Archaeological evidence shows Jainism was significant religious in Bengal during the early historic period.
SARAK: SARAK are a Jain community in Bihar , Bengal , Orissa and Jharkhand. They have been followers of Jainism since ancient times, however , they were isolated and separated from the Jain community in western northan and southern India. BHADRABAHU, the second louhacharaya and the author of kalpa sutra may have come from the SARAK community. The SARAK were agriculturist and moneylenders having landed properties. They have continued to remain vegetarian even through this practices is uncommon among other communities in the region. SARAK have parshva as a favored patron and recite the NAMOKARA mantra. The 24 th Tirthankara Mahavira visited this region accroding to kalpa sutra.
The SAKAR lost contact in Jain in rest of the India after its conquest by Ikhtiyar uddin Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar khijli .contact with the Digambara Bundelkhand Jain was re-establish when the parents Manju chaudhary (1720-1785AD) was appointed the governor of Cuttack by the Maratha Empire.
In 2009, more then 165 SARAK jains living in parts of West Bengal, Bihar, and Jharkhand visited the ancient Jain pilgrimage center of shravanabelagola.
1.Jain pilgrim place in Kolkata.
Pareshnath Jain Temple: Shyam bazar
The pareshnath Jain temple is made up of various mirror, glass mosaic and colored stone. It overlooks the beautiful garden. The temple dedicated to pareshnath, who was the 23rd Jain Tirthankar, and this is one of the most important Jain temples in kolkata. the temple consist of four Temple inside of it. The deity of Lord sitalnathji is seated in the sanctum sanctorum, and his diamond – studded forehead is a mejor attraction for the visitors.
2.Purulia Jain temple:
Accroding to the Jain Bhagavati sutra, the place existed as early as 5th century and one of the 16 Maja janapadas of its time.It is believed that purulia was part of country known as Vajra – bhumi, in ancient time. History manifests it shelf in the built heritage of purulia. Places and temples reflect the royal past. The classic Architecture splendors primary constitute of Jain origin and design. The vast treasure house of the sculpture and carvings show case excellent creativity and craft man – ship of the artisans.
A place near Boram in Arsha PS. It has ruins of some 15 temples and small shrines near the Kansai River about 6 kms from Joypur. Among them are 3 tall brick deuls with stucco decoration. The largest of which is to the south. All the trees have triangular corbelled entrances with towers built up by interior corbelling. The corbelled entrance of the southern temple is high and graceful with a delicate carve. All of them have rich curved brickwork with stucco application. They depict chaityas and miniature rekha motifs. The stucco application includes scrollwork with geese and foliation, dwarfs familiar from Pala-Sena art. The stucco is fine and would appear to date from the same period as that on the Bahulara and Satdeulia temples. The hunched supporting figures on the middle temple recall those on the 15th century temples of Barakar. But there is nothing else significant in common between these temples. Deulghat figure are much livelier and more rhythmical. All these temples have lost the tops of their towers, together with the amalakas and kalasas, but the western and southern ones still stand to a height of 50 feet or more, the Western one specially, on a base about 16 feet square, seems to have been slender and graceful, the southern one, 24feet square, is about the same size as the Bahulara temple. As on of of the rekha temples in Purulia district, the panks are basically tri-ratha (single central projection). Complicated by many decorative recesses or subsidiary rathas.
At least the central and Western temples seem to have originally had stone door-frames on a slightly projecting porch or antarala (entrance passage) to judge by the curved stumps still in situ. Each temple has a carved stone maker water outlet on the northern side.
The other temples at Deulghat which are mostly of stone have all fallen down. The largest stands at the head of a flight of steps leading up from the river – a low mount in Begler’s Day on which he found a slab inscribed in characters which may belong to the 9th or the 10th century. The establishment seems to have been Savite, for besides the lingas in situ, all then images relate to this cult. An image of Uma- Maheshvar has been removed to the State Archeological Galley. The oldest temples may be the bricked-temples, to judge by superiority of the workmanship, they had the large tile-like bricks typical of the Pala period.
Shankheshwarpuran Jain Tirth: purulia
The Digambar Jain Temple in the village of Mahadeb Berya (also called Jambad) houses a small temple with six statues of four Jain Tirthankars. The statues are house within the simple looking temple and are fixed upon an elevated platform.
An initiative of the Kharkhari Sarak community from the Dhanbad District of the neighboring state of Jharkhand the temple was established in 1973 and house the statues, which dates back several centuries.
The statues were collected from villages and were established inside the temple. Sadly today Mahadeb Berya doesn’t contain any ancient structures but traces of pillars, door frames and other structural evidences are scattered inside the temple complex. Next to the Jain Temple stands three Hindu temples dedicated to Durga, Shiva and Hari, thus setting up an unique example of communal harmony.
Every Sunday Jain devotees from Purulia town visit the temple and perform puja, complete with elaborate rituals.
This includes cleaning of the statues with milk and ghee (clarified butter), these is one of the main reasons the century old statues have maintained a perfect shine.
Nothing much is known about the age of the statues, but experts believe that they date back to the 10 – 11th century AD and have similarities with Pala School of Sculpture.
The temple houses six statues of four Jain Tirthankaras, the statues from left to right can be described as follows:
- Rishabhanatha (1st Tirthankara): The two foot statue is in the standing position of kayotsarga mudra. It is flanked by four other Tirthankaras and at the feet are two ladies with chamara (yak tail fan) in hand.
- Chandraprabha (8th Tirthankara): A small statue about 1 feet high. Probably was originally placed in the shallow depression of the outer walls of a temple. This is also in the standing position of kayotsarga mudra.
- Parshavanatha (23 rd Tirthankara): The statue is crowned with a hooded serpents and is flanked by four other Tirthankaras and at the feet are two ladies with chamara (yak tail fan) in hand.
- Parshavanatha (23 rd Tirthankara): This statue is the largest of the five and is slightly above 4 feet. It stands in kayotsarga mudra and is flanked by all the twenty four Tirthaankaras.
- Kunthunatha (17th Tirthankars): This is again a small standing statue flanked with smaller women statues
- Chandraprabha (8th Tirthankara): This is the smallest of the lot and is the only statue that is in sitting position. The statue is flanked by four women, two of them with chamara (yak tail fan) in hand while the other two have garlands.
- Try to visit the place on a Sunday. The people are friendly and photography is allowed.
Where to stay:
Shankheshwarpuran Jain Tirth
SH 5, Sankara, WB 723126, purulia- barakar road, near Amara JN, pH:9932542001
Pakbira jain temple:
Pakbirra Jain temples are a collection of three temples. Relics here date back to the ninth and tenth centuries AD. Most impressive of sculptures present in this temple is the colossal 7.5 feet high statue Shitalnatha and 8 feet high statue of Padmaprabha carved of polished black stone. Statue of Padmaprabha is also worshipped as Bhairavnath by people of Hindus faith. The temple has many sculptures including sculptures of Tirthankar Rishabhnath, Parshvanatha, Mahavira along with Goddess Devi Ambika and Padmavati.
This temple have the basic tri-ratha plan with simplified squad of moldings and several level of the wall niches and lower façade stones. The large amalaka fragments lying about, and the stone kalasha with lotus buds emerging of nagara stying. The principal temple, contains preliminary chambers and sanctum. That temple, facing west, perhaps enshrined the colossal figure of a Tirthankar over 2 meters high, with lotus symbol on its pedestal. The temple also has sculptures of eight standing tirthankaras, including three Rishabhanatha, 2 of Mahavira, Sambhavanatha, Padmaprabha, Chandraprabha and two images of Yaksha and Yakshi beneath a tree with a Jina in the branches. Three ayagapata or votive stupas and an idol of ambika with child and attendant, standing on her lion, beneath a flowering tea are also present here.
“Many scholars believe that a trade route passed through Purulia. The district’s temples and deities are mainly Brahmanical but have Jain influences at several places like Telkupi, Pakbirra, Deulghata, Budhpur and Suisa.”
3.Shri Adinath Bhagwan Jain Mandir, Kathgola:
Kathgola is another famous Jain temple situated near nashipur. The Adinath temple is build is an area over hundred acres. Garden with gorgeous decoration surrounding the temple is main attraction of this temple. There are several ponds enhancing beauty of this temple garden. There is a huge gate in the main entrance and a palace like building used as meseum. This museum was full with cut glass items manufactured by famous solar company in UK. Most of these expensive items were stolen in seventh decade of last century. Rai Laxmipat Singh Bahadoor Sugar built this temple along with a Dadabadi in 19th century. The place and garden are used many times for shootings Hindi and Bengali movies.
Shri Mahimapur Tirth:
Among the most of the five temples of West Bengal, this is the chief temple. It is believed that since it was setup in the beginning of 18th century , the Tirth has lived in prosperity .in those days many reach shravakas lived hear . In the year 1805 of the Vikram era, sherth Shri mahatabraji was honored with the title of Jagat sheth. This reach merchant build a splendid temple of stone tested abroad. Since the river there was flooded, the temple was removed else where. His descendants build this new temple in the year 1875 AD of the Vikram era and got this old idol reinstalled.
4.Shri jiagang treeth:
It is said that lord Mahavira had preached the people here in this treeth Kshetra. Thus in his memory many Jain temple had been build here .The idol of Lord parshvannatha is believed to process miraculous powers and is visited by thousand of Jain and non Jain from far-off places. They came hear to offer there prayers to the lord and receive his blessings. It is believed that if prayed with all devotion the lord fulfills the wishes of the pilgrims.
Temple of the Shri jiagang Treeth:
The temple of Shri jiagang Treeth houses the idol of lord parshvannatha. The steam bara temple has been beautifully decorated with intricate designs. These stand as unique example of ancient art and boats about the skills of the craftsmen. The walls and pillars of the temple are adorned with specimens of the ancient art and paintings. The idol of lords is 38 cm in hight and is white in colour. It is seated in a padmasana posture. The idol has been beautifully carved from a single stone and looks very appealing. There are also facility’s for upashrays , Aram bilshala and janabhandar. The claim and tranquil village environment makes it a perfect place for religious activities.
Place to stay:
Shree Neminathji SW. Jain Mandir,
near United Bank of India,
azimganj branch, jiaganj azimganj, WB- 742122.
pH 03483 253312.
5.Shree Azimgang Treeth, murshidabad:
Azimgang , small town in murshidabad is home to 7 Jain temples of immense historical , architectural and spiritual value are located.
* Shree Neminathji Temple:
this was built in samvat 1943 by Shree Singh covering an area of 2933.2616 Sq. MT
*Shree Padam Prabhuji Temple:
was constructed in 1880 AD by Yati Vijay Chandji Khattarajachhit covering an Area of 764.0173 Sq.Mt. The idols are 500 years old.
*Shree Sumatinathji Temple :
was built in 1856 AD by Uttam Chandji Nagar and was rebuilt by Setab Chandji Nahar in 1897 AD. This temple covers an area of 421.867 Sq.Mt
*Shree Sambhavnathji Temple:
was founded in 1886 AD by Rai Dhanpat singhji Dugar and covers an Area of 3665.6731 Sq.Mt. This temple is home to the large idol of Jain Swtambaras in Eastern India.
*Shree chintamani Parasnathji Temple:
was build in 1888 AD by Manhot famaily and idols are 500 years old.
*Shree Shantinathji Temple:
was constructed in 1873 AD by Gulab Kumari Bibi and one of the idols belongs to Samvat 1510.
*Ram Bagh samalia parasnath Mandir and Dadabadi,
was built in 1870AD by Shree Singh . This temple complex is also home to temples from jangipur , kiaganj, cossimbazar which were rebuilt here.
Place to stay:
Shree chintamani Parshvanath Jain Mandir, p.o.- Azimganj- 742122, murshidabad( W.B)
pancha jain tirth darshan