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Venkundram

Venkundram/Vengundram is a Village located in the Thiruvannamalai District of Tamilnadu near Vandavasi.

Main Deity – Marble idol of Tirthankar Parshwanath is Padmasana.

History – Venkundram houses an ancient Digambar Jain temple belonging to the 11th century. The temple is dedicated to Tirthankar Parshwanath, the 23rd Jain Tirthankar. The Thavalagiri hill located beside the village is said to be an adobe for many Jain ascetics. The temple was initially dedicated to Tirthankar Neminath, the 22nd Jain Tirthankar.

Architecture – The temple is built in the Chola Architectural style.

Temple Structure – This Digambar Jain temple has an east-facing sanctum sanctorum with its entrance facing the north along with a pinnacle. It has the Garbagriha (sanctum sanctorum), Antarala (passage), Ardha mantapa, Mahamantapa, and Mukhamantapa, and three pavilions leading to an open corridor.

The Manastambha installed at the temple’s entrance has Tirthankar carvings at its base on all its four sides. At its top within the mantapa is seen Tirthankara idols facing four different directions with the Tirthankar idols in Paryankasana. Just behind the Manastambha is found the Sribali Peetha. The manastambha leads to a pavilion with 12 pillars.

In the Ardha mantapa is seen a platform used for Nithya Pooja. On this platform are seen the idols of 24 Tirthankars made of brass, a stone idol of Tirthankar Parshwanath flanked by Dharanendra Yaksha and Padmavati Yakshi and the images of Indras and other deities in the pedestal.
Besides the main entrance a pavilion with fully guarded doors is seen. Inside this pavilion are seen the idols of Pancha Parameshti, Navadevata, Lord Bahubali with an attractive Prabhavali, Tirthankar Parshwanath, Jinavani Shrutaskanda, Nandishwara idol, Yaksha and Yakshi idols, a metal idol of Acharya Kundakunda and other Jain idols are seen.

To the north-east of the temple a 16 pillared pavilions was converted into two shrine room. In one of them is installed a stone idol of Yakshi Padmavati and a stone idol of Navagraha is installed on a platform.
To the east of the temple is seen a small chamber with the idol of Tirthankar Adinathar in Paryankasana. It might belong to around 6th to 7th century A.D. and is believed to have been brought here from a village near Vandavasi town.

Regular poojas and rituals are performed here as per the Tamil Digambar Jain tradition. Most of the Jain festivals are celebrated on the respective dates.

How to Reach – Venkundram is located at a distance of 42 kms from Kanchipuram and 82 km from Thiruvannamalai. The nearest railway station is Kanchipuram and the nearest Airport is Chennai.