Contributed by Julia A. B. Hegewald
In maṇḍapa-line temples, the porches, halls and shrines are arranged to create a straight line from the front entrance to the main shrine at the opposite end. This line may be stronger in large temples, which may be composed of several examples of such architectural elements. Other architectural elements may be used to lengthen the main alignment. Such additions to a simple original temple may have been made over centuries. However, areas where Jains enjoyed wealth and protection may have intricate maṇḍapa-line temples that were designed from the beginning to have many elements.
The maṇḍapa-line temple is characterised by an axis of clearly aligned architectural elements that echoes the ritual movement of devotees and priests into the temple. It is a journey from light, openness and abundant stimulation of the senses towards the darkness and simplicity of the confined inner space of the shrine at the far end.
The simplest form of a maṇḍapa-line temple consists of a single small entrance hall that gives access to a vestibule before the cella or immediately to the shrine. All major Jain pilgrimage centres in India have ample examples of this simple architectural form, as may be seen on the sacred mountains of Sona-giri in Madhya Pradesh and Shatrunjaya in Gujarat and at Karkal in Karnataka.
Larger temples of this type, however, have:
The closed halls often have side entrances. Such central halls with side openings leading to side porches or subsidiary shrines are known as ‘large halls’ – mahā-maṇḍapas. These are particularly popular in north-western and central India. See, for instance, the temples at Kumbharia and Mount Abu in Rajasthan.
Developed Jain temples of the maṇḍapa-line type usually consist of large numbers of architectural elements aligned along a main axis. This arrangement of temple elements – halls and porches – serves the functions of:
Completely detached platforms, halls, gateways – toraṇas – or water structures can be added to further lengthen the line of architectural elements. Two examples are the detached platform at Phalghat in Kerala and the line of gateways at Patan in Gujarat.
Often, Jain temples started simply but were enlarged by adding elements, such as additional halls and supplementary shrines, thus developing impressive dimensions over time. Most Jain temples combine building components from various centuries up to the present day. The older a temple, the more often it has usually been modified and enlarged.
During periods in which Jainism flourished and was supported by influential patrons, however, more elaborate temple constructions were also designed and built from the outset. Examples of such periods are the reigns of the:
Multiplicity is an important issue in Jain temple architecture in general. In maṇḍapa-line temples, there can be multiple free-standing or interconnected shrines and many image-chambers. These may be arranged on both a horizontal level and on various vertical layers added to the building. This reflects Jain religious practice, and is related to the diverse objects of veneration housed inside the temples and to distinct Jain cosmological issues.
These are found inside the multiple shrines and halls on the ground floor, which form the typical spatial layout of developed Jain temples. Often there are further subsidiary image-chambers and interconnected levels of halls on additional levels inside temple structures. These can be raised sanctums as well as some which have been sunk into the ground. The most complex temples combine raised with subterranean layers.
Multiplicity is also created by surrounding these often very complex maṇḍapa-line temples with small shrines and subsidiary temple structures. These can be free-standing.
However, a typical architectural feature is to connect large numbers of small shrines, consisting of porches and image-chambers only – deva-kulikās or deva-koṣṭhas – to line or form the compound walls of a temple at the top of the tall terraces. Often, the walls between the individual shrines have been removed to create passages – bhamatīs or bhramantikās – used for the sacred rite of circumambulation – pradakṣiṇā. Such lines of interconnected deva-kulikā shrines surround the well-known Jain temples on Mount Abu and the Ādinātha Temple at Ranakpur, all in Rajasthan. Deva-kulikās too can be double-storied and may be linked to the central temple buildings on several levels, producing spatial patterns of great complexity.
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.