Jainism is one of the oldest religions in India. Its references are traced back to the Harappan Civilization with reference to the nude torso found during the excavations. Vrishabdeva is the first Tirthankara in Jain religion and the 24th is Varadamana Mahavira. This is one of the first religions that gave the concepts of complete non-violence and total vegetarianism.
The two main sects in the Jain religion are Shvetambara and Digambara. It is the Shvetambara sect which generally forms the part of the mainstream society. The Jains have contributed in trade, art, and architecture, philosophy and mathematics throughout the Indian history. It is interesting that the Jain rock-cut caves which are located in the twin hills have rhyming name like Ankai-Tankai, Mangi-Tungi, Udayagiri-Khandagiri, etc.
Shravana Belagola − Shravana Belagola in Karnataka is the most popular tourist destination for the Jains. It is popular for the tallest monolithic statue dedicated to Shrutakevali Bhadrabahu who attained Kevalagyana (freedom from the clutches of birth and rebirth). This place is also associated with the legend that the first Mauryan emperor spent his last days here at Shravana Belagola.
Dilwara Temple − Dilwara Temple is the most artistic pilgrimage site of the Jains. It is located at the beautiful hill station Mount Abu in the state of Rajasthan. There are five shrines dedicated to different Tirthankaras (the one who attained religious order) – Rishabdeva, Adinatha, Neminatha, Parshvanatha, and Vardamana Mahavira. The place is also an attraction for its extraordinary marble carving work.
Mirpur Jain temple − This temple was built in the early medieval period during the reign of Rajputs. It is dedicated to Jain Tirthankara Parshvanatha. There is various sculpture that adorns and add to beauty of the marble work in the temple. During the invasions, it was destroyed by Mahmud Begada. However, it was rebuilt in around the 15th century.
Ranakpur Jain temple − Ranakpur temple is located in Udaipur in Rajasthan. The Chaumukha temple here is dedicated to the Tirthankara Adinatha. Chaumukha literally implies four-faced that symbolizes wisdom in all four directions. The other temple dedicated to the 23rd Tirthankara is Parashvanatha Temple.
Palitana Temples − It is located in the Shetrunjaya hills in Gujarat and is adorned with many exquisitely carved marble temples. It is considered to be one of the most sacred Jain pilgrimage centers. The main temple here is dedicated to Vrishabdev who is the first Tirthankara. There is an extensive usage of gold and precious stones observed here in the images.