Jain temple in Wayanad - Things to Know Before Visiting
The Jain temple in Wayanad is one of its kind and has been a big attraction for all the Jain followers around the globe. The temple is believed to have been built in the 13th century. The entire temple is built with granite, which bears resemblance to the temples of the Vijayanagara Dynasty. The temple is also known to have served as a hiding place for the Tipu Sultan’s army in the 18th century.
History of the Jain Temple
It was in the 8th century that Jains started coming into Wayanad. But as the 18th century started, the religious practice of Jainism started diminishing because multiple factors like attacks from different dynasties, vandalism, British rule, and the rise of Hinduism caused it to decline.
The Jain temple in Wayanad was not just used as a shrine for religious practice but was also used for other purposes as well. It was a religious center during the peak of Jainism’s growth and then turned into a commercial center for the Shivaites and Vaishnavites when Hinduism started to flourish. It also became an ammunition center for Tipu Sultan’s army.
After Tipu Sultan’s invasion of the temple, it was left in ruins for over 150 years. The place then became a hub for anti-social elements for a long time. It was after the Jain community and the public put in efforts and asked for the help of the Archaeological Survey of India that they maintained it.
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Architecture of the temple
The temples stand on an elevated platform and comprise structures that can be called the Mukha Mandapa, the Maha Mandapa, and the Sanctum. There are strong pillars that provide support for the upper ceiling of the temple. The steps that lead to the Mukha Mandapa have carved steps called Sopanam, which is a common architectural feature seen in Hindu temples in Kerala.
As one moves forward, one brings an end to the Mukha Mandapa and starts with the Maha Mandapa. The Maha Mandapa has four pillars, and these pillars are etched with the figures of lotuses and snakes. The entire vault is small, and the light source inside comes from a small yellow bulb.
The vault again leads to the inner, which has a square granite slab with the carving of Mahavir Jain, and additionally, outside the vault, we can see different figurines of Ganesha, Vishnu, and some others that were dug out in the recent past.
Currently, the inner sanctum doesn’t have the idol but just the carving of Mahavir Jain. The idol that was in the temple is now kept in the Ananthanatha Temple at Kalpetta. The idol is brought to the temple during the festival of Mahavir Jayanthi.
The Archaeological Survey of India has preserved the temple because of the different carvings on the pillars. The lotuses, snakes, and swans are animals that represent the Jain heritage.
There is a carving called Dharmendra Bhandanam. It is a carving of a coiled snake, and it is said that if one can actually trace the snake without any overlapping or mistakes, then the chances are that whatever wishes that you have planned will be granted.
The raised platform that you see in front of the entrance is called the Namaskara Mandapa, and it is built for performing religious rituals.
The best time to visit the temple
As the temple no longer has any kind of religious rituals or practices going on, it is open to visit at any time, and hence it is open all around the year. You can visit at any time and feel the calming presence that the temple structure can give you.
There are no entrance fees, and the temple is open from 8 a.m. to 5.40 p.m. daily.
Also read: Best time to visit Wayanad, Kerala
What can you see in the Jain temple?
Visitors are not allowed in the temple's inner sanctum. To reach the temple, it might be ideal to take the help of locals because Google Maps can be a little difficult to navigate.
The Jain temple in Wayanad can only be visited for about 10 minutes, and the authorities strictly enforce this time limit.
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