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Chitharal Jain Monuments

By Alan J Bright
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March 13, 2023

Overview of Chitharal Jain Monuments

The Chitharal Jain Monuments are located in the small town of Chitharal, which is about 7 kilometers from Marthandam and 55 kilometers from Kanyakumari. These monuments are a set of cave temples that were built by the Jain monks between the 9th and 11th centuries AD. The Jain monks chose this place for their monastery because of its remote location and natural beauty. The Chitharal Jain Monuments are carved out of a single huge rock and are believed to be one of the oldest Jain structures in Tamil Nadu.

Historical Significance of Chitharal Jain Monuments

The Chitharal Jain Monuments have a rich history that dates back to the 9th century AD. According to legend, the Jain monks who were traveling from North India in search of a peaceful place to meditate and practice their religion found Chitharal. They were impressed with the natural beauty of the place and decided to build their monastery here. The monks carved out the rock to create caves that served as their residence, meditation halls, and temples.

The Chitharal Jain Monuments played a significant role in the spread of Jainism in South India during the 9th and 10th centuries AD. The Jain monks who lived here contributed to the growth and development of Jainism in Tamil Nadu.

Architecture of Chitharal Jain Monuments

The Chitharal Jain Monuments are a magnificent example of the ancient Indian architecture and art. The caves are carved out of a single huge rock, and the walls and ceilings are adorned with beautiful carvings and sculptures. The entrance to the caves is a massive arch-shaped gateway, which is 9 meters high and 6 meters wide.

The main cave temple, also known as the Mahavira Mandapam, has a beautiful sculpture of Lord Mahavira, the 24th Jain Tirthankara. The sculpture is 6 feet tall and is carved out of a single rock. The cave temple also has a beautiful sculpture of Adinatha, the first Tirthankara.

Significance of Chitharal Jain Monuments

The Chitharal Jain Monuments are a significant site for the followers of Jainism. The Jain monks who lived here contributed to the growth and development of Jainism in Tamil Nadu. The Chitharal Jain Monuments also attract tourists and history lovers who are interested in ancient Indian architecture and art. The site is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India and is open to visitors throughout the year.

Getting to Chitharal Jain Monuments

The Chitharal Jain Monuments are easily accessible by road. The nearest airport is in Trivandrum, which is about 70 kilometers away. The nearest railway station is in Kanyakumari, which is about 55 kilometers away. Buses and taxis are available from Kanyakumari and other nearby towns to reach Chitharal.

Best Time to Visit Chitharal Jain Monuments

The best time to visit the Chitharal Jain Monuments is from October to March. During this time, the weather is pleasant, and the monsoon rains have made the surroundings lush and green

Other Places to Visit Near Chitharal Jain Monuments

Apart from the Chitharal Jain Monuments, there are other places to visit near Chitharal that offer a glimpse into the rich history and culture of the region. These include:

  1. Padmanabhapuram Palace: Located about 17 kilometers from Chitharal, this palace was the residence of the rulers of Travancore. The palace is known for its beautiful wooden architecture and intricate carvings.
  2. Mathur Hanging Bridge: Located about 12 kilometers from Chitharal, this bridge is one of the oldest and longest suspension bridges in South India. The bridge offers stunning views of the surrounding hills and forests.
  3. Thirparappu Falls: Located about 18 kilometers from Chitharal, these falls are a popular picnic spot. The falls are surrounded by lush greenery and offer a serene and tranquil atmosphere.

Conclusion

The Chitharal Jain Monuments are a testament to the ancient Indian architecture and art. These monuments, which were built more than a thousand years ago, continue to attract tourists and history lovers from around the world. The site is a significant site for the followers of Jainism and also offers a glimpse into the rich history and culture of the region.

FAQs

1. Is it safe to visit the Chitharal Jain Monuments?

Yes, it is safe to visit the Chitharal Jain Monuments. The site is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India and is open to visitors throughout the year.

2. What is the best time to visit Chitharal Jain Monuments?

The best time to visit the Chitharal Jain Monuments is from October to March.

3. How long does it take to visit the Chitharal Jain Monuments?

It takes about 1-2 hours to visit the Chitharal Jain Monuments.

4. Are there any entry fees to visit the Chitharal Jain Monuments?

Yes, there is a nominal entry fee to visit the Chitharal Jain Monuments.

5. What are the other places to visit near Chitharal Jain Monuments?

Other places to visit near Chitharal Jain Monuments include Padmanabhapuram Palace, Mathur Hanging Bridge, and Thirparappu Falls.

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