Give an account of Jain architecture that developed in various parts of the country during different periods

• Give brief introduction about evolution of Jain Architecture in India.
• Give some examples of Jain architecture found in various parts of India.
• Highlight key features of Jain architecture and give an appropriate conclusion.
Jainism arose around 6th century BC and has influenced the architecture of the time. Early Jain architecture is less easy to differentiate as it imitated Buddhist and Hindu styles. However, it later developed certain distinct features of its own such as Maru-Gurajara architecture.

Initially, Jain temples were made next to Buddhist temples following the Buddhist rock-cut style.

The use of bricks in these temples was almost negligible. For example- Udaigiri-Khandagiri caves in Odisha were used as monasteries by Jain monks. Jain Ellora caves in Maharashtra imitated the floor plan of Kailasa temple. The Jain Viharas have small and plain cells and do not have assembly or prayer halls surrounded by cells unlike their Buddhist counterparts or had small and plain cells.
However, in the later years, Jains employed the concept of mountains of immortality and deviated from Hindu and Buddhist sites and started building temple cities on hills, such as Dilwara Temple (Mount Abu). These holy hills were ornamented with a crown of eternal Arhat chaityas (tabernacles of saints) shining with the splendor of jewels.
Such Jain architecture developed in various parts of India such as:
• Rajasthan hosts some prominent examples including Dilwara temples at Mount Abu (11th- 13th century), Temple of Adinatha at Ranakpur (15th century), Nasiyan Jain Temple in Ajmer (19th Century).
• Maharashtra: The change in architectural type and material in construction of Jain temples can be seen here from the development of Ellora caves (9-10th Century) and Anjaneri temples to recently constructed Digamber Jain temple in Shirdi.
• Madhya Pradesh: Bawangaja is known for the world’s largest megalithic statue of Lord Adinatha. Adinatha temple located at Khajuraho is part of UNESCO World Heritage Site along with other temples in Khajuraho Group of Monuments.
• Karnataka: The famous statue of Gomateshwara at Shravanabelagola is an example of rich heritage of Jain architecture. Various temples are found in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu as well.
• Gujarat: Palitana temples (9th-10th Century) located on Shetrunjaya hills in Palitana have a unique architectural style. The ornamentation is such that in sunlight their appear to have been made up of ivory.

Jain architecture, especially Jain temples have certain key features which can be described as follows:
• Dedicated to Tirthankaras: Jainism preferred to situate images of the tirthankaras within the precincts of the temple. All of the Jain temples are dedicated to one of the 24 Tirthankaras.
• Chaumukh design: In Jain temple, Chaumukh design is seen frequently. In this, the image of a Tirthankar faces four cardinal directions and entry into these temples is also from four doors that face the cardinal directions.
• Use of pillars: Jain temples have numerous pillars having a well designed structure, forming squares which contains the image of a deity. From the pillars, a false arch/bracket springs about two thirds of the way up.
• Domed roofs: Domes or shikharas are usually more curved than the ones found in Hindu temples, which gives to Jain temple cities a very distinct skyline of multiple dome points reaching toward the sky.
• Ornamentation: The pillars as well as the domed roof are richly decorated with intricate carvings.
Thus, Jain architecture starting from its nascent stage evolved to immensely contribute to the diversity of Indian architecture.


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