Ancient Jain Sites
(i) Udayagiri- Khandagiri Caves
- Twin hills Udayagiri and Khandagiri near Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
- 33 rock cut caves on both the hills.
- Mostly single storied but some double storied.
- Dwelling retreats of the Jaina monks.
- Caves were excavated by king Kharavela and his successors.
- Ranigumpha caves- double storied and the largest.
- Hathigumpha inscription (17 line) of king Kharavela (2nd century BCE)-
- In Prakrit incised in a Brahmi script.
- Talks about:
- military conquests of Kharvela,
- his orientation towards Janism,
- his construction works,
- his liberal religious spirit,
- his favors to art like music and dance etc.
- his retrieving an image of a jina.
- This is the earliest epigraphic reference to image worship in Jainism.
(ii) Badami Caves
- In Bagalkot district, Karnataka.
- Capital of the Early Chalukyas.
- Founded in 540 AD by Pulakeshi I of Chalukyas.
- Pallavas under Narasimhavarma I destroyed Vatapi and called himself Vatapikonda.
- Sandstone cave temples and structural temples.
- Early styles of the southern Indian architecture.
- Rock-cut Cave Temples:
- Siva (with Parvati), Vishnu and Jains
- Lord Nataraja in dancing poses.
- Muktheeswara temple
- Melagutti Sivalaya.
- Bhutanatha group of temples and Mallikarjuna group of temples.
- Paintings on the ceiling.
- First Sanskrit inscription in old Kannada script dates back to 543 CE, from the period of Pulakeshi I.
- One inscription near the Bhuthanatha temple
- Inscriptions of 12th century in Jain rock-cut temple dedicated to Adinatha.
- In Bijapur district, Karnataka.
- It is east of Pattadakal, while Badami is to the west of both.
- First capital of western Chalukyas (later moved to Badami).
- Chalukyan architecture, with many stone temples dating from 5th century CE.
- Earliest structural temples.
- Among the seventy temples found at Aihole, four are important.
- Ladh Khan temple is flat-roofed structure consisting of a pillared hall.
- Durga temple resembles a Buddha Chaitya.
- Huchimalligudi temple.
- The Jain temple at Meguti.
- Ravana Phadi cave- rocks cut temples.
- Jain cave temple
- A Buddhist Chaitya Cave- partly rockcut structure.
- Aihole inscription:
- Aihole Prasasti in Meguti Temple
- Composed by Ravikirti, the court poet of Pulakesin II in 634 A.D.
- In Sanskrit language and old Karnataka script
- Detailed account of Pulakesin II’s exploit against his neighbouring kingdoms like the Pallavas.
- Describes the victory of Pulakesin II against Harshavardhana.
- Located on the west bank of the Malaprabha River in Bagalakote district.
- The Group of monuments in Pattadakal designated as UNESCO World Heritage.
- They cover a remarkable series of nine Hindu temples, as well as a Jain sanctuary in northern Karnataka.
- Eight temples dedicated to Shiva, a ninth shaivite sanctuary called the Papanatha Temple, and a Jain Narayana temple.
- In this group of temples, the Virupaksha Temple, built c. 740 by Queen Lokamahadevi to commemorate her husband’s (King Vikramaditya II) victory over the Pallava kings from the south, is considered the most outstanding architectural edifice.
- These are a remarkable combination of temples built by the Chalukya Dynasty in the 6th to the 8th century at Aihole, Badami and Pattadakal.
- The temples represent a remarkable fusion of the architectural features of Nagara and Dravida style.
- The friezes in the Hindu temples display various Vedic and Puranic concepts, depict stories from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the Bhagavata Purana, as well as elements of other Hindu texts, such as the Panchatantra and the Kiratarjuniya.
(v) Ellora Caves
- In Aurangabad district, Maharashtra.
- Rock-cut cave (6th century AD onward).
- Buddhist, Hindu and Jain rock-cut temples and Viharas,
- Built during Kalachuri, Chalukya and Rashtrakuta.
- The Jagannatha Sabha– Jain Digambara cave temples (built by Rashtrakuta).
- One chaitya griha of the Buddhist caves.
- Hindu Architecture:
- Kailasanatha temple
- Built by Rashtrakuta king Krishna III in 8th century.
- Dravidian architecture.
- Looks like Mount Kailash
- free standing,
- multi-storeyed temple,
- carved out of one single rock.
- Dashavatara Cave- monolithic mandapa.
- Sculptural panels including the ten avatars of Vishnu.
- Kailasanatha temple
- Of grant of Dantidurga of Rashtrakuta.
- Inscriptions on the Kailash temple.
- Jain cave Jagannatha Sabha has inscriptions that give the names of monks and donors.
- Cave paintings are also seen at Ellora.
(vi) Udaigiri Caves
- Near Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh.
- Rock-cut caves (one is dedicated to Jainism and 23 to Hinduism)
- Iconography of Vaishnavism, Shaktism and Shaivism.
- Relief sculpture of Vishnu in incarnation of man-boar Varaha.
- Inscriptions of the Gupta dynasty belonging to the reigns of Chandragupta II and Kumaragupta I.
- Jaina and Hindu Cave features inscriptions (One of the oldest Jaina inscription from 425 CE)
- The Heliodoros Garuda Pillar of Vashudeva is near Udaygiri, Besnagar.
- In Bhavnagar district (Saurashtra), Gujarat.
- Capital of the Maitraka Dynasty (480-775 CE).
- Established by the founder of the dynasty, Senapati Bhatarka.
- Centre of learning, Buddhist monasteries.
- Visited by the Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang and Yijingin 7th century.
- Second Jaina council under Devardhi held in 6th century CE when Jaina scriptures assumed their present form.
(viii) Varanasi/ Banaras/ Kasi
- In Varanasi district, Uttar Pradesh.
- Related to Hinduim, Buddhism and Jainism.
- Varanasi:- Capital of Kashi Mahajanapada in 6th Century BC.
- Center of education for Hindus, Buddhism and Jainism.
- Teaching of Vedas, the Upanishads etc. in the ashrams.
- Nearby Dear Park at Sarnath, Buddha delivered his first sermon.
- Chinese Pilgrim Hieun Tsang visited and attested the city as a centre of religious and artistic activities.
- Parshvanath Jain temple located here.
- In medieval times, several Bhakti saints (Kabir, Ravidas, Tulsidas) were related to Varanasi.
- One of the 12 Jyotirlinga sites:- Kasi Vishwanath temple.
- Related to salvation of Hindus.
- Banaras Gharana of Hindustani Classical Music developed.
- Located near Varanasi, U.P.
- In deer park of Sarnath, Buddha first taught the Dharma (Dhammachakkappavattana Sutta) after attaining enlightenment.
- One of four most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites, the other three being Kushinagar, Bodh Gaya, and Lumbini.
- Also the birthplace the eleventh Tirthankara of Jainism, and a temple dedicated to him.
- Chinese pilgrim Xuan Zang visited and found monasteries and monks studying the Hinayana and mentions stupa built by Ashoka.
- Center for the arts, which reached its zenith during the Gupta period (Sarnath school).
- Rich in Buddhist antiquities.
- Dhamek Stupa:
- a solid cylinder of bricks and stone.
- wall covered with carved figures of humans and birds and inscriptions in the Brahmi script.
- An Ashoka pillar with an edict and lion capital stands near the Stupa.
- Dhamek Stupa:
- Beautiful sculptures found:
- A colossal image of a Bodhisattava,
- a number of images of Buddha and Buddhist deities,
- Images of Hindu gods as Shiva and Brahma,
- Lion capital on Ashokan pillar (official Emblem of India)
- carved out of a single block of polished sandstone
- mounted on an abacus with a frieze carrying sculptures in high relief of an elephant, a horse, a bull, and a lion, separated by intervening spoked chariot-wheels.
- The wheel on the capital is the model for the one in the flag of India.
- On pillar, an inscription of one of the Edicts of Ashoka reads, “No one shall cause division in the order of monks”.
- In Mahasamund district, Chattisgarh.
- Hindu, Buddhist (Vaishnavism, Shaivism) and Jain monuments.
It was considered as the ancient capital of South Koshal and was called at Shreepur.
- Hindu monuments:
- Shiva, Vaishnava
- Lakshmana temple:
- Brick temple.
- Most well preserved.
- Built by Vasata in 7th century AD.
- Dedicated to Lord Vishnu,
- The plan of the temple consists of a garbagriha, antarala and a mandapa.
- Other Hindu monuments include Rama temple, Gandheshwar temple etc.
- Buddhist monuments:
- Buddha, Pdmapani, Avlokiteshwara statues etc.
- Some syncretic finds of Hindi and Buddhist.
- Jain monuments:
- Ruins of Jain basadi and monastery found.
- Bronze image of Adinatha (first Tirthankara).
(x) Sittanavasal Caves
- In Pudukkottai district, Tamilnadu.
- Meghalithic and Jain Cave site.
- Stone circles,
- Cist burials
- urn burials,
- Pottery, glass manufacturing site, iron objects,
- Sittanavasal Cave is a Jain caves with painting and sculptures.
- Temple-cave dated to Pallava King Mahendravarman I (580–630 AD).
- Mural painting
- Fresco-secco technique
- Painting depicts:
- lotus pond with lotus flowers,
- people collecting lotuses from the pond,
- dancing figures,
- fish, buffaloes, elephants etc.
- In Kanchipuram district, Tamil Nadu.
- Capital of Early Chola and Pallava.
- Centre of art and architecture and learning.
- Kailasanathar Temple (built by Pallava King Rajasimha)
- Vaikuntha Perumal Temple.
- A religious centre education for Jainism and Buddhism.
- Educational institutions called Ghatikas.
- Centre of the religious and literary activity of the Vaishnavites and Saivites Bhakti saints, Alvars and Nayanars.
- Known for hand woven silk sarees.
- Shravanabelagola is located near Channarayapatna of Hassan district in Karnataka.
- It has been a prominent centre for Jain art, architecture, religion and culture for over two millennia.
- Shravanabelagola has two hills, Chandragiri and Vindhyagiri. About two thousand years ago, Acharya Bhadrabahu (one of the earliest great Jain Acharyas) and his pupil Chandragupta Maurya are believed to have meditated there.
- Chandragupta Maurya, the great emperor who ruled a large part of India, settled in this region. He is said to have died here in 298 BCE after he became a Jain monk and assumed an ascetic life style.
- Just opposite is the smaller Chandragiri hill where some Jain temples and tomb of Chandragupta Mourya, famous patron of Jainism can be seen.
- The smaller Chandragiri has some Jain temples and tomb of Chandragupta Maurya and memorials to numerous monks and Sravakas who have meditated there since the fifth century AD, including the last king of the Rashtrakuta dynasty of Manyakheta.
- Monolith of Lord Gomateshwara:
- The 58-feet (18 m) tall monolithic statue of Lord Gomateshwara, (a Jain saint and the son of Rishabhanatha, the first tirthankara of Jainism) is located nestled by the Vindhyagiri and Chandragiri Hills.
- Carved of a single block of granite.
- It is considered to be the one of the world’s largest monolithic statue.
- It was built around 983 CE during the Western Ganga dynasty by the minister and commander Chavundaraya.
- The Mahamastakabisheka festival, an elaborate ritual (Gommateshwara statue is anointed with milk, saffron, ghee, sugarcane juice, etc. from the top of the statue), held here once every 12 years, attracts devotees from all over the world. when the
- More than 800 inscriptions have been found at Shravanabelagola, dating to various times from 600 AD to 1830 AD.
- A large number of these are found in the Chandragiri and the rest can be seen in the Vindhyagiri Hill and the town.
- These inscriptions include texts in the Kannada, Prakrit.
- Some of these inscriptions mention the rise and growth in power of the Western Ganga Dynasty, the Rashtrakutas, the Hoysala Empire, the Vijayanagara Empire and the Wodeyar dynasty.
- Gommateshwara statue, Akkana Basadi, Chandragupta basadi, Chamundaraya Basadi, Parshvanath Basadi and inscriptions of Shravanabelagola group of monuments are listed as Adarsh Smarak Monument by Archaeological Survey of India.
(xiii) Mount Abu
- In Sirohi district, Rajasthan.
- Hill station in the Aravalli Range
- Home to several Hindu and Jain temples.
- Jain temples:
- Dilwara Temples
- carved of white marble built between the 11th and 13th centuries CE,
- Vimal Vasahi temple
- oldest, built in 1021 CE by Vimal Shah and dedicated to the first of the Jain Tirthankaras).
- Dilwara Temples
- Hindu temples:
- Adhar Devi Temple carved out of solid rock;
- Shri Raghunathji Temple,
- Achaleshwar Mahadeva temple,
- Gaumukh temple.
- In Jhansi district, Uttar Pradesh.
- Dashavatara Temple:
- Gupta period temple
- dedicated to Lord Vishnu,
- one of the earliest known Panchyatana temples
- Nagara style and beginning of the Shikhara type of temples.
- carved figurines of river goddesses Ganga and Yamuna on the doorway to the sanctum sanctorum,
- Anantshayi Vishnu reclining on a serpent.
- Sculpture on the Dasawatara temple show classical Gupta style.
- The fort on the hill of Deogarh is dominated by a cluster of Jain temples.
- In Chhatarpur district, Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh.
- The Khajuraho Group of Monuments:
- A group of Hindu and Jain temples.
- Famous temples:
- Kandariya Mahadeva Temple of Lord Shiva (most elaborate)
- Lakshman Temple and
- Chaturbhuja Temple of Lord Vishnu,
- Chaunsath Yoginis temple
- Chitragupta Temple of Sun god,
- Adinatha Jain Temple etc.
- UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
- Constructed by Chandella rulers between 10th and 12th century.
- Nagara style of architecture.
- Use of sandstone in early period. Later granite used.
- No enclosure-wall
- Erected on a high-platform-terrace (jagati) with bands of sculptures.
- Nagara shikharas composed of several miniature shikharas, called the Urisingas.
- The crowning element- Amalakas.
- Panchayatana style. For e.g. Lakshmana temple.
- Temple plan in axis- east to west.
- Temple elements:
- ‘antarala’ and
Pradakshina with carvings.
Sikhara is divided into seven segments.
About 10% of the carvings contain sexual themes and rest of the sculptures depict the everyday life of the common persons such as women putting on makeup, playing games, dancing, knotting and unknotting their girdles, and others themes such as musicians, potters, farmers etc.
Large scale depiction of horsemen (cavalry)- disappearance of chariot.
- In Mathura district, UP.
- Centre of craft and trade.
- Junction of trade route: Uttarpatha and dakshinapatha.
- Religious centre:
- Jainism, and
- early Hinduism.
- Southern capital of the Kushana/
Mathura School of Arts under the patronage of the Kushanas.
- BRW, PGW, NBPW
- At Sonkh, near Mathura, PGW, BRW and grey ware found.
- Post-holes and a double ditch.
Beginnings of urbanization during Kushana period.
NBPW: Coins came and specialized crafts such as the manufacture of terracotta figurines, copper and iron working, and bead making.
- In Shravasti district, U.P.
- Centre of Buddhists and Jainas.
- Capital of the Kosala Mahajanapada during 6th century BC.
- On the northern trade routes.
- Many ancient idols, inscriptions, stupas and viharas were found.
- Birthplace of the Tirthankara Sambhavanath in Jainism.
- The Chinese Pilgrim Xuanzang found the city in ruins.
- PGW and NBPW site.
- Structural remains at PGW levels: wattle-and-daub and mud huts.
- In Bihar, Patna district.
- Ancient capital of the Magadha until the 5th century BC when Ajatashatru (and finally Udayin) moved the capital to Pataliputra (Situated at the confluence of the Ganges, Gandhaka and Son rivers, forming a “jaldurga”).
- Its position helped it dominate the riverine trade of the Indo-Gangetic plains during Magadha period.
- Centre of trade and commerce and attracted merchants and intellectuals.
- Excavations reveal large fortification walls, including wooden trusses in Kumharar (Patna).
- Capital of the Maurya:
- Greek ambassador, Megasthenes, resided there and left a detailed account in Indica.
- Flourishing Buddhist and Jain centre.
- Third Buddhist council in the reign of Ashoka and first Jain council were held here.
- Kamaldah Jain temple is the oldest Jain temple located in Patna.
- It is believed to built on the site where Jain acharya Sthulabhadra (297—198 BCE) spent his last days.
- Capital Nandas, Mauryans, Sungas, Guptas and Palas.
- The city was largely in ruins when visited by Chinese Pilgrim Xuanzang in 7th century.
- Sher Shah made Pataliputra his capital and changed the name to Patna.
- In Bihar.
- Capital city of the Licchavi, considered one of the first example of a republic, in the Vrijji Confederacy Mahajanapada.
- Important place for Jain and Buddhist religions.
- Here in 599 BCE the 24th Jain Tirthankara, Mahavira was born and brought up in Kundagrama in Vaisali republic.
- During Bimbisara, Gautama Buddha preached his last sermon before his death in 483 BCE.
- In 383 BCE the Second Buddhist council was convened here by King Kalasoka.
- An Ashokan Pillar is found here which is topped by a single lion.
- Mentioned by Faxian (4th century CE) and Xuanzang (7th century CE).
- Also renowned as the land of Amrapali, the great Indian courtesan, who appears in many folktales, as well as in Buddhist literature who was said to become a disciple of Buddha.
(xx) Rajgir / Rajagriha
- In Nalanda district, Bihar.
Ancient capital of the Magadha until the 5th century BC when Ajatashatru (and finally Udayin) moved the capital to Pataliputra.
It was surrounded by five hills which made it impregnable.
Also mentioned in Buddhist and Jain scriptures and related to the life of both Buddha and Mahavir.
Gautama Buddha spent several months meditating, and preaching in Rajagriha.
It was the venue of the first Buddhist council.
Chinese Buddhist pilgrims Faxian and Xuanzang mention Rajagriha.
(xxi) Pratishthana (Paithan)
- In Aurangabad district, Maharashtra.
- Capital of the Satavahanas (2nd century BC to 2nd century AD).
- Mentioned in 1st century AD Greek book, Periplus of Erythrian Sea and in Ashokan Rock Edict.
- Emporium of trade.
- Home of saint Eknath.
- Famous today for Paithani silk saris.
- Paithan is a well known ancient Digambar Jain atishay kshetra, meaning a Pilgrimage place of miracles.
- This temple is dedicated to Munisuvrata, the 20th Jain Tirthanakar.
(xxii) Saketa/ Ayoddhya
- On the right bank of the river Sarayu in Faizabad district of UP.
- Southern capital of Mahajanpada Kosala. Its other capital was at Savatthi (Sravasti).
- Kosala was ultimately merged into Magadha.
- Birthplace first and fourth Jaina tirthankara.
- A Buddhist text, the Majjhima Nikaya mentions Buddha as a Kosalan.
- Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism taught in Kosala.
- In the time of king Mahakosala, the conquered neighboring kingdom of Kashi had become an integral part of the Kosala kingdom.
- Mahakosala was succeeded by his son Prasenajit. He was a follower of Buddha.
- NBPW phase:
- Houses made of burnt brick and terracotta ring wells.
- A grey terracotta figure of a Jaina saint, assigned to the 4th/3rd century BCE, is among the earliest Jaina images found so far.
- Later period:
- punch-marked coins,
- uninscribed cast coins,
- inscribed copper coins,
- a number of terracotta sealings.
- Rouletted ware suggests trade links with eastern India, where this type of pottery occurs in large quantities.
- In mythology, Ayodhya is related to Lord Rama.
- In Meerut district, UP.
- Capital of Kuru.
- Jaina tradition:
- Place where Rishabha, the first tirthankara, lived.
- Mahavira visited.
- OCP followed by PGW.
- Wattle-and-daub and mud huts.
- Unbaked bricks.
- Chert and jasper weights found.
- Horse bones found.
- 2nd century BCE–3rd century CE: (Urbanisation)
- Wheel-turned red ware.
- Designs such as fish, leaves, flowers, svastikas, triratnas, loops, circles, and other geometric patterns.
- Planed settlement.
- Burnt brick, ring well found.
- Objects: iron, copper, ivory, terracotta figurines.
- rings and beads
- potsherds and seal
- Coins– Yaudheyas and Kushana
- Humped bull
- torso of the bodhisattva Maitreya
- Vidisha is an ancient city, situated near Bhopal.
- The city, originally called Besnagar and Bhilsa was capital of the Sunga dynasty.
- Besnagar figures significantly in Buddhist, Jain and Brahmanical literature.
- Heliodorus pillar/ Besnagar pillar/ Garuda pillar:
- Monolithic free standing stone column
- Erected around 113 BCE by Heliodorus, a Greek ambassador of the Indo-Greek king to the court of the Shunga king.
- Surmounted by a sculpture of Garuda.
- Inscription states that it was raised in honour of god Vasudeva by Heliodorous.
- The Udayagiri Caves are situated nearby.
- Also nearby Vidisha is the ancient Buddhist complex of Sanchi.
- Pawapuri is a holy site for Jains located in the Nalanda district of Bihar.
- It is the place of Mahavira’s nirvana and a pilgrimage site for Jains.
- Jal Mandir:
- It marks the spot where Lord Mahavira was cremated.
- The main deity of the beautiful temple is a very old “Charan Paduka” of Lord Mahavira.
- It is believed that this temple was built by King Nandivardhan, elder brother of Lord Mahavira.
- Kundalpur is a village in Nalanda district of Bihar located just 1.6 km from the ruins of Nalanda.
- The Digambar sect of Jains believes that the 24th and the last Tirthankar, Lord Mahavir, was born here.
- There are beautiful temples dedicated to Mahavira, Rishabhdev and Gautam Swami located here along with many other ancient temples.
- The present Jain temple was however was recently built. The images of 72 Jinas are displayed for offerings in a separate building.
- Parasnath is a mountain peak in the Parasnath Range. It is located towards the eastern end of the Chota Nagpur Plateau in the Giridih district of Jharkhand.
- The hill is named after Lord Parshvanatha, the 23rd Tirthankara.
- Jains call it Sammed Sikhar.
- Out of 24 Tirthankaras of Jains, 20 got nirvana on Parshvnatha Hills.
- On the mountain, there are the Shikharji Jain temples, an important tirthakshetra or Jain pilgrimage site.
- In Junagarh district, Gujarat.
- Girnar Hill near Junagadh.
- Many Jain and Hindu temples are located in Girnar.
- The group of temples of Jainism are situated on the Mount Girnar
- These temples are sacred to both Digambara and the Svetambara.
- Neminath also called Arishtanemi, the 22nd Tirthankara attained salvation here.
- The Neminath temple is the largest temple of the group.
- Major rock edicts of Ashoka:
- On black granite
- in Brahmi script
- On the same rock there are inscriptions in Sanskrit added around 150 CE by Rudradaman I, the Saka ruler of Malwa, a member of the Western Kshatrapas dynasty:
- earliest Sanskrit inscription
- mentions renovation of Sudarshana Lake which was originally built by Pusyagupta the provincial governor of Chandragupta.
- Another inscription dates from about 450 CE and refers to Skandagupta.
- Located in Bhavnagar district, Gujarat and a major pilgrimage centre for Jains.
- Adinatha, the first of the Jain tirthankaras, is said to have meditated on the Shatrunjaya hill, where the Palitana temples were later constructed.
- It is one of the most sacred sites of Svetambara tradition within Jainism.
- Jains believe that 23 of 24 Jain Tirthankaras, except Neminatha, sanctified the Palitana hill by their visits.
- There are more than 3000 temples located on the Shatrunjaya hills, exquisitely carved in marble bulit by Jains from the 11th century onwards.
- The main temple on top of the hill, is dedicated to the first Tirthankara Rishabhanatha (Adinatha).