Shri Parshvanath Digambara & Shwetambara Jain Temples of Varanasi
Varanasi Parshvanath Digambara Jain Temple is located in Bhelupur, Varanasi. It is situated about three kilometers from Benaras Hindu University and about four kilometers from the Benaras Cantonment. There are two Jain temples dedicated to Parshvanath, the 23rdTirthankara of Jain Tradition, located adjacent to each other. This temple complex is a shining example of religious co-existence as the two different sects of Jainism namely Digambara and Shwetambara are represented equally in harmony over here. With regard to the temples the only point of difference is that the Digambar Temple has a 75 centimetre tall black idol, whereas the Shwetambar Temple has a 60 centimetre tall white idol. The temple opens after 12 pm and closes at 9 pm in the night based on the staunch tenets of Jainism non- violence.
The temple is dedicated to Lord Parshvanath, the 23rd Tirthankaras or Prophet of the Jainism. It is stated that he was born here, circa 800 BC. Parshwanath was a prince of Benaras who gave up the throne and led the life of a hermit. He died at Sammet Shikar at Parshwanath in today’s Jharkhand. His four teachings namely non-stealing, non-lying, non-violence and non-possession constitutes the very basis on which his followers try to live their lives.
The faded yellow coloured temple boasts of a beautiful collection of sculptures along with the idol of Tirthankara Parshvanath and many of his representations in the form of serpents –serpents being the symbol of Parshvanath.
Those visiting the temple can not only admire the beautiful architecture and sculptures but can also observe Jain religious practices being carried out by the white clad or the naked Jain Munis. Lessons in non-violence is also given by spiritual teachers of Jain Temple to the interested.
Sarnath - A Quest Within - Buddham Sharnam Gacchami