Contributed by Julia A. B. Hegewald
A porch is a roofed structure outside a building's entrance, attached to the external wall and projecting outwards from it. A porch may have open or closed sides and more than one storey. Porches are essentially very small, simple halls and provide access to shrines and larger maṇḍapas. Porches create spaces for people to pause before entering or leaving the building proper.
Porches are frequently called ardha-maṇḍapas but other terms can be used, depending on the region and style of the porch. Amongst the most common are:
In addition to the main entrance, through a porch, many temple halls have two side entrances, which frequently also have porches. Clear examples are the Sambhavanātha Temple at Sravasti in Uttar Pradesh and the Ādinātha Temple at Kulpak in Andhra Pradesh.
The temple hall – maṇḍapa – is a fundamental element in Jain religious buildings. It can take different forms, including being several storeys high or a free-standing structure. All temple halls in maṇḍapa-line temples, however, lead the devotee to the sanctum at the heart of the building, which contains the main image and is the centre of worship.
Larger halls can be open – raṅga-maṇḍapa or nr̥tya-maṇḍapa – with columns marking their boundaries at the sides. Such halls are particularly typical of central India, where they can be seen in the Caubārā Dehrā at Un. Looking into pillared halls from the outside, they are airy and flooded by sunlight.
Halls can also be closed – gūḍha-maṇḍapa – rooms, with walls at the side. Light and air is only admitted to such halls through one or several porches. A good example is the Pārśvanātha Temple at Khajuraho.
The space inside the halls, whether open or closed, is usually pillared. The pillars support the roof and structure the internal space into distinct areas. There are specific terms for halls with certain numbers of pillars or bays, such as the popular nine-bayed halls, referred to as trika-maṇḍapa, nava-caukī and nava-catuṣkī. Examples include the Mahāvīra Temples at Osian, Ghanerao, Sewadi and Kumbharia, all in Rajasthan.
There are also multi-storeyed temple halls – meghanāda-maṇḍapas – connected to raised image-chambers. These can be seen in the Ādinātha Temples at Ranakpur in Rajasthan and in the Bālā Bhāī Tunk on Mount Shatrunjaya in Gujarat as well as in many of the Jain temples in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.
Noteworthy are the detached open halls – sabhā-maṇḍapas. A prominent example can be seen in front of the Pārśvanātha Basti at Halebid, Karnataka. Although they are free-standing, they visually extend further the line of elements that are arranged along one axis in large maṇḍapa-line temples.
Temple halls create an approach to the shrine and house additional religious statues and ritual paraphernalia. They are used for ritual activities – pūjā – and the recitation of sacred texts. During larger gatherings, the devotees sing hymns and watch ceremonial dance performances in the temple hall.
The innermost sanctum in which the main icon of a temple is housed is referred to as the garbha-gr̥ha – 'womb chamber'. In temples with more than one shrine, the main image-chamber is usually referred to as the mūla-garbha as it contains the principal statue – mūla-nāyaka or adhi-nāyaka.
The cella of maṇḍapa-line temples is usually square and has no windows that let in natural light. In its simplicity and dimly lit state it resembles a cave inside a mountain, a model which the superstructure of the temple aims to copy.
Based on perceptions of ritual purity, sometimes not all devotees are allowed to enter the shrine, which is the purest and most sacred area of the temple. For this reason, a small vestibule – antarāla or kapilī – sits between the image-chamber and its adjacent hall. Worshippers can stand in this intermediate compartment to:
A term for a Jain temple common in Southern India.
Formally recognised leaders within a religion. The clergy often perform rituals, lead worship and instruct believers in religious principles. Lay men and women usually complete formal study before being initiated into the clergy. Clerics are active among lay believers, often living in society. They may have specific roles or ranks and may progress through a hierarchy to become top leaders of the religious organisation.
A belief system about the universe that covers its origin, structure and parts, and natural laws and characteristics such as space, time, causality and freedom.
Vision, insight or perception. It works with the quality of jñāna – knowledge in the soul – to gain deep, true understanding and is ever-changing.
Also one of the 14 'gateways' or categories of investigation of mārgaṇā or 'soul-quest'.
A god or divine figure, often with physical powers beyond those of a human and with superhuman abilities.
An enthusiastic follower of a religion. Can also describe a keen enthusiast of an individual, concept or activity.
A donor gives freely. He or she may give alms to a mendicant or money to an institution. This donation may be for specific items or purposes, such as the creation of art. A donor, sponsor or patron may be named or pictured in the artwork.
The inner room of a temple, where the main image of a Jina sits.
The westernmost state in India, which is a stronghold of Śvetāmbara Jainism.
The majority faith in India, often called Sanātana Dharma or Eternal Law. With no single named founder, Hinduism has a pantheon of gods and a range of different beliefs. Most Hindu traditions revere the Veda literature but there is no single system of salvation or belief, although many Hindus believe in the soul, karma, the cycle of births and liberation. Large Hindu communities exist in southern Asia, with smaller groups across the world.
An image of a deity or concept that is worshipped either as a god or as a representation of the deity.
Follower of the 24 Jinas or an adjective describing Jain teachings or practices. The term 'Jaina' is also used although 'Jain' is more common.
A 'victor' in Sanskrit, a Jina is an enlightened human being who has triumphed over karma and teaches the way to achieve liberation. A synonym for Tīrthaṃkara, which means 'ford-maker' or one who has founded a community after reaching omniscience through asceticism. The most famous 24 – Ṛṣabha to Mahāvīra – were born in the Bharata-kṣetra of the middle world, but more are found in other continents. There have been Jinas in the past and there will be some in the future.
State in south-west India.
The 24th Jina of the present age. His symbolic colour is yellow and his emblem the lion. Mahāvīra or 'the great hero' is his title. His birth name was Vardhamāna, meaning 'ever increasing'. His existence is historically documented but the two main sects of Digambara and Śvetāmbara Jains have slight differences in their accounts of his life.
The hall of a Jain temple. Creating an approach to the inner shrine, the temple hall usually has columns and ritual equipment. It may display idols if the temple belongs to a murti-pujaka sect. The hall is where the congregation gathers for rituals of worship, to hear sermons and readings of sacred texts and to sing hymns and perform dances.
A sacred sound, syllable, word or phrase that is believed to produce spiritual change if recited correctly. A mantra can be recited aloud or silently, and is often repeated. Mantras are closely associated with religions that originated in India, such as Hinduism and Buddhism as well as Jainism. The chief Jain mantra is the Namaskāra-mantra, which is recited daily, while another mantra very popular in Indian culture generally is Auṃ.
The 'liberation' of the soul from its body and thus from the cycle of rebirth because it has no karma and becomes omniscient. The ultimate aim of Jainism is to achieve mokṣa and become a liberated soul in siddha-śilā.
The 22nd Jina of the present age, also called Ariṣṭanemi. His symbolic colour is blue or black and his emblem the conch. There is no historical evidence of his existence.
The Jains hold that Nemi is the cousin of the Hindu god Kṛṣna. The tale of his renunciation and jilting of his fiancée Princess Rājīmati are famous among the Jains.
The petrified footprint of a dead mendicant or holy figure, which is treated as a commemorative sacred object.
The 23rd Jina of the present age. His symbolic colour is green and his emblem the snake. Historical evidence points to his living around 950 to 850 BC.
A small town in Gujarat that was a capital city in medieval times, a Jain centre of learning and art with beautiful temples. Some of these and remains of other structures can be seen today. Old name: Aṇahilla Paṭṭaṇa.
Sanskrit term for the ritual walk around the platform on which a Jain temple stands, called the jagatī or vedī.
Sanskrit for 'worship' or 'homage'. All Jains perform rites of honour to the 24 Jinas. Rites of worship take place daily, with more elaborate ceremonies performed on holy days. Mendicant and lay Jains perform different rituals. Some sects worship images – mūrti-pūjaka – and others do not, and different sects have various practices. Focused on images or not, worship can be:
The largest state in India, in the north-western part of the country.
A sequence of actions that must be followed to perform a religious ceremony. The set of actions is largely symbolic, for example offering food to statues symbolises sacrificing to a deity. The ritual actions are often accompanied by set phrases.
First Jina of the present age. His symbolic colour is gold and his emblem the ox or bull. There is little historical evidence of his existence. Jains believe that he established many social institutions, such as marriage and the caste system, and introduce crafts and agriculture to the people.
The most sacred area of a temple, church or religious building, often where the image of a deity is housed and worshipped. An outdoor space that is associated with a deity may also be considered a sanctuary.
A small structure holding an image or relics, which may be within a temple or building designed for worship. A shrine may be a portable object. Worshippers pray and make offerings at a shrine, which is often considered sacred because of associations with a deity or event in the life of a holy person.
A building reserved for public worship or prayer, usually dedicated to one religion and run by members of that religion's clergy.
A Gujarati word meaning ‘enclosure’, which is used for a temple compound. Bounded by the compound wall – prākāra – this is a sacred area inside which is the main temple and subsidiary shrines.
Sanskrit for 'instrument' or 'machine', a yantra is a mystical diagram used in religious rituals. Yantras are typically formed of symmetrical, concentric circles and may also have the diagram of a lotus in the middle of numerous squares. Containing the names of the Jinas and sacred mantras, such as oṃ, yantras are meditation aids.