Jain rock cut temples Gwalior

The valley leading to Gwalior fort is filled with Jaina sculptures and chambers on both sides of the road. They are basically sculptures of the thirtankaras of Jain lineage. They can be divided into 5 groups. Urwahi, South Western, North Western, North Eastern & South Eastern.
The largest of all statues is 57 feet high which probably represents Adinath or Parsavnath. Another 42 feet Idol is in Padmashana pose which belongs to Parsavanath.
The third statue is 30 feet high which represents Neminatha who is the 22nd theertankara. Some have wrongly guazged the height of the statue as 58 feet which is equavalent to Bahubali statue at Shravanabelagola.
We can find statue of Vardhamana Mahavira the last of the theertankaras in the south western portion. There are sculptures of seated male, female and child representing Siddharth, his wife Trishala and Mahavir. In all there are 22 temples of Jaina origin and 1500 statues of Jain Theertankaras.

These Jaina sculptures seem to have been extension of the images from Gupta period, and there was intense activity to secure this place for Jain heritage between 1440 and 1480 AD under the reign of Dungarendra Singh and Kirtisingh.
When Babur visited the place in 1527 he ordered mutilation of the Penis for its blatant nudity and immoral depiction. Probably later a screen type wedge was placed to hide the nudity or suggestion of cover-up. Nudity might have agitated Babur but for the Jains it was a symbol of relinquishment of materialistic world. It was a complete renounciation or sanyasa. A man who has no possession is free and fearless. Therefore he is architect or master of his own fortune and salvation.
The numerous miniature image of Jain Theertankaras points to older lineage which may have been in existence from the Gupta period and some of the statues are in state of utter neglect and need urgent maintainence. Luckily a guard is posted to protect the monuments through day and night otherwise it can be easily vandalized.
The visit to the Jain group of caves was really enlightening particularly if there is no overcrowding of the place and one can peacefully observe the various sculptures in peace. Some the sculptures are half finished or incomplete which points to a fact that there was mortal danger in continuing the work or sponsorship had stopped. However the legacy of the Jains are well established in these rock cut sculptures at Gwalior.



  1. yogensarswat · March 21, 2017

    Nice introduction !!


  2. teamgsquare · March 21, 2017

    Wonderful post.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s