This is Shri 1008 Shantinath Digambar Jain Temple, one of the most religious temples for the people who follow Jainism. The religion Jainism is formally known as Jain Dharma, it is a very ancient Indian religion where one can find eternal peace. It is said that one who follows the Jain Dharma has to follow this religion for his entire life. This Shantinath Digambar Jain temple is commonplace for Jain community, here they worship their god. Every year followers of Jainism visit this temple to enhance their knowledge and ability to follow their religion properly. Here in this temple, you will find idols of some Jain Gods like Shri Shantinathji, Shri Kunthunathaji, and Shri Aranathaji.
This temple is present in the middle of the forest so to reach the temple is also a sort of adventure. The temple is situated in the outskirts of the city Bhopal which is present in the state of Madhya Pradesh. This Shantinath Digambar Jain temple is about 23 km away from the main Bhopal city. There is no certainty that only Jain followers visit the temple, here devotees and people from all religion do visit this temple. As the Jainism says every religion is similar and equal. Equality is the prime principles of this religion. That’s why every devotee who follows Jainism always maintain peace and harmony with peoples of other religion.
The Architecture of Jain Temple
However, most of the Jain temples have the same architecture as the Hindu temples have. You will find many similarities between such type of temples. This Shri 1008 Shantinath Digambar Jain Temple is also very ancient, and no one knows how much exactly the age of the temple is. But according to the researches it is estimated that the temple is around 900 years old. As of now, the temple is in the development phase, there are much all-round development going on the temple. The Jain organisation in collaboration with the government is now renovating the entire temple.
However, if you visit this temple now you will see the remains and old structure of the temple. Currently, the temple is renovating into a new avatar. But the old design is the primary structure, here you can see different work of architecture which is engraved on the walls of the temple. There are several remains which are not in proper condition but the intriguing architecture done on some idols are just mesmerizing. Well, as soon as you enter the temple you will see the three statues of Jain gods. One is Shri Shantinathji, Shri Kunthunathaji, and Shri Aranathaji.
The idols are made with pure stone which is carved so accurately and precisely that it looks completely natural. The idol present in the centre is of Shri Shantinathji Digambar, the Jain god and other two idols are present next to it. The other two idols are also made with the same stone but the size of these idols are small in comparison to the idol of Shri Shantinathji. There are stairs next to both the idols through which one can go to the top of the idol to worship properly. Similarly, stairs are also available to step down to the ground floor from where every devotee prays.
Look At The Ancient Manastambha
You must have seen many Manastambha in most of the Jain temples of the world. Well, most of the Manastambha are generally the same but here the Manastambha you will see is something different and unique. The first thing you will notice about this pillar is the height. Basically, it is greater than any other pillar present in the Jain temples. it is slightly greater in size and in height. This is because the Manastambha is made on a two-layered platform, due to which the height of this pillar is bigger in comparison to other pillars.
As you reach near the Manastambha you will see intrigue architecture of design. The entire design is very beautiful and carved on the platform, that’s why the design of the platform and pillar looks beautiful. If you want to appreciate the design then you must visit the place in broad sunlight. The upper portion of the Manastambha is packed with mirrors and inside it, there is a small idol of Jain God facing in all four directions. This concept of the small idol of Jain God is present in all the Manastambha.
Explore Some Famous Sculptures
One thing you will notice about this temple is that around the premise of this temple, you will see some very unique sculptures and antique idols. There are numerous idols and figures which are scattered all over the premise of the temple. In earlier days all these idols have to be explored by the tourist from the jungle. As of now almost all sculptures are now explored and brought in the premise of the temple. Now the devotees can easily see and explore these sculptures.
Most of the sculptures needed to be carbon dated, as of now nobody knows the exact date of these sculptures. Well, most of the sculptures were destroyed by the invaders and some were damaged due to harsh weather condition. Still, the government and the temple organisation are working on how to protect these historical idols which represents the history of the temple. The structural and the edificial work on some of the idols of Jain God are very delightful.
The Five Sub-Shrines
As soon as you leave the main temple and explore the near-by places then you will see the five sub-shrines. These sub-shrines are present a few meters away from the main temple. These sub-shrines are present in the open area of the temple premise. However, these sub-shrines are constructed into a perfect alignment, and it is a primary attraction for the devotees and tourist.
The tourist click images by standing next to these sub-shrines. There are no image or idol present in those sub-shrines. These sub-shrines are made on square platforms, which are all even and equally measured. Even the sub-shrine are also equally measured and their tomb is also exactly the same. The measurement and the diameter of the four pillars are also the same. The reason to make these sub-shrines is still not explored.
According to the Jain religion and their textbooks, all the Jain followers follow and admire the Lord Mahavir. Lord Mahavir was the last and the twenty-fourth Tirthankara of Jain religion. Their main aim was to spread humanity and enlightenment, so visiting such a place where enlightenment or self-realization is served is a good idea. So do visit Shri 1008 Shantinath Digambar Jain Temple.