Spiritual development comes partly from applying the teachings of the Jinas in everyday life, demonstrated by monks and nuns. Avoiding violence, fasting, praying and worshipping, keeping vows, meditating, and taking part in festivals are the main ways Jains practise their faith. Hymns of praise are key parts of worship while some Jains may ask deities for help.

Monastic clothing

Nude or clothed mendicants are key issues that divide the main sects

Ambikā or Kuṣmāṇḍinī

Known as ‘Āgama Prabhākara’ – ‘Light of the Tradition’ – for his outstanding scholarship

The ‘Perfect Ascetic’

All monks and nuns hope to reach omniscience and eventual liberation


Scenes of public rejoicing demonstrate the importance of festivals among Jains


A pioneering scholar, he proved Jainism an independent religion

Anointing of Bāhubali

Sacred substances are ritually poured over the statue of Gommaṭeśa Bāhubali

Jain calendar

The traditional calendar is based on the phases of the moon, often depicted as a deer

Monks and nuns

Wandering mendicants seek alms and offer spiritual guidance to lay Jains

Yakṣas and yakṣīs

Pairs of protective deities who attend each of the 24 Jinas

Mendicant lifestyle

Guided by vows, monks and nuns follow strict rules in all parts of daily life


The close of this Digambara festival involves honouring the 14th Jina

Songs of devotion

A central element of worship, hymns of praise form part of daily ritual