Visual and Conceptual Links Between Jaina Cosmological, Mythological and Ritual Instruments

Posted: 24.05.2010
Updated on: 10.03.2015

International Journal of Jaina Studies
(Online) Vol. 6, No. 1 (2010) 1-20


Julia A. B. Hegewald

This paper was presented at the Jaina Studies Workshop entitled “Jaina Doctrines and Dialogues” at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, in 2004. Since submitting the manuscript of this article for publication to the editor for an edited book in 2004, an article examining related issues has been published by the author in 2007.


Visual and Conceptual Links Between Jaina Cosmological, Mythological and Ritual Instruments

Jainism has developed a distinct iconography and produced a wealth of additional religious symbols, images and ritual instruments not employed or venerated by the followers of other religious groups in the subcontinent. Jaina temples throughout India display cosmological representations, which are seen as maps and guides to enlightenment and are derived from a highly-developed Jaina cosmographical system.[1] Other topics have been supplied by Jaina mythology, which provides vivid descriptions of legendary constructs, some of which have been translated into physical form in Jaina art and architecture. Based on a discrete form of temple ritual and the veneration of statues, specific ritual devices too have been created over time to suit and aid the complex Jaina religious ceremonial. This paper will analyse three distinct Jaina religious items: the meru, the samavasaraṇa and the siṁhāsana. The meru is a cosmological element, the samavasaraṇa largely a mythological construction, and the siṁhāsana a ritual instrument. In their specific shapes, all three items are unique to Jainism.[2] The three elements form a group by being visually clearly related. All three are pyramidal in shape and consist of three major superimposed tapering tiers. The link between them, however, is not simply visual or structural. This paper will argue that in a ritual context, the three items are clearly related conceptually, and to a certain extent they are even interchangeable.

Structural Similarities

The Cosmological Item

Jaina cosmological writings provide minute descriptions of cosmic oceans and island rings. These describe what is believed to be the physical nature of the Jaina universe, although their main aim is to provide believers with a guide to salvation. Only by understanding the shape and geography of this religious and moral cosmos will Jainas be able to break out of the tangible world and reach a higher form of bodiless existence. Focal to most descriptions of the cosmos and the individual world continents are the presence of sacred mountains. Sometimes these are individual peaks but frequently they are described as entire mountain ranges. The central world mountain, Mount Meru or Sumeru, which is located in the middle of the innermost island continent, Jambū Dvīpa, is the tallest and most revered of them all. After their birth, all infant Jinas are taken to the summit of Mount Meru where they receive their birth ablutions from the god Indra. Mount Meru, as the Jaina mountain par excellence, has gained such universal significance that it has developed into a symbol, which is representative of all sacred Jaina mountains. Taken one step further, it has developed into a more general image of a pure sacred place. In this standardised and symbolic form, the complex geography of Mount Meru, described in much detail in Jaina cosmological treatises, has been simplified and schematised to provide an easily recognisable and reproducible image. When introduced in this abstract and more generalised form of "the sacred mountain," Mount Meru is usually referred to simply as meru. Representations of the meru show the mountain as consisting of three truncated cones, each one smaller than the one below, placed one on top of the other. At the apex of this cosmic structure is a square pavilion and a tree, sheltering a Jina icon seated on a throne (Plate 1). The upper element of the construction, the cūlikā, is sometimes raised on an additional projection or terrace, which in some cases can lead the arrangement to appear four-tiered.[3] Painted depictions of merus have been preserved in illuminated Jaina manuscripts and on larger sheets of paper and cloth. It is also common for such cosmic paintings to adorn the walls of Jaina temples throughout India.[4]


Plate 1 Wall painting showing the meru in the cosmological hall of the Śvetāmbara Jaina temple complex in the fort of Mandu in Madhya Pradesh.

In addition to miniature and mural paintings of the subject, we have three-dimensional images of the meru. Such sculptures can either be relatively small, about one metre high and made of bronze, or they can be larger configurations, usually fashioned in white marble. Small metal representations of the meru are commonly kept in side chapels, antechambers and the maṇḍapas of more extensive temple structures. The larger stone models are usually housed in the principal shrine room and are venerated as the main object of worship in a Jaina temple. A beautiful small bronze sculpture of a meru topped by a Jina statue kept under a protective glass dome is venerated in the south-eastern image chamber on the first floor of the Mahāvīra Digambara Jaina Temple at Seoni (Sivanī) in Madhya Pradesh. Larger stone merus, housed in the core garbha-gṛhas of Jaina temples, are particularly common in the north of India and exhibit a large range of variations. Most examples are made of white marble and have three octagonal terraces, frequently delineated by low jālī screen-like balustrades of the same material. Most of these merus support the mūl-nāyaka, the main ritual icon of the temple. While in most paintings and small bronze representations the meru itself is the central object of veneration, in the larger stone arrangements the pyramidal meru bases are usually somewhat subordinated and are reduced to the function of providing an elaborate pedestal displaying the principal statue. The presence and importance of the meru form in such sculptural constellations, however, is clearly acknowledged in the name given to such formations. They are usually referred to as "the meru of …" followed by the name of the Jina seated at its apex. A typical example of this kind is the meru of Ṛṣabhdeva in the Digambara Jaina Baddhī Mandir at Nāmdev Cauk in Sanganer (Sāṅgāner, Saṅgrāmapura), Rajasthan. The black image of the Tīrthaṅkara Ṛṣabhdeva, seated at the apex of the structure, is supported on a beautifully carved lotus pedestal. The three octagonal layers of the meru of Vāsupūjyasvāmī in the Śrī Vāsupūjyasvāmī Bhagvan Temple at the foot of the sacred Mount Cūlagiri at Khaniya (Khāniyā), outside Jaipur in Rajasthan, is elaborately decorated with trees and other floral and vegetal designs (Plate 2). Because the platform supporting the figural representation is relatively high, it appears almost like a fourth terrace. All of the four layers have been surrounded with low filigreelike stone balustrades. The tapering tiers of the meru almost always have edges, but they need not always all be octagonal. The top two terraces of the meru of Ajitanātha in the Pārśvanātha Temple in Allahabad (Allahabād), Uttar Pradesh, are octagonal even though the bottom tier is square. In this case, the Jina seated above is raised on an elaborate throne, which has been furnished with a backrest. Two unusual meru constellations are the stepped meru of Ādinātha in the Śrī Digambara Baṛā Jaina Mandir in Old Delhi (Purānā Dillī), which is made of black and not white marble and bears golden decorations, and the smaller three-tiered meru of Pārśvanātha in the Digambara Baṛā Jaina Mandir at Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh, which is elaborately painted and crowned by a śikhara roof. The superstructures of most meru pavilions are topped by bent baṅgla roof shapes or rounded domes, which are more typical of later temple forms in South Asia, which have been influenced by Islamic design elements (Hegewald forthcoming).


Plate 2 The meru of Vāsupūjyasvāmī in the Śrī Vāsupūjyasvāmī Bhagavān Temple in Khaniya near Jaipur in Rajasthan

In the following section, it will be shown that representations of the meru and the samavasaraṇa are visually closely related and in many cases almost indistinguishable. From the available material, however, it seems that it is more common for meru sculptures to be octagonal and in some cases to have a square base, and for threedimensional samavasaraṇas to be round. The fact that this means of differentiation though does not work in every instance, is attested to by the large circular meru, called the Meru Mandir, located immediately to the north of the Digambara Jaina Temple at Ahar (Ahār) in Madhya Pradesh. A further means of differentiation is that most merus are topped by a single main figural statue, contrasting with a usually fourfold image supported at the tip of samavasaraṇas. The mythological background to this feature will be explained in the following paragraph on samavasaraṇas.

The Mythological Dimension

The Jaina community has not just developed a complex system of cosmic geography but also a distinct and highly-evolved mythology. At the centres of Jaina myths and legends stand the life stories of the twenty-four Jaina Tīrthaṅkaras. The biographies of the Jinas are closely related and follow a standardised scheme, with those describing the life and deeds of Ādinātha and Mahāvīra being the most elaborate. All Jinas are said to be born into a kṣatriya family, they are awakened by the gods to their destiny as spiritual teachers, renounce the world to become wandering ascetics and after strenuous austerities they reach enlightenment.[5] Having attained omniscience (kevalajñāna), the Jinas deliver their first sermon. For this purpose, the gods create an amphitheatre-like open-air structure. This is referred to as a samavasaraṇa, or more colloquially as a samosaraṇ, which literally means 'assemblage.'

As pointed out earlier, meru and samavasaraṇa are visually closely-related. In this context it is noteworthy that in many religio-philosophical texts on architecture, such as the Vāstuvidyā of Viśvakarmā, merus and samavasaraṇas are treated in conjunction and are discussed in the same passages.[6] Detailed descriptions of the mythical assembly halls of the Tīrthaṅkaras are provided in the Jaina Purāṇas of both major sects. These describe the samavasaraṇa as a complex amphitheatre-like pyramidal structure, consisting of three terraces or fortifications to accommodate the audience of gods, humans and animals attending the first formalised teaching of a Jina. Samavasaraṇas can either be round or square in plan, although they seem more commonly to have a circular ground plan.[7] The pyramidal preaching hall is topped by a square platform, referred to as pīṭha, gandha-kuṭī or devachchhaṅda, on which the enlightened Jina takes his seat. The gods then create three more identical images of the Tīrthaṅkara, seated on similar stools, to address the listeners in the remaining three directions. This aspect of the story provides the rational for having a quadruple depiction at the summit. The fourfold icon is protected by a pavilion (śrī-maṇḍapa) (Plate 3) or sheltered under a tree growing atop the threetiered structure. In many instances both elements, shrine and tree, are present. The sheltering tree is either referred to as a caitya-vr̥ṣa or more specifically as an aśoka tree. Because of the close connection between the Jina's attainment of omniscience and the structure of the samavasaraṇa, which provides the venue for his first sermon, models of the mythical preaching auditorium are considered symbolic representations of the Tīrthaṅkara's kevalajñāna.


Plate 3 Large-scale representation of a samavasaraṇa at Pavapuri in Bihar, marking what is believed to be the actual spot of Mahāvīra’s first sermon

In Jaina caves and temple architecture, there are many carved relief panels depicting stylised versions of the multi-tiered preaching hall of the Tīrthaṅkaras. It is interesting that although depictions of the standardised three-tiered samavasaraṇa do not appear on the surviving first to second century CE āyāgapaṭas (tables of homage), from Mathura (Mathurā) in Uttar Pradesh (Shah 1955: 86) there are what seem to be early rock-cut representations of it in the Jaina caves at Udajayagiri in Orissa. These too date from about the first century CE. Much clearer examples, however, may be seen in medieval Jaina temples in Rajasthan. See, for instance, the ceiling panels in the porch of the Mahāvīra Temple at Kumbharia (Kumbhāriā, ancient Ārāsaṇa), and those of shrines number fifteen and nineteen in the temple of Ādinātha, better known as the VimalaVasahī, at Mount Abu (Ābū Parvata, Delvāṛā). Both temples date from the early to mideleventh century. From this period we also have painted versions, such as the roughly eleventh-century murals decorating the ceilings at Tirumalai in Tamil Nadu, and those in the open maṇḍapa of the Vardhamāna Temple at Kanchipuram (Kāñcī), Tamil Nadu, dating from about the twelfth century CE (Shah 1955: 94).[8]

From the twelfth to thirteenth centuries, painted versions of the samavasaraṇa do not remain confined to architecture and we also have painted examples on cloth and paper. In addition to stone reliefs and paintings, there are free-standing samavasaraṇa sculptures, which can be made of metal or stone.[9] The metal versions are usually relatively small but can be very elaborate. A beautiful sculptural samavasaraṇa, where a lot of emphasis has been placed on the three tiers of the arrangement, is housed in the side chapel in the north-east of the Śrī Digamabara Jaina Bīspaṅthī Baṛī Koṭhī Mahāvīra Temple in the village of Sonagiri (Sonāgiri) in Madhya Pradesh.[10] Sculpted samavasaraṇas made of stone are often very closely related to the three-dimensional stone merus discussed above. Samavasaraṇas modelled in stone usually have a moulded base below, supporting three circular tiers, which are surmounted by a square pavilion accommodating a quadruple image of a Jina. While most merus have angular terraces, it is more common for samavasaraṇa models to consist of circular rings. This difference seems not to be derived from textual prescriptions. Most merus have a single main statue at the summit and it is most common for samavasaraṇas to be topped by a four-faced icon of a Tīrthaṅkara. The subsidiary sanctums of large numbers of Jaina temples in north-western India enshrine circular samavasaraṇa representations fashioned in white marble. Cell number twenty, in the south-west corner of the Vimala-Vasahī at Mount Abu (CE 1032 and later) houses a striking example. Of a similar date is that in the southernmost chapel on the east side of the Mahāvīra Temple at Kumbharia (CE 1062). A later case of a pyramidal samavasaraṇa is located in the north-eastern corner of the Caumukh Tuṅk at Palitana (Pālitānā) in Gujarat, and dates from about the sixteenth or seventeenth centuries.

Especially in recent centuries, samavasaraṇa pyramids are also venerated inside the central shrines of temples. In these instances, the images at the summit of the structures are very small, contrasting with the large mythical preaching auditoriums, which have been portrayed in great detail and present the key element of the arrangements. Consequently, it appears that in these later cases the architectural structures and not the figural statues present the primary focus of worship. This expresses a general tendency in Jaina art to display an ever increasing interest and focus on mythological and cosmological themes, which are unique to Jainism and provide clear points of differentiation from other religious groups in the subcontinent (Hegewald 2000). A large modern samavasaraṇa is housed in the image chamber on the first floor of the Pārśvanātha Basadi at Narasimharajapura (Narasiṁharājapura) in Karnataka. A further noteworthy position in which samavasaraṇa sculptures made of stone can be placed is typical of Jaina temples in north-western India. Especially in Rajasthan, where Jaina temples have pronounced walls and are raised on high terraces, samavasaraṇas, which are about one and a half metres high, are frequently positioned in a small maṇḍapa (nāla-maṇḍapa) positioned over the steps of the entrance to the temple. The pyramidal representations face the main icon in the central sanctum. Theoretical texts on architecture, such as the Vāstuśāstra and the Vāstuvidyā of Viśvakarmā, prescribe this layout and imply that these samavasaraṇas act as equivalents and Jaina replacements for vāhana sculptures, such as nandi or garuḍa, found in a Hindu temple context.[11]

All samavasaraṇas discussed so far are housed inside temple buildings and represent sculptural approaches to the subject. In addition, samavasaraṇas were created on a much larger scale, expressing the translation of this theme into monumental architecture. All architectural examples date from later periods, such as the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries, and express an unbroken continuity of this mythological theme in Jaina art and architecture. There are architectural samavasaraṇas from all regions of the subcontinent. It is fascinating to observe that in more monumental cases, the pavilion at the summit of the structure is frequently enclosed and remains locked on ordinary days, obscuring the multiple images inside. In these cases, it appears to be more the celebration of kevalajñāna, the attainment of enlightenment in general, which ultimately is the aim of every Jaina, rather than the illustration of the historical first sermon of a specific Tīrthaṅkara, which is symbolised. Whilst the samavasaraṇa in the south-west of the large temple complex at Papora (Paporā), Madhya Pradesh, is specifically associated with Pārśvanātha's first preaching, the group of three samavasaraṇas in the north-east of the temple area, although they too must be topped by specific Jina icons, are largely venerated as images of kevalajñāna in general. A beautifully shaped samavasaraṇa, possibly dating from the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries, which is dedicated to Candraprabhu, is located in the Digambara temple complex at Ramtek (Rāmṭek) in Maharashtra. The samavasaraṇa structures on Mount Sonāgiri in Madhya Pradesh and at Pavapuri (Pāvāpurī; ancient Pāpā) in Bihar (Plate 3) are on an even larger scale. The example at Pavapuri is especially significant, as it is believed to mark the actual spot on which the historical Mahāvīra delivered his first sermon. One of the largest representation so far of its kind has been constructed at Palitana, at the base of Mount Śatruñjaya. Although smaller samavasaraṇas are usually solid, functioning as monumental sculptures and allowing the visitors to climb the structures, the latter example is a 'real' building in the sense that it encloses an internal space.[12] The translation of this mythical monumental symbol into a religious edifice, which devotees can enter, seems to be a feature particularly of very recent structures in this style. Similar monumental samavasaraṇa edifices were under construction at the two Rajasthani sites of Shri Himachal Nagar (Śrī Himācal Sūrya Nagar) in 1998 and at Bamanvad (Bāmaṇvāḍjī) in 2003. Such monumental samavasaraṇas are large-scale architectural structures, which represent a symbolic commemorative temple type, which in this specific shape has not been associated with other religious groups in the wider geographical area of Asia or outside the region.

The Ritual Instrument

In addition to their evolved cosmologies and distinct mythological stories, focussing around the Tīrthaṅkaras, the Jainas have also developed a distinct form of temple ritual. This is based on their discrete approach to sacred images and the presence of multiple religious sculptures, which are frequently housed in a multitude of shrine rooms located on various floor levels.[13] Considerations of purity are of crucial importance with relation to sacred Jaina icons and especially with regard to the mūl-nāyaka. The central statue of a temple is usually a large fixed stone sculpture (pratiṣṭhit). In certain temples, lay worshippers and especially women are barred from touching this main religious icon, preventing them from performing rituals such as the bathing, anointing and decorating of the sculpture. This is one reason why most temples have one or several small metal images, referred to as vidhi-nāyakas. There are less concerns with regards to purity concerning these portable ritual figures. The vidhi-nāyakas are relatively light and easily movable and are therefore used during the performance of ceremonies.[14] The larger stationary sculptures housed in the central garbha-gṛha of a temple will also be washed and anointed on a regular basis, but the daily ritual morning bath as well as more complex observances are more commonly performed on the small portable ritual images (Plate 4) (Jain & Fischer 1978 I: 13). Jainas generally believe that the rituals conducted on the metal statues equally apply themselves to the main icon, the mūl-nāyaka, housed in the principal shrine. On these occasions the movable metal image is placed at the summit of a metal structure, called a siṁhāsana stand, and acts as a substitute for the mūl-nāyaka. The siṁhāsana ritual stand constitutes the third element in our group of closely related three-tiered Jaina religious items.


Plate 4 Morning rituals being performed on an octagonal siṁhāsana stand in the Pārśvanātha Temple at Sholapur in Maharashtra

Siṁhāsana literally means 'lion seat' or 'lion throne' and is used to describe any pedestal or platform adorned with lions at its extremities, carrying an image of a Tīrthaṅkara or other divine being.[15] In its general sense, the term is used to refer to the seat located on the summit of the ritual stands as well. However, it is more commonly applied to the entire three-tiered structure. The foremost purpose of the siṁhāsana is to carry and display a sculptural representation of a Jina for the execution of religious rituals. Such three-tiered ritual podiums are found in most Jaina temples throughout India and are used on a daily basis. Most siṁhāsanas are located in the main maṇḍapa at the front of the garbha-gṛha housing the focal image of a Jaina temple, but they can also be positioned at the front of side cells. Larger temples may have more than one siṁhāsana stand.[16] The pyramidal ritual podiums are either made entirely out of metal or they consist of a wooden frame covered with sheets of silver. A few are made of bronze or are goldplated. The tapering structures are composed of three either square or circular pedestals, although there are some with octagonal tiers as well (Plate 4). The levels are positioned one over the other culminating in a throne platform or seat. As was the case with the previous two three-tired items, there frequently is a small pavilion sheltering the icon, which can have a dome or a śikhara roof form at its apex.

It is obvious from the description that the siṁhāsana ritual stands are structurally closely related to the other three-tiered structures, the meru and the samavasaraṇa, discussed above. Especially noteworthy is that conceptually, they seem to form a link between the other two items. This has predominantly to do with the kind of rituals conducted on the tapering stools of the siṁhāsanas and with the events portrayed and represented in these particular ceremonies. The following discussion will explain the more abstract links and intangible dimensions further connecting the three.

The Conceptual Link

Sacred Jaina statues have to be formally installed and consecrated through the performance of a series of complex rituals in order to function ritually and to be potent religious objects. In a Jaina context, these installation and consecration rituals are commonly referred to as the pañca-kalyāṇaka-pratiṣṭhā-mahotsava or as the Jina-bimbapratiṣṭhā (Babb 1998: 66; Jain 1983: 114; Fischer & Jain 1974/5: 35). The rituals aim at re-enacting the five central events in the life of a Tīrthaṅkara. At the end of the sequence the Jina has figuratively 'relived' the five auspicious occasions of: conception, birth, renunciation, omniscience, and release. In this fully-enlightened and liberated state, he is enshrined in the temple. The consecration rites are usually conducted on a small replacement image made of metal (Fischer & Jain 1974/5: 35). The two aspects of the rituals re-enacting the five core events, the pañca-kalyāṇaka pūjā or pañc-kalyāṇ pūjā, which are particularly important with regard to our analysis and interpretation of threetiered structures in Jaina art and architecture, are the birth (janam kalyāṇaka) and the enlightenment (nirvāṇa kalyāṇaka) of the Tīrthaṅkara.

The climax of the birth celebrations (janmotsava) is represented by the reenactment of the first bath (janamābhiṣeka), which every Jina receives from the god Indra on a terrace at the peak of Mount Meru immediately following his birth.[17] The ritual bathing of the image is referred to as snātra or snāpana pūjā (Babb 1998: 69; Jaini 1990: 200) and in a temple context, either one or several devotees, take on the role of Indra and pour various kinds of liquids (abhiṣeka) over the portable metal icon placed on the siṁhāsana.[18] During the ritual, the siṁhāsana stand, which is visually closely related to representations of the meru discussed earlier, becomes immediately associated with and symbolic of Mount Meru (Jaini 1990: 197, 200). This bathing ceremony, however, is not only performed as an element of the lengthy and costly celebrations of the pañcakalyāṇaka pūjā. It should be performed every morning for every Jina representation housed in a Jaina shrine. Therefore, it is part of the pūjā of eight substances (aṣṭa-prakārī pūjā), but is also a preliminary to any major ritual or veneration in general (Babb 1998: 69). When the bathing ceremony is not performed in the context of the sequence of the pañca-kalyāṇaka pūjā, it is more often referred to as jal pūjā (water worship) or abhiṣeka (Babb 1998: 85). Anybody conducting a lustration ceremony is meant to imagine himself or herself as Indra, and any bathing ritual is symbolically regarded as representative of the birth of the Tīrthaṅkara. Consequently, the siṁhāsana stand acts as a meru during its employment in bathing rituals.

For the duration of other sacred temple rites, the siṁhāsana also doubles as the samavasaraṇa.[19] Any temple housing an icon is figuratively equated with the samavasaraṇa. The placing of the ritual statue at the apex of the siṁhāsana stand, however, is interpreted more specifically as an image of the Jina's attainment of omniscience and represents the final stage in his worldly life. Consequently, this segment of the pañca-kalyāṇaka pūjā is also performed on the ritual stand, which visually is closely related to the mythical preaching auditorium of the Jina. During this final stage of the pūjā, it is symbolically equated with the samavasaraṇa. Fascinating in this connection is that a further common term to describe this ritual implement is 'samavasaraṇa' or more colloquially 'samosaraṇ' (Humphrey & Laidlaw 1994: 21, 25).


Although the concept of the meru can be found in other South Asian religions, and Hindu as well as Buddhist sculptures are raised above the ground on low thrones or pedestals, called siṁhāsanas, distinctive and uniquely Jaina shapes are connected with these terms in a Jaina religious context. It is striking that the shape chosen for these two concepts as well as for that of the samavasaraṇa, are structurally closely related and at times difficult to tell apart. Standardised representations of the meru, the samavasaraṇa and the siṁhāsana show these items in the shape of a tapering pyramidal tower consisting of three main superimposed terraces with either one or multiple Jaina images at the apex. The recurrence of this visual shape in connection with essential Jaina cosmological concepts, mythological constructions and ritual instruments, expresses the religious significance dedicated by the Jainas to this simple threefold shape.

In fact there are other religious Jaina items, which use the same structural form. There are chatrīs or caraṇs, small pavilions housing the sacred foot imprints (pādukās) of Jinas and other deceased Jaina saints, which follow a very similar or even the same threetiered layout, but display pādukās instead of a figural image at the apex. [20] There are also individual examples where other cosmological items, such as Nandīśvara Dvīpa, have been represented by this simple three-tiered shape.[21]

Significant with respect to the three items forming the focus of this paper, however, is that they are not simply linked by a common design programme, but that the meru, the samavasaraṇa and the siṁhāsana are conceptually linked as well. During ritual performances, the siṁhāsana ritual stand can take on both the significance of the meru as well as that of the samavasaraṇa and creates a more subtle but not less powerful intrinsic connection between the two.[22]


I would like to thank the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) for their generous support through the Emmy Noether-Programme without which this research could not have been undertaken. I am also grateful to University College Oxford, the Wingate Foundation and the Society for South Asian Studies for supporting my research work.


All photographs reproduced in this article are by the author.


Babb, Lawrence Alan. Ascetics and Kings in a Jain Ritual Culture. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidas, 1996/1998 (Lala Sundar Lal Jain Research Series 11).

Bhandarkar, D. R. "Jaina Iconography II: Samavasaraṇa." Indian Antiquary 40 (1911) 125-130.

Caillat, Collette & Ravi Kumar. The Jain Cosmology. Basel, Paris & New Delhi: Ravi Kumar Publishers, 1981.

Coomaraswamy, Ananda K. Jaina Art. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, 1994.

Dundas, Paul. The Jains. London & New York: Routledge, 1992.

Fischer, Eberhard & Jyotindra Jain. Kunst und Religion in Indien: 2500 Jahre Jainismus. Helmhaus Zürich, Kunstmuseum St. Gallen and Museum für Völkerkunde Basel, 1974/75.

Ghosh, A. (ed.). Jain Art and Architecture. Vol. I. Published on the Occasion of the 2500th Nirvana Anniversary of Tirthankara Mahavira, New Delhi: Bharatiya Jnanpith, 1974.

Ghosh, A. (ed.). Jain Art and Architecture. Vol. II-III. Published on the Occasion of the 2500th Nirvana Anniversary of Tirthankara Mahavira, New Delhi: Bharatiya Jnanpith, 1975.

Glasenapp, Helmuth von. Jainism: An Indian Religion of Salvation. Translated from the original German by Shridhar B. Shroti. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidas, 1925/1999 (Lala Sundar Lal Jain Research Series 14).

Hegewald, Julia A. B. "Oceans, Islands and Sacred Mountains: Representations of Cosmic Geography in Jaina Art and Architecture." Cosmos 16 (2000) 3-42.

Hegewald, Julia A. B. "Multi-shrined Complexes: The Ordering of Space in Jaina Temple Architecture in North-Western India." South Asian Studies, 17 (2001) 77-96.

Hegewald, Julia A. B., "Meru, Samavasaraṇa and Siṁhāsana: The Recurrence of Threetiered Structures in Jaina Cosmology, Mythology and Ritual." Kalhār (White Water-Lily). Studies in Art, Iconography, Architecture and Archaeology of India and Bangladesh (Professor Enamul Haque Felicitation Volume). Eds. Gouriswar Bhattacharya, Gerd Mevissen, Mallar Mitra & Sutapa Sinha, 132-146. Delhi: Kaveri Books, 2007.

Hegewald, Julia A. B., Jaina Temple Architecture in India: The Development of a Distinct Language in Space and Ritual. Berlin: G+H-Verlag, 2009 (Monographien zur indischen Archäologie, Kunst und Philologie 19, Herausgeber Stiftung Ernst Waldschmidt).

Hegewald, Julia A. B. "Rival and Revival: Islam as Threat, Challenge and Inspiration on Later Jaina Temple Architecture." Jaina Sacred Places. Eds. Peter Flügel & Olle Qvarnström. London & New York: Routledge, forthcoming (Routledge Advances in Jaina Studies).

Humphrey, Caroline & James Laidlaw. The Archetypal Actions of Ritual: A Theory of Ritual Illustrated by the Jain Rite of Worship. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994.

Jain, Jyoti Prasad. Religion & Culture of the Jains. New Delhi: Bharatiya Jnanpith Publications, 1983 (Murtidevi Granthamala, English Series 6).

Jain, Jyotindra, "Jaina Ritual and Space: Cosmic, Mythical and Symbolic Space and Contemporary Jaina Ritual." Art and Architecture Research Papers June (1977) 36-41.

Jain, Jyotindra & Eberhard Fischer. Jaina Iconography. Vol. I-II. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1978.

Jaini, Padmanabh S. The Jaina Path of Purification. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidas, 1979/1990.

Kirfel, Willibald. Die Kosmographie der Inder (Nach den Quellen dargestellt). Hildesheim, Zürich & New York: Georg Olms Verlag, 1920/1990.

Laidlaw, James. Riches and Renunciation: Religion, Economy, and Society among the Jains. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995 (Oxford Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology).

Madan, T.N. Religion in India. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1992.

Norton, Ann Wood. The Survival of Jainism in a Pluralistic Society. Unpublished Manuscript Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism. New York, n.d.

Shah, Umakant Premanand. Studies in Jaina Art. Benares: Jaina Cultural Research Society, 1955.

Shah, Umakant Premanand. Jaina-Rūpa-Maṇḍana. Vol. I. New Delhi: Abhinav Publications, 1987.

Shah, Umakant Premanand & Madhusudan A. Dhaky. Aspects of Jaina Art and Architecture. Gujarat State Committee for the Celebration of 2500th Anniversary of Bhagvān Mahāvīra Nirvāṇa. Ahmedabad: Nivajivan Press, 1975.

Singh, Harihar, Jaina Temples of Western India. Varanasi: Parshvanath Vidyashram Research Institute, 1982.

Somapura, P. O. & Madhusudan A. Dhaky. "The Jaina Architecture and Iconography in the Vāstusāstras of Western India." Aspects of Jaina Art and Architecture. Eds. Umakant Premanand Shah & Madhusudan A. Dhaky, 13-20. Gujarat State Committee for the Celebration of 2500th Anniversary of Bhagvān Mahāvīra Nirvāṇa, Ahmedabad: Nivajivan Press, 1975.

Srinivasan, K. R. "Jaina Art and Architecture under the Gaṅgas of Talakad." Aspects of Jaina Art and Architecture. Eds. Umakant Premanand Shah & Madhusudan A. Dhaky, 161-184. Gujarat State Committee for the Celebration of 2500th Anniversary of Bhagvān Mahāvīra Nirvāṇa, Ahmedabad: Nivajivan Press, 1975.

Vasantharaj, M. D. "Puja or Worship as Practised among the South Indian Jainas." Perspectives in Jaina Philosophy and Culture. Eds. Satish Kumar Jain & Kamal Chand Sogani, 98-105. New Delhi: Ahimsa International, 1985.

Williams, Robert. Jaina Yoga: A Survey of the Medieval Śrāvakācāras. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidas, 1963/1991 (Lala Sundar Lal Jain Research Series 1).

© The Editor. International Journal of Jaina Studies 2010

Share this page on: