Jun 20, 2009

Jainism in Wayanad


According to the ancient history of Wayanad Jains is 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 migrated Jains first came to Panamaram on the banks of Kabani river. From there the Jain groups spread to the different parts of Wayanad. These Jains were basical1y farmers. Digging and ploughing were against their belief. So as to keep their belief they introduced eco-farming in Wayanad. Jainism was in its peak in Wayanad during the days of Hoysala Dynasty. Hoysala kings promoted Jainism and they sent many missionaries to the different parts to spread Jainism. There are many proofs, which justify the existence of Jainism in Wayanad. The history tells us that the Bathery Jain temple was built 800 years ago. Earlier this temple was known as Kidangad Basti and the older name of Batheiy was Hennaredu Bedhi (twelve streets). These two names are Kannada names and it shows the influence of the Kamataka Jains. Some other similar place names are: Bennagode (Venniyode), Palagonthu (Palukunnu), Muthangadi (Puthangadi), and Hosengadi (Mananthavady).

It is believed that the wall inscriptions in Edakkal Caves (the oldest historical monument in Wayanad) are closely related to Jainism. The Swastik mark, the mark of the seventh Tirthankara, Suparswa Natha, has been engraved on the wall. The Chandrabimbamark, the mark of the eighth Tirthankara, Chandra Natha, also can be seen on the wall of the cave. The other inscriptions on the wall are the Hoysala kings'. The former Hoysalas were Jains. In the thirteenth century Jainism was in its peak in Wayanad. By the end of eighteenth centuiy the religion became too weak because of the increasing influence of the Hindu religion and the invasion of Saiva - Vaishnava religions. In this period many Jain temples were destroyed and some of them were possessed by Hindus. The relics of these ruined temples can be seen in Bathery, Puthangadi and Poothadi. At present Wayanad is considered to be one of the important Jain centres. According to the latest survey the total Jain population in Wayanad is 1581. Among them 797 are male and 784 are female. In Wayanad the main Jain centers are: Mananthavady, Panamaram, Anjukunnu, Varadoor, Kalpetta and Kaniyambatta.

Jain temple is one of the most important amongst a series of ruins spread across the state of Kerala that testify to a period of strong Jain presence in this region. Believed to have been built in the 13th century, it served as a Hindu shrine and eventually as an ammunition store for Tippu Sultan's marching armies.

1 comment:

San said...

Let me share this article in my website www.wayanad.co.in

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