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Parshvanath Temple

  • The Eastern group of monuments at Khajuraho is located roughly 2 kilometers away from Western group. Although the Western group contains the largest and most often depicted temples and structures, the Eastern group offers some unique spectacles in its own right, including a compound of temples dedicated to Jain figures rather than Hindu gods. This compound is immaculately clean, like all Jain buildings, and is actively worshipped by devotees who come from all over the region to worship at the feet of their enlightened beings’ earthly representations constructed more than a thousand years ago.
  • In the medieval period, Jain devotees created a number of temples dedicated to their Tirthankaras. Tirthankaras are enlightened human beings who assist others in achieving liberation from suffering. In a metaphorical sense, they help one to cross a great ocean of worldly life and are thus known as “ford-makers” because they row others across this ocean. Therefore, they are actively worshipped in the Jain religion. The medieval temples at Khajuraho are exemplary models of central Indian Jain temples and are on par with their Hindu counterparts which were the grand jewel of central India at the time. One of the earliest temples in the Khajuraho vicinity is the Parshvanatha temple dedicated to the Tirthankara known as Parshvanath.
  • The Parshvanath idol inside the temple is known for its large oblong plan and “five- chariot” style. Being that it is the largest Jain temple at Khajuraho, it has been subjected to some renovations over the years. Originally, the temple was built to house the first Tirthankara, Adinath, but in the late 19th century the shrine was altered to house Parshvanath. Unlike most temples at Khajuraho, the temple does not have any balconied windows. Its outer wall is solid and has many sculptures. The porch depicts flora and pendants. Evidently, the sculptures and architectural designers were influenced or perhaps even the same ones who worked on the Lakshmana temple in the Western block since the Parshvanath temple bears many resemblances to the Vaishnava themes found on that temple. Not only do the sculptures have nearly the same dimensions as the ones found on that temple, but the incarnations of Vishnu can be found on the temple, including Lord Rama with his wife Sita and their monkey general Hanuman.
  • One of the most famous features of the Parshvanath temple is its yantra. A yantra is a mechanism to aid in meditation. In the temple, a four-by-four square can be seen carved into the stone. In each of the box-units is an Indian numeral. Each row, column, and diagonal add up to a total of 34. This yantra may have also been used for rituals as well as for meditational purposes.