Jainism in Gujarat

From Wikiquote
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Jainism has had a notable following in Gujarat. According to the 2011 Census of India, around 0.959% of the population of Gujarat is Jain. There are several old Jain temples that draw pilgrims from Jains around the world in places such as Palitana, Taranga, Sankheshwar, Idar.


  • It was Gujarat, however, that has always remained the Jain country par excellence. Here kings are reported to have been 'seized by a desire for asceticism' and committed religious suicide in the Jain style by starving themselves. Here, in Valabhi, Saurashtra, the canonical Jain works were put to writing in the fifth century AD.81 Jain temples are found in Gujarat as early as the sixth and seventh centuries AD. The religion was patronized by the Cha vadas, Solankis and Vaghelas of Anahilvada, by the Maitrakas of Valabhi, while the Caulukyas, in particular the Shaivist king Kuma rapala (1144-74), under the guidance of Hemacandra, set out to make Gujarat a Jain state. Edicts were promulgated against the taking of animal life, and Kumarapala is said to have erected another 14,140 Jain temples. Many Jain temples in Gujarat, especially in Anahilvada, in effect, date from the middle of the twelfth century.85 Jain architecture, always chaste and elegant, was basically Hindu, but because of their wealth the Jains were much more given to temple-building, becoming the greatest patrons of architecture in Western India, and patronizing mosques at times. Mter Kumarapala's reign, Jainism went into decline even in Gujarat. His successor Ajayapala (1173-76) began to destroy many of the temples built in the previous reign and in general did not favour Jainism much. Jain temples were beginning to be swept to destruction by the Muslims in Anahilvada as early as 1298 AD.88 From the end of the thirteenth century until Akbar's reign, at the close of the sixteenth century, no Jain or Hindu temple of any pretensions was raised in Gujarat, but destroyed temples, like at Satruiijaya, Palitana, and at other places, were sometimes rebuilt. Early Portuguese writers still testify to the strength of Jainism in Gujarat in the sixteenth century but opine that the Gujaratis were deprived of their kingdom by the Muslims because of their kind- heartedness. Varthema describes the Gujaratis as 'a certain race which eats nothing that has blood, and never kills any living thing ... and these people are neither Moors nor heathens; ... if they were baptized, they would all be saved by virtue of their works, for they never do to others what they would not do unto them.
    • A Wink, Al-Hind-The-Making-of-the-Indo-Islamic-World-Vol-2-The-Slave-Kings-and-the-Islamic-Conquest-11th-13th-Centuries, pp 354 ff.

External links[edit]

Wikipedia has an article about: