The Bhattaraks & The Ancient Digambar Jain Temple of Amer

Earlier last year, in the month of April I decided to explore Amer. On a hiatus from trekking in the hills near Jaipur I was looking for some backyard exploration. Someone tipped me about an old Digambar Jain temple. I was told that this Jain temple was built around the time Jaipur was founded. It turned out to be a Digambar Jain Nasiyan.  As I approached this Jain temple, the surroundings reminded me of the era in which it was built.

The door and gateway looks ancient
Digamabara Jain Temple, Amer

This Digambar Jain Nasiyan is historic and was built between V.S. 1678-91/ 1621-1634 AD. this Temple is dedicated to 13th Jain Tirthankar Swami Vimalnath and his idol, dates back to 1585 AD or Samvat 1642. Although the main idol in this temple is Swami Vimalnath there are idols of other Tirthankars as well. These idols are from 1469 AD or Samvat 1526 to 1599 AD or Samvat 1656. The year mentioned in this temple like all other ancient temples is in Vikram Samvat (V.S.) commonly referred as Samvat.

Jump to the bottom if you want to learn more about Vikram Samvat.

Digambara Jain Temple, Amer. Old blends with new!
Not everything is new! Digambara Jain Temple, Amer


Idol of Tirthankara Vimalnath at Digambara Jain Temple, Amer

The highlight of this temple is beautiful Kirti Stambh made from white marble of Makrana, Rajasthan.

Marble Kirti Stambh. Digambara Jain Temple, Amer

Makrana white marble is one of the best white marbles available across the world. It continues to be the most popular choice among the sculptors till date. Taj Mahal, a UNESCO world heritage site is constructed from Makrana white marble. This Kirti Stambh is unlike others as it housed in a covered canopy. Usually, Kirti Stambh is established in an open area. The purpose of this Stambh is to mark an achievement & allow everyone to witness and register. Quite likely this enclosure must have been built in later years to save it from weathering by natural elements.

Bhattaraka on Kirti Stambh. Digambara Jain Temple, Amer

This Kirti Stambh has a dimension of 12′ 6″ by 4′ 7″ and has 10 vertical sections. Each of these section has 12 units having an idol of Bhattarak.

Jump to the bottom if you want to learn more about Bhattarak.

There is a pattern followed in this stambh. The Bhattaraks are depicted in either Padmasana or Khadasana. Bhattaraks in Khadasana position are holding Kamandalu.

A closer look at Kirti Stambh


Kirti Stambh depicts Bhattraks from V.S. 4/ 53 BC to V.S. 1883/ 1826 AD. This Kirti Stambh has 101 Bhattaraks  starting from 1st Bhattark Bhadrabahu to Devedrakirti. Few units are vacant. This Kirti Stambh charts and documents Digambara Jain Bhattraks in a single stone, it has immense importance from the religious perspective.


Temple premise house 4 Chhatri with Charan Paduka of Bhattaraks.

Chhatris of Bhattaraka

First such Chhatri of Bhattarak Devendrakirti was established during the reign of Maharajah Jai Singh I of Amer. Second Chhatri having Charan Paduka of Bhattarak Narendra Kirti was built in V.S. 1722/ 1665 AD; third Chhatri of Bhattarak Surendra Kirti in V.S. 1733/ 1676 AD and fourth Chhatri of Bhattarak Jagat Kirti in V.S. 1770/ 1713 AD.

Charan Paduka of Bhattaraka at Digambara Jain Temple, Amer

Digambar Jain Nasiyan was renovated few years ago.  Ministry of Culture, Government of India provided financial contribution for enhancing the facilities on occasion of 26th birth century of Lord Mahavira.



I had no idea that an old Digambar Jain temple with a history of 400 years exists in Jaipur. Digambar Jain community was one the most prominent community in  both Amer and Jaipur. Some of them were very influential and could alter decisions in Jaipur & Amer courts. Digambar Jain Temple Sanwalaji in Amer is considered as the oldest Jain temple of Amer. It still has a strong following. For certain reasons, I have chosen to post only few images. My local exploration led me to this ancient Jain temple.

Jain temples are well known for being ornate and rich in carvings and detailing.

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Jain temples are one of the most ornate ones around. . . I have often come across Jain temples which are basic and have a simple facade but they have incredibly beautiful sanctum. The level of detailing is amazing. Featured here is a Jain temple with gold work dominating the interiors​. . Have you ever been to a Jain temple? . . . #traveldiary #iamtb #lppathfinders #natgeoyourshot #lovetotravel #travelmore #traveladdict #beautifuldestinations #traveldiaries #igtravel #travelwriter #huffpostgram #natgeotravelpic #picoftheday #travelphotography #theglobewanderer #beautifuldestinations #incredibleindia #indiapictures #indiaclicks #igersrajasthan #instajaipur #jaipur #jaipurthrumylens #jaipurblog #temple #jainism #ornate #beautiful

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They are one of the most beautiful temples around. Dilwara and Ranakpur are famous the world over for their beauty. This Digambar Jain temple is not impressive from architectural point of view probably because many changes have been made in the recent years. This will interest people from Jain community or those who have interest in history or religion. Please note that it is not a tourist attraction and therefore temple management reserves the right of admission.

Here is a small primer on Jainism.

What is Jainism?

Jainism was founded in India by  Vardhman Mahavir or Mahavir as he is usually called, a prince from 6th century BC. The crux of Jainism is that everything has Jiva or life. People following Jainism are called Jain and form a minority. Essence of Jainism is non-violence, non-possession materialistic things and vegetarianism. Mahavira & Buddha, the founder of Buddhism are considered contemporaries.

Who is a Digambar Jain?

Digambar Jain is one of two sects of Jainism – Shwetambar and Digambar. There are differences in thoughts on Jainism between both sects even though they agree on the basic tenets. The Digambar sect is named after one particular practice of its monks who follow nudity & do not wear clothes as they feel that elements of nature are their clothes. Literal pronunciation from Sanskrit of the word Digambar is “sky clad”. Another point of difference between both sect is that as per Digambar ideology women do not attain Moksha or liberation until they are reborn as a male.

What is Nasiyan?

Nasiyan is a religious place of Digambar Jain community. It has a temple among other facilities. Nasiyan are built away from town so people can channelize their energies on religion as it offers peace and silence.

Who are Bhattaraks?

Bhattarak are erudite religious heads of Jain centers engaged in promoting Jain religion. They also ensure safe keeping of Jain religious text. Bhattarak continue to hold & maintain important Jain literature & religious works. Many Bhattaraks  composed Jain religious treatise. Bhattaraks are credited with protecting Jainism during the years of Muslim rule. They were strong advocators of Jain principle and way of life – non violence & vegetarianism. This system of Bhattaraks evolved  as a special institution during the period of Muslim rule who did not allow Digambar monks to move freely across the country as they shunned nudity practiced by monks. Unlike other Digambar monks Bhattarak do not practice nudity and live in math/ monastery.  Evolution of Bhattarak is assumed to have developed around 8th to 13th century. Earlier, Bhattaraka system was prevalent in Buddhism & Hinduism also but over the years it gave way. Bhattaraks still hold immense importance in South India especially Shravanbelgola in Karnataka. Some centers exist in North India as well. Bhattarak ji Ki Nasiyan in Jaipur was one such center. It is believed that Adhyatama movement in 17th century initiated by Terapanth Digambar Jain in Jaipur rejected Bhattarak system which gradually led to extinction of Bhattarak system from North India.

What is Tirthankara?

Tirthankara is founder of Tirtha. A Tirthankar is not an incarnation of the God. He is an ordinary soul, born as a human who attains the state of a Tirthankara because of intense practices of meditation, penance & self-control. Therefore Tirthankar is not an Avatar or reincarnation of God. It is the ultimate pure developed state of the soul which may be termed as God in human form.

What is Vikram Samvat?

Indian Calender System/ Vedic Time system/ Hindu Calender System is named after the famous Indian ruler Vikramaditya of Ujjain who started Vikram Samvat 57 years before the birth of Christ. You can calculate it easily by adding 57 to any Gregorian year. It is referred as V.S. or simply Samvat.

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65 thoughts on “The Bhattaraks & The Ancient Digambar Jain Temple of Amer

  1. Arv! I enjoyed reading about the nearby temple of Amer. I am amazed at how well the temple area is being looked after. You mentioned that you could not publish some photos and wonder whether there were religious considerations, as we know from other ancient religions to have some concern about images.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy to hear that you enjoyed reading this post. Many temple do have restrictions on photography. There are some that do not permit taking pictures of idol, while others are okay with that but restrict photography elsewhere in premises. Over the years, some people have realized that they cannot win because everyone carries a camera in form of a phone; it is difficult to police. I guess everyone has right to their own conviction.

      Have you ever heard about Jainism?

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Mick, Jain temples are supposedly one of the most ornate and beautiful temples around. Of course, this is not one of them. The idol is usually made of white/ black stone. Some of the most beautiful and ornate Jain temples are in Dilwara, Ranakpur and Jaiselmer. Jainism is focussed on ahimsa (non-violence) & practising vegetarianism.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So much of hard work would have gone in the making of this post I can only imagine for by the time I reached the end of it, there were so many new things I had learnt. It’s not just a travel piece, it’s from the heart of someone who genuinely feels connected with history. Marvellous work☺️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. You guessed it right. It does take lots of time. To be honest, it’s not a travel guide because its​not recommended for tourists. This place will be appreciated only by history lovers or explorers. Thanks for reading and appreciating; not everyone can understand the efforts that go in such post. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is quite an informative post. This temple is not as ornate as other Jain temples but is beautiful, as seen through your pictures. I did visit the famous Dilwara temple and was amazed by its intricate carvings. Here the other interesting point is the Kirti Stambh is not in the open. You have covered every detail of the temple and the religion. It is a nice read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sharmistha for sharing your views. As you also mentioned, it is not an elaborate temple a striking feature of Jain temple but this has interesting history and a kirti stambh which marks all Bhattaraks. There many beautiful Jain temples in Jaipur but getting permission for photography is difficult. Have you explored your home town – Kolkatta?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You will find large number of Shwetambar temples dedicated to Parashwanath.

        How about a blog? will get to see pictures and your experience.


  4. I had absolutely no clue about this Jain temple in Jaipur. It is so off the beaten track and the marble pillars and chatris are so beautiful. Love the architecture of Jain temples, and while this may not be as illustrious as Ranakpur, it has an old world charm and beauty! 🙂 Lovely read!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Divsi, it is completely offbeat visit. I admit it is not at all ornate, something for which Jain temples are renowned. There are many ornate and beautiful Jain temples in Jaipur. More on those sometime later! 🙂


    1. Thanks, Arunasha. To be honest, there are many more places that I have explored but I haven’t been able to put them here on the blog because of the paucity of time. I assume you have also been exploring quite a bit 🙂


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