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Marathi Jain
Marathi Jain
Indra Sabha, Ellora Caves
Regions with significant populations

Jainism has been present in Maharashtra since ancient times. The famous Ellora Caves demonstrate that Jainism was part of a thriving religious culture in Maharashtra in premodern times.


981 A.D. Marathi inscription at the foot of Bahubali statue at Jain temple in Shravanabelagola is one of the earliest known Marathi inscription found. It was derived from Jain-Prakrit language.

Jainism in Maharashtra has a long history. The oldest inscription in Maharashtra is a 2nd-century BC Jain inscription in a cave near Pale village in the Pune District. It was written in the Jain Prakrit and includes the Navkar Mantra. The first Marathi inscription known is at Shravanabelagola, Karnataka near the left foot of the statue of Bahubali, dated 981 CE.

Jainism in Maharashtra was patronised by many rulers such kings from the Shilaharas and Rashtrakuta. Many of forts were built by kings from these dynasties and thus Jain temples or their remains are found in them. Texts such as the Shankardigvijaya and Shivlilamruta suggest that a large number of Marathi people followed jainism in the ancient period.

Jain communities in present day Maharashtra

Office of the Hindi Granth Karyalay, Mumbai, publishers of books on Jainism
Kumbhoj Jain temple

There are many native jain communities in present day Maharashtra. The communities tend to be endogamous, and generally do not intermarry with the Jains who have arrived from North India. They belong to the Digambar sect. The four largest communities by numbers are:

Each of the above communities are affiliated to their own Matha and led by the Matha leader called Bhattaraka. In addition to the above four, there are several smaller native Maharashtrian Jain communities.

Religious organizations

Main article: Dakshin Bharat Jain Sabha

The Dakshin Bharat Jain Sabha, Veer Seva Dal are religious and social service organization of the Jains of South India. The organization is headquartered at Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India.[3] The association is credited with being one of the first Jain associations to start reform movements among the Jains in modern India.[4][5] The organization mainly seeks to represent the interests of the native Jains of Maharashtra (Marathi Jains) and Karnataka (Kannada Jains).

Main article: Jainism in Mumbai

Jain Tirthas and Temples

Painting inside Indra Sabha cave at Ellora Caves
Cave temple
Main temple

Shri Kalikund Parshwanatha Digambar Jain Kshetra, Kundal Sangli.


Shri Kalikund Parshwanatha Digambar Jain Kshetra

Notable Marathi Jains

See also


  1. ^ Bhanu, B. V. (2004). People of India: Maharashtra - Kumar Suresh Singh, Anthropological Survey of India - Google Boeken. Popular Prakashan. ISBN 9788179911013. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  2. ^ Hassan, Syed Siraj ul (1989). The Castes and Tribes of H.E.H. the Nizam's Dominions - Syed Siraj Ul Hassan - Google Boeken. ISBN 9788120604889. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  3. ^ Bhanu, B. V. (2004). People of India: Maharashtra - Kumar Suresh Singh - Google Books. ISBN 9788179911006. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  4. ^ Carrithers, Michael; Humphrey, Caroline (4 April 1991). The Assembly of Listeners: Jains in Society - Google Books. ISBN 9780521365055. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  5. ^ Markham, Ian S.; Sapp, Christy Lohr (26 May 2009). A World Religions Reader - Google Books. ISBN 9781405171090. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
  6. ^ Jahaj mandir Archived 13 September 2014 at the Wayback Machine