The early Jains who visited Kerala, had not come with an intention of converting people. They had come here in search of peace in order to attain greater heights. The author of the epic 'Silappatikaram' was the Chera prince Ilango Adigal who had followed Jainism. Matilakam, the place where he lived, was an important centre of Jain faith and learning. When Hinduism attained supremacy, the Jain temples were converted into Hindu temples. Jainism started declining around the 8th century A. D and was completely wiped out by the 16th century. Still, one can see the remnants of it in the Jain settlements in Wynad and Kasargod areas of Kerala.
Jain Temple - Palakkad
According to the ancient history of Wayanad Jains are the first group who migrated to Wayanad. The Kannada speaking people in Wayanad are known as Jains, they belong to the Digambara sect and they are called Gowadas. Hoysala kings were the rulers of Kamataka'in the 12th century and Wayanad was a part of Karnataka. At that time Wayanad was known as Bailnad. The rulers of Hoysala Dynasty were Jains till Vishnuvardha. Around the medivial period Saiva religion became a strong hold in Karnataka and the frequent attacks from Salva religion to Jain lead to the migration of Jains to Kerala and especially to Wayanad.
The Jain Community in Wayanad
The Jain Community in Wayanad has been divided into nine units. In one unit there are nine committee members. Among them seven members are the Directors of the committee and the remaining two members are Chairman and Convener. The nine units are:
g) Poothadl Unit: There are forty-nine families and 163 members in this unit. Among them seventy-two are male and ninety-two are married.
1. Sulthan Bathery Jain temple
This is an ancient Jain temple situated at Sultan Bathery town. It is supposed to have been built around twelfth century A.D. The temple was taken over, by Tippu sultan and used as the Battery for his army. It is now under the possession of Archaeology Department who repaired the temple in 1996. Though this temple surroundings had a large Jain population in ancient times, there are no Jains in this area now. On the pillars and on the walls of the temple are engraved with the images of Tirthankaras. One of the specialities of this temple is that no piece of wood is used for the construction of the temple even the roof of the temple is made of stones. The Wayanad Jain community conducts a Navakhalasha Panchamritha Abhisheka Pooja at this temple on the occasion of Mahaveer Jayanthi every year.
This is temple situated about 1 k.m. from Mananthavady. It is supposed to be centuries old. In 1960 the hereditary custodian Late Shri.D.Padmaja Tharakan handed over the temple to a trust, which was formed with Late Shri. Palukkunnu Chandrayya Gowder as President. The temple was renovated in 1958 and Pancha Kalyana was conducted.
This temple is situated about eight k.ms from Mananthavady town. It was constructed in 1957 and Pancha Kalyana Prathista Mahotsava was conducted in June of the same year.
This is one of the main Jain temples of Wayanad. It was situated in a place called Kalpavathy or old Kalpetta. It was originally managed by the Uralan Shri. Payappa Tharakan after whom the management was taken over by Sri. P.C. Mandappa Gowder in 1926, who formed a trust to manage the temple in 1931. This temple, which was dilapidated, was shifted and newly constructed at t place called Ananthakrishna puram and Pancha Kalyana Mahotsava conducted in 1933 under the Leadership of Late Shri. M.K.Subbiah Gowder and then by Late Shri. M. K.Ananthayya Gowder. Presently the temple is situated on the Kalpetta Mananthavady road about five k.ms from Kalpetta town.
This Jain temple was originally situated at Arapatha near Echome. It was shifted to Kottavayal, and from there again to its present near Varadoor in. 1964. the temple was constructed under the leadership of late Shri.V. K. Vardhman Gowder. Panchakalyana Mahotsva was conducted in 1977 when the present idol was installed. A copper inscription has been found in this temple. And this inscription reads that, "Lalithappan son of a Kamataka king, came to Wayanad 300 years ago and donated valuable things to all the Jain temples." The temple is run by a trust, formed in 1953 by late V.P. Ananthayya Gowder.
This is one of the ancient Jain temples of Way an ad. A number of old and dilapidated ruins of other Jain temples are found around this temple. This temple is situated on the Panamaram - Nadayal road about five kilometers from Panamaram town. This place was originally known as Mannikapuram and was supposed to be a centre of trade in gems and pearls. In course of time this name was changed to Muthangadi and now as Puthanangadi. In 1950 a trust was formed to develop this temple under the leadership of late Shri. Ramachandra Gowder of Neervaram who renovated the temple. Later a new idol was installed and Panchakalyan was conducted in 1958 leadership of late Shri.M. V. Jinachandra Gowder.
This is a newly constructed temple in 1996. The Panchakalyana Prathishta Mahotsva was conducted in the same year. It is situated about three kilometers from the Kalpetta - Mananthavady main road at a place called Anjukunnu.
This is another oldest Jain temple in Wayanad. The temple is situated at Palukunnu, which is about six kilometers away from Anjukunnu on Mananthavady - Kalpetta main road. It was renovated in 1950 by Kalathingal Krishna Gowder. About three decades back Parsva Natha Swami Kshetra trust was formed. The current President is Shri P.M. Vardhamanan.
This is a very old Jain temple of Wayanad. The temple was run and managed by the hereditary 'Uralans'.
a. Thazheveettil Shri. ShanthaIj Tharakan
b. Shri. Brahma Soori Tharakan
c. Shri. M.P.C. Jain
d. Venniyodc Shri. Dcvaraj Tharakan
This temple is situated on top of a single huge rock called Myladipara near Kalpetta. There was a huge idol of Chandranatha Tirthankara, which was worshipped in earlier times. This idol was destroyed by miscreants and only remnants of it remain today. A number of caves are situated behind the rock, which was used by Jain monks in earlier times. A temple renovation committee was formed about three decades ago under the President ship of M. S. Padmiah Gowder and later Shri P.M. Vardhamana took over the President ship. A pooja is conducted dunng March/April every year in which all the community members participate
One of the main contributions of Jainism is that the introduction of eco-friendly cultivation in Wayanad. Jains were against the digging and ploughing of the land. So as to keep their belief they did not plough or dig the land. In the field of irrigation Jains have contributed a lot. Some of the dams and ponds built by Jains still exist in: Cheeral, Kazhampukunnu, Nambiarkunnu, Chulliyode, Kolliyadi, Thaloor, Sultan Bathery, Meenangadi, Panamaram, Anjukunnu and Nadavayal. These ponds and dams were built in the medivial period. The Jains of that time used to store water in these ponds, dams and irrigated the crops. Doddappan Pond, near Sultan Bathery is one of those kinds. These ponds and dams, adjourned to the Jain temples were not only for the exclusive use of the temples but also for the use of men and animals.
Shri.M.K.Jinachandran is considered to be the founding father of modern Wayanad. He was a great visionary and he did many things for the development of Wayanad and its people. He started the first High School in Wayanad, S.K.M.J.High.School, Kalpetta, which is considered to be one of the premier educational institutions in Wayanad. He also established fifteen L.P and U.P, Schools in Wayanad. For the development of the S.C and S.T sections he started a 'Kanyagurukulam'. Late Shri Ragavan Master, former MLA of Wayanad was a student of 'Kanyagurukulam'. The first to introduce telephone in the district is Shri. M K. Jinachrtdran who also introduced post offices here. He started the first petrol pump and vehicle service station.
Conversion of Jains to Islam
Two well known academicians of Kerala - Prof KM Bahauddin, former pro-vice chancellor of Aligarh Muslim and Osmania universities, and Dr MS Jayaprakash, professor of history at Kollam - throw some deep insights into the dark history of India......
Prof. Bahauddin recalls the strong reasons to believe that a large section of Jains had embraced Islam: 'The spread of Islam in Tamilnadu can be considered in three or four stages. Islam spread in Kerala and Tamilnadu when Jainism was under pressure (650-750 AD). The new religion was received without resistance.. Since Islam considers every human being with equality Jainism and Buddhism had no conflict with it. When Muhammad ibn Al-Qasim attacked Sindh, the Buddhists supported him because they were facing
annihilation at that time. A similar situation was prevailing in South India during 650-750 AD.. Muslims in Tamilnadu are called Anchuvanthar, Labba (teacher),Rauthar, Marakar (sailor) or Jonakan (Yavankan). TheAnchuvanam is the guild of traders and groups of
artisans. The Muslim mohallas of 'Anchuvan Vamsagar','Anchuvanathar', etc. are scattered all over Tamilnadu
and seem to be the en bloc conversion of Jain guilds engaged in different activities, especially weaving.
Those who ran away from Tamilnadu settled down in Sravanabalagola and Gomatheswaram in Karnataka. And,those who could not leave due to their economic interests converted to Islam. If we analyze the body structure, food, language, dress, ornaments, customs and habits of Anchuvanthar, it could be see that those are a continuation of Jain way of living and customs. Prof. Bahauddin recounts the spread of Jainism and Buddhism in Kerala, thus: 'Jainism spread in North Kerala around 200 BC. The Jain architectural remains in Canara and Malabar are not available anywhere else in South of Nepal. While Jainism entered North Kerala
via Mangalore, Salem, Coimbatore and Wayanad, it entered Southern Kerala from Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari,Nagercoil, Chitharal, etc. The hill near Anamala,which was an important Jain centre, is still called
'Jain Durgam'. The close-by Kurumala was also a Jain centre. From Anamala through Munnar, Devikulam,Kothamangalam, Perumbavoor, etc. they reached Neryamangalam, Kothamangalam, Perumbavoor and other places. The 'Kallil Kshetram' in Perumbavoor is an
important Jain monument as also the 'Jainmedu' in Vadakethara village of Palakkad district. Kerala's cave temples at Chitharal, Kallil, Trikur,Erunilamkode (Thrissur district) and Thiruveghapuram
(Palakkad district) were constructed during the period of Jain King Mahendra Verman-I (610-640 AD). Temple records of Rameswaram, Sucheendram, Poothadi (Wayanad), Keenalur (Kozhicode) , etc. show that they were part of 'Kunavai Koottam' during 10-11th
centuries. 'Koottam' is the place of living for Jain Sanyasis. Temple records show that all these present-day Hindu temples were Jain religious places till 11th century. Place names with Kallu, Poothan,
Aathan, Kotha, Palli, Ambalam, etc. were all Jain centres. Spread all over Kerala, names of these places show that Buddhism and Jainism were widespread. The famous Kalpathi in Palakkad district was a
Buddhist-Jain centre. The 'Ratholsavam' there is akin to the 'Kettukazhcha' of Buddhists. The present Bhagavati temples were also Jain temples. The group,'Adikal', had a prominent position among Jains whobecame 'Pisharadi' after absorption of Jainism in Kerala
Jain temple somewhere near Panamaram, on our way to Kuruva Island.
The ruined Jain temple stumbled upon had many beautiful carvings like this one.
Situated up on a hillock this amazing temple dates back to 6th century A.D, used to be a place of meditation and preachings of jains and after some time due to various changes it hold a bhagavathy idol too and now serves as a place to perform rites for bhagavathy, only in the recent past i has come to the notice of the archealogy dept and some measures have been taken and some renovations are under process, one Should visit not only for the temple as itself but for the view one gets from that hillock...amazing
chitharal mahavir carvings
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