Jain Temple



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 Video - In and Around Parsvanatha Temple
Jain Mandir is considered as one of the most important Jain mandirs in and around the country. It is been the first Jain temple in South India with 3 Gopurams and 5 doors. It has marble carvings which are based on the principle of the famous 'Dilwara' temples. The main deity of the temple is the Lord Parsvanatha who is the 23rd Tirthankara in Jainism. According to Jain scriptures the colour of God was green. So in order to have a special idol made, quartz was selected from the Chellur mines near Tumkur, Karnataka. The idol was made with tools which are used for cutting precious stones like diamonds. The temple is built up of marble and does not contain any ironwork

Significance of the temple
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For the construction of the temple, architects, carvers and workers were brought in from Rajasthan. The main prayer hall has exquisite glasswork which is a rare sight in South India. A unique feature of this Jain temple is that Jain acharyas (priests) walk all the way from North India to visit and stay here for 'Chatur Masa'.

The innumerable Jain Shrines that dot in India speak of a myriad intimate association with the lives and activities of the Jain Tirthankars (Jain religious preachers), who spread the message of peace, non violence, love and enlightenment.

The Jain presence in Tamil Nadu consists on the one hand of ancient Digambara communities of the South, and on the other hand of immigrant merchant communities from Western India. Jain Temples of this region make up for a rich heritage still unrecognised.

Jain Temple
The temple has attracted and moulded the sentiments of millions of people across the nation as well as the world. Today, around 3.2 million Jain devotees live in India. India holds immense attraction for all those who desire to see the great Jain architectural splendour, and to know and understand the teachings of the great Tirthankars- the liberated souls who, through hard penance, freed themselves from the cycle of birth and rebirth. They offered to humanity the recourse to salvation, freedom from the ocean of Phenomenal Existence and liberation from the Cycle of rebirth through Jainism.

The essence of this great religion and its preaching is palpable in the cave temples, in the elaborately decorated carved stones and in the numerous illustrated manuscripts. Jainism might have originated in North India. But it has 1000-year history in South India, and particularly in Tamil Nadu. The several monuments scattered in the main peninsular region of the Indian subcontinent only confirm this. There are many Jain shrines, images, and monasteries carved in the hills of Tamil Nadu.

Jain Temple
Curiously, most of the monuments are concentrated in and around Madurai. There are about 26 caves in Anaimalai, Alagarmalai, Tiruparankundram, Muttupatti, Vikramangalam, Karungalakkudi, Kongarpuliyankulam, Mankulam, Tiruvatavur, and Varichiyur.

The caves between the 2nd and Ist centuries B.C. The names of the monks who have been living in these cave-dwellings and the men who carved them are engraved on these monuments.

The stone beds in these caves prove that they were abodes of the monks. There are several flat stones in theses caves. One end of these horizontal rocks is slightly raised as headrest. The upper portions of the caves are shaped in such a way as to prevent rainwater from entering them. Wooden poles were driven into holes on the ground in front of these caves, and thatched roofs were erected on them. These residences were located near water sources to meet the basic need of the ascetics.

Jain Temple
These caves are been considered important because they are among the earliest stone monuments in these regions. They also contain epigraphic among the records written in the Brahmi script. It is even said that the Hindu temples in and around Madurai were fashioned after these caves. Thirunarankondrai, a village near Ulundurpet, was a famous Jain pilgrim centre. It was also a seat of learning where monks and scholars from all over India gathered. The carved images of Paraswanathar, the 23rd Jain Tirthankara, is found on the top of a hill here. He is portrayed in a standing position, with a serpent's hood spread above his head. The people here refer to the deity as Paraswanathar as Appandainathar.

The support of the kings ensured the fast spread of the Jain religion in Tamil Nadu. Several Jain monks were great Tamil scholars too. There are many compositions which have earned a special place in Tamil literature.

However, the Bhakti movement that gained momentum in Tamil Nadu in the 7th century A.D. revived the Hindu religion. This resulted in Jainism losing its hold in the region. However, some shrines, images, caves, and viharas are largely intact, except for the ravages of nature. Nearby tourist places to Parsvanatha Temple
Jain Temple

How to Reach the Temple
  1. Through Airways- Chennai has an airport with both domestic and international terminals. Regular flights connect Chennai with the major cities within the country and also with countries like USA, Singapore, U.K, etc.

  2. Through Railways -Chennai is well connected by rail with the important towns and cities within and beyond the state.

  3. Through Roadways -State transport buses and private buses connect Chennai with the major towns and cities within the country. For local transportation, local trains, city buses, auto rickshaws and taxis are available.