustrated manuscripts. The most important Jain shrines of India are:
» Dilwara Temples, Rajasthan
The Jain Dilwara temples of India dating back to the 11th to the 13th century AD are located about 2½ kilometers from Mount Abu, Rajasthan's only hill station. The Dilwara temples are renowned for their spectacular use of marble in construction. The Dilwara temples comprises of five legendary temples. They are:
The Vimal Vasahi Temple (Shri Adi Nathji temple)
The Luna Vasahi Temple (Shri Nemi Nathji temple)
The Pittalhar Temple (Shri Rishabh Deoji temple)
Khartar Vasahi (Shri Parshav Nathji temple)
Mahaveer Swami (Shri Mahaveer Swamiji temple)
The five inimitable marble temples of Dilwara hold great significance for the Jains. Adorned by luxurious hallway amidst the spellbinding backdrop of mango trees and wooded hills, the temples exhibit an enticing fusion of simple gorgeousness and graceful sophistication. The Jains have been recognized for their exquisite temples, but none are comparable to the Dilwara temples in terms of architectural perfection. The embellishment over the adroitly carved rooftops, doorways, pillars and panels is truly amazing.
» Palitana Temples, Rajasthan
Palitana temples are deemed to be the most sacred amongst all the Jain temples. Located on Shetrunjaya hills there are 863 temples, exquisitely carved in marble. No one is allowed to sleep overnight including the priest, because the temple city has been built as an abode for the Gods. The town is considered by many Jains to be more important than the temple covered hills of Bihar, Gwalior, Mt Abu and Girnar. Palitana was the capital of a princely state of the Gohil Rajput clan. It is also one of the greatest tourist attractions in Gujarat for foreign tourists.
Ranakpur is attributed as one of the five most important pilgrimage sites of the Jain religion. It is domicile to an incredibly picturesque temple complex in the Aravali ranges and a must visit destination for tourists.
Sravanabelagola, situated at a distance of about 100 kms from Mysore, is a groovy centre for Jain culture. It is distinguished for its gargantuan statue of Gomateshwara popularly referred to as Lord Bahubali. This 17 meter towering statue of Gomata carved out of monolithic stone, dominates the skyline with its regal grandeur. Visible from a distance of about 20 kms the ascetically molded facets of the statue personify simplicity coupled with serenity.
» Falna Ranakpur
The Jain Golden Temple in Falna is identified as the first temple constructed by people of the Jain community. The specialty of the temple is that, from the Falna town itself about 90 Kg. of gold was donated by the ladies of the Jain community for the idolization of temple dome and Lords idol.
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