Jainism originated in India more than 2000 years back and flourished here. Though centuries have passed, to date, there are a number of beautiful Jain temples in India. The masterpieces of architecture, carvings, sculptures, and layout, the Jain temples are beauties coupled with bliss. Each of these temples is an oasis of serenity. Learn about the number of stories from mythology and Jain scriptures practicing the teachings of the religion. While you pay a visit to the holy Jain temples and feel spiritual bliss enveloping your senses.
Here is our list of the top 10 Jain temples in India that are truly worth visiting:
1. Ranakpur Jain Temple, Rajasthan
The Ranakpur Jain Temple is a holy pilgrimage for Jains in India. It lies amid the Aravalli hills, in the Pali district of Rajasthan, a short getaway from both Jodhpur and Udaipur. Dating between the 14-15th centuries, the ornate temple worships Tirthankara Rishabhanatha.
Indeed a sight to behold, the Jain temple rises to three stories supported by 1,444 carved marble pillars. Notably, no pillar has similar designs and are in fact truly unique. Every inch of the temple is ornamented. Intricate carvings include Lord Parshwanath with 1008 heads of snakes and numerous tails, stories from mythology, celestial beings, etc. Also, marvel at the distinctive domes, shikhara, turrets, cupolas, and exquisite details. The spiritual bliss you experience here is in essence matchless, putting Ranakpur on the list of Jain temples in India to not miss.
The nearest airport to get to Ranakpur is at Maharana Pratap Airport, Udaipur and the nearest station is Falna (Pali).
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2. Dilwara Temple, Rajasthan
The list of the finest Jain temples in India is incomplete without a mention of Dilwara Temples. The holy site is a short distance from Mount Abu, Rajasthan’s only hill station. The temples are popular not just for its religious value but is renowned for beautiful and artistic marble carvings.
The five temples of Dilwara were built by dedicated Jain devotees in the 11th century. The five shrines are dedicated to Lord Adinath, Lord Rishabhdeo, Lord Neminath, Lord Mahavir Swami and Lord Parshvanath respectively.
The sacred pilgrimage of the Jains, reflect their values. The simple yet beautiful architecture, carvings, and marvelous designs enamor your senses. The marble temples have an opulent entranceway, with intricate carvings on roofs, passages, columns, arches and doorways.
To reach Dilwara by air, the nearest airport is Udaipur, 185 km away, while the nearest railway station is Abu Road, 29 km.
3. Gomateshwara Temple, Karnataka
Home to the largest monolithic statues in the world, Gomateshwara Temple is situated at Shravanabelagola in the Hassan district of Karnataka. The holy Jain temple enshrines the massive (57 feet high and 26 feet wide) black stone statue known as Bahubali, the first Tirthankara (Jain deity).
Inspiring awe among all, Gomateshwara temple was the idea of the Ganga dynasty minister and leader Chamundaraya in 10th century AD. Once in every 12 years, devotees and tourists from all over the world come to Shravanabelagola for the traditional event known as the Mahamastakabhisheka. In an extravagant ritual, the massive statue is anointed with milk, saffron paste, sandalwood, turmeric and vermilion. The next ceremony is in February 2018.
To get to Shravanabelagola, the nearest airport is Bangalore at 157 km away and the closest railway station is Hassan.
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4. Sri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir
The oldest Jain temple in Delhi, Shri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir is one of the holiest temples in India. Situated in Chandni Chowk, the heart of Old Delhi, it was built in 1656. Currently, it houses a Birds Charity Hospital.
Dedicated to the 23rd Tirthankara Lord Parshvanath, the temple is known for tale of the Mughal times. The Mughal Emperor invited the Jain merchants to Delhi and granted them land in his capital. The families brought their religion and built the temple in honor of their Gods. A manastambha column greets pilgrims at the entry gate. The temple follows the simple yet awe-inspiring architecture with glided roofs, intricate carvings and artwork in red sandstone. People of all faith are welcome to enjoy the peaceful ambiance.
To get here, Delhi International Airport is the nearest air terminal while Old Delhi Railway Station is the closest train connection.
5. Palitana Temples, Gujarat
The largest cluster of Jain temples in India, Palitana Temples in Gujarat is one of the holiest sites for pilgrimage. The Palitana group of temples are built over 900 years, from the 11th century onwards. There are more than 3000 temples located on the Shatrunjaya hill of which 863 are holy shrines of Jains.
Climb 3,750 stone steps to get to the temples. The main deity of the shrine is the first Tirthankara, Rishabanath. The marble temples have a unique architectural style with ornamentation that makes it appear like pure ivory. The temple deities though of marble have gold ornaments with precious stones. Pilgrims from all over the world visit Palitana to take blessings. While legends state the temple to be the residence of the divine, therefore nobody has permission to stay overnight, not even the priests.
Bhavnagar Airport and Bhavnagar railway station, at a distance of 51 km are the nearest options to reach Palitana.
[Also Read: 7 Most Famous Hindu Temples in Gujarat]
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6. Sonagiri Temple, Madhya Pradesh
Sacred to the sect of Digambar Jains, the small town of Sonagiri has some of the most popular pilgrimage sites for Jains in India. Literally meaning the ‘Golden Peak’ in the local language, the temple is situated in Madhya Pradesh on the summit of the majestic mount Shatrunjaya. While there are about 900 temples here, each outdo the other with its beauty and magnificence.
The white Jain temples of Sonagiri gleam in the sunshine. Most visitors here, climb the 300 steps to the top bare-foot. At the peak, marvel at the countless white temples and chhatris. You will also be in awe of the detailed carvings, beautiful idols and images, jeweled statues, intricate sculptures, etc.
To get to Sonagiri temple, the nearest options are Gwalior Airport, 75 km away & Sonagari Railway station, 11 km away.
7. Kulpakji Temple, Telangana
Next on our list of popular Jain temples in India, we have Kulpakji Temple in the Nalgonda district of Telangana. Also known as Konalupaka Jain temple, the 2,000-year old shrine is an important pilgrimage site of the Svetambara Jains.
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Adorned with red sandstone and white marble interiors, the temple features magnificent idols of Lord Neminatha, Lord Rishabhanatha and Lord Mahavira. The idol of Lord Rishabhanatha, the first Tirthankara, also goes by the name of Manikya Deva. However, it is the idol of Lord Mahavira that grabs the attention. Furthermore, an incredible fact about the temple is it is home to an entirely jade sculpture 130 cm high. Losing its ancient glory, recently Kulpakji temple has been revamped by nearly 150 craftsmen hired from Gujarat and Rajasthan.
100 km from Hyderabad city, the temple is easily reachable by air as well as train, as the city has both the options of connectivity.
8. Dharmanath Temple, Kerala
One of the popular places for Jain pilgrimage, Dharmanath Temple in Kerala entices devotees from every nook and corner of the world. The century-old temple offers utter serenity. In fact, it is the perfect spot for meditation. The temple derives its name from the 15th Tirthankara – Dharmanath. Furthermore, the idols of four Jain Lords in the sanctum sanctorum achieve the sobriquet of a ‘theerth’.
Splendid architecture coupled with impeccable cleanliness inside and outside the complex make it a must visit place. It is starkly similar to that of the Jain Dilwara Temple in Mount Abu. Additionally, the intricately carved pillars and walls tell a tale in their own way.
The nearest Airport to Dharmanath Temple is the Cochin International Airport which is at a distance of 42 km.
9. Shikharji Temple, Jharkhand
Parasnath Hills, the highest mountain in Jharkhand is home to the revered Shikharji Temple. It is among the most popular Jain temples in India. Shikarji temple worships twenty out of twenty-four Tiranthakaras who achieved freedom from the cycle of rebirth or Moksha. While the sacred place dates back to 18th century, till date Jain devotees visit here with full devotion. For this reason followers of Jainism go for a parikrama on palanquin or by foot to cover a distance of 54 km.
Historical significance and architectural splendor of the temple is worth witnessing. One can also find the Sanskrit inscriptions of 17th century and an ancient idol in the sanctum sanctorum. Additionally, a mural depicting all the temples on Parasnath Hill steals the limelight.
Nearest airport to get to the Shikharji Temple is Ranchi Airport (103 km). However, people travelling by train will find Parasnath Railway Station in close proximity which is at a distance of 23 km from Madhuban.
10. Hanumantal Jain Temple, Jabalpur
Built in 17th century CE, Hanumantal Jain Temple is the place from where the annual Jain procession on the birthday of Lord Mahavira starts. One of the most famous Jain Temples in India, it is a treasure trove of stories. apart from spiritually, the temple additionally mirrors a fortress having twenty two shrines. A heaven for ancient art lovers, the temple displays several images from different eras. The only idol here is, of Jain Goddess Padmavati.
The 22 shrines of the temple make it the largest independent Jain Temple in India. Additionally, there are images from Kalachuri period to modern times which leave one spellbound. Pilgrims visiting the sacred place consider the black-stone statue of Lord Aadinath to be a Swayambhu Idol. Besides bliss, a scenic pond adds to the beauty of the place.
One can also reach Hanumantal Jain Temple by deboarding at the Jabalpur Airport.
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