Digambara Tradition :
Digambara Jain Temple is the temple of Digambara sect. This sect did not allow women and do not believe in family life of Mahavira Jain. Digambaras also don’t believe in Jain Scriptures Angas, Upangas, Prakirnakas, Vedasutras and Mulasutras. They believe Mahavira was God and got salvation. Digambara believe that clothing is a way to hide feeling of shame which comes from nudity. They say clothes are material and possession which increase dependency and desire. So Digambaras renounce even clothes in order to attain enlightenment. For Digambaras nudity is extreme form of desirelessness and emotionlessness which can’t come to every human being naturally. Jain monks are often patronised by rich merchants. Jainism has more acceptances among business class people than other in India.Digambara Jain didn’t accept women as nuns. But now with passage of time Digambaras have given space to women. But as nudity is not possible for women they can’t attain salvation. Female renunciates wear white robes and are called Aryikas.
Location of Digambara Jain Temple :
Digambara Jain Temple at Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh is located to the south-west of the Dhamekh Stupa in Sarnath, Varanasi.There are two more structures Durga Temple and Dhamekh Stupa that tell of two ideas one religious harmony and another of religious rivalry that all the structures are at one place perhaps constructed over time to establish religious supremacy.
Location of Temple :
Shri Parshvanath Digambar Jain Tirtha Kshetra, Bhelupur, is located approximately 3 kilometres away from the Banaras Hindu University, and 4 Kilometres from Banaras Cantonment. There are two Jain temples dedicated to Parshvanath, the 23rdTirthankara of Jain Tradition, located adjacent to each other (Digambar and Shwetambar). The only difference being that, Digambar Temple has a 75 centimetres tall black idol, whereas the Shwetambar Temple has a 60 centimetres tall white idol.
Route to Digambara Jain Temple :
The temple is about 11 kilometres from the main city of Varanasi and can be reached via taxi or auto rickshaw. You can also reach on foot from Sarnath Railway Station.If you have chosen road transport follow NH-29. Take Sanskrit University Road and then follow up Premchand Road towards Gautam Buddha Rajpath Road passing by Punjab National Bank on the right. Take the first exit at the coming roundabout and continue up to the Archeological Survey of India Museum. The Temple will be on your left.
The best time to visit Digambara Jain Temple :
It is in between the months of October and March, while the first week of January is generally considered to be the best time to visit the Temple.
Opening Time of Temple :
The temple remains open from 5:30 am to 8:30 pm on all days, and the entry is free.
History of Temple :
Temple has a beautiful carved structure offering unique sculpture. It is dedicated to Jain Tirthankara Shreyansnath.The Jain Temple in Sarnath was built in 1824 AD and is said to be located at the spot where Shreyanshnath, the 11th Jain Tirthankaras was born. All Jain Tirthankaras are symbolised with some important figures like Buddhism symbolises happenings of Buddha’s life with wheel, Bunyan Tree and Lotus and Horse. The temple has beautiful engravings related to the life of Mahavira and many legends that are in Jain Literature. Same way Shreyansnath is symbolised with Rhinoceros. The carvings of temple represent it beautifully. Jain Temple of Sarnath, Varanasi is an exquisite of Jain art, architecture and sculpture.
Temple Precincts :
The area near the Jain Temple offers many delicious foods with restaurants offering a multitude of cuisines from Indian, Chinese, and Manchurian South Indian to Continental. There are not many options for shopping in Sarnath as it is a small town but people often throng to the markets of Varanasi city. Varanasi is located just 11 kilometres away, and showcases many complexes such as the PDR Mall on Luxa road, and IP Mall on Kabir Road but local markets are flooded with all kind of goods and attract tourists more than malls and multiplexes. Some of the popular nearby places include:
What to see at Digambara Jain Temple :
Digambara Jain Temple is fine example of modern architecture with elements of ancient tradition. You can look for ancient Jain scriptures if you are literary enthusiast or have eagerness to go deep through philosophy of religions. You can search for legends represented in temple structure. It can be known from Jain Scholars and Temple Priests.
Festivals at Digambara Jain Temple
Mahavira Jayanti or Birth Anniversary of Mahavira Jain is celebrated in April. Paryushana is another festival when monks stay at one place. Initially it was primarily a monastic practice. This festival consists of 8 days of intensive fasting and repentance. Kartik Purnima is another sacred festival when Jain Monks gather and take bath in Ganges. Hindu Festival Diwali has a great significance as this day Mahavira attained salvation.