Jainism in Kerala

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It is postulated that Jainism has had a continued presence in Kerala - a state in southern India - since pre-Christian (CE) times.[1]

At present, Jainism in Kerala has a small following. It is possibility that Jainism arrived in modern-day Kerala in the third century BCE soon after Maurya emperor Chandragupta Maurya (c. 321-c. 297 BCE), accompanied by the Jain sage Bhadrabahu I, made the pilgrimage to Shravanabelagola near Mysore (in present day Karnataka). Their followers are believed to have journeyed further south, into present day Kerala and Tamil Nadu, probably in search of suitable places for meditation.

Ilango Adigal, author of the medieval Tamil epic poem Silappatikaram, may have been among the notable elite patrons of the Jainism in Kerala. It is speculated that he lived in Trikkanaa-Mathilakam in Kerala which attained fame as a centre of Jain culture and learning.[citation needed] By the 8th century CE, Jainism in Kerala was on the decline and Shaivism and Vaishnavism was on the rise.

It seems that by the 16th century Jainism had almost disappeared in Kerala. Some Jain shrines from early historic and medieval times still remain, notably in Jainamedu, near Vadakkanthara, Palghat, and in Sultan Battery in Wynad. Koodalmanikyam Temple in Irinjalakuda is believed to have been a Jain temple. The assumption is that it was dedicated to Bharatheswara, a Digambara Jain monk. Historians assume that Jainism declined in popularity in Kerala during the period of Shaivite and Vaishnavite rise, and many Jain shrines, among them Koodalmanikkyam, became Hindu temples.[2][3][4][5]

The temple at Kallil, in Perumbavoor, was believed to have been a Jain shrine dedicated to Parshvanatha, Mahavira, and Padmavathi Devi. Now the shrine is a Hindu temple dedicated to Devi, but Jain pilgrims also pray there.[6][7][8]

Some Jain temples located in modern-day Kerala are:

Photo gallery[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Spirituality of Basic Ecclesial Communities in the Socio-Religious ... - Selvister Ponnumuthan.
  2. ^ Cultural heritage of Kerala: an introduction - A. Sreedhara Menon. 1980-01-01. Retrieved 2012-06-02.
  3. ^ "Chathurmukha basti, Jain temple, Kasaragod, Video, India". Keralatourism.org. Retrieved 2012-06-02.
  4. ^ "Irinjalakkuda Koodalmanikya Swami Temple". Vaikhari.org. Retrieved 2012-06-02.
  5. ^ "Introduction to Temples of Kerala". Thrikodithanam.org. 10 May 2001. Archived from the original on 23 April 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
  6. ^ "IT Kerala". Manoramaonline.com. 2008-11-14. Retrieved 2012-06-02.
  7. ^ Sajnani, Manohar. Encyclopaedia of Tourism Resources in India.
  8. ^ "Jain Temples in Sultan Bathery, Digambar sect, Wayanad, District, Kerala, India - Kerala Tourism".

External links[edit]

External video
Documentary on Jainism in Kerala
Documentary on Jain temples in Kerala