Jain Temples In Pakistan
There are several Jain relics
spread across Pakistan.
Emeritus of History & Comparative Religion of Iniversity of
California Santa Cruz had visited Pakistan briefly late last year and
has kindly forwarded details of his finds of Jain relics. He had made
a detailed visit several years ago but had to leave in a hurry due to
bad health. Last year's visit was very brief and details given are a
little scanty neverthless interesting.
Taxila is one of the most important archeological sites of Asia
located along the Silk route in Punjab Province of Pakistan. It
flourished during the 1st to 5th century AD when it became famous as a
major seat of learning of Buddhism. The Stupa shown above is located
near the city of Sirkap (severed head) along side many other Buddhist
relics. A request has been made to find out why it is called the Jaina
Stupa but no information has been forthcoming.
The Lahore Museum has a fine collection of Jain relics mainly of the
material collected from the city of Gujranwala and Darkhana. It is
believed that Mr Raghavji Virchand Gandhi, the first person to
represent Jainism abroad and who attended the first Parliament of
World Religions in 1893 in Chicago was supported by the Jain center
from this area.
The following murtis are all on display at the Lahore Museum,
unfortunately the quality of photographs is not very good and it is
difficult to identify the symbol (lancchan) on any of the murtis.
Photos: Courtesy Pakistan Tourist Development Corporation
On the road from Rawalpindi to Lahore in the Pothohar area, there are
so-called 'Kafir Kots', ruins of old temples. No details of these
temples are available but the architecture seems to be Jain.
On a near by hill top about 2000 ft high there is a small lake called
Shiva Tears for Sati. There are ruins along the hill side up to the
top and sorrounding the lake. Many of the building look like
monasteries. There is a Shiva statue in the temple in the photograph
below but Prof King suspects that the statue may have been of a
tirthankar and that a Jain temple was converted to a Hindu temple.