Jain shrines

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

WorldBlue Described Jain shrines

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One of the oldest religions in the 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 a profound influence on Hinduism and Buddhism. Nowadays Jainism has 6 – 12 million followers, for the most part in India.

Jains do not emphasize the worship of Gods, they rather teach the 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. Tirthankaras 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 the world. In their construction, there is used a stone with intricate, refined carvings. Often temples are directly carved in the cliff. Often Jain temples are grouped, forming large temple cities on top of hills.

Marble temples with unbelievable stone carvings often hold a 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).

Other articles

Wondermondo has defined several other categories of religious structures:

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Ellora Caves, Kailasanatha Temple


One of the highest achievements not only in Hindu (and – also Jain) architecture but in ancient structural engineering of the world. A group of 34 rock-cut temples, including the glorious Kailasanatha Temple, are cut out from a whole rock. Built around 550 – 1000 AD.

Kailasanatha Temple, India
Khajuraho Temple City


Group of very ornate Hindu and Jain temples built in 950 – 1150 AD. Originally 80 temples, now remain 25 spread over an area of 20 km2. Temples are world famous due to numerous erotic sculptures.

Sculptures in one of Khajuraho temples
Mount Kailash


Visually very impressive mountain, 6638 meters high. It is a very sacred site for many of the religions of Asia, including Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism. It is off-limits to people due to its religious significance. Pilgrims walk around the mountain in a 52 km long trek.

Mount Kailash, Tibet
Palitana temples


Religious Jain city, a major center of pilgrimage with 863 gorgeous temples in several groups.

Palitana temple city, India
Hastinapur Jainist temples


One of most exquisite groups of Jainist temples.

Ashtapad in Hastinapur
Ranakpur Temple


A beautiful, white marble Jain temple from the late 14th – middle 15th centuries. It contains over 1444 beautifully carved pillars, each with its own design.

Interior of Ranakpur Temple
Mangi Tungi


Very impressive cliffs with two peaks, with numerous historical and art values. Contain forts and numerous Jain temples.

Mangi Tungi
Pattadakal Temple City


Group of the 8th century Hindu temples and other monuments, contains 10 important temples, including the beautiful Virupaksha Temple.

One of the elaborate Pattadakal Temples
Thousand Pillar Temple


The largest and the most ornate Jain temple in this part of India. The building has three stories and was 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.

Thousand Pillar Temple
Sonagiri (Songiri)


Gorgeous Jain temple city with the oldest temples dating from the 9th century AD. In total there are 103 ornate Jain temples that form an unusual cultural landscape. An important feature here is a considerably older statue – the 3 m tall image of Chandraprabhu. It was made in the 5th or 6th century AD.

Dilwara Temples


Five beautiful temples built in the 11th – 13th centuries, renowned due to skillful use of marble in design and intricate stone carvings.

One of Dilwara Temples
Udayagiri Caves, Khandagiri Caves


27 – 35 caves, carved around the 1st century BC. Historically important, contain valuable inscriptions and exquisite artwork.

Holy man in Khandagiri Cave, India
Parshwanath Temple in Khajuraho


This very ornate Jain temple was built in 954 AD. Contains a magic square with figures.

Parshvanatha Temple in Khajuraho
Kirti Stambh in Chittor Fort


Impressive, 22 m high seven story tower of unusual architecture, covered with stone carvings. Built around the 12th century. Devoted to the first Jain teacher Adinath.

Kirti Stambh and Jain shrine in Chittor Fort
Adinatha Temple in Khajuraho


Beautiful temple with pyramidal tower. Most likely built around 1215.

Adinatha Temple in Khajuraho


An ancient Jain temple that was completed in the 10th century AD although started much earlier. Contains beautiful stone carvings.

Girnar Jain Temples


A large group of ornate Jain temples. This group of shrines forms something similar to a very ornate fortification on the top of mountain. Jain pilgrimage started already before 250 BC but temples were built in the 12th – 19th centuries.



A group of 52 Jain temples in a beautiful natural setting, among lush forests and neaxt to a large waterfall. Most of these temples were built in the 13th – 14th century.

Shikharji on Parasnath Hill


One of the main pilgrimage destinations for Jains, it has a hilly location that was once surrounded by primeval forests. The temple buildings have been standing at least since 1765 AD, but most likely are considerably older. Trip to all 31 temples takes 12 hours and is 28 kilometers long.

Shikharji on Parasnath Hill
Gommateshwara Statue (Gomateshwara)


Possibly the largest monolithic stone statue in the world, erected at the end of the 10th century. Height – 17.4 meters.

Aerial view of Gomateswara Statue
Sittanavasal Cave (Chithannavasal Cave) and Eladipattam


A rock-cut Jain temple from the 7th century AD. Temple contains some of the best medieval rock paintings in India.

Scene of Samava-sarvana, Sittanavasal
Kulpakji (Kolanupaka Temple)


Very ornate and very old Jain temple. It is assumed that the temple was built more than 2000 years ago.



Jain pilgrimage site with 26 meters high statue. It, most likely, was carved out in this cliff in the early 12th century.

Bawangaja statue
Badami Cave Temples


A group of four beautiful rock-cut temples, made in the 6th – 7th centuries AD. Located in the ancient capital of Early Chalukyas. Art of temples witnesses the search for a distinct style.

Badami Cave 3 in India, entrance portal
Gopachal rock-cut monuments


Five groups of enormous rock-cut temples and sculptures around Gwalior Fort. These shrines were created by Jains in the time period from the 6th century to 15th century AD.

WorldYellow Recommended books

The Jains

The Indian religion of Jainism, whose central tenet involves non-violence to all creatures, is one of the world’s oldest and least-understood faiths. Dundas looks at Jainism in its social and doctrinal context, explaining its history, sects, scriptures, and ritual, and describing how the Jains have, over 2500 years, defined themselves as a unique religious community.

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