Ratnagiri is an important Jain heritage centre in the Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh. The Nollamaba-Pallavas and the Nidigallu/Nidugal Cholas patronized Jainism in this region. It was an important Jain Heritage centres during their reign.
Jain Temples – We can find 2 Digambar Jain temples at Ratnagiri.
Parshwanath – This temple houses the idol of Tirthankar Parshwanath in Kayotsarga as the main deity. In addition to this, there are 2 other vedhis. One of the vedhis is installed an ancient Choubis Tirthankar idol and in the other vedhi is seen an idol of Tirthankar Parshwanath in Kayotsarga. Additionally, 3 small vedhis are created in the Navaranga of this temple. One of the vedhi houses numerous small metal, stone, and marble idols of Tirthankar Parshwanath, Choubis Tirthankar, Padmavati, Sarvahna Yaksha and others. In front of this temple is installed a Manastambha with Chaurmukha Parshwanath idol within the mantapa.
Shanthinath Temple – It is a big and beautifully constructed Jaina basadi. It is provided with three entrances instead of one. The main temple consists of garbhagriha, antarala, rectangular mantapa, and also mukhamantapa. The principal deity of the temple is Santinatha. The side entrances lead to small cellars. Over the ardha-mukhamantapa, are three niches decorated with Jaina images. No doubt it is a well-preserved Jaina temple, which has undergone several repairs and renovations. This temple was part of the Jain Math that existed earlier.
Jain Math – Ratnagiri also housed a Jain Math with a pontiff being called as a Bhattarakha as its head. Though the Jain Math is extinct now its structure is stil in tact. It has an ardamukhamantapa. Over it are small gopuras, which contain niches with Jain-Tirthankara images. The peculiarity of the matha is the depiction of females trampling over makaras as dvarapalas. The exact meaning of this depiction is not clear. The doorframe of the entrance shows a Jaina-muni on the Lalatabimba. The pillars of the ardamantapa are carved with dancing figures. The matha, in its interior, is an interesting structure with a triple unit of cells having a common corridor in front. The cells are plain except for a seated Jain-muni carved on the lintel of the above three cells. Very likely they were used as residential places. These three cells are connected by covered corridor on four sides. The top of the centre portion is kept uncovered. Above the corridor, there is a parapet wall on all sides, containing small gopuras with Tirthankaras and their Shasanadevis/Yakshis in the niches. On the top of the corridor, monkey figures are carved here and there.The adhistana of the corridor contains ganas with usual poses. No doubt, this Jaina-matha stands as landmark by virtue of its uniqueness and rarity.
How to Reach – Ratnagiri is situated at a distance of 25 Km from Madakasira town in Anantapur district. It is connected by bus with Madakasira. The village being nearer to the Karnataka border is also connected with the districts in Karnataka.