Kumbhariyaji

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The five temples at Kumbhariyaji, three kilometers beyond the popular holy Hindu site of are a delight to the pilgrim. The first impression that awaits the visitor to Kumbhariyaji is an air. Of tranquility, which pervades the extensive temple compound, located a short way off the road. Some kind of blessing seems to have saved these five temples – the first was consecrated in 1061, the last in 1231 – from destruction at the, hands of vandals, a fate that befell an unknown number of shrines which once dotted this area, then named Arasana. One source speaks of over three hundred Jaina temples of which nothing was left standing. It was here that the white marble required for building the temples on Mount Abu and other places was mined; it is still being excavated in great quantities.

An inscription in. the Mahavir temple, the earliest of the five, reads: “On Monday, the 9th of the bright half of Phalguna, in Samvat 1118 (AD 1061) at a place known as Arasana. The image of Vira (Mahavir), to the memory of which the place is sacred, was consecrated. The other four temples are dedicated to Shantinath, Parshvanath, and Neminath. And Shambavnath respectively. All are in active worship for the, benefit of pilgrims; as many of them travel long distances, the management provides lodging and cooking facilities. The nearest town is Ambaji, about 2.5 kilometers to the west. “The next* Jaina temple of this style is the magnificent marble temple of Mahavir built in 1061 at Kumbharia, which has also four other Jaina temples

“The Kumbharia (Mahavir) temple also contains in one of its ceilings long panels showing figures of the mother and father of each of the twenty-four Tirthankara, all having inscribed labels giving their names. The panels in the temple at Kumbharia are masterpieces of art in rendering miniature. Figures of gods, men, women, animals, trees, etc., in marble. Artists of this region in the eleventh and twelfth centuries were experts in the minute chiseling of soft marble.”

Its ancient name was Arasana. It was in current use till the 17th century. Stone inscriptions show that it was a very large city with hundreds of temples. Today, there are only five temples and the largest of them is that of Bhagawan Neminath. There is a documentary proof that it was renovated in the seventeenth century and formally installed by Shri Vijaysensurisvarji on the 4th day of the bright half of the month of Magha in the year 1675 of the Vikram era. Pasil, the son of the secretary Ganga propitiated Ambikadevi and fortunately began to build the splendid temple of Bhagawan Neminath. This place is, therefore, significant on account of its antiquity and special events. There are four other artistic temples of Bhagawan Mahavir Swami, Bhagawan Parshvanath, Bhagawan Shantinath and Bhagawan Shambavnath. The scenes of the future group and of the present group of twenty four Tirthankara, the fourteen dreams, bathing God with holy water on the peak of Mt. Meru in celebration of his birth, the encounter with Kamath, Dharendradev bowing down to Bhagawan Parshvanath, God’s sermons from the open raised platform (Samavasaran), and all the five Kalyanak (Inception, birth, diksha, omniscience, nirvana) lovingly carved out of stone, present models of distinct ancient craftsmanship.

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This place is at a distance of one and a half kilometers form the village of Ambaji. The nearest railway station is the Abu Road and the nearest bus stand is the Ambaji. There are good Dharmashalas at this tirth.

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Post Author: JHC