Temples And Patrons: The Nineteenth-Century Temple Of Motīśāh At Śatruñjaya

Author:  Image of Hawon KuHawon Ku
Published: 27.02.2011
Updated: 02.07.2015

International Journal of Jaina Studies
(Online) Vol. 7, No. 2 (2011) 1-22



Śatruñjaya, located in Gujarat, India, is one of the most significant pilgrimage sites for Śvetāmbara Jains, who comprise the majority of Jains in western India. However, only during the 19th century the site acquired its current form, with more than 150 temples remaining on the site. The concentrated patronage during this period was due to a rise in wealth and the conditions of the Jain merchant patrons, in which the harvest of merit was the most important cause. However, following a series of legal cases surrounding the ownership of the site, the forms of patronage as well as the architectural styles of the temples reverted to a more rigid style based on traditional manuals and 13th-century Jain temple architecture. In this article I argue that these changes of Śatruñjaya, into an exceptional symbol of the Śvetāmbara Mūrtipūjāka community, were brought by a rise of a modern Jain identity, stemming from several reasons, including the series of legal cases and Western writings on the site.


Temples And Patrons: The Nineteenth-Century Temple Of Motīśāh At Śatruñjaya


[1]Śatrunjaya, renowned for its Jain temples, is located next to the town of Pālitāṇā, Gujarat (Plate 1). Currently there are more than a hundred and fifty freestanding temples and countless shrines on the hill, which rises six hundred meters from the surrounding plains. While Śatrunjaya is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Śvetāmbara Jains, James Burgess' survey of 1869, which covers the history of Jainism, Śatrunjaya and its architecture, still remains the most comprehensive study of the site.[2] The lack of studies of the site can be explained by several reasons, including the recentness of many temples at the site. Multiple legends date temples at Śatrunjaya to the age of the Tīrthaṅkaras.[3] However, only during the modern period did the site acquire its current form. The majority of surviving temples at Śatrunjaya were either renovated or newly built during the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century, making the patronage of this period the most active. With so many "modern" buildings, the temples of Śatrunjaya are not discussed in most studies of traditional architecture.[4] Neither has the nineteenth-century patronage at Śatrunjaya been examined in detail. This paper investigates the reasons for the sudden rise in temple building during the nineteenth century, the architectural style of these "modern" temples and why these temples lost significance after the late-nineteenth century.

In order to reach the temples at Śatrunjaya, one needs to climb more than four thousand steps, starting from Pālitāṇā below the hill. Śatrunjaya can be divided into three areas, the southern summit, the northern summit and the valley between the two summits. Each area is subdivided into several ṭuṃks. The Gujarati term ṭuṃk here designates an "enclosure" or "complex," and usually houses one main temple and several subsidiary temples surrounded by a cloister formed by a row of small shrines. This cloister acts as an exterior wall when viewed from the outside. Among the major ṭuṃks on the hill, the oldest and most important is the Ādīśvara Bhagavān Ṭuṃk, or Dādānī Ṭuṃk, on the southern summit. [5] The Ādīśvara Temple, the current main temple within this ṭuṃk, was completely rebuilt during the late sixteenth century, although the oldest non-mythical construction is usually dated to the first century CE.[6] On the other hand, eight ṭuṃks were rebuilt or newly constructed at Śatrunjaya only after 1786.

Among these nineteenth-century ṭuṃks, Motīśāh Ṭuṃk is located in the valley between the southern and northern summits (Plate 2). Still the largest on Śatrunjaya hill, the ṭuṃk was named after its patron, Śeth Motīśāh (Motīcand Amīcand, 1782-1836). Originally from Cambay, Motīśāh moved to Bombay and became one of the wealthiest merchants in the city through his sea trade with China and Southeast Asia. In this article, I argue that Motīśāh's patronage at Śatrunjaya was characteristic of nineteenth-century Jain patrons, and reflected the lay worshipers' desire to establish their own name as well as accrue religious merit. The ṭuṃk built by Motīśāh was larger than any other ṭuṃk on the site, and the plan and architecture clearly aimed to display the name and network of the patron. However, Motīśāh Ṭuṃk was one of the last ṭuṃks to be built at Śatrunjaya. After the mid-nineteenth century, private patronage was no longer encouraged and replaced by the management of the Śeth Āṇandjī Kalyāṇjī Peḍhī, a firm founded by merchants of Ahmadabad. This led to a transformation in the patterns of patronage by limiting the promotion of one's name, and thus reflected a transformation in the Jains' understanding of the site and their own religion.

Lay Patronage of Temples at Śatrunjaya

While the donors of many pre-modern Jain temples are known through remaining inscriptions, only recently has Jain patronage become the focus of art historical and anthropological studies. [7] Among many Jain pilgrimage sites, Śatrunjaya has been one of the most important for Śvetāmbara Jains, as it was believed that one could even be freed of bad karma by "performing just one upvās on the full moon of Kārtak atop Shatrunjay [sic]." [8] Traditionally, temple building at Jain pilgrimage sites has been the duty of lay worshippers. In particular, building a temple or installing a deity at Śatrunjaya was one of the most worthy deeds that could be performed by a Mūrtipūjaka Jain lay worshipper.[9]

Several reasons for this belief and for the resulting lay patronage at Śatrunjaya can be found throughout history. First, the site has been extolled as the site of the first sermon - and according to Hemacandrācārya also the site of nirvāṇa - of the first Tīrthaṅkara, and every Tīrthaṅkara but one is said to have visited the site, some more than once.[10] As a result, it was regarded as a place where one can achieve salvation (Luithle-Hardenberg 2009: 342f.). Śatrunjaya also has met the need for devotional worship among pilgrims as a depository of powerful mūrtis (images) and objects, which provided the lay worshiper with the sense of fulfillment at the end of a pilgrimage. For example, the main mūrti of Ādināth, as well as a sacred rāyaṇa tree in the Ādīśvara Bhagavān Ṭuṃk are renowned for their power of gift granting (Jain 1980: 48).

Religious literature and powerful mūrtis may explain the consistent patronage of Śatrunjaya. However, they do not explain the reason for a surge in temple building during the nineteenth century. Unlike Śatrunjaya, many other Jaina sites, for example, Girnār in Gujarat, Mount Ābu in Rajasthan, Sammetśikhara and Pāvāpurī in Bihar, did not see much patronage during this period. The only building activities include a few renovations and additions such as stone steps.[11] Perhaps, then, Śatrunjaya became the almost exclusive recipient of patronage due to other economic or social reasons. One reason could have been the geographic advantages offered by its location. It is not far from Ahmadabad (Amadāvād) and Surat, as well as Bombay (Mumbaī), especially when approached by sea routes. All of these cities were major commercial centers during the nineteenth century, replacing earlier port cities on the western Indian coast such as Cambay (Khambhāt) or the Portuguese centers of Daman and Diu (Dīv). The proximity of Śatrunjaya to these commercial centers with wealthy merchants could have been one reason for concentrated patronage at the site.

Secondly, in the nineteenth century, extensive patronage was made possible via the new wealth acquired by the Jain merchants of western India. Although many Jains of western India had belonged to wealthy mercantile communities, the decline of the Mughal Empire and the rule of the Marathas (1760-1819) had weakened most trade and commerce in Gujarat.[12] However, by the early nineteenth century, Jain merchants of Ahmadabad and Bombay had gained enormous wealth through the export of opium to China. A widespread network was formed through the dealing of Malwa (Mālvā) opium, including Jain merchants such as Śeth Motīśāh of Bombay, and Nagarśeth Hemābhāī Vakhatcand and Hathīsiṅg Keśarīsiṅg of Ahmadabad.[13]

In addition to the new wealth of western Indian Jains and the proximity of two major commercial centers to Śatrunjaya, conditions of the lay merchants and bankers during the nineteenth century also propelled further patronage at the site. Providing for temples and deities as well as religious ceremonies has been and still is one of the traditional duties of Jain laypeople. In place of ascetics who had renounced worldly possessions, laymen built temples and supported pilgrimages for various reasons. On the one hand, dāna (religious giving) was performed to acquire merit for the donor. On the other hand, dāna was a significant component in building the reputation of a merchant and his business. Reputation, which allowed merchants to borrow money, was crucial to the informal credit markets of India prior to the twentieth century. Within the informal credit market, the overall credit standing of the borrowing party factored into the decisions of the brokers, rather than a specific project or enterprise (Timberg & Aiyar 1984: 45). The 1921 Census of India indicates that Gujarat and Rajasthan had the highest proportion of money-lenders and bankers per capita, most of them Jains and Marwaris (Jain 1929: 1). However, according to Bayly, substantial changes of the finance and commerce sector were encouraged by the British during the nineteenth century. This included the introduction of British notions of individual legal responsibility limited to one lifetime, and reorganisation of tolls, bazaar duties and urban taxation, which threatened the traditional structure of the merchant community since it overturned local indemnities and privileges.[14] Bayly argues that the merchant society reacted to these changes by remaining conservative and cautious and the role of religiosity remained pivotal in acquiring sakh (credit). This was true especially in Ahmadabad, which, in spite of its British rule from 1817, maintained many traditional practices (Gillion 1968: 6). Thus another reason for the nineteenth-century patronage at Śatrunjaya could have been a rekindled interest in amassing merit to assert the patron's name and creditworthiness in the traditional informal credit market.

The nineteenth-century patronage of new temple constructions and religious ceremonies confirms this desire to enhance the "name" of the patron by building "new" temples. This contrasts sharply with earlier patronage at the site, in which renovation of older temples was regarded more highly. For example, the merit earned from renovating an old temple was traditionally believed to be eight times more than building a new temple (Desai II 1983: 209).[15] For this reason, most pre-nineteenth century patronage at Śatrunjaya focused on rebuilding or renovating the main Ādīśvara Temple, the main shrine at the site. According to the Śatrunjaya Māhātmya, the main Ādīśvara Temple at Śatrunjaya underwent "Sixteen Renovations" throughout history, in which patrons rebuilt the desecrated or deserted site.[16] In contrast, late-eighteenth and nineteenth-century patronage was largely concentrated on constructing new temples, rather than renovating or embellishing existing structures. Eight new ṭuṃks were built on the hill. These include Modī Ṭuṃk (1786), Hemā Vasahī Ṭuṃk (1826), Sākarśāh Ṭuṃk (1836), Ujamphaī Ṭuṃk (1837), Motīśāh Ṭuṃk (1837), Bālābhāī Ṭuṃk (1837) and Narśī Keśāvjī Nāyāk Ṭuṃk (1862). All were built by Jain merchants and their families from Ahmadabad or Bombay. Most significantly, these new ṭuṃks are named after the donor, rather than the residing deity, which indicated the donors' desire to associate their names with Śatrunjaya.[17]

The need to assert one's name (and merit) also explains the proliferation of freestanding temples within the nineteenth-century ṭuṃks. In addition to devakulikās (small shrines that form a cloister around the main temple) and multiple levels of shrines within the sanctum, almost all of the nineteenth-century ṭuṃks at Śatrunjaya boast subsidiary temples and shrines within the ṭuṃk. The nineteenth-century subsidiary temples at Śatrunjaya are architecturally detached from the main temple and its devakulikās. Freestanding, with prominent inscriptions indicating the name of the donor and his place of business, these temples emphasized the individual name of each patron.[18] These subsidiary temples were built by family members or business associates of the main patron (Kapadia 1996: 70, 77), and also underscored the ties among the patrons. Thus while these subsidiary temples represented the merit earned in the name of the individual donor himself, they also represented the ties between the patrons of the main temple and the subsidiary ones. These were ties that could be translated into a reputation of creditworthiness, also enhanced by the prominent social network of each individual.

The Nineteenth-century Patronage of Motīśāh

Patronage flourished in Śatruñjaya from the late eighteenth century to the earlynineteenth century, fuelled by the sanctity attributed to the site through traditional Jain literature, its convenient location, a vast increase of wealth and changes in the merchant society. However, the nineteenth-century enthusiasm for building "new" temples resulted in somewhat conflicting approaches to architectural practices, which can be clearly found in the accounts of Motīśāh's patronage. According to Motīśāh's biography, he insisted on adhering to the śāstras, as was the standard practice, when planning the temples of Motīśāh Ṭuṃk (ib., p. 114). However, several problems arose during the planning stage. Firstly, there was not enough space on the hill to accommodate the temple enclosure that Motīśāh had envisioned. Instead of moderating his plans to a smaller scale he decided to build on the present site between the two summits, which was a lake at that time. He commenced filling it against the concerns of his fellow merchants about the harm that may be caused to the living beings in the water, or the cost of filling the lake (ib., p. 107). Also, rather than waiting for an astrologically suitable date, Motīśāh performed the ground-breaking ceremony on the earliest date possible. In spite of his professed adherence to traditional religious beliefs and practices, it seems that he was determined to build an impressive structure as quickly as possible.

The need to publicize one's faith and sincere character (and creditworthiness, in addition to wealth) also led to celebrated displays of religiosity. According to Laidlaw (1995: 138), the sense of a Jain community is created by two processes: the patronage of communally owned religious buildings and participation in the events they house.[19] The nineteenth-century patronage of Motīśāh provides lavish examples. In total, Rs. 1.1 million was spent on the building of Motīśāh Ṭuṃk. The pratiṣṭhā (consecration ceremony), held in 1837, cost an additional seven hundred thousand rupees, an astronomical amount for that time (Kapadia 1991: 155). In order to transport pilgrims, Motīśāh's family rented a ship to sail from Bombay to a port close to Śatruñjaya. The British governor at this time, as well as several wealthy Parsi and Muslim merchants of Bombay, donated money for the pilgrimage and also attended the farewell ceremony at the Bombay Fort (ib., pp. 175f.). 125,000 to 150,000 pilgrims converged at Śatruñjaya for the pratiṣṭhā, and ascetics from the three leading gacchas (sects) performed the ceremonies together. According to Kapadia, in order to provide for the pilgrims, food and other necessities were sent beforehand to Pālitāṇā; wells, kitchens, and hygiene facilities were maintained by the saṅgh (congregation), and security was also provided for the saṅgh by a police force brought from Bombay. These costs were all paid by Motīśāh's family, although donations were made by other prominent Jain merchants. For example, Hemābhāī, a business associate from Ahmadabad, made a substantial donation and also brought a separate saṅgh to the ceremony from Ahmadabad (ib., pp. 172-188). Such a display of religious giving would have reinforced Motīśāh's reputation and honor, not only among his fellow Jains, but also among the larger business community in Bombay and Ahmadabad. Thus it becomes clear that Śatruñjaya was a significant depository of creditworthiness, endowed with monuments intended to publicize the religious merit of the patron.

Motīśāh's patronage and pilgrimage was not unique; other nineteenth-century patrons at Śatruñjaya also focused on building large new ṭuṃks, which were popularly identified with the donor. Within the ṭuṃks, subsidiary temples were built detached from the main structure or surrounding devakulikās, emphasizing the individual wealth and network of their patrons. These traits confirmed the donors' desire to underscore their own religiosity, and subsequently, the rewards of religious patronage. Religious patronage, especially temple building, can be read as an alternate form of dāna, or "gifting." Just as the layman "gifts" alms to sādhus and sādhvīs, the patron "gifts" temples or sculptures to Śatruñjaya. However, while dāna may endow the giver with merit, it can also be an unsafe act. The balancing of dāna and its results is a delicate matter, in which reciprocity is not always straightforward. In the case of gifting alms, although the giver ultimately obtains puṇya (merit) by giving food to the holy men and women, he cannot avoid the accumulation of pāpa (demerit) that inevitably occurs while preparing the food. In addition, according to Cort (2001: 91, 110), ill-borne worship will only lead to pāpa. Moreover, when results are favored over the motives, giving itself can produce dangerous outcomes.

For example, Motīśāh's biography describes the tragic events following his patronage. According to Rāmjī Salāt, the chief sūtradhār (architect) of Motīśāh Ṭuṃk, Motiśāh's disregard for auspicious dates led to his (and his wife's) premature deaths before the pratiṣṭhā (Kapadia 1991: 106). Other inauspicious omens followed, with the silver buried during the muhūrat (auspicious day for starting the construction) robbed after the ceremonies. These events "foretold" the results of Motīśāh's dangerous giving. [20] Motīśāh's biographer suggests that Motīśāh and his wife passed away in order to personally invite the gods to the ceremonies (ib., p. 174). However, the subsequent failure of his son's business and loss of prestige hints at the drastic results of iniquitous dāna. The fact that Motīśāh and his wife's death were explained as pious acts indicates a silent concern of the author, who needed to explain these inauspicious events surrounding their patronage. This concern was not related to a lack of generosity or grandeur. It was rather a cautionary tale of extravagant giving. As the Jain ascetic who is not supposed to accept food prepared exclusively for his consumption, in a way, later accounts suggest that Śatruñjaya did not fully accept the overtly enthusiastic worship of Motīśāh. [21] This indicates a change in the Jains' understanding of Śatruñjaya from a significant repository of merits and worldly credit to a site with more sacred associations.

The Architecture of Motīśāh Ṭuṃk

The architecture of the nineteenth century also reflects changes in attitude. At first glance, the temples of Motīśāh Ṭuṃk can be categorized as Jain temples built in the Western Indian style, or the regional style commonly found in Gujarat and Rajasthan. First categorized by M.A. Dhaky (Mason & Meister 2007), the Western Indian style or Maru-Gurjara style temple is known to have been developed and spread throughout these areas during the rule of the Solaṅkī dynasty (10th-13th C.). Temples built in the MaruGurjara style have a few features in common with most north Indian temples regardless of the presiding deity. The common north Indian temple has a main sanctum, which is connected to a covered entrance hall with a porch.[22] The main sanctum, which may have one or more central mūrtis, is topped with a śikhara (parabolic superstructure), while the covered entrance hall has a triangular or domed roof. According to Dhaky, Jain temples built in the Maru-Gurjara style have three features distinctive from the commonly found north Indian temple: a platform above which the temple and its subsidiary buildings are located, a semi-open colonnaded hall in front of the covered entrance hall, and in later temples, a cloister formed with a series of devakulikās. Linked together to form a rectangular or square cloister, the devakulikās often formed a high, undecorated wall surrounding the temple when viewed from the exterior.[23]

However, although it is possible to recognize a temple as a Maru-Gurjara style Jain temple by these features, none of these features are exclusively Jain or derived from Jain beliefs. These features clearly lacked explicit meanings, and even after the thirteenth century, when Dhaky argued that a certain architectural stagnation had ensued,[24] there was no specific model for a traditional Jain temple. Rather, a variety of familiar architectural forms were loosely organized within the nomenclature of "Maru-Gurjara style Jain temple." All variants from the simplest form of the Maru-Gurjara style temple (with just the main sanctum and a covered entrance hall) to the most complex (with fifty two surrounding subsidiary shrines) can be found at Śatruñjaya. The main Ādīśvara Temple at Śatruñjaya is an enlarged form of the simplest Maru-Gurjara style temple, with the main sanctum expanded on three sides to provide a circumambulatory path around the central mūrti. The covered entrance hall has three tall, double-storied porticoes (meghanadamaṇḍapa), but in spite of the size, it is not a complex plan. Most of the nineteenth-century temples at Śatruñjaya follow a similar plan, in which a tripartite main sanctum is connected with a large covered entrance hall surrounded with three porticoes on the north, west, and south side of the temple, as can be seen in several temples within the Motīśāh Ṭuṃ

While the plans of the temples at Śatruñjaya all look similar at first glance, it also becomes clear that the later temples, including those of Motīśāh Ṭuṃk, have two strikingly different features. Firstly, the later temples at Śatruñjaya show much more deliberate planning compared to the earlier temples (Plate 3). For example, Modī Ṭuṃk (1786) and Bālābhāī Ṭuṃk (1837), the two ṭuṃks that approximately bracket the beginning and end of intense building at the site, show clear planning of the temples within the ṭuṃks. The later temples at Śatruñjaya were all planned within a square or rectangle enclosure, with mostly symmetrical subsidiary temples. The size of the main temple, the size of the devakulikās forming a cloister surrounding the courtyard and the overall scale of these new ṭuṃks do not allow random additions to the ṭuṃk. By contrast, earlier temples, including the main Ādīśvara Temple complex, do not show this type of conscious planning. The shape of the ṭuṃk and placement of temples are simply governed by the topography of the site. When compared to later temples which are facing precisely east, the older temples on the southern summit seem to be parallel to the ridge of the mountain and haphazardly placed along the path towards the main Ādīśvara Temple. When viewing the whole plan of Śatruñjaya, it appears that only the temples and shrines within the ṭuṃks postdating Modī Ṭuṃk were built within pre-planned spaces.[25]

The second difference that we can see in the later architecture at Śatruñjaya is the proliferation of subsidiary temples and shrines within the ṭuṃks. The courtyard of Motīśāh Ṭuṃk is much larger than the earlier ṭuṃks, and as a result the main temple is physically separated from the surrounding devakulikās. This can be contrasted with the closed, dark interior spaces of earlier Jain temples, in which the ceiling of the covered entrance hall almost touches the roofs of the surrounding devakulikās (for example, the Dilvārā Temples at Mount Abū). As the courtyard was much larger, it was also possible to build no less than fifteen freestanding subsidiary temples within the walls formed by the 125 devakulikās. Clusters of temples are common at most Jain sites. However, the placement of freestanding temples and shrines within the enclosure is especially conspicuous in the nineteenth-century temples at Śatruñjaya.

Changes in Architecture: Pilgrimage and Community

These architectural changes found in the nineteenth-century temples at Śatruñjaya have several possible explanations. First, the planned features of the ṭuṃks were probably inevitable when we consider the fact that so many new temples were built in rapid succession. In contrast to earlier patronage in which renovation and rebuilding of older temples was the norm, the patrons of the nineteenth-century ṭuṃks had the freedom to pre-plan whole sites, with the help of family and/or business associates in many cases. Secondly, the reasons for the larger ṭuṃks with the open courtyards may be deduced from studies of earlier Jain temple architecture. A popular analysis repeated by many Jains as well as scholars is that the walls and structures that cover and conceal the Jain temples resulted from the need for protection against Muslim destruction of religious sites.[26] According to this hypothesis, the lack of systematic destruction and relative political stability of the nineteenth century could explain the openness of Motīśāh Ṭuṃk and other later enclosures of Śatruñjaya.

On the other hand, it is also possible to explain the openness of the nineteenthcentury temples by an increase in the number of pilgrims and larger congregations.[27] The courtyard and the temples themselves were more likely built larger to house the increasing number of worshippers who came to the site. The rise of Hindu pilgrimage in India during the nineteenth century has generally been explained by several factors, including the safer transportation and environment under British rule, the withdrawal of the pilgrim tax, the ease of transportation with the opening of railroads and the rise of pilgrimage as a status symbol among the middle class.[28] Nonetheless, Jain pilgrimage to Śatruñjaya cannot necessarily be rationalized according to this argument. While the safer environment provided by British colonial rule could have been a significant factor, the withdrawal of the pilgrim tax did not apply to Śatruñjaya, since it had been under the jurisdiction of the Pālitāṇā Thakur, the ruler of Pālitāṇā who collected a "protection fee" in place of a pilgrim tax. Also, the Ahmadabad-Bombay railway, the first major railroad in Gujarat, was only opened in 1864, well after the period of active patronage at Śatruñjaya.[29] In case of the Jain community, pilgrimage and sponsorship of pilgrims had always been a symbol of one's wealth and status, as seen in the extravagant consecration ceremony of Motīśāh Ṭuṃk. Thus we will have to search for other reasons for the rise in active participation in Jain pilgrimage and communal worship at Śatruñjaya.

While pilgrimage has been an ancient practice for Jains, detailed rituals and methods of pilgrimage at Śatruñjaya only appear during the nineteenth century.[30] The increase of elaborateness in ritual, as well as the rise of the number of pilgrims attending ceremonies and partaking in pilgrimage in general, was a possible cause for the wider courtyards and the larger interior halls of the nineteenth-century temples at Śatruñjaya. The elaborateness of rituals also indicates a rise in the significance and meanings of pilgrimage to the site, which provided the needed "sense of community" as well as fulfilling personal desire (Bhardwaj 1973: 7). Sense of community acquired from pilgrimage is still especially important to (image-worshipping) Jains, who maintain their group identity by claiming a pilgrimage site (Śatruñjaya), rather than a homeland, as their territory (Luithle-Hardenberg 2009: 331). Participation in pilgrimage to sacred sites was also one way to fulfill their duties as a "Jain." By gathering with fellow worshippers, they could enhance their own sense of inclusion in this community. Similarly, the religious rules of pilgrimage (which are much more stringent than those of normal life) provided the participants with a powerful means to distinguish their own community from the Other.

However, there is also a feature of nineteenth-century ṭuṃks that contrasts with the larger, open courtyards and temples. Most of the temples at Śatruñjaya, especially the nineteenth-century ṭuṃks, are surrounded by massive walls. The devakulikās surrounding the ṭuṃk formed a wall around the main temple in most early Maru-Gurjara style temples, but the nineteenth-century ṭuṃks at Śatruñjaya feature increasingly high and definite walls. In addition, the walls of Motīśāh's Ṭuṃk as well as the walls surrounding the two summits on the hill, have pronounced parapets and watchtowers, not unlike fort walls built for defense. In a few late eighteenth-century paṭas (cloth paintings) of Śatruñjaya, the walls are even depicted with cannons (which, obviously, were not to be used). These walls at Śatruñjaya do not seem to serve any practical purposes as there had been virtually no military threat to Śatruñjaya since the fourteenth century.[31] Neither did the rulers of the surrounding area, the Pālitāṇā Thakurs, pose any physical threat, as most of the Princely States in Gujarat were closely monitored by the British. [32]Nevertheless, according to the records of the Śeth Āṇandjī Kalyāṇjī Peḍhī, the walls surrounding the hill were also regularly renovated and enforced during this period.[33] Rather than the need for physical protection from an actual enemy, it is more likely that the walls were symbolic of a separation between two worlds. Like many other Jain pilgrimage sites, Śatruñjaya is located on the top of a hill and isolated from the town of Pālitāṇā, exalting in its separation of the sacred and mundane. The fort walls can be understood as an amplification of this defense that protected the Jains against their enemies. The very name of the site, śatruñ-jaya, "victory over enemies," implies victory over not merely mortal enemies, but enemies of spiritual enlightenment. Thus the need for stronger walls, complete with parapets and towers, was a reflection of an anxiety of the Jains, that is, an anxiety over protection of the site from enemies, mortal and spiritual.


In all probability, "enemies" included secular authorities found in the outside world. Following the political and social changes brought by British colonial rule in western India, Western scholars had started to "discover" Jainism and the site of the Śatruñjaya.[34] Nineteenth-century Western writings on Śatruñjaya also aimed to provide an objective and scientific view of the site, which conflicted with traditional Jain literature that viewed the site as a sacred and thus inaccessible space.[35] Western discovery and assessment of the religion and the site was also concurrent with a series of celebrated legal cases in western India. From 1820 to 1926, the Jains had to legally confront the rulers of Pālitāṇā who claimed ownership of the site. The first and foremost result of these legal cases was the rise of the need to understand ownership according to British terms and authority, which led to the appropriation of Western legal language and historical approaches. From the nineteenth century onwards, the trust of Śeth Āṇandjī Kalyāṇjī Peḍhī, which managed the site, provided historical documents and knowledge on their sacred site and religion to the British as evidence for the legal cases.[36] Through this process, the histories of Jainism and Śatruñjaya were re-discovered and re-packaged as evidence of Jain ownership of the site, which eventually led to its prominence to the present day.

Commissioned by the Jain merchants of Ahmadabad and Bombay, the late eighteenth-century and early nineteenth-century temples at Śatruñjaya reflected the life of the patron, in which the institutions of religious merit, honor, and patronage were intricately woven with each other. Śatruñjaya became the most important Jain site of the nineteenth century due to the rise of such patrons in western India. As one of the representative ṭuṃks built during this period, Motīśāh Ṭuṃk and its temples reflect the rise of pilgrimage as a significant component in constructing the financial status of the patron as well as religious identity. However, Motīśāh's Ṭuṃk was one of the last instances of large-scale personal patronage at the site. The tacit disapproval of such patronage found in later writings, including the biography of Motīśāh, as well as the sudden cease of private and lavish patronage suggest the rejection of such worldly deeds. This led to the re-packaging of the site. As it became the object of analysis by Western scholars as well as the British courts, no longer was personal patronage encouraged. Currently, even the management of all temples at Śatruñjaya has been transferred to trusts such as the Śeth Āṇandjī Kalyāṇjī Peḍhī, rather than individual persons. These changes were followed by the rise of highly charismatic ascetics, who replaced the yatis commonly found during the nineteenth century (Cort 1995: 81). The reform movements headed by such ascetics, as well as the systematic affirmation of Śatruñjaya as a "sacred and ancient" site by the Śeth Āṇandjī Kalyāṇjī Peḍhī constrained building at the site. No longer was Śatruñjaya open to reflect the patrons' personal desires. This process of protecting and ultimately "cleansing" Śatruñjaya led to its rise as an exceptional symbol of the Śvetāmbara Mūrtipūjāka community, a focal point of the modern Jain identity.


Photographs reproduced in this article are by the author.


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Burgess, James. [Revised] Lists of Antiquarian Remains in the Bombay Presidency. Vol. 16. Bombay: Government Central Press, 1885.

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Cort, John E. "Twelve Chapters from the Guidebook to Various Pilgrimage Places, the Vividhartīrthakalpa of Jinaprabhasūri." The Clever Adulteress & Other Stories: A Treasury of Jain Literature. Ed. Phyllis Granoff, 245-290. Oakville, New York: Mosaic Press, 1990.

Cort, John E. "The Jain Knowledge Warehouses: Traditional Libraries in India." Journal of the American Oriental Society 115, 1 (1995) 77-87.

Cort, John E. "Patronage, Authority, Proprietary Rights, and History: Communities and Pilgrimage Temples in Western India." Ethnography and Personhood. Ed. Michael Meister, 165-192. New Delhi: Rawat Publications, 2000.

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Desāī, Ratilāl Dīpcand. Śeth Āṇandji Kalyāṇji Peḍhīno Ītihās (The History of the Anandji Kalyanji Pedhi). 2 Vols. Ahmadabad: Śeth Āṇandji Kalyāṇji Peḍhī, 1983 [Gujarātī].

Dhaky, Madhusudan A. "The Western Indian Jaina Temple." Aspects of Jaina Art and Architecture. Ed. Madhusudan A. Dhaky & Umakant Premanand Shah, 319-384. Ahmadabad: Gujarāt State Committee for the Celebration of 2500th Anniversary of Bhagavan Mahavir Nirvana, 1975.

Dundas, Paul. The Jains. London: Routledge, 1992.

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Luithle-Hardenberg, Andrea. "The Pilgrimage to Shatrunjaya: Refining Shvetambara Identity." An Anthropology of Values. Festschrift in Honour of Georg Pfeffer. Ed. Peter Berger, Roland Hardenberg, Ellen Kattner & Michael Prager, 331-360. Delhi: Manohar, 2009.

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Weber, Albrecht F. Über das Çatrumjaya Māhātmyam. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Jaina. Abhandlungen für die Kunde des Morgenlandes herausgegeben von der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, I. Band, No. 4. Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus, 1858 (Translated as "The Śatruñjaya Māhātmyam. Edited by James Burgess." Indian Antiquary 30 [1901] 239-251, 288-308).



Plate 1. General View of Śatruñjaya, with main Ādīśvara Temple in the background


Plate 2. Motīśāh’s Ṭuṃk, from the northern summit


Plate 3. General Plan of Jain Temples on Śatruñjaya (Modified from Burgess 1885: 256f.)

© The Editor. International Journal of Jaina Studies 2011


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