About Shri Digambar Jain Lal Mandi
Shri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir, commonly referred to as Lal Mandir, is a historic Jain temple in Delhi. It is opposite the renowned Red Fort and serves as the first Jain Temple in India. The Shree Agarwala Digambar Jain Panchayat Trust constructed the Temple to commemorate Lord Parashvanath and oversaw it. This article provides a comprehensive overview of the history and key features of Shri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir.
The history of Lal Mandir dates back nearly 350 years. The Temple underwent expansion and renovation in the mid-nineteenth century, but its initial construction took place in 1658. According to historical records, during the Mughal era, the Mughal authorities permitted the building of a temporary structure to house a Jain temple in Shahjahanabad, a walled city under the rule of Emperor Jahangir.
Balbhadra Jain, a Jain scholar, wrote that Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan built the Temple during his reign. Legend has it that a Jain commander in the Mughal army kept a statue of Tirthankara in his tent for worship, which led to the building of the Jain Temple in 1658. The Temple houses the icons of Lord Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara, and Lord Adinath, the primary Tirthankara of Jainism. The builders constructed the current temple structures after the collapse of the Mughal Empire.
There is an interesting story associated with the Temple and Emperor Aurangzeb. Playing musical instruments and nagada drums was a customary practice at the Temple. However, Aurangzeb deemed the sound disturbing and banned all musical instruments. Despite the Mughal authorities’ inspections, the Temple still produced drumming sounds. After witnessing this miracle during a visit to the Temple, Aurangzeb decided to abolish the ban.
In 1931, the famous Jain monk Acharya Shantisagar paid a visit to the Temple, marking a crucial historical moment. Acharya Shantisagar honored Digambar Jain by constructing a monument in his honor within the Temple after visiting Delhi for the first time in over 800 years.
Architecture of Shri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir
The Temple is a magnificent edifice of red sandstone construction. It features a Manastambha column at the entrance, a small courtyard enclosed by a colonnade, and the primary worship space on the first floor. The Temple houses three sacred shrines dedicated to Lord Adinath, Parshvanath, and Mahavira. Its peaceful environment attracts thousands of visitors from across India.
The shrine to Lord Parshvanath, the 23rd Tirthankara of Jainism, is surrounded by ante-chambers showcasing intricate carvings and stunning paintings. The golden paintwork of the shrine glistens under the soft glow of butter lamps and candles, creating a serene atmosphere for meditation and worship.
Temple’s Best Features
Jain devotees worldwide converge at the temple complex to offer candles, fruits, grains, and rice in reverence. In addition to intricate religious ornaments, the Temple also features a bookshop offering literature on Jain culture and religion. To serve the community, the Temple operates a charitable hospital for birds and a comprehensive library on Jainism. The Jain Bird Hospital, located in a separate building behind the main Temple, cares for various birds, primarily herbivores and squirrels rescued from accidents and bird traders. While tissue-eating birds such as vultures may receive short-term care, priority has been given to herbivorous birds’ well-being.
Instructions to Reach Sri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir
Digambar Jain Sanctuary in New Delhi is easily reached. The Old Delhi Rail line Station is the closest railroad station to it, and the closest air terminal is the Indira Gandhi Global Air terminal. Numerous local buses can reach this temple premise from any corner of New Delhi.
- Timings: Holi to Diwali (Summer Timings): 5:30 AM – 11:30 AM and 6:00 PM – 9:30 PM.
- Diwali to Holi (Winter Timings): 6:00 AM – 12:00 PM and 5:30 PM – 9:00 PM.
- Entry Fee: No Entry Fee.
- Festivals Celebrated in this Temple: Diwali, Paryushan, Jnaan Panchami, and Samvatsari; mostly visitors visit the Temple on these occasions.
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