Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Travel Kolkata: Parasnath Jain Temple (Glass temple)

Principal Deity, Parasnath Jain Temple Kolkata

Sri Sheetalnath Swami, The Tenth  Jain Teerthankara at Parasnath temple, Kolkata
Sri Sheetalnath Swami, The Tenth  Jain Teerthankara at Parasnath temple, Kolkata

Parasnath Jain (Glass) Temple, Kolkata
Parasnath Jain (Glass) Temple, Kolkata

Rai Badridas builder of Parasnath temple

Wanna visit Kolkata? The capital of West Bengal, India? A must visit is Parashnath Jain temple, the glass temple built by Rai Badridas Bahadur Mookim.
Rai Badridas Bahadur Mookim, Court Jewelers, H.E. the Viceroy and Governor General of British India built this beautiful Jain temple and garden in 1867. Rai Badridas was the pioneer of Johari Sath Community. He himself was the designer and architect of this temple according to "Glimpses of Bengal", published in 1905.
The throne of the main Deity Shree Sheetalnath, the tenth Tirthankara in the inner sanctum of the temple is decorated with real gemstones and silver. The entire temple and outside the campus is beautifully decorated with Belgian glass. The garden surrounding the temple is also built of glass.
There are other idols made of Emerald, ruby and other precious gemstones in the temple.
He built this temple to satisfy the urge of his mother Shrimati Khushal Devi, W/O late Shree Kalkadas Sindhar who had observed penance and austerity throughout her life. She performed Ayambil tap, Navpad Oli for long forty-five years.

Integrated settings of colorful glass inside the temple

The roof of inner Veranda in Parasnath temple Kolkata
The roof of inner Veranda in Parasnath temple

Arch inside Parasnath temple Kolkata
Arch inside Parasnath temple

The upper side of the inner wall in Parasnath temple Kolkata
The upper side of the inner wall in Parasnath temple Kolkata

The story behind building Parasnath Jain temple

There is a story behind it. Rai Badridas find his fortune in Gems and Jewelry business in Kolkata and earned huge money. He accumulated enough wealth and bought a piece of land near Jain Dadabadi in Maniktalla region of Kolkata. He wanted a garden house for a luxurious stay there. He informed his mother with joy that he had bought a piece of land to build the same. His mother was a religious lady and was not crazy about mundane things. She warned her son Badridas that he would be involved in worldly luxuries and forget God.
Badridas asked his mother about her will. The mother replied that she would be happy if her son builds a temple of God. Rai Badridas, a devoted son of his mother had done accordingly and built the world famous temple.
The then British Government in India built a huge ornamental gate (photo of the inscription is added in this hub) in the main road (Lower circular road at that time), presently APC Road that leads to the street where the temple is situated. The street itself is named after the temple, Badridas temple street.

Mookim family, present successors of Rai Badridas are managing the temple nowadays. recently they have added fountains to the pond inside the campus.

Extended Beauty

Deva Vimana (Heavenly Vehicle) at both sides of the temple.
Deva Vimana (Heavenly Vehicle) at both sides of the Parasnath temple Kolkata

Garden made of glass and porcelain Parasnath Jain temple Kolkata
Garden made of glass and porcelain Parasnath Jain temple Kolkata

Glass Garden with Iron Carvings Parasnath temple Kolkata
Glass Garden with Iron Carvings Parasnath temple Kolkata

ভগবান মহাবীর ও বাংলায় জৈন ধর্ম

Landscape, design, and architecture

Traveling Kolkata? Parasnath Jain temple is a must see tourist spot.
Rai Badridas Bahadur Mukim, an esteemed member of Jewelers community of Kolkata built this Parasnath Jain temple and decorated it with beautiful glass work from in and outsides. He was a great follower of Jainism.
He established eye-catching idols of Jain Tirthankar, Gandharas, and Yaksha- Yakshanis made in fine quality marble. He did not forget to establish a temple right side the main temple of his Guru Sri Kalyan Surishwar Ji Maharaj along with his forefathers Kalkadas Sindhar et al.
He concentrated on the architecture of the temple. Though it is built in accordance with Jain temple architecture, the influence of British, French and Italian arts are visible here and there. It is worth noting that he himself was the planner, designer, and architect of this wonderful temple.
His love for fine art and aesthetic sense inspired him to decorate the main temple with Gemstones, colorful Belgian glasses, chandeliers and hand paintings. He did not forget to include Terracotta statues, the art of Bengal in his layout. Gardens, lawns, and ponds are parts of the magnificent landscape of the temple.

Architecture and beauty of Parasnath glass temple

The temple is built following Jain school of architecture. Most of the north and eastern Indian Jain temples are built in this style. This style is different from those of western and southern India. Sri Poojya and Yati (Jain monks) were masters of this art. Sri Kalyan Suri, Sri Poojya of Lucknow was behind the establishing the Jain temple. Influence of British architecture is also seen.
The temple is surrounded by decorated gardens, ponds, and fountains. those give it a gorgeous look. One has to cross a long way from the main gate before entering the temple. One can reach the main temple by crossing several steps of a wide staircase. There is a clerestory covered with a gorgeous roof between stairs and gate of the temple.
The main temple is divided into three parts following Indian temple architecture. There are inner sanctum, the courtyard in the middle and an outer ward included in the temple structure. Throne of the main deity Sri Sheetalnath is decorated with gemstones. A huge chandelier with 1008 lights is hanging from the roof of the courtyard. There are several wall paintings in the temple depicting stories from Jain canons.
Rai Badridas, builder of this temple was a renowned jeweler (Title of court jewelers was conferred upon him by the governor general and viceroy of British India) and had a great aesthetic sense. He was generous and spent money generously for his God.
The whole temple (both inside and outside) is decorated with colored glasses from Belgium. This is the uniqueness of this Jain temple. Glass work is integrated and gives a look of colorful enameling.
A pair of decorated elephants standing both sides of the temple gives the monument palatial look.

The gorgeous garden surrounding the glass temple

Parasnath Jain temple is situated between gardens, ponds, and fountains. The gorgeousness of the whole monument makes a visitor speechless. Artistic designs of the gardens make this monument a marvel.
All of the gardens are decorated with glass and porcelain flooring. There are statues of marble, porcelain, and terra cotta standing on pillars in the garden. There is a round tank with an artistic fountain and a big pond in front of the glass temple.
There are pedestals, seats, and chairs to sit and look the beauty of this marvelous Jain temple.
(This article was originally published on 11 August 2009)

Parasnath Jain Glass Temple Maniktalla Kolkata Map

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