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Oct 18, 2009

Early Jainism Influence in Goa

Jainism is another ancient religion of India, similar to but olderthan Buddhism. Founded and popularized by Shree Mahavir Swami. UnlikeBuddhism which has almost no followers in India today, Jainism has avery strong presence in India. Many of its present day followers canbe identified by their last name 'Jain".

There are ruins of three Jain temples belonging to Vijayanagarperiod. The first Jain Basti of Neminath is from Bandivade of Pondataluka. The other two Jain temples are located in Cudnem and Jainkotarea of Narve and both these temples belong to the Vijayanagar period.

Ruins of the Neminath Jain Basti at Bandivade
A stone inscription from Nagueshi exhibited in the Museum ofArchaeological Survey of India refers to the reconstruction of thisJain Basti during Vijayanagar period in 14th century. The NeminathBasti of Bandivade is square shaped and built of laterite blocks withgrilled windows. An arch is provided at the entrance. It is possiblethat a dome existed over the structure. Lime mortar has been found tohave been used extensively as the binding material.

Ruins of the Cudnem Jain Temple.
The "Garbagriha" as well as the "Mukha Mandapa" are constructed oflaterite with Lime mortar being used as the the binding material. Theentrance of garbagriha has an arch. The laterite blocks discovered inthe excavation clearly indicate that there were arches in the "MukhaMandapa". These arches were embellished with a laterite floralpendant at the center of the arch. One such floral pendant has beendiscovered in a recently conducted excavation. The presence of thesearches strongly suggest that there was a overlying dome covering thetemple. This "Mukha Mandapa" is 8 x 8.30 meters. There are fourpillars in the center and four others on each side wall.The "Garbagriha" as well as the "Mukha Mandapa" stand on a 2meterhigh platform. The octagonal "Shikara" of the "Garbagriha" has fivetiers. The lower most is half spherical with a rectangular smallentrance for the "Garbagriha".

This is the only medieval temple of Goa which has a "Nagara" (Indo-Aryan) architectural features. The high platform and the tall Shikaragive a sense of soaring height to the temple. The "Mukha Mandapa" hasa gabled roof with tiles. A "Prakara" wall with a base of pillarshas also been unearthed. This Jain temple is similar to theSaptakoteshwar temple of Narve and the Chandranath temple of Paroda.It is possible that this temple was the forerunner of thesearchitecturally similar temples. The use of Lime mortar and thearchitectural features indicate that the temple belonged toVijayanagar period. A broken stone head of a "Teerathankara" or aJain saint, with beautifully sculpted curls was also found nearthe "Garbagriha". A stone torso of another Jain "Teerathankara" witha "Srivasta" symbol was also unearthed. Another find occurred whiledesilting a nearby well in the vicinity of the temple. At a depth of5 meters, the right leg of a Statue was discovered. It appears thatthe broken head and the leg belonged to the same image. This image ofa "Teerathankara" belongs to the Kadamba period. It however appearsthat Jains during the Kadamba period were not prosperous to beginwith but in the subsequent Vijayanagar Period, they might have gainedprosperity due to their active participation in mercantile activity.

Ruins of the Narve Jain Temple.
The ruins today are called "Jainkot" and are located in the Villageof Narve in Bicholim taluka. They lie very near the present temple ofSaptakoteshwar . In front of the Saptakoteshwar temple, there isancient pathway constructed of locally available laterite slabswhich lead to the ruins of Jain temple. These consist of mainly doorjams, ceiling canopy and lintels chlorite schist. The Jain temple wasbuilt of laterite. Lime mortar has also been noted to have beenused extensively here also. In an inscription there is only a mentionof the name "Sparsvanath" and along with the name of the month andday, corresponding to the English calendar date of March 13th, 1151AD. During this period the Kadambas were in power and its ruler atthat time was King Vijayaditya.

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