Three-Faced Stone Reveals the Last Jain Temple in Telangana

Inscriptions tell the story of how a temple for the 24th Jain Thirthankara, Sri Vardhamana Mahaveera, was constructed 850 years ago.

Located in the Karimnagar district in the Indian state of Telangana was an ancient three-faced stone. The stone remained hidden in the village without anyone recognizing its historic value. Until recently, when an elder in the village named Chepyala Madhusudhan Rao brought it to the attention of Dr. Dyaavanapalli Satyanarayana, a historian. Dr. Satyanarayana deciphered the inscriptions on the stone, and found it related to the history of Telangana and Jainism in the state.

Three-Faced Stone Reveals the Last Jain Temple in Telangana.[/tweetthis]

The inscriptions are in Telugu and Sanskrit languages. Telugu is a Dravidian language that is native to the state of Telangana, and Sanskrit is the primary sacred language of Hinduism and a philosophical language in Jainism. The inscriptions on the stone, according to Dr. Satyanarayana, indicates that the stone was part of the last Jain temple in the region.

The temple was constructed by Manikya Setti for Sri Vardhamana Mahaveera, the 24th Jain Thirthankara. A Jain Thirthankara, in Jainism is a God who preaches the righteous path (Jain Dharma). According to the inscriptions, Bhaktula Pochenayudu contributed the whole revenue of the village, known as Muppayapalli, for the maintenance of the temple.

The inscriptions also point out the patronage of the religion 850 years ago. It sheds light on the disappearance of Jainism and how it was replaced by Veera Saivism, a new religious sect in the state. There is also information about the predominance of the Setti community among the Jains in those days. The Setti community is known as Komati nowadays. The inscriptions also indicate that the Jain women, back in those days were given more value and respect. The mention of a lady, Giri Devasani, who succeed father Doddalasiddhi Setti as chief priest of the Parshavanatha temple, is an indication of this. The stone contains the sculpture of Giri Devasani and the symbols of the sun-moon and the Kakatiya symbols of the Ox on all four sides.

Dr. Satyanarayana revealed all his findings only after corroborating the contents with facts from contemporary historical texts.

Jainism is an ancient Indian religion. It preaches non-violence (ahimsa) towards all living things. The focal points of the religion are asceticism and self-discipline. Practitioners of the Jain religion believe that self-control and non-violence are the means to liberation. One of the prominent personalities from history who was greatly influenced by Jainism was Mahatma Gandhi. The majority of Jains reside in India. Jain practitioners can also be found in the U.S., Europe, Canada, and Kenya.


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