Nov 24, 2007

Contributions of Jainism to Indian culture

By Dr. K. C. Jain

(i) Stüpas and Monasteries :
Jaina architecture is concerned withStüpas, monasteries, caves, temples and Mänastambhas. The Ävaáyaka Chürîi of Jinadäsa (C. 676 A.D.) mentions the Stüpa dedcated to the 20th Tïrthaõkara Munisuvrata at Vaiáälï, but its remains have not yet been discovered. The Stüpa of Mathura dedicated to the seventh Tïrthankara, Supärávanätha is known to have been built by the gods Devanirmita10. This shows that it was very old, and its origin was forgotten. Some ascribed it to the third century B.D. while others to the sixth century B.C. In two votive tablets, the figure of this Stüpa is found engraved. Another Jaina Stüpa of Mathura is of Kushäîa period. From Jaina traditions, the Mauryan ruler Samprati is known to have constructed several Jaina temples and monasteries. 'NigaûasaVihära Dïpe11 inscribed on one of the pot sherds at Kasrawad in Madhya Pradesh proves the existence of Jaina monastery in the third century B.C. The excavations 12 conducted at a site called Vaââamanu, named after Vardhamäna in the Krishna Valley, yielded the Jaina remains of the Stüpas, ellipsoidal structures and monasteries of the period between the second century B.C. to the second century A.D. The names of Jinonavihära and Samprativihära are found engraved on the pottery pieces. The name Samprati-Vihära proves tha Samprati was a historical figure. At Paharpur in Bengal was found a copper plate inscription of the fifth century A.D. which mentions the name of the Äcärya Guhanandi of Pañchastüpänvaya and Jaina Vihära (monastery) of Vaûa Gohäli. In excavation also, the remains of the monastery were discovered.

(ii) Caves : There are caves and caverns associated with Jainism in the southern Districts of Madurai and Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu. The inscriptions of the third or second century B.C. engraved on them record mostly the dedication of abodes for Jaina monks. The caves on the Udaigiri and the Khandagiri hills near Bhuvaneshwar in Orissa belong to the second or the first century B.C. as known from the inscription of Khäravela. The Jaina caves of the second century B.C. have been discovered at Ghuntupalli in the East Godavari District ofAndhra Pradesh. The Son-Bhaîâära cave at Räjgôha in Bihar is assigned to the first century B.C. At Pale in Poona District of Maharashtra, there is a cave with an inscription of the first century B.C. At Pabhosa, near Allahabad, there are two caves with an inscription of the second century B.C. which records their dedication by Ashädhasena from Ahichchhatra for the use of Kaáyapïya Arhats. At Junagarh,(Saurashtra) near Bava Phyära Maûha are a group of Jaina caves of the second century A.D. The Udayagiri cave No. 25 in Madhya Pradesh belongs to the fifth century A.D. The Bhadrabähu cave on Chandragiri hill at Shravana Belagolä is note worthy in the south. The Sittanaväsala cave in Tamilnadu belongs to the third century A.D. The Badami cave of the seventh century A.D. is also worth mentioning. There are the Jaina caves at Ahihole also. The Jaina caves namely Chotä Kailäsa, Indra Säbhä and Jagannätha Sabhä are the finest from the artistic point of view. The pillars and walls are exquisitely carved. The Jaina caves at Gwalior or the 15th century belong to theTomara period.

(iii) Temple Architecture : The remains of the foundation of the oldest Jaina temple have been discovered at Lohanipura, near Patna. It was a square temple (8' 10" C 8' 10") of the Mauryan period i.e .third century B.C. The excavations at Kankali Tila Mathura disclosed remains of two Jaina temples of the Kushäîa period, i.e. the second century A.D.

From the sixth century A.D. onwards, three main styles of temples known as the Nägara, the Drävida, and the Väsara are recognized. The fundamental characteristics of Nägara style are cruci form plan and curvili near Áikhara and it was prevalent in the region between theHimalayas and the Vindhyas. The outstanding and common characteristic of the temples of Dräviâa style is the pyramidal elevation of the tower, and this tyle was confined to the part of the country lying between the river Krishna and Kanyakumari. The Vesara style is the mixed one of the above style, and it was found between the Vindhyas and the river Krishna. The Jaina temples of the above the three styles are noticed.

Jainism prospered greatly in medieval period under the patronage o fthe ruling dynasties, Jaina temples were built during the reign of the Gangas, the Chälukyas, the Räshûrakütas, the Pallavas, the Cholas and the Áantaras in the South. "The Meghuti Jaina temple built in 634 A.D. during the reign of Pulakeáin II by Ravikïrti is said to be the oldest temple of Drävida style in the south. The important temple of this style is in Paûûakäla. The Jaina temples at Huvancha and Gudaunear Tirthahalli, Lakundi in Dharwad District, Jinanathapura, Halebid, Ganigitti, Tirumalalai, Tiruparuli, Kundarama,Tiruppanayura, "Mudabidri, etc. are noteworthy. Jaina temples built in Kerala region13 between ninth and eleventh centuries were of two main types - rock-cut and structural temples. Temples were also built in the Vijayanagara empire. These temples give an idea of the Drävida style of Jaina architecture of the south.

The Jaina temples of the Nägara style were built in large number in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat. The Jaina temples of Devagarh, Gyaraspur, Badoh and Büâhï Chanderi in Madhya Pradesh belong to the Pratïhära period. The pillars, gateways and the walls of the temples are finely carved. The Mälädevï temple of Gyäraspur, which is partly rock-cut and partly structural, consists of a porch, hall, vestibule and sanctum with an ambulatory. The Jaina temple of Badoh with twenty-five cells was built between the ninth and twelfth century A.D. The Jaina temples of Khajuraho belong to the Chandella period. These are lofty edifices without any enclosure and erected on a high platform terrace. Like the exterior, the interior of these temples specially doorways, pillar architraves and ceilings are richly carved with figures and intricate geometrical and floral designs. During theParamära period, Bhümija style became popular. The two Jaina templesof 11-12th century A.D. at Un are of this style. The carvings of these temples are of high order. At Bhojapur, near Bhopal, there are remains of the Jaina temple. The Jaina temples of Sonagiri,Muktagiri, Kundalpur and Mandu were built during the Muslim period.

In Rajasthan, the Jaina temple built in the eighth century A.D. at Osia during the reign of Vatsaräja is the oldest, and it consists of a sanctum, a closed hall and an open porch. it is famous for its carvings. The Jaina shrines at Kumbharia are noteworthy as some of them contain beautiful ceiling slabs. The two celebrated Jaina temples of Abu are the best examples not only of Jaina but Indian architecture. One dedicated to Ädinätha was built by a minister named Vimala in 1031 A.D. while the other was constructed by Tejapäla in1230 A.D. These temples are famous for the minutely carved decoration of the ceilings, pillars, doorways and niches. The Dhai din käJhoãpra seems to be originally a Jaina temple constructed by the Chauhäna ruler. Vigraharäja. The Singhïjï Kä Mandira at Sanganer belongs to the tenth century A.D. because there is an inscription of954 A.D. on the bandaraväla of the main shrine in the second hall of the temple. The Jaina temple of Áäntinätha at Jhalarapatan was built in 1046 A.D. by Säha Pïpä. The shrine and Áikhara of this temple are old. The Jaina temple of Lodorva near Jaisalmer is of the eleventh century A.D., and it's toraîadvära is elaborately carved and richly decorated. The Jaina temple of Räîakapur built in 1440 A.D. is the most complicated and extensive temple. There are twenty domes supported by about 1420 pillars and no two pillars are alike. Besides twelve in the central Áikhara, there are eighty-six cells of veryvaried form and size surrounding the interior, and all their facades more or less adorned with sculptures. The great Jaina temples of Chintamani Pärávanätha, Ôishabha, Áantinätha, Sambhavanätha andMahävïra in Jaisalmer constructed one after another in a period between the twelfth and the fifteenth centuries are excellent. Profuse ornamentations in the shape of foliage, flowers birds and human figures were used in decorating every part of the pillar, arch,lintel or bracket of these temples. There are several old temples atÁatrunjaya and Girnar which throw significant light on the gradual development of art.

(iv) Mänasthambhas : The exquisite Jaina Mänastambhas are found atÁravaîa Belagolä Muâubidre and Kärkala. The Mänastambha of Devagadh is artistic. The Jaina tower known as Kïrtistambha of the 15 thcentury ar Chitor is 80 feet in height, and is composed of eight storeys. It is full of decorations.

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