Outstanding monuments of Jain religion

Palitana temple city, India
Palitana temple city, India / , Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Monuments below are arranged by age.

  • Udayagiri Caves, Khandagiri Caves - India, Orissa. 27 - 35 caves, carved around the 1st century BC. Historically important, contain valuable inscriptions and exquisite artwork.
  • Jain temples in Ellora Caves - India, Maharashtra. Some of the most magnificent rock-cut temples in India, contain extremely intricate and beautiful stone carvings and murals. Created around 800 - 1000 AD.
  • Shri Digamber Temple in Sanganer - India, Rajasthan. Completed in the 10th century AD, although started much earlier. Contains beautiful stone carvings.
  • Parsvanath Temple in Khajuraho - India, Madhya Pradesh. Built in 954 AD. Contains magic square with figures.
  • Palitana temples - India, Gujarat. Religious Jain city, major centre of pilgrimage, more than 1300 temples.
  • Hastinapur Jainist temples - India, Uttar Pradesh. One of most exquisite groups of Jainist temples.
  • Dilwara Temples - India, Rajasthan. Five beautiful temples built in the 11th - 13th centuries, renovned due to skillful use of marble in design and intricate stone carvings.
  • Bawangaja - India, Madhya Pradesh. Famous Jainist pilgrimage site, renowned due to 26 metres high statue, which, most likely has been carved out in cliff in the early 12th century.
  • Kirti Stambh - India, Rajasthan, Chittogarh. Impressive, 22 m high seven story tower of unusual architecture, covered with stone carvings. Built around the 12th century. Devoted to first Jain teacher Adinath.
  • Adinath Temple in Khajuraho - India, Madhya Pradesh. Beautiful temple with pyramidal tower. Most likely built around 1215.
  • Ranakpur Temple - India, Rajasthan. Beautiful white marble temple from the late 14th - middle 15th centuries. Contains over 1444 beautifully carved pillars, each with its own design.
  • Tribhuvana Tilaka Chudamani in Moodbidri - India, Karnataka. Often called also - Thousand Pillared Temple (Savira Kambada Basari). Largest and most ornate Jain temple in this part of India. Three storied building, built around 1430 AD. Renowned due to pillared hall in forepart with beautiful stone carvings covering the pillars and very sacred relic - 2.5 m high bronze image of Lord Chandranatha Swami.
  • Shri Sammet Shikharji (Parasnath Hill) - India, Jharkhand. One of main pilgrimage destinations for Jains, hilly location once surrounded by primeval forests. Temple buildings at least since 1765 AD, but most likely considerably older.
  • Naya Mandir - India, Delhi. Temple, important centre of Jainism, constructed in 1807. Contains valuable collection of medieval manuscripts. Temple contains also concealed chamber formed like a cave.

Other articles

Map of described Jain shrines

Recommended books

General description

Ranakpur Temple, India
Jainist Ranakpur Temple, India / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0

One of the oldest religions in world is Jainism. This religion originated in India around 840 BC and is well-known as a religion heralding respect and compassion to all living beings of the world and promoting non-violence and constant spiritual development. Jains have left profound influence on Hinduism and Buddhism. Nowadays Jainism has 6 - 12 million followers, for most part in India.

Jains do not emphasize worship of Gods, they rather teach worship of all liberated souls and heroes attaining this liberation through self-denial. According to Jain tradition there are 63 Salaka-purusha's - Great souls. These include 24 Thirtankaras, 12 Emperors and 27 other heroes. Thirtankaras are the most prominent ones and could be compared to Christian prophets though exceeding them in their importance. Individual Thirtankaras and events associated with their lives are frequent motifs in Jain art.

Jain temples belong to the most ornate and most impressive buildings of world. In their construction there is used stone with intricate, refined carvings. Often temples are directly carved in cliff. Often Jain temples are grouped, forming large temple cities on top of hills.

Marble temples with unbelievable stone carvings often hold significant wealth of precious stones and metals. To protect this wealth Jains built large fortification walls around their temple cities. Temples themselves often have many columns covered with numerous carvings.

Some of the most impressive Jainist temples are Ranakpur Temple (India, Rajasthan) and Dilwara Temples on Mount Abu (India, Rajasthan).

Your thoughts?