Sri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir in Chandni Chowk, Delhi.

Delhi is an ancient centre of Jainism, home to over 165 Jain temples. Delhi has a large population of Jains spread all over the city. It has had continued presence of a Jain community throughout its history, and it is still a major Jain centre.

Rajput period

In Delhi, during the Tomara dynasty, the Jain poet Vibudh Shridhar wrote the Apabhramsa work Pasanah Chariu "The Conduct of Parshva" in VS 1189 with the support of a Jain merchant prince, Nattal Sahu. This book provides the very first account of the city of Delhi and the first mention of the Agrawal community. Agrawals continue to be the major business community in and around Delhi. Vibudh Shridhar is the first known Agrawal author.[1] His Pasanah Chariu provides the first reference to the Agrawal community and the first historical reference to the legend of the origin of the name Dilli for Delhi.[2]

हरियाणए देसे असंखगाम, गामियण जणि अणवरथ काम|परचक्क विहट्टणु सिरिसंघट्टणु, जो सुरव इणा परिगणियं|

रिउ रुहिरावट्टणु बिउलु पवट्टणु, ढिल्ली नामेण जि भणियं|
Hariyāṇaē dēsē asaṅkhagāma, gāmiyaṇa jaṇi aṇavaratha kāma. Paracakka vihaṭṭaṇu sirisaṅghaṭṭaṇu, jō surava iṇā parigaṇiyaṁ. Riu ruhirāvaṭṭaṇu biulu pavaṭṭaṇu, ḍhillī nāmēṇa ji bhaṇiyaṁ|
There are countless villages in Haryana country. The villagers there work hard. They don't accept domination of others, and are experts in making the blood of their enemies flow. Indra himself praises this country. The capital of this country is ḍhillī.

जहिं असिवर तोडिय रिउ कवालु, णरणाहु पसिद्धउ अणंगवालु || वलभर कम्पाविउ णायरायु, माणिणियण मणसंजनीय ||
Jahiṁ asivara tōḍiya riu kavālu, ṇaraṇāhu pasiddha'u aṇaṅgavālu || valabhara kampāviu ṇāyarāyu, māṇiṇiyaṇa maṇasan̄janīya.
"The ruler Anangapala is famous, he can slay his enemies with his sword. The weight caused the Nagaraja to shake."

Manidhari Jinchandra Suri visited Delhi (then often called Yoginipur) during the rule of the Tomara king Madanpal. He died in Samvat 1223. His samadhi is now known as the Mehrauli Dada Bari.[3]

Khalji period

Alauddin Khalji recruited Thakkar Pheru a Shrimal Jain from Kannana in Haryana as a treasurer.[4] He was an expert in coins, metals, and gems. For the benefit of his son Hemapal, he wrote several books on related subjects including Dravya Prariksha on metals and various coins; and Ratna Pariksha on various precious gems stones.[5] He was continuously employed until the rule of Ghiasuddin Tughluq.

Tughlaq period

Delhi was the location where the Digambara Bhattaraka institution was initiated according to some authors. Bhaṭṭāraka Prabhachandra, who was the disciple of Bhaṭṭāraka Ratnakirti of Ajmer, visited Delhi at the invitation of the lay Jains there. He visited the Muslim ruler Firuz Shah Tughluq, who had a Jain minister named Chand Shah. At Ferozshah's request, he visited his inner courtyard. Until that time, Prabhachandra used to be without clothes, but at Chand Sah's request, he wore a loincloth. Bakhtavar Shah in his Buddhi Prakash writes:[6]

दिल्लि के पातिसाहि भये पेरोजसाहि जब, चान्दौ साह प्रधान भट्टारक प्रभाचन्द्र तब,
आये दिल्ली मांझि वात जीते विद्यावर, साहि रीझि कै करै दरसन अन्तहपुर,
तिह समै लिंगोट लिवाय पुनि चांद विनती उच्चरी
मानि हैं जती जुत वस्त्र हम श्रावक सौगन्द करी ||616||

However, Paramanad Shasti has suggested that Prabhachandra must have visited earlier, during the time of b. Tughluq. Prabhachandra's disciples Dhanapal and Bramha Nathuram has described his visit to Delhi. Bahubali Charit states that in a great festival Ratnakirti anointed Prabhachandra. Muhammad had the pleasure of listening to Prabhachandra, who had defeated other scholars in disputations:

तहिं भव्यहिं सुमहोच्छव विहियउ, सिरिरयणकित्ति पट्टेणिहियउ |
महमंद साहिमणुरंजिउ,विज्जहिवाइयमणुभंजिउ ||

Prabhachandra was thus the first Bhattaraka of Delhi in 1385 CE when the Prashati of the Bhattrakas of Shravanabelagola is recited, other Bhattaraka seats are mentioned, the first among them being Yoginipur (Delhi).

All the Bhattarakas of North India belonging to the Balatkara Gana of Mula Sangh belong to the lineage established by Bhaṭṭāraka Padmanadi, the successor of Prabhācandra.

The Bhaṭṭāraka tradition in Delhi survived until the British rule, and the Shri Parsvanath Jain Mandir temple in Subji mandi is still known as the Bhaṭṭāraka Temple.

Jinaprabh Suri and Vividha Tirtha Kalpa

Jinaprabh Suri, who had wandered over a large part of India and written an account of various tirthas during Samvat 1364–1389, lived in Delhi during the rule of b. Tughluq and wrote parts of the Vividha Tirtha Kalpa there.[7] A Jain idol originally at Hansi which was in the royal storage, was released with his efforts.[8] It is now said to be located at the Jain temple at Chelpuri in Delhi.[9]

Mughal period

Naya Mandir

Both Akbar[10] and Jahangir,[11] who had their capital at Agra, invited and met Jain monks. Shahjahan moved his capital to Delhi after building the walled city of Delhi called Shahjahanabad.

Several Jain, such as Sahu Todar served as the imperial treasurers during the Mughal rule.

A part of Shahjahanabad was allocated to the Jains on the south side of the Chandni Chowk canal, close to the imperial residence (qila-mubarak, now known as the Red Fort). The Jains were permitted to have a temple during 1658 in Urdu Bazar, which was called the Urdu Mandir (now Lal Mandir), provided it did not look like a temple.

Raja Harsukh Rai in the early 19th century was the chief of the Agrawal Jain community, and a builder of several Jain temples in and around Delhi including the Naya Mandir, was the imperial treasurer during Sam. 1852-Sam. 1880. Naya Mandir was the first Delhi temple to have a shikhara.

Modern period

Delhi has 148 Digambara temples, mostly in the walled city areas, 61 Sthanakvasi Upashrayas and 16 Svetambara Murtipujak temples. In modern Delhi, the majority of Jains in Jain Colony (Veer Nagar), nearby Roopnagar area are Bhabra refugees from Punjab in Pakistan who arrived after the partition of India.[12]

Main temples

Atma Vallabha Sanskriti mandir
Dādābadī, Mehrauli
Worship in Jambudweep
Digambara Jain Lal Mandir

The oldest Jain temple in Delhi known as Lal Mandir ("Red Temple"). It is just opposite of the Red Fort on the Netaji Subhas Marg, Chandni Chowk, Delhi. Constructed in 1658, the temple has undergone many modifications, additions, and alterations. The temple has a free bird hospital (though donations are appreciated) in the courtyard. It practices the Jain principle that all life is sacred.

Shri Atma Vallabh Jain Smarak

Located at 20th kilometer on G. T. Karnal Road, its idyllic setting bring out the elegance of the buildings, which were all built according to traditional Jain Shastras. The complex includes Shri Vasupujaya Temple, Shri Vallabh Smarak, a Shastra Bhandar, a Jain Museum, and a Research Centre for Indology. The complex also has a school for children, a Dharamshala & Bhojanalaya for the convenience of visitors, as well as a free dispensary. The complex also contains "Devi Padamavati Temple" and a shrine of Sadhvi Mrigavati ji.

Naya Mandir

This was the first temple in Delhi with a shikhar. Raja Harsukh Rai, imperial treasurer in the late Mughal period, constructed this large and ornate Jain temple in the Dharampura locality of Old Delhi in 1807 during the rule of Mughal Emperor Akbar II with a cost of about 8 Lakh rupees, then an enormous amount. He was able to obtain the royal permission to construct a shikhara for the temple for the first time during the Mughal rule. This temple is known as the Naya Mandir (new temple), since an older Jain temple, now known as the Lal Mandir already existed.

Ahinsa Sthal

Ahinsa Sthal is a Jain temple located in Mehrauli, Delhi. A magnificent monolithic 4.93 metres (16.2 ft) statue of Tirthankara Mahāvīra in lotus position weighing around 30 tonnes is installed here.[13] The temple complex also consist of a large garden.

Dādābadī, Mehrauli

The dādābadī in Delhi, is the place where Dādā Guru Jinachandra Sūri was cremated. According to the legend, while on his deathbed, he told his followers that when he died the "Mani" (magic jewel) embedded in his forehead would fall out and should be placed in a bowl of milk. He also instructed them that his body should not be kept anywhere while preparing for the funeral. Everyone was so sad, however, that they forgot his instructions and set his body on the ground. When they tried to move it again, it wouldn't budge. Even elephants were used, but all attempts failed and the last rites had to be performed right there, at the spot where the shrine now stands.

Nearby Jain Tirthas

Other Temples

Interior in Shri Padmavati Purwal Digamber Jain Mandir
Shri Digamber Jain Panchayti Mandir
Statue of Mahavira at Ahinsa Sthal
Central Delhi
East Delhi Area
West Delhi Area
North Delhi Area
South Delhi
Outer Delhi

Information's about the temples constructed recently: -


See also


  1. ^ Parmananda Jain Shastri, Agrawalon ka Jain Sanskriti men yogadan, Anekanta Oct. 1966, p. 277–281
  2. ^ An Early Attestation of the Toponym Ḍhillī, by Richard J. Cohen, Journal of the American Oriental Society, 1989, p. 513–519
  3. ^ Manidhari Shri Jinchandra Suriji Archived 2008-12-03 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Itihas ki Amarbel Oswal, Mangilal Bhutoria
  5. ^ NOTICES OF THIRTEEN MSS. IN PRAKRIT... Archived 2012-11-26 at the Wayback Machine, B.M. Chinatamani
  6. ^ Jain Dharm Ka Prachin Itihas, Paramananda Shastri, 1975
  7. ^ The Vividhatirthakalpa as historical source and coherent text: "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2009. Retrieved 27 January 2009.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ Vividha tīrtha kalpa of Jinaprabha Sūri, Ed. Muniraja Jinavijaya
  9. ^ Samkshipta Parichaya, Shri Shvetambar Jain Mandir, Naughara Gali
  10. ^ Akbar, the Great Mogul, 1542-1605. By Vincent A. Smith, M.A., M.R.A.S. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1917.
  11. ^ Jahāngīr's Vow of Non-Violence, Ellison B. Findly, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 107, No. 2 (Apr. - Jun., 1987), pp. 245–256
  12. ^ The Mūrtipūjaka Śvetāmbara Community in North Delhi,[dead link] Akiko Shimizu, Centre of Jaina Studies Newsletter, Issue 3: February 2008, page 28
  13. ^ Kurt Titze; Klaus Bruhn (1998). Jainism: A Pictorial Guide to the Religion of Non-violence. Motilal Banarsidass Publisher. p. 266. ISBN 8120815343. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
  14. ^ Article title[usurped][bare URL]