Holy places range from impressive temple-cities drawing thousands of pilgrims to isolated spots and small family shrines at home. The complexities of the past are remembered and reworked by lively communities of contemporary Jains both in India and beyond. Jain thinking has been influential in areas such as peaceful protest and environmental concern.

Maṇḍapa-line temples

This common temple design has three core building elements in a straight line


Jains can travel to a holy site either physically or mentally, using a paṭa

Śravaṇa Beḷgoḷa

The huge statue of Bāhubali draws thousands of pilgrims

Jains and the Delhi Sultanate

Trade boomed and Gujarati monks visited the royal court


Groups of closely clustered temples and shrines form holy ‘cities’

Jainism and Islam

Both minority religions in India, Jains and Muslims have had varied relations

Jain holy places

High points are often sacred, partly because of their links to Jinas

Mount Śatruñjaya

Perhaps the best-known temple-city, with nearly a thousand temples

Jain temples

Varied yet distinctively Jain, temples are the heart of the community

Jains and Muslim iconoclasm

Muslims damaged idols and temples for commercial and political reasons

Sacred pavilions

Initially simple shelters for holy objects, they are found all over India

Cave temples

Used throughout Jain history, cave temples are often important pilgrimage sites