Jainism in Maharashtra

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Marathi Jains
Regions with significant populations

Jainism has been present in Maharashtra since ancient times. The famous Ellora Caves demonstrate that Jainism was part of a thriving religious culture in Maharashtra in premodern times.


The Marathi Jainism is basically originated from Maharashtra and flourished here.

The oldest inscription in Maharashtra is a 2nd-century BC Jain inscription in a cave near Pale village in the Pune District. It was written in the Jain Prakrit and includes the Navkar Mantra.

The first Marathi inscription known is at Shravanabelagola, Karnataka near the left foot of the statue of Bahubali, dated 981 CE.

Maharashtra had many Jain rulers such as the Rashtrakuta dynasty and the Shilaharas. Many of forts were built by kings from these dynasties and thus Jain temples or their remains are found in them. Texts such as the Shankardigvijaya and Shivlilamruta suggest that a large number of Maharashtrians were Jains in the ancient period.

Modern Maharashtrian Jain communities[edit]

The native Jains of Maharashtra today are endogamous communities and generally do not intermarry with the Jains who have arrived from North India. They are all are Swetambar and Digambaras and are divided into four large communities:

  • Saitwal, originally Tailors and Cloth Merchants
  • Chaturtha, originally agriculturists, now engaged in various professions
  • Panchama, various professions
  • Kasar, traditionally coppersmiths
  • Upajjhaya
  • Kamboja[1][2]
  • Harada
  • Dhakad A small Jain community found primarily in Western Vidarbha districts of Akola, Yavatmal, Washim and Amravati.

Each of the four major communities led by its own spiritual leader (Bhattaraka), who heads a Matha.

Immigrant Jains have a large population in Maharashtra. Majority of them are from Rajasthan and Gujarat. Some of them are from Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Some of these communities have been in Maharashtra for centuries, and are now indistinguishable from the native residents of Maharashtra. They are divided in following large groups:

Religious organizations[edit]

The Dakshin Bharat Jain Sabha is a religious and social service organization of the Jains of South India. The organization is headquartered at Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India.[3] The association is credited with being one of the first Jain associations to start reform movements among the Jains in modern India.[4][5] The organization mainly seeks to represent the interests of the native Jains of Maharashtra (Marathi Jains) and Karnataka (Kannada Jains).

Jainism in Mumbai[edit]

Main article: Jainism in Mumbai

Mumbai has one of the largest populations of Jains amongst all the cities in India. Mumbai also has numerous Jain temples.

Jain Temples[edit]


Notable Marathi Jains[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]