An ancient religion offering its followers the chance to liberate their souls, the number of Jains is India is small but they exert powerful influence in politics, business and everyday life.
“It’s believed that Jains are most educated and wealthy community in India and therefore it maintains its impact on politics and business of India,” according to the Indian census 2011.
With less than 0.5% of the population (around 4.5 million followers), Jainism is an influential faith whose followers observe strict codes. The states of Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka and Delhi NCR are home the highest numbers of Jains.
Places of worship:
Svetambara Jain Temple is said to be the oldest Jain Temple in the capital. Located off Kinari Bazaar in Old Delhi, the main deity is the 23rd Jain Tirthankara (or teacher), Lord Parshavnath.
There are also sculptures of other Jain Tirthankaras including Lord Adinath, Lord Sumatinath, and Lord Ajinath. It is spectacular, but hard to find. Here’s the address – Naughara Gali, Near Kinari Bazaar Road, New Delhi-06 (off Kinari Bizaar, Chandni Chowk)
Digambar Jain Lal Mandir, built in 1656 and directly opposite the Red Fort at the end of Chandni Chowk, is not only a place of worship it’s also a hospital for birds. Frequently referred to in Guide Books for this reason, it’s most famous statutes are those of Lord Mahavira & Lord Adinath.
The Birds’ Charity Hospital has wards for different bird species, a research laboratory and an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for seriously injured patients. It’s said to be the only one of its type in the world.
What to know more?
Learn more Jainism click on this overview provided by the BBC.