Kolanupaka Jain Temple

Kulpakji or Kolanupaka Jain Temple is a old Jain Temple of Mahavira located in kolanupaka village (also called as Kulpak), Alair Mandal, Yadadri Bhuvanagiri district in Telangana State, India.

The 2nd century temple of Bhagwan Manikyaswamy, the first and foremost tirthankara out of the 24 tirthankaras of the Shwethamber Jain community, is also known as Rishabhdev or Adinath.

The first Tirthankara in the Jain religion was Lord Rishabha, who is popularly known as Lord Adinath also. It is believed that original idol of Lord Adinath, locally known as Manikya Deva, made Kolanupaka its abode by itself.

Besides the presiding deity or mulnayaka, Bhagwan Manikyaswamy, the architecturally beautiful ancient temple houses the precious jade idol of Bhagwan Mahavira, the 24th and last tirthankara, Neminatha and other Tirthankara idols belonging to the Shwethambar sect of the Jains who maintain the temple.

Jains believe that 15 visits to Kulpak Tirtha on full moon days and performing seva, tapa and japa, will end all the troubles of their life!

The exact date of the temple’s construction is not known, but evidence of its existence dates back to the 2nd century AD.

The temple is built in a unique style, with a combination of Dravidian and Hoysala architectural styles

According to the mythological legend, the main temple of Kolanupaka is said to have been built by Emperor Bharata, son of King Dushyanta and Queen Sakuntala. Jainism was prevalent in Telangana before the 4th century and Kolanupaka was one of the prominent centers of Jainism from early times. About 20 Jain inscriptions have been found there. It is said that Kolanupaka flourished as Jain center during the Rashtrakutas period. 

The temple is housed on a 25 acre plot of land. Besides idols of other Gods, there is a museum. 

The temple was recently renovated by calling 150 artisians from Rajasthan and Gujarat. A complete new temple was built around the existing towers and the old garbhagraha was preserved.Kulpakji is the major pilgrimage center for the Svetambara Jains of South India.

The story of Kulpak
The finding of Jain antiquities and the study of historical evidence indicate Kulpak rose to prominence as a Jain kshetra during the heydays of Rashtrakutas when Sankaraganda ruled over Kollipakaya-rajya in 9th century AD. It continued to enjoy the patronage of Rashtrakutas and their successors.

Initially Kulpak was a military outpost and gradually grew into a prosperous, religious and key city spread over 90 sq kms with fortifications. It further flourished during the reign of the Chalukyas as a Jain pilgrim centre in the 11th and 12th century.

The pilgrim centre was attacked by Rajendra Chola and his son Rajadhiraja, angry over the exodus of Jains from Tamil Nadu to Andhra. The Jains reportedly got protection from the Chalukyas.

Over 20 Jain inscriptions were found in Kulpak which indicate the presence of a good number of Jain temples and bastis in the area. One inscription records the construction of Neminath and installation of Parasnath idol by Mahamandalesvra Kumara Mangideva, who belongs to Tintrini gaesha.

Another dated 1107 AD records the gift of land in the village of Chapulia by Kumara Someshwara to Paraswanatha-Jinalaya.

Nagri inscriptions dated AD 1711 indicate Jainism flourished again during the reign of Mughal Bahadur Shah 1.

In Jainism, the installation of "manastambha" in front of the temple is considered an auspicious act. Sri Kesiraja claims to have installed a manastambha and makara torana in the temple of Ambika, the sarandevi of Neminath Bhagwan, the 22nd tirthankara.

An epitaph of Meghachandra-Siddhantadeva came to light on the wall of the Jain Mandir. This epitaph engraved in the 12th century states that Meghachandra took sanyas-diksha to enter Samadhi.

It was a practice for pious Jains to observe Sallekhana or sanyasa diksha at the fag end of life with the object of attaining "Samadhi—marana, sanyasa—marana or pandit marana." This reflects Kollipaka was considered a sacred tirtha kshetra where Jains observed sallekhana, a vow for terminating their lives. Endowed with richly carved temples and busadis, Jainism at Kulpak reached its glory during the 11th and 12th century AD under the Chalukyas.

A pilgrim centre
Bhagwan Manikyaswamy temple in Kolanupaka is a world famous pilgrimage centre for Jains. 
Kulpakji is an important pilgrimage center for Swetambara Jains of South India. 

This is one temple where one should seek only "Moksha" – complete purity of soul – but not materialistic benefits from God! 

"If you want fulfillment of materialistic desires, one has to pray to Goddess Padmavati Devi here. She is very powerful," says Prakash Jain Munoth, a businessman and a regular at the temple.

Kulpak Jain Tirtha kshetra in Telangana state is not only the biggest Jain pilgrimage centre in South India, but also the country and world.

There are 8 idols in the complex—Mahaveera, Neeminath, Pashwanath, Shantinath, Abhinandanswamy, Rishbdev and one idol of the 24 Tirtakaras

This temple has three main idols of Gods, called as Tirthankars. These are of Lord Rishabha, Lord Neminath and Lord Mahavir. 

The temple is decorated with beautiful images of Tirthankaras and it's one of the important Jain pilgrimage sites in the country.

The statue of Lord Mahavir has been made out a single jade and is about 140 cm in height. 
According to Luniya, the world famous 4-ft-tall greenish Jade idol which is considered as Bhagwan Mahaveera now might have been that of Bhagwan Manikyaswamy. "When someone put the value of the jade idol at 1,000 million dollars there was a surge of pilgrims. We appealed to one and all not to put a price tag on God," Luniya said.

The statue of Lord Rishabha, who is also known as Lord Adinath, has been carved out of a green stone. Historically, it has been popular as Manikya Swami. 

There are eight idols of various other Tirthankaras, placed on both sides of the temple. Every Tirthankara has been built with their own unique style. 

One of the most striking features of the temple is the imposing statue of Lord Mahavira, which is carved out of a single piece of black granite. The statue stands tall and proud, symbolizing the strength and resilience of Jainism and the principles of non-violence and compassion that it advocates.

The statue of Lord Mahavira has been carved with an image of Lion, while there is a bull on the pedestals of Lord Rishabha. 

A cobra with multi heads has been carved as an umbrella over the statue of Lord Parshawnath.

Story of Idol
There are several stories on the formation of Bhagwan Manikyaswamy idol and temple.

According to one story, the first and foremost tirthankara out of the 24 tirthankaras is Rishabhdev or Adinath Bhagwan. His eldest son, King of kings Bharat used to wear a finger ring made of "Feroza," a precious greenish stone. He got the image of Manikyaswamy engraved on the precious stone. He established Tirtha called "Astapad" as desired by people.

Another mythological story is that Ravana’s wife Mandhodari, believed to be a Jain, worshipped the wonderful Swayambhu idol. It is said that she was worried about the safety of the idol when Ravana kidnapped Sita and feared the destruction of Lanka. As per her suggestion, the idol of Manikyaswamy was immersed in the ocean.

When a plague hit the region during the reign of King Shankera of Karnataka who was a follower of Jainism, the king prayed to Padmavati Devi who instructed the king to sprinkle holy water or snatrajal of the idol of Manikyaswamy on the victims to check the spread of the disease.

On the instructions of Padmavati Devi, King Shanker retrieved the idol from the ocean and brought it on a bullock cart driven by calves. As desired by Padmavati, King Shankar Dev constructed the holy temple and installed the image of Manikyaswamy.

The architecture of the temple is stunning with wonderful carvings on the temple walls. The Jain temple of Kolanupaka was made using red sand stone and the pillars of temple are made out of white marble. The temple was in a ruined condition for years and was renovated in late 20th century. The temple was renovated by employing more than 150 artisans from Rajasthan and Gujarat. The old garbhagruha was preserved and a complete new temple was created surrounding the existing tower. The temple is spread over in an area of 1 acre, out of a 20 acre land used for dharamshalas and guest houses. Regular visitors are not allowed to enter into the inner section of the temple which is restricted for people with pooja clothes only.

The Kolanupaka Jain Temple is also famous for its annual festival, the Mahamastakabhisheka, which is held every 12 years. During this festival, the statue of Lord Mahavira is bathed in milk, curd, honey, and other offerings, and is covered in a saffron cloth. 

The Mahamastakabhisheka festival is a grand celebration of Jainism and is held to offer prayers and seek blessings from Lord Mahavira and attracts thousands of devotees from all over India.

"Pilgrims come here round the year but more during Purnima, Chaitramas and other festivities. There is a surge of pilgrims from all over the world from September to December. 

The Jain pilgrim centre has good facilities for devotees including 200 rooms for stay and meditation. Food is provided free of cost.

The temple is open from 5.30 am to 1 pm and 4 pm to 7.30 pm daily" he explains.
For darshan, one needn’t necessarily take a bath, but if one wants to dopooja, it is mandatory that one should take a bath before going inside the chamber of Tirthankaras and touch the statue of the deity. Also, in order to dopooja, one has to wear the acceptable clothing, dhotis or panchas for men and sarees for women. The clothes need to be clean, washed and unused for any purpose other than performing poojas.

There is also a temple called Someshwara Temple which was established by Chalukya's about 800 years back in Kolanupaka.

To visit Kolanupaka, one has to take diversion at Aleru town (the nearest Rail head) between Hyderabad & Warangal (75 km from Hyderabad & Warangal) and travel for 6 km. The Jain temple is 0.5 km from Kolanupaka Bus Station.

Contact Number : +91 92470 15696Timings : 6 AM to 7 PM