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Home>  Pilgrimage>> Digambar Jain temple complex Vijayamangalam  

Location:  Vijayamangalam is  an abandoned Digambar Jain temple complex  about 20 km from Erode.  Driving down from Coimbatore, it is 27 km from Avanashi on the NH-47.  The temple  monument is now protected by the Archaeological Survey of India. 
  Once a flourishing place of worship for the Jains in Kongunadu and said to date back to the 6th Century, the temple is now a neglected stone monument that has suffered the ravages of time. In ancient times, it was thronged by devotees belonging to the Digambar Jain sect. They worshipped the presiding deity, Chandraprabha Tirthankar, a 30-cm idol. Unfortunately, the idol of Chandraprabha Tirthankar was stolen some months ago. Now only an idol of goddess Kushmandala Devi and that of Mahavira remain. Now very few people visit the shrine these days.

  Vijayamangalam Temple

   The temple boasts a unique architecture. The dwajastamb, carved out of a single stone, can be seen from afar and the images of the 24 Tirthankaras have been carved on the gopuram. The temple, built by King Konguvelir, is an art lover's delight. The ornately carved ceilings have images of dancing girls and flowers, and the pillars, floral motifs. A side panel depicts the cycle of birth and death. A pregnant woman, symbolising life, stands at one end and a reclining woman, depicting death, on the other. 
   According to the inscriptions in Pali and Tamil found on the pillars, a few Jain munis had attained mukthi here by fasting till death. The birth of Mahavira and his life is carved on the top as a panel. 
   A dance mandapam, dating back to the 13th Century, is another highlight. Now, all that remains of the ruined mandapam is a dance floor. The mythological beasts carved on the outer wall are believed to protect the sanctum sanctorum. 
   There are similar shrines in disrepair at Thingalur and Seenapuram, 10 km away. The one at Thingalur is set in scenic surroundings but is a nightmare once you open the door, as it is now a haven for bats. The priest hurriedly clears up the bat droppings to reveal a temple that must have stood out for its architecture centuries ago. 
   The temple at Seenapuram, a derivation of Jainapuram, is equally non-descript. The beauty of this Jain temple complex leaves you feeling sad and awe-struck at the same time for it has no power supply, no guidebooks, no one, except the priest. 


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