Out of the very few Jain Temples which are located in the Capital City Shri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir is the oldest as well as the best-known one. It has been centrally located near the Red Fort of the well-known Chandni Chowk. It has become famous due to the Avian Veterinary hospital which is situated in a second building on the rear side of the main temple and is better known as the Jain Birds Hospital.
As the old Delhi stands today encircled by a wall, with the main street Chandni Chowk in front of the Red Fort, the royal residence: is all due to the taste and efforts of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (1628–1658). Jahangir had once called over the Jain financiers to Delhi and also offered them to settle in the city. He even granted them a piece of land which makes the South of the Chandni Chowk also surrounding Dabria Gali.
They created a temporary structure which stored the Jain temple as permitted by the Emperor. Further the Jain community even earned the idols made from marble which were then established by by Jivaraj Papriwal under the close-check of Bhattaraka Jinachandra in Samvat 1548 (1491 AD) for the temple. On the whole the temple consists of the idol of TirthankaraParshva as the main idol.
The Temple complex
A pillar of honor also called Manastambha column stands gracefully on the front side of the temple. The first floor consists of a number of shrines however; the shrine is of Lord Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism, being the main shrine. One can approach the first floor easily by reaching the terrace while passing through a small courtyard which is encompassed by a peristyle.
Lord Mahavira was born in 599 B.C. at Bihar as a prince but at a very early age he decided to leave the materialistic world to attain Moksha. In the early days of his search for Moksha, he was able to acquire enlightenment, and thus subjected his life to preach the people of the country about the real truth of life and the ways in which Moksha could be attained. Other idols of Lord Adinath and Lord Prasanth also exist in the temple.
The ambience of the temple is more than suitable for meditating. A very remarkable event in the history of the Jain temple is the visit of Digambar Jain monk Acharya Shantisagar who was the first Digambar Jain to visit the capital city after a prolonged gap of 8 centuries.
Visiting the temple complex
People who have always been curious about Jainism will find solace in the bookstore which is located within the complex as it houses, a wide range of literatures on Jainism. The entry to the temple requires the visitors to shed off all the leather goods carried by them and also to remove their shoes.
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