Melsithamur Jain Math is located near Gingee in the Villupuram district of Tamil Nadu. It is the primary religious center of the Tamil Jain community and is headed by Bhattaraka Lakshmisena/LaxmisenaSwamiji. The Villupuram area has been an important centre of Jainism for several centuries. Historically, there was a Jain Math at Kanchipuram but it was shifted to its current location here. Venkatappa Nayak 1570-1600 is said to have given permission during his reign to build the Melsithamur Jain Math & Temple.
Jain Temples in Melsithamur
Parshwanath Temple – The main idol of the Parsvanatha temple is a black-colored 14 feet idol of Parsvanatha in sukhasana posture. Parshvanatha temple’s Raja Gopuram is a seven-storeyed tower with a total height of more than 70 feet. Images of Tirthankaras are carved on temple walls. The 52 feet manastambha in the temple is a monolith.
Malainathar Temple – The other temple is dedicated to Malinatha and it was originally a boulder containing rock-cut images of Bahubali, Parsvanatha, Adinatha, Mahavira, and Ambika/Kushmandini/Dharmadevi yakshi. These images were carved in the 9th century CE. Malainathar Temple is also known as Thiruvooram Palli or Kattam Palli. The carvings of Tirtankaras Bahubali, Parshwanath in Kamatopasarga, Adinath Bhagavan, Mahavira, and Yakshi Dharma Devi belonging to the 7th century sculptured on a single rock here is a testimony to the workmanship of those days.
Lakshmisena Bhattarakha Swamiji – Laxmisena Bhattaraka Pattacharaya Pattacharaya Swami is the Bhattaraka of the Melsithamur Jain Math at Jinakanchi. The Bhattaraka of Mel Sithamur Jain Math is also the head of all Tamil Jain temples so he has also been given the title of Sarva Jinalaya Paribalakar. He is responsible for the management and maintenance of Jain temples in his locality or under the guidance of his Jain Math. He is also responsible for performing various religious ceremonies including the consecration (Panchkalyana) of new idols. He has also been instrumental in contributing to various social causes.