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Jain Temple, Mahadeb Berya, Purulia

Jain Temple

Mahadeb Berya (Jambad), Purulia

See also: Wiki Explores Purulia

Historical records suggest that during the 10th – 13th century a flourishing Jain settlement flourished in the western part of West Bengal covering the present districts of Purulia, Bankura and Jhargram. During this period they have built numerous brick and stone temples, following the Oriya Duel style architecture.

Jain Tirthanakara Statues at Mahadeb Berya (Jambad), Purulia District

Jain Tirthanakara Statues at Mahadeb Berya (Jambad), Purulia District

Purulia had the largest concentration of these Jain Temples although many of them have crumbled to dust but a hand full have survived the test of time and still towers above the rural landscape of Purulia district.

Digambar Jain Temple, Mahadeb Berya

Digambar Jain Temple, Mahadeb Berya

These towering temples, built of both brick and stone, can still be seen in the villages of Para, Pakbira, Deulghata, Deuli and Banda.

Apart from temples stone statues of Jain Tirthankaras and votive stupas have been found in large numbers in several villages of Purulia District.

They can still be spotted under trees and inside Hindu temples, where they are worshiped as Hindu gods.

With some government initiative some of these statues have been shifted into small one room local museums. The villages of Pakbira and Suisa houses two such museums.

The Digambar Jain Temple in the village of Mahadeb Berya (also called Jambad) houses a small temple with six statues of four Jain Tirthankars. The statues are house within the simple looking temple and are fixed upon an elevated platform.

Plaque at the entrance of Digambar Jain Temple

Plaque at the entrance of Digambar Jain Temple

An initiative of the Kharkhari Sarak community from the Dhanbad District of the neighboring state of Jharkhand the temple was established in 1973 and house the statues, which dates back several centuries.

The statues were collected from villages and were established inside the temple. Sadly today Mahadeb Berya doesn’t contain any ancient structures but traces of pillars, door frames and other structural evidences are scattered inside the temple complex. Next to the Jain Temple stands three Hindu temples dedicated to Durga, Shiva and Hari, thus setting up an unique example of communal harmony.

A Jain devotee uses milk and ghee to polish the statues

A Jain devotee uses milk and ghee to polish the statues

Every Sunday Jain devotees from Purulia town visit the temple and perform puja, complete with elaborate rituals.

This includes cleaning of the statues with milk and ghee (clarified butter), these is one of the main reasons the century old statues have maintained a perfect shine.

Nothing much is known about the age of the statues, but experts believe that they date back to the 10 – 11th century AD and have similarities with Pala School of Sculpture.

The temple houses six statues of four Jain Tirthankaras, the statues from left to right can be described as follows:

  1. Rishabhanatha (1st Tirthankara): The two foot statue is in the standing position of  kayotsarga mudra. It is flanked by four other Tirthankaras and at the feet are two ladies with chamara (yak tail fan) in hand.
  2. Chandraprabha (8th Tirthankara): A small statue about 1 feet high. Probably was originally  placed in the shallow depression of the outer walls of a temple. This is also in the standing position of  kayotsarga mudra.
  3. Parshavanatha (23 rd Tirthankara): The statue is crowned with a hooded serpents and is flanked by four other Tirthankaras and at the feet are two ladies with chamara (yak tail fan) in hand.
  4. Parshavanatha (23 rd Tirthankara): This statue is the largest of the five and is slightly above 4 feet. It stands in kayotsarga mudra and is flanked by all the twenty four Tirthaankaras.
  5. Kunthunatha (17th Tirthankars): This is again a small standing statue flanked with smaller women statues
  6. Chandraprabha (8th Tirthankara): This is the smallest of the lot and is the only statue that is in sitting position. The statue is flanked by four women, two of them with chamara (yak tail fan) in hand while the other two have garlands.

 

Jain Devotes perform rituals at the Jain Temple in Mahadeb Berya (Jambad), Purulia District

Jain Devotes perform rituals at the Jain Temple in Mahadeb Berya (Jambad), Purulia District

Note:

  • Try to visit the place on a Sunday. The people are friendly and photography is allowed
  • This tour was part of Wiki Explores Purulia and was funded by Wikipedia West Bengal User Group
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  1. October 6, 2018 at 2:09 PM

    Such an informative post. Many thanks. Loved it.

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