Karanthai is an ancient Jain heritage centre in the Thiruvannamalai District of Tamilnadu. Karanthai was once a site of the residence of Jain munis hence it is also called Munigiri. Its history dates back to the 8th Century A.D. and is associated with Acharya Akalanka. We can find the Kunthunath/Kunthanathar, Mahavira, and Adinathar/Adinath Digambar Jain Temples at Karnathai.
History – Karanthai is an ancient Jain heritage centre in the Thiruvannamalai District of Tamilnadu. Karanthai was once a site of the residence of Jain munis hence it is also called Munigiri. Its history dates back to the 8th Century A.D. and is associated with Acharya Akalanka. We can find the Kunthunath/Kunthanathar, Mahavira, and Adinathar/Adinath Digambar Jain Temples at Karnathai.
Kunthunathar Temple – This is an east facing temple. It has a three tiered shikhara and Kalashas with high walled compound surrounding the temple. An inscriptional reference indicates that this Jinalaya was called as Veera Rajendra Palli.
It has an Ardha Mantapa with Yaksha Gandharva and Yakshi Jaya at its entrance. This chamber was built in the 9 th century AD; a stone inscription found here provides these details. The Maha Mantapa and Mukha Mantapa of this temple were built in the 12th Century A.D. An attractive Dwajasthamba installed on a platform. Many metal idols of Thirthankars, Navadevata, Yaksha and Yakshis are seen in the temple. On the temple’s southern side are seen seperate vedhis. Idols of Tirthankar Mahavir and Brahmadeva are installed here. It was built in 12th Century A.D.
It has the idol of Kunthunath is paryankasana as the main deity. Uniqueness of this deity is that it is a lime mortar sculpture in golden colour and is flanked by chouri bearers. The pinnacle/shikhara of the temple is hollow. We can find figurines of Indira, devas, chamaradharis installed along the interior wall of the pinnavle.
Parshwanathar/Parshwanath Temple – This temple is towards the western side of Kunhunathar temple and behind the temple’s wall. It has an idol of Tirthankar Parswanathar made of lime & mortar as the main deity. This temple was built in 9th century AD. It has a portico and few steps to reach the temple.
Adinathar Temple – This temple is found along the Northern side of the open corridor. This temple was shifted in 15th century A.D. from a nearby village Aalankattamalai in the 15th Century A.D. It has a magnificent look, like a back of a sleeping elephant (design).
Kushmandini Temple – Along the northern side of the open corridor is seen a temple dedicated to Yakshi Kooshmandini Devi/Dharmadevi. It has a lime mortar sculpture of Kushmandini with Chamaradharis. Another stone idol installed in front of the Kushmandini idol for performing daily pooja.
Pada of Acharya Akalanka – The Pada (feet impressions) of Acharya Akalanka are installed on a pedestal at the portico
Jain rituals and Poojas are conducted as per the Tamil Digambar Jain tradition.
Location – Karanthai Village is located at about 21 Kms from Kanchipuram, 47 Kms from Vandavasi and 44 Kms from Arani.