Continuing my journey (from my previous post Choolgiriji, Khaniyaji) on the Jain temple trail, I reached the small town of Sanganer, which is situated 16 km south of Jaipur City on National Highway No. 12, Kota – Jaipur Road. This is a historical town and famous for textile printing and handmade paper industry. However its most famous for the old and beautiful Shri Digamber Jain temple Sanghiji.
This is an ancient temple in red stone and exquisite carvings, that represents the old style of architecture and was completed in many phases. Per the inscription of V.S. 1011 in one of the pylons (Toranas), the last phase was completed in 10th century A.D. In this temple the Mulnayak Pratima (main idol) is of our first tirthankar, Lord Adinath (Rishabh Dev), made of local stone and expected to be more than 4000 years old. This temple is seven storied and has sky-high ‘shikharas’ (spires) and the inner sanctum is a stone shrine with skyhigh eight Shikharas (pinnacles). The inner temple is a stone shrine with three pinnacles and carvings of lotuses, creepers and elephants pouring water from pitchers held in their trunks all around.
But this temple has its fair share of secrets and miracles. There is an underground section here that has an ancient small temple guarded by the Yakshas. This sacred temple has seven underground levels which are always kept closed, as people cannot enter it. It is said that only a Balyati (one celibate since childhood) muni (saint) can enter in it if equipped with his spiritual steady fastness; and bring out the Idols for a limited period, which is decided and declared in advance. These idols (brought out for viewing) must then be placed back in the underground temple within the auspicious signs.
This temple became famous some years ago when Muni Sudhasagarji Maharaj, a disciple of Acharya Vidyasagarji Maharaj visited the underground floors and brought these valuable and never seen before idols (made of precious stones) outside. He said that he encountered many Yakshas in the form of snakes who were there to protect the idols and he had to seek permission from the protector gods. There is another story that says that many years ago another Muni Maharaj brought the idols out from this temple, but due to certain reasons there was a delay in returning them. It is said that he was attacked by insects and had to return the idols immediately.
For my own trip, we reached here late in the evening and stayed in the local dharamshala. The dharamshala here was good and had deluxe rooms that seemed new, were clean and also had an AC. There was also a small tea stall that made some quick snacks, tea, coffee etc, which was quite good. Since we were tired by the travels of the full day, we decided to retire early and didn’t explore anything else around.
We woke up early in the morning and went for the morning prakshal (this is when we pray and wash the Gods early in the morning). The outer gate of the temple is in red stone and the interiors are in white stone. There is beautiful carving all around this temple, including the doors and the door steps. We first entered the main gate and into an aagan (open hallway) that had idols of Gods on both sides. One of walls here had the entire story of the hidden ancient underground temple. At the end of this hallway was another doorway that led into the main temple. Here the moment we entered we saw that the temple was in the form of a square hall, with the main pratima of Bhagwan Adinath in the centre. But this is not the actual old idol but an exact replica of it. The actual old idol is now kept in a small cove just behind the new one and there are idols of Gods all around the perimeter of the square hall. Since photography was not allowed, I don’t have any pictures of the temple interiors.
We saw the prakshal of all the main idols and then did a small puja here. There were some darshan on the first floor too and we did that too. Now contrary to the idols in other temples, all the idols here have a paunch, big feet and long nails. This was really surprising for us as we have not seen such idols in any of our other temples. We then went in a hunt of the entrance to the hidden temple, only to discover that it has now been enclosed behind a marble wall. 😦 Though I was quite disappointed with it, I do hope to be able to see these idols someday.
After this we left the temple, had a quick breakfast and then went shopping for bedcovers with the famous Sanganer prints. Sanganer hand block prints are quite famous and unique. They have multiple patterns in bright colors (reds, blues, etc) that are always printed on white backgrounds. A must have 🙂
In case you want to visit this shetra too, then you can contact the management committee at Shri Digamber Jain Atishaya Kshetra Mandir, Sanghiji, Jain Mohalla, Sanganer, Jaipur – 303902. Phone 0141-2730390, 2731952
Tips for the Trip –
- Sanganer is very close to Jaipur and can be visited as a half day trip too. The local autos also ply from Jaipur till Sanganer.
- The dharamshalas here are basic but clean. However over weekends they tend to get full pretty soon, hence do book them in advance.