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First Jain Acharya To Go To Pakistan After Partition

  • May 24, 2023
Here’s a story about the first Jain Aacharya to visit Pakistan after 75 years!

It is happening for the first time that a Jain Aacharya (monk) is entering Pakistan, after the partition of India and Pakistan. The 66 year old - Gacchadhadhipati of the Punjab Kesari Vallabhsuri Samuday of Jainism, Aacharya Bhagwant Shree Dharmadhurandar Surishwarji Maharaj Saheb has attained the visa of Pakistan for 1 month. But why is a jain Aacharya going to Pakistan after 75 years of Independence? Let me tell you. 

When the 1947 partition happened, Jain Aacharya of Punjab Kesari Shree Vallabhsurishwarji Maharaj was in Pakistan. When things started getting messy, Indian Government and Pakistan officials, all advised Aacharya Shree to leave Pakistan and come to India. He replied that until every Jain has reached India safely, I will not move from here. After a lot of stuggle, finally, on 28th September 1947, everybody reached India safely. 

When he was getting ready to leave Gujranwala, Pakistan and come to India, he went to the Samadhi Mandir of his Guru Aacharya Shree Aatmaramsurishwarji Maharaj Saheb do a final Darshan. The Samadhi was in Gujranwala, the place where he had died. Guru Aacharya Shree Aatmaramsurishwarji Maharaj Saheb was a very big monk. 

But, he saw a sight that brought tears to his eyes. The Samadhi Mandir was burned by the protestors and they had put it on fire. He left the place and came to India. After this incident, after the partition, no jain monk has ever been to Pakistan. Now it is for the first time, that any Jain Aacharya is visiting Pakistan. 

He crossed the Attari-Wagah Border on foot on 21st May 2023, Sunday. He was accompanied with his 3 Shishyas (monks) and around 20 trusted and devoted Shravakas. (Jain Men). Currently, there are 0 jains in Pakistan. The Charan Padukas footprints of Aacharya Shree Aatmaram ji Maharaj Saheb are currently safe in the Lahore Museum.

The reason of Shree Dharmadhurandar Maharaj Saheb going to Pakistan is to take the ‘Charan Padukas’ footprints from the Lahore Museum and establish them in Gujranwala. On 22nd May 2023, Acharya Shree visited the Lahore museum, and did Darshan of the footprints. He also sat there and did Guru Bhakti with all his Shishyas and devotees. 

Despite 0 jain population in Pakistan, there are a few derasars in present day. Aacharya Shree will be visiting those too and he will try to attain information about those derasars. It is a big question about who is taking care of the derasars if there are no jains over there. The place where the Samadhi of his Guru Atmaramji is located in Gujranwala was also in a ruined condition. 

Acharya Maharaj was told that a police-station had been built there and it had been declared as someone else's samadhi and so, he decided to visit the place. After a month long procedures for the paperwork, visas, and other official documents, he could finally achieve all and go to Pakistan. The 127th death anniversary of Aatmaram ji Maharaj Saheb, falls on 28th May this year. On 28th May he will move the charan padukas to Gujranwala.

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Jain Community’s Historic Visit to Pakistan Promotes Religious Tourism and Interfaith Harmony

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The recent visit of a group of Jain monks and devotees to Jain Tirths in Pakistan marks an important milestone in promoting religious tourism and interfaith harmony in the country. Organized by the Jain Chaturvidhi Sangh, the visit, led by Gachchadhipati Acharya Shri Dharmadhurandhar Suri, highlights Pakistan’s rich cultural and historical heritage and its potential to attract visitors from around the world.

During their visit, the group had the opportunity to visit several Jain sites, including the Samadhi Mandir of Param Pujya Acharya Shri Atmaramji Maharaj in Gujranwala and the Charan paduka of Atmaramji Maharaj saheb at the Lahore Museum. The visit was made possible through the dedicated efforts of Shri Ashwani Jain, the Shravak of Khartargacch of Shwetambar sect of Jains, with the support of the Government of Pakistan and the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi.

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The Jain community expressed their deep appreciation for the warm hospitality and welcoming nature of the people of Pakistan. They affirmed that Pakistan is a safe place for people of all religions to undertake their pilgrimages, and the visit serves as a testament to the country’s commitment to preserving and promoting religious sites and fostering an environment of peace and tolerance.

This historic visit signifies a momentous occasion for the Jain samaj and serves as a stepping stone towards restoring Jain heritage in Pakistan. It promotes cultural exchange and strengthens the bonds of brotherhood between India and Pakistan. The visit also highlights the vast potential for religious tourism in Pakistan and the country’s unique and diverse religious experience for pilgrims from around the world.

The Jain community expresses their sincere gratitude to all those involved in making this visit a success. It is hoped that such visits and collaborations will continue to flourish, further promoting religious tourism and strengthening interfaith relations in Pakistan.

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6 Jain Temples in Pakistan That Survived The Test of Time

1. jain digambar temple with shikhar , 2. nagar bazar temple.

jain monk visit pakistan

3. Karronjar Jain Temple 

4. bhodesa jain mandir, 5. virvah jain temple.

jain monk visit pakistan

6. Virvah Gori Mandir

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Six Jain Temples in Pakistan That Survived the Test of Time

jain monk visit pakistan

Here’s a list of the prevailing Jain temple ruins in Pakistan that can visit: 

1. Jain Digambar Temple with Shikhar:

Jain Digambar Temple with Shikhar which is a rising tower commonly found in many Hindu and Jain temples is presently run as an Islamic school. It was due to the riots of 1992 when the Islamists were protesting against the demolition of the Babri masjid and violence of Muslims in India that the Temple was destroyed.

2. Nagar Bazar Temple:

The Temple still stands with the structures of the Shikhar and Torona gateway which is an opulent free-standing ornamental and arched gateway is completely intact. It is said that the Temple was in use until the Independence of Pakistan in 1947 and even a few years following that. It is located in the main bazaar of the Nangar Parkar town.

jain monk visit pakistan

3. Karronjar Jain Temple: 

Karoonjhar Jain Temple is currently located at the foothills of the Karoonjhar mountains in Pakistan where Nagarparkar, a town at the base of the Karoonjhar Mountains is located on the Tharparkar District in Sindh province of Pakistan that is known for the Nagarparkar Temples.

4. Bhodesa Jain Mandir:

During the Sodhar reign, it was the region’s capital back then. It is a magnificent monument of Sindh. The remnants of the three Temples are still present. Back in 1987, two of them were used as cattle stalls. The oldest Temple was structured in a classic style in the 9th century using stones without mortar. A stairway would lead one to the temple which was built on a podium. Stone pillars were carved along with other structural elements. Walls do not stand in their original state and are partially in ruins. Bricks from the temple have been extracted by the localites to reuse for making their homes.  With fine carvings and corbelled domes, the other two temples were built back in 1375 CE and 1449 CE.

5. Virvah Jain Temple:

Virvah Jain Mandir is a collection of ruins of the Jain Temples here. A temple here consisted of 27 devakulikas which are ornate pillars enclosing the holy Temple. One temple has been well preserved. The legendary Pari Nagar ruins which are the fragments of the temple statues of the bygone days are in proximity to Virvah.

6. Virvah Gori Mandir:

The royal Mandir was built with 52 subsidiary shrines in AD 1375-6. It has been devoted to Jain tirthankar Gori Parshvanatha. It is situated at a distance of 24 miles from Viravah.

There are many such temples which lay in shards and fragments. Some still frequented, while some majorly demolished for commercial reasons. Hints of Jain culture currently prevail due to the rich architecture and extensive heritage in some regions spread across Pakistan.

Acknowledgement: https://www.holidify.com/pages/jain-temples-in-pakistan-2989.html

About Author

Sony is a Media Science student perusing her masters in Kolkata. She graduated with an Honours in English. She is a literature enthusiast, a book hoarder and a passionate learner. She wishes to take a tour of the world as a backpacker and wants to end up being a travel blogger. She loves to read, dance and play badminton.

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Jainism in Pakistan  has extensive heritage and history, although Jains form a very small community in the country today.

Across the country, several ancient Jain shrines are scattered. Baba Dharam Dass, a holy man, also resides here whose tomb is located near the bank of a creek called (Deoka, Deokay or Degh) near Chawinda Phatic Punjab, Pakistan. Another eminent Jain monk of the region was Vijaynandsuri of Gujranwala, whose  samadhi  (memorial shrine) still stands in the city.

Bhabra  is an ancient merchant faction from Punjab who believes in Jainism.

Bhabras have now become a part of Pakistan. While practically all of them have left, many cities still have sections named after them.

  • Sialkot:  All the Jains here were Bhabra. The Sarai Bhabrian and Bhabrian Wala localities are named after them. Before the partition of India, there were several Jain temples here.
  • Pasrur:  Pasrur was developed by a Jain zamindar who was granted land by Raja Man Singh. Baba Dharam Dass, who also belonged to the zamindar family, was murdered here on a trade visit.
  • Gujranwala:  Two historic Jain libraries managed by Lala Karam Chand Bhabra were present here which were visited by Ramkrishna Gopal Bhanderkar.
  • Lahore:  There are Jain temples at localities still called Thari Bhabrian and Gali Bhabrian.
  • Rawalpindi:  Bhabra Bazar is named after them.
  • Mianwali: A well-known cast still presents in the majority there nowadays.

Some also lived in Sindh.

Jain temples:

  • Jain temple, Thari Bhabrian Lahore City.
  • Jain Digembar Temple with Shikhar, Old Anarkali Jain Mandir Chawk.

The original Gori Temple with 52 domes, lies here in Nagarparkar.

  • Nagar Bazar temple  is present in the main Bazar of the Nagar Parkar town. The architecture of the temple, including the Shikhar and the Torana gateway, is entirely intact. It was possibly in use until the independence of Pakistan in 1947, and perhaps for some years even after that. There also seems to be a ruined temple outside of the town.
  • Bhodesar Jain mandir , 7.2 km from Nagar, was the region's capital during Sodha rule. Remains of three temples are present. In 1897, two of them were being used as cattle stalls, and the third had openings in the rear. The oldest temple was built in the classical technique with stones without any mortar. It is built on a huge platform and reached by a series of steps chiselled into the rock. It has beautifully carved stone columns and other structural elements. The remaining walls are weak and have partially collapsed. Parts of the building had been demolished by the locals who used the bricks to construct their houses. It is perhaps the most magnificent of the monuments in Sindh. The two other Jain temples are said to have been built in 1375 CE and 1449 CE built of Kenjur and Redstone, with elegant carvings and domes.
  • Karoonjar Jain mandir  is at the base of the mountain.
  • Virvah Jain mandir  is several ruins of Jain temples. One of the temples has 27 devakulikas in it while one of the temples is in good preservation.
  • Virvah Gori mandir  is 14 miles from Viravah. The legendary temple with 52 subsidiary shrines was constructed in AD 1375-6. It has been devoted to the memory of Jain Tirthankar Gori Parshvanatha.
  • Jain Shwetamber Temple with Shikhar, Ranchore Line, Karachi.
  • Jain Shwetamber Temple, Hyderabad, Sindh.

Jain community:

Before 1947, there were small communities of Jains in Punjab and Sindh regions. While almost all of them migrated to India during the partition in 1947, five thousand of Jains perished in Pakistan. But with growing hostilities of Jizya, Intimidation and Islamic laws, Jainism has also vanished in Pakistan. 

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Jain Community’s Historic Visit to Pakistan Promotes Religious Tourism and Interfaith Harmony

The recent visit of a group of Jain monks and devotees to Jain Tirths in Pakistan marks an important milestone in promoting religious tourism and interfaith harmony in the country. Organized by the Jain Chaturvidhi Sangh, the visit, led by Gachchadhipati Acharya Shri Dharmadhurandhar Suri, highlights Pakistan’s rich cultural and historical heritage and its potential to attract visitors from around the world.

During their visit, the group had the opportunity to visit several Jain sites, including the Samadhi Mandir of Param Pujya Acharya Shri Atmaramji Maharaj in Gujranwala and the Charan paduka of Atmaramji Maharaj saheb at the Lahore Museum. The visit was made possible through the dedicated efforts of Shri Ashwani Jain, the Shravak of Khartargacch of Shwetambar sect of Jains, with the support of the Government of Pakistan and the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi.

The Jain community expressed their deep appreciation for the warm hospitality and welcoming nature of the people of Pakistan. They affirmed that Pakistan is a safe place for people of all religions to undertake their pilgrimages, and the visit serves as a testament to the country’s commitment to preserving and promoting religious sites and fostering an environment of peace and tolerance.

This historic visit signifies a momentous occasion for the Jain samaj and serves as a stepping stone towards restoring Jain heritage in Pakistan. It promotes cultural exchange and strengthens the bonds of brotherhood between India and Pakistan. The visit also highlights the vast potential for religious tourism in Pakistan and the country’s unique and diverse religious experience for pilgrims from around the world.

The Jain community expresses their sincere gratitude to all those involved in making this visit a success. It is hoped that such visits and collaborations will continue to flourish, further promoting religious tourism and strengthening interfaith relations in Pakistan.

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#Jain #Communitys #Historic #Visit #Pakistan #Promotes #Religious #Tourism #Interfaith #Harmony

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Jain Community’s Historic Visit to Pakistan Promotes Religious Tourism and Interfaith Harmony

Jain Community’s Historic Visit to Pakistan Promotes Religious Tourism and Interfaith Harmony

2newswire

The recent visit of a group of Jain monks and devotees to Jain Tirths in Pakistan marks an important milestone in promoting religious tourism and interfaith harmony in the country. Organized by the Jain Chaturvidhi Sangh, the visit, led by Gachchadhipati Acharya Shri Dharmadhurandhar Suri, highlights Pakistan’s rich cultural and historical heritage and its potential to attract visitors from around the world.

During their visit, the group had the opportunity to visit several Jain sites, including the Samadhi Mandir of Param Pujya Acharya Shri Atmaramji Maharaj in Gujranwala and the Charan paduka of Atmaramji Maharaj saheb at the Lahore Museum. The visit was made possible through the dedicated efforts of Shri Ashwani Jain, the Shravak of Khartargacch of Shwetambar sect of Jains, with the support of the Government of Pakistan and the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi.

The Jain community expressed their deep appreciation for the warm hospitality and welcoming nature of the people of Pakistan. They affirmed that Pakistan is a safe place for people of all religions to undertake their pilgrimages, and the visit serves as a testament to the country’s commitment to preserving and promoting religious sites and fostering an environment of peace and tolerance.

This historic visit signifies a momentous occasion for the Jain samaj and serves as a stepping stone towards restoring Jain heritage in Pakistan. It promotes cultural exchange and strengthens the bonds of brotherhood between India and Pakistan. The visit also highlights the vast potential for religious tourism in Pakistan and the country’s unique and diverse religious experience for pilgrims from around the world.

The Jain community expresses their sincere gratitude to all those involved in making this visit a success. It is hoped that such visits and collaborations will continue to flourish, further promoting religious tourism and strengthening interfaith relations in Pakistan.

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Jain Group's Lahore Visit Leaves a Bitter Taste, Letter Details Constant Nuisance by Pakistani Officials

Curated By : Rohit

Last Updated: July 24, 2023, 07:40 IST

New Delhi, India

A Pakistani boy travelling from Delhi to Lahore looks out the window of a bus as it leaves the Wagah-Attari border crossing, Pakistan, March 15, 2019. (Representative image: Reuters)

A Pakistani boy travelling from Delhi to Lahore looks out the window of a bus as it leaves the Wagah-Attari border crossing, Pakistan, March 15, 2019. (Representative image: Reuters)

The Jain Heritage Foundation's historic pilgrimage to Pakistan, expressing gratitude while highlighting some peculiar incidents

A delegation of the Jain Heritage Foundation (JHF) recently concluded its historic pilgrimage to Pakistan in May, marking the first visit by a Jain Acharya to the neighbouring country in 75 years. But their journey wasn’t without constant inconvenience and other nuisance by Pakistani officials that left a lasting impression on the religious group visiting the country for the first time.

In a letter to the Pakistani High Commission, dated July 6, JHF General Secretary Ashwani Jain expressed “gratitude” for the hospitality shown by the host country to the delegation as he recounted a number of unpleasant experiences that the Jain group had to face during their trip.

Earlier in May, a group of Indian Jain monks embarked on a journey to Lahore, Gujranwala, and other sites of religious significance in the country, via the Wagah border. Their visit, extensively covered by Pakistan’s press and social media, was hailed as a path-breaking moment. However, during their trip, the Jain delegation faced some peculiar incidents.

First on the list of “grateful experiences” was their Pakistani host, Zahid Karmawala, who was allegedly compelled to cover the expenses of meals for not just the delegation but also all police and security personnel accompanying them.

“Our Host, Mr. Zahid Karmawala was forced to pay for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner of all Police personnel and other security agency personnel. Besides this, he was regularly harassed by almost all security authorities to provide information, phone and videos regarding our every movement,” the letter read.

In the letter, Ashwani Jain also recalled how the Pakistani authorities seemed particularly interested in the delegation’s every movement, requesting information, photos, and videos.

Besides this, the Jain delegation reported that several valuables, including shoes, dresses, utensils, and presents, mysteriously went missing during their time in Gujranwala. One significant religious event held at the Gujranwala Temple left the pilgrims astonished when security personnel were present within the sacred premises, deeply hurting their religious sentiments.

jain monk visit pakistan

Despite the “unique experiences,” the Jain Heritage Foundation requested the Pakistani authorities to view their concerns as constructive feedback rather than complaints. They hoped for improved measures to ensure that future Jain pilgrims would not have to face similar inconveniences and that the warm and hospitable image of the Pakistani government and people would remain intact.

“We request you not to treat these issues as complaints, but you should put in place such measures so that such unpleasant situation does not recur in future inconveniencing Jain pilgrims in the future and tarnish the image of a warm and hospitable Govt. and people of Pakistan,” the letter read.

The delegation concluded by expressing their desire to undertake such pilgrimages regularly in the future and looked forward to receiving “warm hospitality” during their next visit to Pakistan.

(With input from Shalinder Wangu)

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Jain Community’s Historic Visit to Pakistan Promotes Religious Tourism and Interfaith Harmony

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  • June 2, 2023

Jain Community’s Historic Visit to Pakistan Promotes Religious Tourism and Interfaith Harmony

The recent visit of a group of Jain monks and devotees to Jain Tirths in Pakistan marks an important milestone in promoting religious tourism and interfaith harmony in the country. Organized by the Jain Chaturvidhi Sangh, the visit, led by Gachchadhipati Acharya Shri Dharmadhurandhar Suri, highlights Pakistan’s rich cultural and historical heritage and its potential to attract visitors from around the world.

During their visit, the group had the opportunity to visit several Jain sites, including the Samadhi Mandir of Param Pujya Acharya Shri Atmaramji Maharaj in Gujranwala and the Charan paduka of Atmaramji Maharaj saheb at the Lahore Museum. The visit was made possible through the dedicated efforts of Shri Ashwani Jain, the Shravak of Khartargacch of Shwetambar sect of Jains, with the support of the Government of Pakistan and the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi.

The Jain community expressed their deep appreciation for the warm hospitality and welcoming nature of the people of Pakistan. They affirmed that Pakistan is a safe place for people of all religions to undertake their pilgrimages, and the visit serves as a testament to the country’s commitment to preserving and promoting religious sites and fostering an environment of peace and tolerance.

This historic visit signifies a momentous occasion for the Jain samaj and serves as a stepping stone towards restoring Jain heritage in Pakistan. It promotes cultural exchange and strengthens the bonds of brotherhood between India and Pakistan. The visit also highlights the vast potential for religious tourism in Pakistan and the country’s unique and diverse religious experience for pilgrims from around the world.

The Jain community expresses their sincere gratitude to all those involved in making this visit a success. It is hoped that such visits and collaborations will continue to flourish, further promoting religious tourism and strengthening interfaith relations in Pakistan.

 The recent visit of a group of Jain monks and devotees to Jain Tirths in Pakistan marks an important milestone in promoting religious tourism and interfaith harmony in the country. Organized by the Jain Chaturvidhi Sangh, the visit, led by Gachchadhipati Acharya Shri Dharmadhurandhar Suri, highlights Pakistan’s rich cultural and historical heritage and its potential to attract visitors from around the world.

During their visit, the group had the opportunity to visit several Jain sites, including the Samadhi Mandir of Param Pujya Acharya Shri Atmaramji Maharaj in Gujranwala and the Charan Paduka of Atmaramji Maharaj saheb at the Lahore Museum. The visit was made possible through the dedicated efforts of Shri Ashwani Jain, the Shravak of Khartargacch of Shwetambar sect of Jains, with the support of the Government of Pakistan and the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi.

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  • Pakistan's Sufi Dervishes, Digambar Jain Monks and Udasi sadhus

by Haroon Khalid January, 2016

Editor’s Note:

Standing in one corner of the courtyard was this group of bald dervish . They were a combination of old ages. Their naked bodies shone through their thin black shawls that they had used to cover up their torso. Some of them wore glass ear rings and had a horizontal tika on the forehead, a symbol of Hindu ascetics. Others had glass bangles on their wrists, associated with Bhaktis. All of them were without shoes, even though shoes were allowed in this courtyard. Dust had become one with the skin of their feet. Their faces and heads were clean shaven. It felt as if they had been shaving so hard that the hair on their skin refused to grow anymore. There was uneasiness about them. They stood there uncomfortably, as if out of place. Some of them wore kohl in their eyes. Their looks could pierce through a rock.

Some of them even wore ghungroo in their feet. This is a unique feature of Islamic spirituality, where Sufi men present themselves as females to their deity, who is imagined to be a male figure. Using references from the iconic Punjabi love legend they refer to themselves as Heer while God is referred to as Ranjha. This is similar to the Bhakti tradition of Krishan-devotion, where the devotee presents himself as Radha, the perfect lover, to Krishna, the deity. On closer inspection one can see that Ranjha of this folk love legend borrows heavily from the legends of Krishna. He too is a cowherd and plays the flute. Like Krishna, Ranjha too doesn’t marry his perfect lover, Heer. Their love transcends the boundaries of human made institutions. Bulleh Shah, the 18 th century Punjabi mystic and poet from Kasur, captures the essence of the fluidity between Krishna and Ranjha in his poem in the following way:

Krishna plays the magical flute

O Ranjha with the flute –

O cowherd Ranjha!

You are in tune with all of us!

You make your delights

Chime with your consciousness

Krishna plays the magic flute

O flute player,

You are called Krishna

You are our virtue

You are our inner self

Yet our eyes cannot quite see you!

How complex your sport.

Krishna plays the magic flute.

In the case of this shrine the occupant of the grave becomes a symbol of divinity while the dervish with the ghungroo his female lover. There is a sexual connotation to this meeting of lovers. The grave of the saint, the groom is decorated like a groom, with a turban placed where the head of the occupant would be. Today is a special occasion. This is the celebration of the urs of the saint, a day of his death. In the Islamic spirituality, death, as opposed to birth, of a saint is celebrated. This is because it is believed that after death, the saint, lover, becomes one with the beloved, which is God. Whereas to God the saint is a female, to his devotees he is a male and they the female.

A lot of Sufi dervish , also encapsulate this duality of sexuality in their body,

entertaining simultaneously the male and female features.

In this form they represent Ardhanarisvara – a form of Lord Shiva

with the right side being male and the left one being female.

The two cannot survive without each other and are reconciled by Lord Shiva. This duality is also reflected in Shiva being seen as the creator and the destroyer simultaneously. The image of Shiva which is the union of linga (penis) and yoni (vagina) is the ultimate symbol of the union of masculinity with femininity.

The mausoleum of Daud Bandagi

In front of the dervish is the 16 th century monument, tomb of the Sufi saint Daud Bandagi Kirmani. It is a typical Mughal construction with an octagonal base and a round bulbous white dome. The shrine is covered by a protective wall and there are several other graves in this courtyard, some of his descendants and others of rich people from the city who paid or vied to be buried close to the saint, hoping to achieve salvation through their proximity.

The shrine is located in the centre of this city of Shergarh, a historical city located about 100 kilometers south of Lahore. The city as well is protected by a fort like wall. Whereas such walls of larger cities in India were razed down by the British after 1857, they remained untouched in smaller cities. The entire city was celebrating the annual 3 day celebration of the urs of the saint. All streets and roads in here had been converted into a makeshift bazaar. Smell of freshly prepared samosa lingered in the air. Some were selling eatables to those who did not want to partake in the langaar at the shrine. Most of the shops were selling religious paraphernalia – sacred threads, bangles, rings with special stones, items one is likely to encounter outside major Hindu temples. In fact to an unacquainted visitor this might as well be the threshold of a Hindu temple. The only difference would be the posters. All the posters here represented iconic Muslim saints like Daud Bandagi, Baba Farid, and Shahbaz Qalandar, while posters outside Hindu temples sell Hindu images. Women, men, children, old and young, all throng to the shrine for these festivities.

Walking in the midst of the folk are Pirs and dervish . Some offer their services to the locals, promising respite from an evil eye. Others prepare their own magical spells that need to be mixed with water and consumed. These Sufis belong to various hues. There are those who belong to a conventional, orthodox Sufi sect, like Daud Bandagi Kirmani, who belonged to the Qadiri sect. For them following religious doctrines is as much part of religion as shrines of saints. There are various distinctions within these conventional sects but there is no need to get into these subtleties here. Then there are the Malmatis – the rebel Sufis, who flout religious laws, and don’t belong to any particular order. These are the ones who through their action want to invite the wrath of the people. They believe this to be a passage towards God. They convert the sacred into profane, and profane into sacred. They are similar to the Tantric devotees of Shiva.

Scattered all around the city are the massive havelis of the descendants of the saint. The gates of their houses, manned by armed security guards are thrown open for these 3 days to entertain guests on the occasion of the urs . Not all guests though, only of a particular background. Most of them don’t live here anymore but are based in Lahore. They return annually for this festival. They are the most influential people of their city, the politicians, the businesspeople, feudal, intellectuals, bureaucrats, and of course the religious heads. Different governments including the Mughals and British have awarded vast tracts of lands to Sufi shrine establishments as a religious duty and also to appease these influential men. Most of these shrines still retain this land and their descendants reap the benefit.

I walked into the main shrine of Daud Bandagi Kirmani. The walls were beautifully decorated in traditional tile work. The grave of the saint was right in the centre while devotees circumambulated around the room and then stopped next to the tombstone of the saint, where they would offer a special prayer.

Daud Bandagi's footmark inside the shrine

Here next to the grave of the saint, on a raised platform was the preserved footmark of the saint. Some devotees prayed here while others kissed. Looking at this structure I was immediately reminded of Jain temples, where also there are footmarks of saints, around which that temple is constructed. I was reminded of the footmarks of Shri Atmaramji that I had seen at the Lahore museum. Like this one at this Muslim shrine they too were made out of marble. Shri Atmaramji was a prominent Jain Acharya from Gujranwala. His smadh still exists in Gujranwala and is being used as a police station. Sometimes innocent people are tortured at the shrine which once preached non-violence. The sight also reminded me of a Muslim shrine that I had heard about at the archaeological mound of Marot near Bahawalpur. This mound is located close to the India-Pakistan border with Rajasthan on one side and the district of Bahawal Nagar on the other. Here too there is a Muslim shrine dedicated to the footmarks of Hazrat Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet of Islam. It is believed that he worshipped at this place.

Worshipping of the footmarks is not the only feature that united these distinct religious traditions. My thought went back to the dervish I had seen outside. Their semi-naked bodies, their shaved heads, and beardless faces reminded me of sadhus from Digamber Jain, who too remove their bodily hair, as a symbol of renunciation of the world and don’t wear clothes. “You know these dervish only cover up when they visit a public place, like this one,” said Iqbal Qaiser, my friend and companion. “When they are in their deras they only wear a longi or sometimes nothing at all.”

These dervish were distinctively different from other Malamti dervish here. The other dervishes let their hair long and grow their beard, which too serves as a symbol of renunciation of the world. Where do the knots of these dervish and Digamber Sadhu tie together?

There is no doubt that the latter became an inspiration for the former but what were the pathways that allowed for this influence to reach the other. I was dumbfounded.

A few years later I was visiting another historical city of Bhera where I found myself in the premises of an abandoned Sikh shrine. On the walls of this shrine, made out of colorful frescoes I saw a figure which had uncanny similarities to the dervish at Shergarh or Digamber Sadhus. The figure wore nothing but a lungi and held a tomba in his hand.

Figure of an Udasi Sadhu at a Sikh shrine in Bhera

In the Sikh tradition these Sadhus are called Udasi Sadhu . Udasi is a Sansrkit term that means pilgrimage. Their perpetual pilgrimage from one shrine to another earned them this nickname. It is interesting to note that these Sadhus derive their spiritual lineage from Sri Chand, the eldest son of Guru Nanak. Whereas Guru Nanak spoke vehemently against such extreme asceticism, his own son defied his orders and became an ascetic. Perhaps in his own way he was punishing Guru Nanak for abandoning him as a child to depart on his own udasi that nearly took 30 years. This complicated relationship between the father and son continued when Nanak instead of appointing his son as his spiritual descendant, appointed his disciple Bhai Lehna and rechristened him, Guru Angad.

Pictures of Sri Chand depict him wearing nothing but a lungi . Sri Chand had a disciple called Baba Gurditta, who in turn had four disciples, Balu Hasna, Al-Mast, Phool Shah and Govinda. It is believed that the first two were Muslims and through them Muslim too were attracted to the movement of Sri Chand. Some of these devotees grew their hair while others removed them like Digamber Jains. They shunned clothes and started living in secluded communities called dera . They would only cover temporarily when they had to enter mainstream society. They would also scrub oil and ash over their body, associating with death and rejecting this temporary life. They became famous as Nanghe Sadhu .

A malang on his way to the next shrine

Perhaps the dervish I had noticed at the shrine of Daud Bandagi belonged to this tradition of Balu Hasna and Al Mast. They remain in groups and spend their entire lives in perpetual udasi . They can be noticed at every prominent Sufi shrine of the country. Maybe it was through Sri Chand that influences of Digamber asceticism entered folk Islamic spirituality. Or maybe such extreme asceticism was already part of the folk religious tradition of India which was later institutionalized by Digamber Jains. Perhaps these Nanghe Sadhu at Shergarh represent that primordial religiosity, before it was encoded into a religious tradition.

by Haroon Khalid

January, 2016

show Haroon Khalid's Bio

About Haroon Khalid

Haroon Khalid has an academic background in Anthropology from the Lahore University of Management and Sciences (LUMS). He has been a travel writer and freelance journalist since 2008, travelling extensively around Pakistan, documenting its historical and cultural heritage. He has written for several newspapers and magazines, including Dawn, The News, Express Tribune, The Friday Times, Scroll and Himal.

His latest book is called In search of Shiva: a study of folk religious practices in Pakistan that looks at idiosyncratic Muslim shrines of the country including shrines of phallic offerings, sacred dogs, sacred trees, shrines for transgender and other such practices.

His first book is called A White trail: a journey into the heart of Pakistan’s religious minorities that documents the religious festivals of five minorities living in Pakistan, including Hindu, Sikh, Parsi, Baha’i and Christian, and using these festivals constructs a narrative about the socio-political situation of religious minorities in the country.

He is an educationist and lives in Islamabad with his wife.

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Content for January 2016

  • A History of Indian Art Through Five Masterpieces Part 1: The Splendor of Ajanta
  • Tibet's Secret Temple: Body, Mind and Meditation in Tantric Buddhism
  • A Thousand Years of Abhinavagupta*
  • Malathi Iyengar on Dance, Yoga and Rasa
  • Reimagining the Mahabharata: In Conversation with Karthika Naïr
  • Tantra Unveiled through the Feminine: My Initiation into the Tantric Path
  • An Interview with Ray Maor on Living without Food
  • Stories and Storytellers of Kashmir
  • Beloved I am Listening: Reflections on the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra
  • Shamans, Mystics and Doctors: In Conversation with Sudhir Kakar
  • A Conversation with Chogyal Rinpoche (podcast)
  • Alchemy and the Hermetic Tradition: Mircea Eliade and Carl Jung
  • How Ravi Shankar Made Musical History
  • Kriya Yoga in the Light of Recent Findings in Neuroscience
  • Malathi Iyengar Choreography Videos
  • The Flowering of Freedom: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - Part Two
  • Tibet's Secret Temple - Image Gallery
  • Six Seasons Part Two by Freedom Cole
  • Notes on the Sensuality of Sensation
  • Summary of Each Article

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Article: Jains and the Mughals

jain monk visit pakistan

Jain Follower of the 24 Jinas or an adjective describing Jain teachings or practices. The term 'Jaina' is also used although 'Jain' is more common. " >Jain relations with the Mughals began under the third emperor, Akbar. Jain Follower of the 24 Jinas or an adjective describing Jain teachings or practices. The term 'Jaina' is also used although 'Jain' is more common. " >Jains from multiple Śvetāmbara sects, especially the Tapā-gaccha and Kharatara-gaccha , visited the royal court for a variety of reasons. Jain leaders often gained political concessions from the imperial elite that advanced their religious and community interests. Some monks also participated in the cultural life of Akbar’s court, such as taking part in religious debates.

During the reign of Akbar’s successor, Jahangir , relations between Jains and the Mughal court became rocky and ceased altogether by the 1620s. Nonetheless, outside imperial circles, contacts between Jains and Muslims remained generally affable, and commercial dealings prospered. Persian influences from Mughal painting can also be detected in Jain art of this period, especially that produced in Gujarat .

Digambara Jains do not appear to have visited the imperial court or to have had direct contact with the Mughal elite. But Digambara thinkers were highly aware of the Mughals and responded to their growing imperial power in both material and literary ways.

Akbar and the Jains

This illustration from the 'Akbar-nāmah' shows the Emperor Akbar on a black horse, after his 1572 conquest of Surat in Gujarat. During Akbar's long reign, Jains were frequently prominent at court and were often able to advance Jain interests

Akbar enters Surat Image by Victoria and Albert Museum, London © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The Mughal Emperor Akbar met members of three Śvetāmbara communities. The resulting encounters were highly varied and include:

  • political negotiations
  • religious debates
  • the bestowal of titles
  • the production of Sanskrit texts for the Mughals.

Modern historians have still not taken due notice of the diverse roles that Jain Follower of the 24 Jinas or an adjective describing Jain teachings or practices. The term 'Jaina' is also used although 'Jain' is more common. " >Jains played at the Mughal court.

In the 1560s, Padmasundara of the Nāgapurīya Tapā-gaccha Sect An organised group of believers in a religion, often distinguished from other groups within the same religious faith who have differences of doctrine or practice. " >sect was the first Jain Follower of the 24 Jinas or an adjective describing Jain teachings or practices. The term 'Jaina' is also used although 'Jain' is more common. " >Jain to visit the imperial court, then at Agra City in modern-day Uttar Pradesh. One of the capitals of the Mughal Empire, Agra contains many fine examples of Mughal architecture, including the Red Fort and the Taj Mahal. " >Agra , in modern Uttar Pradesh. While there he crafted a treatise on Sanskrit aesthetic theory at the emperor’s request, titled Akbara-sāhi-śṛṅgāra-darpaṇa – Mirror of the Erotic for Emperor Akbar . There is little additional information regarding Padmasundara’s time at court, except that he left behind a small library upon his death. Akbar later gave the books to Hīravijaya - sūri of the Tapā-gaccha . After Padmasundara, no more Nāgapurīya mendicants appear to have pursued relations with the Mughals.

Following Gujarat ‘s absorption into the Mughal Empire in the 1570s, Śvetāmbara Jains in the region built up cordial relations with the ruling power. The Tapā- gaccha and Kharatara-gaccha both developed significant imperial connections during the 1580s to 1610s. Though they often performed similar functions or even worked together at court, the sects also competed for Mughal edicts granting control over Shatrunjaya , a contested pilgrimage site in Gujarat.

Jains generally celebrated their leaders’ close imperial ties and associated influence on Mughal rulers. Even so, there was some disquiet at the notion of Jain mendicants , who renounce worldly matters for spiritual progress, attending the court of an earthly king.

Akbar and his son Jahangir bestowed Sanskrit and Persian titles on members of both monastic lineages as marks of favour. Akbar also interfered with the ascetic ranks of both the Tapā-gaccha and Kharatara-gaccha . He promoted ascetics to new positions – signified by titles, such as sūri – on several occasions. Members of the Jain community accepted the emperor’s active role, but they often insisted on having the current head of their sect perform the Rite A sequence of actions that must be followed to perform a religious ceremony. The set of actions is largely symbolic, for example offering food to statues symbolises sacrificing to a deity. The ritual actions are often accompanied by set phrases. " >rituals necessary to fomally recognise the change in status.

Tapā-gaccha contacts

This painting from an Ādityavāra-kathā manuscript shows monks preaching to lay men. The monks are of the Digambara sect even though their white robes resemble those of Śvetāmbara monks. Each monk sits on a dais and holds a scripture in a scroll. The books

Preaching Monk A man who has taken a public vow to withdraw from ordinary life to formally enter religious life and advance spiritually. Frequently, monks perform physical austerities or undergo physical hardships in order to progress spiritually. " >monks Image by British Library © CC0 1.0 (Creative Commons Public Domain)

Members of the Tapā-gaccha cultivated extensive connections with the Mughal elite. After Hīravijaya-sūri established relations in 1582, Tapā-gaccha monks were continuously present at the imperial court for 30-odd years. They asked for numerous political concessions from the Mughals and also participated in court life. Tapā-gaccha writers generally lauded these fruitful ties but also sometimes felt uncomfortable with the idea of ascetic monks attending a worldly court.

Hīravijaya-sūri, the leader of the Tapā-gaccha, first met Emperor Akbar in Fatehpur Sikri , Uttar Pradesh, in 1582. According to Sanskrit and Gujarati hagiographies , Akbar summoned Hīravijaya from Gujarat after hearing about the monk ’s legendary wisdom and religious devotion. The Mughal takeover of Gujarat in 1572 to 1573 also provided political incentives for Jains from the region to build imperial relations. Hīravijaya travelled on foot to meet the Mughal king and remained at court for a few years along with several of his disciples .

While at court, Hīravijaya successfully asked the emperor to issue numerous farmān s – imperial decrees – promoting Jain interests. These included:

  • an end to animal slaughter during the annual festival of Paryuṣaṇ
  • a ban on fishing in a lake near Agra
  • the release of Gujarati prisoners.

Several Tapā-gaccha monks frequented the Mughal court during the following decades seeking similar political concessions. Sanskrit texts narrate the imperial experiences of certain prominent figures, including:

  • Bhānucandra
  • Siddhicandra.

Kharatara-gaccha contacts

Jains of the Kharatara-gaccha sect were not as numerous at the Mughal court as Tapā-gaccha ascetics . However, their relations with the ruling elite were also largely agreeable, and they too gained political favours for the Jain faith.

In the 1580s Kharatara-gaccha followers began frequenting Akbar ’s court. Successive leaders of the sect , Jinacandra and Jinasiṃha, both visited the Mughal king, along with powerful lay members such as Karmacandra, a minister of Bikaner in Rajasthan .

Although they were not as successful as their Tapā-gaccha counterparts, Kharatara-gaccha Jains sought comparable imperial orders. Similarly, they wrote about their experiences in Sanskrit and vernacular texts.

Impacts on Mughal court culture

Mughal Emperors Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan, and their ministers. Depicting a meeting that did not take place, the painting was created for Shah Jahan, on the right, about to receive a falcon from his grandfather Ak

Three Mughal emperors Image by Asian Art Council: in memoriam Stanley Love © public domain

Jain Follower of the 24 Jinas or an adjective describing Jain teachings or practices. The term 'Jaina' is also used although 'Jain' is more common. " >Jains participated in Mughal court culture in several ways during their 30-odd years of steady presence in the imperial centre. They championed policies that lessened violence against animals, taught the Mughals Indian religious practices and also explained Jain Follower of the 24 Jinas or an adjective describing Jain teachings or practices. The term 'Jaina' is also used although 'Jain' is more common. " >Jain beliefs to the Mughal elite. Most of these events are known from Sanskrit and Gujarati materials, although Persian courtly works also occasionally refer to such practices.

Jain monks convinced both Akbar and Jahangir to enact policies promoting non-violence towards animals and to personally forgo hunting and eating meat on several occasions. Persian sources confirm these actions, although they do not always recognise Jains as being behind the policies.

Jains also introduced various Indian religious ideas to the Mughal emperors. The Tapā-gaccha monk Bhānucandra taught Akbar to recite the Sūrya-sahasranāma – A Thousand Names of the Sun . Bhānucandra’s biographer records that Brahman s provided this Sanskrit text to the Mughal king but could not explain its proper recitation. After learning it from Bhānucandra, Akbar repeated the work daily. Even European visitors to the court noted the emperor’s fondness for sun worship .

Jains also brought their own spiritual practices into the royal court. Tapā- gaccha Monk A man who has taken a public vow to withdraw from ordinary life to formally enter religious life and advance spiritually. Frequently, monks perform physical austerities or undergo physical hardships in order to progress spiritually. " >monks occasionally performed the challenging mental feat of avadhāna – focusing on numerous things simultaneously. Fayzi, Akbar’s poet laureate, was particularly impressed when Nandivijaya demonstrated this technique before the imperial assembly. As a reward, Akbar gave Nandivijaya the Persian title of khūshfahm – ‘wise man’.

On one occasion, Kharatara-gaccha members designed an elaborate Rite A sequence of actions that must be followed to perform a religious ceremony. The set of actions is largely symbolic, for example offering food to statues symbolises sacrificing to a deity. The ritual actions are often accompanied by set phrases. " >ceremony of 108 ritual baths to counteract an astrological curse on Akbar’s newborn granddaughter. Tapā-gaccha followers may also have assisted with the Rite A sequence of actions that must be followed to perform a religious ceremony. The set of actions is largely symbolic, for example offering food to statues symbolises sacrificing to a deity. The ritual actions are often accompanied by set phrases. " >rite . The ritual involved Akbar and Prince Salim – later the Emperor Jahangir – presenting offerings to Jain idols .

Both Tapā and Kharatara leaders also attest that they explained Jain beliefs to the curious Mughals. In one instance, Hīravijaya is reported to have discussed the virtues of Jainism versus Islam with Abu al-Fazl, Akbar’s chief vizier . This is recounted in Devavimala’s Hīra-saubhāgya – Hīravijaya’s Good Fortune – and includes one of the few formulations of Islamic beliefs in Sanskrit . In many texts, however, such meetings unfold quite formulaically, and authors rely on standard ways of describing meetings between political and spiritual leaders.

Mughal Persian texts generally omit detailed accounts of the time Jain monks spent at court. But the Ā’īn-i Akbarī , the appendix to Akbar’s major court history, counts among the learned men of the age the three Tapā-gaccha monks Hīravijaya, Vijayasena and Bhānucandra. In addition, Bada’uni, an unofficial historian of the period, attests that Jain monks had frequent access to the king.

Monotheistic debates

Jains participated in several theological debates with both Brahman s and Muslims at Akbar’s court. A major concern was whether Jains believed in God . If they were proven to be atheists , Jain monks would be expelled from court and potentially persecuted across the Mughal Empire. The Mughals were tolerant of beliefs different from their own, but they presumed that monotheism lay at the core of any legitimate religion.

The Tapā-gaccha tradition records several instances where Hīravijaya and Vijayasena explained Jain beliefs and successfully defended themselves against the politically charged accusation of atheism . Persian sources confirm that Akbar sponsored theological debates between members of different religious traditions, including Jains.

The Kharatara-gaccha faced similar challenges. Samayasundara even composed a text for the Mughals called Artha-ratnāvalī – The String of Jewels of Meaning – that was designed to show how Jain scriptures could be reliably interpreted to have multiple meanings.

Jain responses

Rai Sabha Chand, wearing Mughal dress, worships at a Śvetāmbara Jain shrine. The seated white figure may be Ṛṣabhanātha or Lord Ṛṣabha, the first Jina. The 17th-century picture demonstrates the interplay of Mughal artistic style and Jain art traditions.

Rai Sabha Chand worships at a shrine Image by Gift of Diandra and Michael Douglas © public domain

Jain writers mostly lauded these fruitful ties between their religious leaders and the Mughal emperors but also occasionally felt uncomfortable with the idea of ascetic monks attending a worldly court.

In 1610, the Tapā-gaccha community in Agra City in modern-day Uttar Pradesh. One of the capitals of the Mughal Empire, Agra contains many fine examples of Mughal architecture, including the Red Fort and the Taj Mahal. " >Agra sent an illustrated vijñapti-patra to Vijayasena requesting that he visit to instal an idol . The vijñapti-patra featured a lavish illustration of a Mughal court scene by the well-known Mughal painter Śālivāhana.

Titles given by the Mughal rulers were also claimed with pride. Siddhicandra reports that he received the Persian appellation jahāngīr-pasand – ‘Jahangir’s favourite’. Akbar called Hīravijaya jagad- guru – ‘Teacher of the World’ – the name by which he is often known in Jain works.

But Tapā-gaccha writers sometimes show anxiety about world-renouncing ascetics developing close ties to earthly wealth and power. To justify connections with the Mughals, they often invoke previous examples of relationships between monks and kings, such as:

  • Hemacandra and King Kumārapāla
  • Keśī and King Pradeśī .

In these stories, the mendicant acts as a protector or spiritual adviser to the monarch, who is awakened to Jain beliefs .

Jahangir and the Jains

Emperor Jahangir's tomb in Lahore, modern Pakistan. Jahangir's relations with his Jain subjects varied from favourable to hostile over his 22-year reign. By the time of his death in 1627, Jain political influence in the imperial court had ended.

Jahangir ’s tomb Image by Jugni © CC BY-SA 3.0

Emperor Jahangir had a more troubled relationship with Jain Follower of the 24 Jinas or an adjective describing Jain teachings or practices. The term 'Jaina' is also used although 'Jain' is more common. " >Jain communities than his father, Akbar . Relations between the imperial court and Jain Follower of the 24 Jinas or an adjective describing Jain teachings or practices. The term 'Jaina' is also used although 'Jain' is more common. " >Jains swung between amicable and antagonistic. But by the end of Jahangir’s reign Jains had fallen out of imperial favour.

Even as a prince, Jahangir violated his father’s orders restricting animal slaughter and pilgrimage taxes in Gujarat . After Jahangir ascended the throne in 1605, the leader of the Kharatara-gaccha , Jinasiṃha, foretold an early end to his rule. This prediction put the sect on rocky ground with the imperial court.

The Tapā-gaccha enjoyed a good rapport with Jahangir for several years. But, in the 1610s, Jahangir twice banned Jain mendicants from his court and populated centres across the empire.

A Śvetāmbara monk in the Tapā- gaccha tradition, Siddhicandra narrates the story of how Jahangir commanded him to marry despite his ascetic vows . Jain mendicants cannot marry and try to avoid the opposite sex, which Jahangir argued went against the nature of youth. The young monk refused to wed, even when threatened with being crushed to death by a mad elephant. Jahangir ultimately settled for merely banishing the stubborn ascetic, but he also forbade Śvetāmbara Monk A man who has taken a public vow to withdraw from ordinary life to formally enter religious life and advance spiritually. Frequently, monks perform physical austerities or undergo physical hardships in order to progress spiritually. " >monks to enter cities throughout the Mughal kingdom.

In 1616, Jahangir issued an edict to Tapā-gaccha leaders promising them freedom to travel and worship as they liked. Members from both Tapā and Kharatara traditions take credit for convincing the emperor to withdraw his previous harsh dictate. Nonetheless, in 1618, Jahangir again exiled all Jains, probably for political reasons. There is little evidence that this order was enforced, but Jahangir has only negative things to say about Jains in his memoirs. By the close of Jahangir’s reign, relations between the central Mughal court and Jain ascetics had ceased.

Seventeenth-century connections

A formal portrait of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb (ruled 1658–1707). Jains had little contact with the Mughal court during Aurangzeb's rule, although a few Jain ascetics gained imperial decrees favouring the Jain community.

Emperor Aurangzeb Image by Edwin Binney 3rd Collection SDMA © CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

While Jain religious leaders fell out of imperial esteem under Emperor Jahangir , other types of interactions continued throughout the 17th century. Commerce remained a profitable arena for members of both faiths. Although the close links between individual Jains and the emperor were not revived under Jahangir’s successors, Jain writers continued to view the Mughals positively.

Trade connections flourished and so did political favours associated with business relationships. For instance, Shantidas Jhaveri sold jewels to members of the Mughal elite and obtained many farmān s that advanced his commercial and personal interests.

Occasionally, Jain merchants and political figures were forced to give money to Mughal activities. For example, Shantidas Jhaveri and Virji Vora financed the unsuccessful attempt of the governor of Gujarat, Murad Bakhsh , to seize the imperial throne from Shah Jahan in 1657.

A few Jain ascetics visited Aurangzeb’s court and received farmāns benefiting their communities. But they do not appear to have cultivated ongoing relationships.

Nevertheless, Jains wrote favourably about the Mughals, including Aurangzeb , in Sanskrit and vernacular languages throughout the 17th century. Several inscriptions at Shatrunjaya also describe the Mughals in complimentary terms. Jain artworks produced in Gujarat incorporated elements of Mughal painting styles during this period.

Digambaras during Mughal rule

Nude monks are shown with small cloths over their left forearms in this fragment from a Jain temple gateway. This relief may show Digambara monks making concessions to sensitivities about public nudity or may show ascetics of the obsolete Yāpanīya sect

Nude monks carrying cloths Image by Brooklyn Museum © CC-BY-NC

Digambaras do not appear to have interacted directly with the imperial court, but they nonetheless wrote about the Mughals. Digambara ascetic practices were also impacted at times by Mughal sensibilities.

In the late 16th to 17th centuries, there was a substantial Digambara community in Agra City in modern-day Uttar Pradesh. One of the capitals of the Mughal Empire, Agra contains many fine examples of Mughal architecture, including the Red Fort and the Taj Mahal. " >Agra , including dozens of temples and two bhaṭṭāraka seats. But the Akbar-nāmah , Akbar’s official court history, claims that Digambara Jains were unknown at the Mughal court. There is also no evidence that any Digambaras met later Mughal emperors.

Even without direct relations, Digambara authors show a high awareness of the Mughals in their literature. For example, Rāyamalla describes the Agra bazaar and praises the Mughals in his late 16th-century Jambū-svāmi-carita – Acts of Jambū-svāmi . Writing in Hindi , Banārasīdās narrates how he was displaced as a child by Humayun ’s army. He credits Akbar ’s death in 1605 with largely prompting his devotion to a form of Digambara Jainism.

Digambaras also reflected on the effects of Islamicate rule more broadly during this period. For instance, written explanations of the bhaṭṭāraka institution began to emerge in the 16th century that justified mendicants donning robes under pressure from Islamic rulers. Full-fledged Digambara monks traditionally go naked , while bhaṭṭārakas wear clothing. Bhaṭṭārakas are known from at least the 14th century onwards, but the idea arises in the 16th century that this institution was developed largely in response to Islamic disapproval of public nudity .

Akbar enters Surat

Full details

In this extract from a translation of his memoirs, the Mughal Emperor Babur describes seeing the huge statues of Jinas carved into the rock at Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh.

Google Books provides selections from Babur Namur: Journal of Emperor Babur , published by Penguin in 2006.

This English translation by Dilip Hiro is based on Annette Beveridge’s 1921 translation. A fresh translation by Wheeler Thackston was published in 2002 by the Modern Library.

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=VW2HJL689wgC&lpg=PP1&pg=PA313#v=onepage&q&f=false

Flickr provides pictures of the mutilated Digambara figures of Jinas in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh. Taken in 2007, these photographs by Sergio Conti also show some of the later repairs to several of the rock-cut statues. The huge naked images were carved in the 15th century and damaged a century later on the orders of the Emperor Babur, founder of the Mughal dynasty.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sergioconti/2285506718/in/set-72157603874876112/

The Cleveland Museum of Art provides an unusual painting of a Jain monk carrying his mendicant equipment. Clad in white robes, the monk holds his alms bowl and a staff, which mark him out as a member of a Śvetāmbara Mūrti-pūjaka sect. Under his arm he carries his monastic broom and what may be a holy text. The Gujarati artist, Basawan, who worked for the Mughal Emperor Akbar, painted this picture around 1600, and its realistic treatment shows familiarity with European artistic styles.

http://www.clevelandart.org/art/1967.244

Download issue 7 of the CoJS newsletter, published in March 2012, to read the article 'Jains in the Multicultural Mughal Empire' by Audrey Truschke.

The Centre of Jaina Studies in the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), at the University of London, publishes an annual newsletter, which is available to download as a PDF. The newsletter features articles, summaries of research, academic news, book reviews, reports of exhibitions, notifications and reports of conferences and symposia.

You will need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer to open PDF files.

http://www.soas.ac.uk/jainastudies/newsletter/

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Your Palitana Guide for an Impressive Jain Pilgrimage

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I would be lying if I told you that I liked the dusty polluted town of Palitana. That’s why I’m making this Palitana Guide for you. First impressions are not kind to a place like this. It’s considered a “Holy City” in the Jain religion and has a massive community of Jain followers that live and worship here. But alongside the bald white-robed Jain monks is a rough city crumbling beneath its own history. It appears little money goes towards the upkeep of anything besides the immaculate temples and traveling here as a foreigner is difficult as lodging options are limited. Specifically, for foreigners. 

But the Jain temple (or many Jain Temples) at the summit of the 2.2-mile or 3,000-step staircase makes the town worth your visit. It’s truly one of the most incredible collections of carefully carved stone architecture I’ve ever seen. With the sun rising behind you casting a smoggy red glow over the entire valley — there are few more peaceful and beautiful temples in India. And the Jain monks are kind and curious about visitors. 

Overlooking a lake at sunrise on the Palitana Temple hike

Since this isn’t a super popular place in India to visit, there was very little information online to help guide us on our quest. That’s where this Palitana Guide comes in handy. 

Your Complete Guide to Palitana 

Let’s talk about this lesser-visited destination. I’ll share some Palitana temple photos, explain some Palitana history for those curious to learn the significance of said Palitana temples, help you get from popular cities like Mumbai to Palitana, and share some other neat places to visit near Palitana while you’re in the area.

This is the best guide to Palitana on the internet. Because it might be the only one.

What is the Jain Pilgrimage? 

Jain is a devout religion that combines a bit of Buddhism, a bit of Hinduism, and a little of its own mix. 

The monks practice an extreme form of non-violence where they refrain from eating anything living (including potatoes and other vegetables you must kill to consume), transport only on foot (so as to not kill anything- no matter how small) often sweeping the ground in front of them as they go, and live a life of complete detachment. 

Jain monk walking on the streets of Palitana

This is one of their holy sites. The entire city actually. And the temples within it are worth seeing. Visiting Jains will climb this mountain not once but 99 times during their visit. Barefoot and often dropping to their knees to pray after each step. Once was plenty for me. The Jains will typically climb 3 times per day for a month to complete the pilgrimage. 

The Palitana temple steps distance is around 4.4 miles round trip.

Who Built Palitana Temple?

These temples scattered across the top of Shatrunjaya Hill were built over a period of 900 years beginning in the 11th century. Many of the temples in town are much newer. Some are still currently being constructed. That’s what makes this specific site so holy and interesting.

According to the Gujarat tourism site, it was  Kumarpal Solanki , a great Jain patron, who built the first temples.

What is the best time of year to visit Palitana? 

If you plan to hike the mountain (and that’s the only real reason to visit Palitana) then I recommend the winter. November-March is the best season because the desert temps are more manageable. 

How to Reach Palitana 

This is one of the most essential parts of this Palitana Guide. I thought this city since it is a major pilgrimage site in Gujarat, would be easy to reach— but I was wrong. 

The easiest place to reach Palitana is Ahmedabad. And you’ll have to do it via bus. 

Man walking through a crowded market after dark in India

Some people try to go Mumbai to Palitana rather than Ahmedabad to Palitana, but this is a VERY long journey that will have to transit through Ahmedabab anyway. I don’t recommend it. If you insist though take the overnight train from Mumbai to Ahmedabad and be sure to book in advance.

How to Book Your Palitana Bus

You can use RedBus or Goibibo App to look up the schedule between the two cities. But since you need both an Indian phone number and an Indian credit card to book online— you are going to need your hostel/guesthouses’ help to book the tickets. This is one of the great frustrations of India. You CAN book your tickets with added convenience fees usually around $3-6 per ticket on 12go.Asia or Ease My Trip . You can book your ticket through one of the many travel agencies on the street as well. Just be sure to look up the price before you get there so they don’t take advantage of you. The bus ride will take about 5-6 hours.

There is also a once-per-week train if that works in your schedule. It only runs on Wednesdays.

If this all seems a little complicated it’s because it is. Getting around in India is cheap but it can be timeconsuming to score those cheap prices. I wrote a full guide on for “first-timer’s in India” to help with all the logistics.

Charyana Dorms in Ahmedabad has an insanely kind and helpful host who booked all our trains and buses. Like 7 of them. That being said…I can’t recommend the place to anyone besides extreme budget travelers because the bathrooms were horrendous! I’ve actually never seen such a messy hostel before. I’m also fairly positive I watched a staff member just remake the bed with the same sheets. But for $3 per bed, I suppose that’s what you get. 

It’s not easy to reach other destinations (like Gir National Park) from Palitana either. You’ll have to take a bus or train back to Ahmedabad. All things in Gujarat run through Ahmedabad.

Jain monk walking on the street in my palitana guide

Important Things to Know For Your Palitana Pilgrimage 

This is probably what you are here for. What do you need to know before you set out up the mountain?

  • The best time to hike is at 5 AM. This will put you at the summit around sunrise and allow you to descend before the heat is absolutely blistering. This is the single most important factor of your hike.
  • You cannot bring snacks or water on the 4.4-mile round-trip hike . This is a Jain rule. The hike is meant to be a fast and there will be someone checking your bags at the bottom. It sucks — I know. I recommend bringing a reusable Lifestraw bottle and tucking it into your backpack. Technically, you just can’t bring plastic (because people throw their trash everywhere in India) or drink before sunrise (Jain rule). We managed the hike without water but I was very thirsty at the end.
  • Also no cameras. Cell phones are fine but they turned us back with our DSLR. Technically speaking, there is to be no photography on the mountain, but we saw many people using their phone cameras, so we did too. 

Big white temples with lots of people outside in colorful sari.

  • The hike itself isn’t too intense. Nothing compared to Adam’s Peak in Sri Lanka (another awesome pilgrimage). It took us a total of 4 hours with the hike up and down with lots of time to take photos on the top. 
  • There will be people ready to cart you up and down by pure brute strength if you can’t make it yourself. It is a rickety little chair set up and costs 1,000 rupees. But other than that there is no way up but walking. 
  • Be sure to dress temple appropriately. This means shoulders and knees covered men or women. 
  • You will have to go barefoot when you reach the temples. There will be a place to store your shoes. 
  • It is really worth the effort. We’ve seen a lot of temples, in India and elsewhere, and these are among the most intricately carved and beautiful we’ve gotten to see.
  • The entire experience is free. Other than the rickshaw ride to the Jain Temple entrance. If you stay at Om Palace the ride should be 10 minutes and cost no more than 150 rupees. And that’s generous.
  • There will be food open at the base of the mountain when you return. Definitely pop in for some breakfast after the hike. Most other places in town won’t open until 11 AM or Noon.

Jain handmade brooms.

Where to stay in Palitana 

As I mentioned, places to stay are limited. And many won’t rent to foreigners. I think it has something to do with government paperwork. That being said we stayed at the only hotel on Booking.com and we didn’t love it — but it did the job. The rooms are large and A/C but don’t expect a shower or much at all beyond that. It’s also in the shitty part of town. I’ll let the reviews speak for themselves. 

Om Palace and Party Plot. 

How long to Stay in Palitana?

According to our host in Ahmedabad, few people stay overnight in the city. Most Indians will visit with a car and make it a day trip. I recommend one night in the city. This way you can hike at sunrise and wander around the town for an evening before grabbing a bus back. But you really don’t need longer in Palitana. 

You can book bus tickets easily either the day of or the day before from the Palitana bus station — just a short walk from Om Palace Hotel . 

Colorful Hindu shrine in Palitana, India.

If you are interested in Palitana tour packages it is best to arrange it from Ahmedabad. Any of the hotels in the area should be able to coordinate this for you. In that case, you wouldn’t have to worry about transport or about staying at one of the less-than-lovely hotels. But it’s really not that difficult to do independently.

Other Things to Do in Gujarat

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Best Places to Eat in Palitana 

Finding food in Palitana overwhelmed us at first. It’s hot and dusty and polluted and most places serving food looked sketchy at best. And I’m a street food lover. But once you learn to distinguish the dilapidated unassuming hole-in-the-wall eateries you’ll find the food to be pretty good. 

The Gujarat Thali at Jagruti (across from the bus station) is cheap and famous. 

Woman standing in front of intricately carved temples in my palitana guide.

The cheese and masala dosa that can be found near Takdir Restaurant is exceptional. One of the best in Gujarat. Just look for the sign showing Dosa out front. 

Breakfast at Janata Bhel after the trek is best. They have great banana chips, sugar cane juice, and Bhel Puri.  

Other Places to See Near Palitana

You would wander around the city to see some of the other, newer Jain temples while you are here. They are absolutely stunning. Most of them don’t have the same history as the ones on the mountain but still worth looking at. Here are a few other places in Gujarat (the state that Palitana is in) that you should visit if you’re already over here.

Gir National Park. The only place in the world you can still see wild Asiatic lions. Enough said.

Ahmedabad. You have no choice but to come here so you might as well enjoy it. The best sights were Manek Chowk market for dinner, Hutheesing Jain Temples, Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kalupur, and Dai Halima Vav (stepwell). Visit these places and you might actually enjoy the chaotic city. We also became a regular at Lucky Restaurant for morning chai, bun maska, and sandwiches. It’s super cheap and the restaurant is unique because it was built on an old Muslim cemetery. Instead of just destroying it, the owner built the whole place around it. So now you dine with the tombs.

man standing in a huge stepwell.

If you can make it out to the White Desert of Kutch, you won’t regret it. Without your own car , I think it is way too expensive. Let me know if you find a budget-friendly way or if you managed to visit!

Travel in Gujarat isn’t for the faint of heart. Once away from the beaten tourist trail or the hippie highway as it’s known in India you’ll find getting around much more difficult. You’ll also have to be okay with eating local food— even if that means just street food with very limited options. But for those intrepid few who visit you’ll find that the west desert has a handful of interesting places worth the visit. Palitana is one of them. Hopefully, this guide to Palitana and the Jain Holy City gives you all the info you need to plan your next adventure in India. 

Save This Palitana Guide for Later!

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Jain monk, in nude, talks of Pakistan, female foeticide, duty of wife in Haryana Assembly

He recommended ways to eradicate female foeticide. he even took potshots at pakistan..

jain monk visit pakistan

He equated dharma to the husband and politics to the wife, suggesting that the latter should “accept the discipline” imposed by the former.

He recommended ways to eradicate female foeticide. He even took potshots at Pakistan. And all through the discourse that lasted 40 minutes, Jain religious leader Tarun Sagar had MLAs cutting across party lines at the Haryana Assembly listening in rapt attention.

jain monk visit pakistan

Delivering his “Kadve Vachan” to mark the start of the monsoon session, the first such event organised at the Vidhan Sabha, the monk, who appeared in the nude, was seated on a dais, above the seats of the Governor, Chief Minister and MLAs.

Invited to speak by Education Minister Ram Bilas Sharma, Sagar said, “Rajniti par dharam ka ankush zaroori hai. Dharam pati hai, rajneeti patni. Har pati ki yeh duty hoti hai apni patni ko samrakshan de. Har patni ka dharam hota hai ki woh pati ke anushasan ko sweekar kare.

Agar rajneeti par dharam ka ankush na ho toh woh magan-mast haathi ki tarah… ho jaati hai (The control of dharma over politics is essential. Dharma is the husband, politics is the wife. It is the duty of every husband to protect his wife. It is the duty of every wife to accept the discipline of her husband. If there is no control of dharma over politics, it will be like an elephant out of control).”

Festive offer

Sagar identified female foeticide as a “big problem” that was disturbing the balance of society, leading to more crimes and rapes, and said that he had come up with a formula to tackle it at three levels — political, social and religious.

“At the political level, the government should decide that those who do not have daughters should not have the right to contest Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections. At the level of society, people should not marry their daughters into families that do not have daughters. At the religious level, saints should decide that they will not accept alms from houses where there are no daughters. The result will exceed expectations if this formula is followed. We are living in the 21st century. Even today, when boys and girls are differentiated, I feel we are living in the 14th century,” he said.

At this juncture, Sagar took a dig at Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar , who is a bachelor, saying, “Khattar sahib ko ismense bahar kar do (Khattar should be kept out of this).”

Taking on politicians, Sagar said that the Parliament, which was set up to solve the country’s problems, has become the biggest problem. He claimed that according to a survey, 160 MPs have criminal cases registered against them and said that efforts should be made to ensure that criminal elements are “not able to climb the stairs of Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha”.

Terming terrorism as a major issue, Sagar said that no religion promotes terror. If the amount of government money that is spent on weapons is used for education, employment and healthcare, there would be a transformation, he said.

Taking potshots at Pakistan he said, “Humara padosi desh, sab ko maloom hai, atankvaad ko aasan de raha hai….bhasmasur paida kar raha hai… Bharat ko pareshan karne ke liye. Mujhe lagta hai aaj nahi toh kal bhasmasur tayyar kar raha hai apne liye. Ek baar galti kare woh agyan hai, do baar galti kare woh nadaan hai, teen baar galti kare woh shaitan hai aur jo baar baar galti kare woh Pakistan hai. Jo har baar shama kar de, woh Hindustan hai (Everyone knows that the neighbouring country is harbouring terrorism… creating Bhasmasurs to trouble India. If someone makes a mistake once he is ignorant, if someone makes a mistake twice he is innocent, if someone makes a mistake thrice he is the devil, and if someone makes a mistake repeatedly, that is Pakistan. And the one who forgives repeatedly is India).”

Sagar also praised the Narendra Modi government for prescribing a retirement age for active politicians, and had a word of advice for the Khattar government.”Agar humne Rishikesh mein Ganga ka shuddhikaran kar liya, toh Haridwar aur uske neeche ke tamaam ghat apne aap shudh hote chale jayenge. Agar satra ke pehle hi din aapne dharam ko apne yahan pe baitha liya, rajneeti ke tamaam ghaat apne aap shudh hote chale jayenge. Khattar sarkar par yeh aarop lag sakta hai ke ihno ne rajneeti ka bhagwakaran kar diya, par main aap se nivedan karna chahunga, yeh rajneeti ka bhagwakaran nahi hai balki rajneeti ka shudhikaran hai (If we manage to purify Ganges in Rishikesh, then Haridwar and all its ghats will automatically keep getting purified. If on first day of this session you place Dharma in the assembly, all the ghats of politics will automatically keep getting purified on their own. There may be allegations against the Khattar government that they have saffronised politics, but I would request you that it is not saffronisation of politics, rather it is the cleansing of politics),” he said.

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IMAGES

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    Watch on. 0:00 / 6:26. May 24, 2023. ISH. Here's a story about the first Jain Aacharya to visit Pakistan after 75 years! It is happening for the first time that a Jain Aacharya (monk) is entering Pakistan, after the partition of India and Pakistan. The 66 year old - Gacchadhadhipati of the Punjab Kesari Vallabhsuri Samuday of Jainism ...

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    Jainism in Pakistan (پاکستان میں جین مت) has an extensive heritage and history, with several ancient Jain shrines scattered across the country. Baba Dharam Dass was a holy man whose tomb is located near the bank of a creek called (Deoka, Deokay, or Degh) near Chawinda Phatic, behind the agricultural main office in Pasrur, near the city of Sialkot in Punjab, Pakistan.

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    Jain group seeks Centre's nod to travel to Pakistan Hard-fought visas of a group of 22 members run out on Sunday. March 02, 2022 09:56 pm | Updated 10:45 pm IST - NEW DELHI: ... Mr. Jain, who ...

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    They are not to be found presently in Pakistan. The prominent Jain Monk was Vijayanandsuri of Gujranwala. His memorial shrine or Samadhi still exists in the city. Nearly all the Jains migrated to India post-1947. ... Here's a list of the prevailing Jain temple ruins in Pakistan that can visit: 1. Jain Digambar Temple with Shikhar:

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    History: Across the country, several ancient Jain shrines are scattered. Baba Dharam Dass, a holy man, also resides here whose tomb is located near the bank of a creek called (Deoka, Deokay or Degh) near Chawinda Phatic Punjab, Pakistan. Another eminent Jain monk of the region was Vijaynandsuri of Gujranwala, whose samadhi (memorial shrine ...

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    The recent visit of a group of Jain monks and devotees to Jain Tirths in Pakistan marks an important milestone in promoting religious tourism and interfaith Tuesday, July 4, 2023

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    The recent visit of a group of Jain monks and devotees to Jain Tirths in Pakistan marks an important milestone Jain Community's Historic Visit to Pakistan Promotes Religious Tourism and Interfaith Harmony - The Instabulletin

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    Earlier in May, a group of Indian Jain monks embarked on a journey to Lahore, Gujranwala, and other sites of religious significance in the country, via the Wagah border. Their visit, extensively covered by Pakistan's press and social media, was hailed as a path-breaking moment. However, during their trip, the Jain delegation faced some ...

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    It is happening for the first time that a Jain Aacharya (monk) is entering Pakistan, after the partition of India and Pakistan. The 66 year old - Gacchadhadh...

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    Jain relations with the Mughals began under the third emperor, Akbar. Jains from multiple Śvetāmbara sects, especially the Tapā-gaccha and Kharatara-gaccha, visited the royal court for a variety of reasons. Jain leaders often gained political concessions from the imperial elite that advanced their religious and community interests. Some monks also participated in the cultural life of Akbar ...

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  19. Jainism

    Jainism - Rituals, Monks, Ahimsa: Shvetambara monks are allowed to retain a few possessions such as a robe, an alms bowl, a whisk broom, and a mukhavastrika (a piece of cloth held over the mouth to protect against the ingestion of small insects), which are presented by a senior monk at the time of initiation. For the non-image-worshipping Sthanakavasis and the Terapanthis, the mukhavastrika ...

  20. जैन आचार्य क्यों गए पाकिस्तान ? First Time After Independence Jain

    Jain Acharya Shri Dharmdhurandhar Suriji On Pakistan Visit For 30 Days | जैन आचार्य श्री धर्मधुरंधर सूरीश्वरजी महाराज ...

  21. Your Palitana Guide for an Impressive Jain Pilgrimage

    The best time to hike is at 5 AM. This will put you at the summit around sunrise and allow you to descend before the heat is absolutely blistering. This is the single most important factor of your hike. You cannot bring snacks or water on the 4.4-mile round-trip hike. This is a Jain rule.

  22. Jain monk, in nude, talks of Pakistan, female foeticide, duty of wife

    And all through the discourse that lasted 40 minutes, Jain religious leader Tarun Sagar had MLAs cutting across party lines at the Haryana Assembly listening in rapt attention. Delivering his "Kadve Vachan" to mark the start of the monsoon session, the first such event organised at the Vidhan Sabha, the monk, who appeared in the nude, was ...