Shree Digambar Jain Parasnath Temple, Belgachia

History

The place called Belgachia was once amongst the many villages which Siraj-ud-daulah purchased from Mir Jafar. It was Siraj-ud-daulah who gave identity to these villages.
The foundation of this temple dates back to the year 1914 when the doors of this holiest place of Jains opened for the public.

The Jain Community

The Jain community has two sects namely the Digambar and Shwetambar, and this temple belongs to the Digambar sect. The Digambars are a bit more severe in their principles, and the Digambar monks believe in complete abstinence of the materialistic possessions. They believe that worldly possessions bind them to the world and increase their dependency, which also results in greater sorrow. In addition, the monks sacrifice their desire and lead a strict life devoid of luxury and even clothes. They make these sacrifices to attain moksha. However, only males need to follow this. The females are called Aryikas and wear white sarees or simple, seamless clothes.

Many Jain sadhu and sadhvis come and stay in this temple, and a lot of Jains come here daily to worship God and even then.

Structure

The temple stands on large acres of place and starts with a huge entrance gate, and the dominant bright red color greets the pilgrims. The entrance leads to the garden where an innumerable number of pigeons stay and eat. There are people with duties to take care of them, but they are not bound to the place they can fly anywhere they want to.

Then proceeding further, there is a large tank at the center of the passage, which is full of different kinds of fishes. On either side of the large tank, there are broad paths.
On the extreme right, there is another garden which is well maintained with trimmed grass and bushes with seats for people to relax and enjoy. Also, there are different kinds of flowers which attract attention.

The Pillar of Pride

Furthermore, there is the main temple in the center, and in the front, there is the Manastamba (the pillar of pride) made of white marble. Religious teachings like ahimsa meaning “nonviolence” and quotes like ‘Jiyo or jeene do’ which means “live and let live” etc. can be found carved throughout the marble stambha standing beside the sparkling bright red temple.
Moreover, in the stambha on the top, there are glass cases where idols are kept for pilgrims to worship. Pilgrims mostly visit this stambha after worshipping the main temple.

Lodgings and other places

In addition, at the backside of the temple, there is a large place reserved especially for religious programs and other works. Rooms called dharamshalas are also present where the pilgrims who accompany the Jain monks and the Aryikas can stay. A separate kitchen is also present where the food for the monks and the accompanying pilgrims is prepared. Besides, only holy people practicing Jainism can enter this kitchen with clean clothes. Jains practice being pure vegetarians, and only vegetarian people are allowed inside the kitchen.

Other parts of the building include an office which people can use as a library. And other halls are also present where the other visitors can have food.
Besides, many beautiful symbols like a cow and a tiger drinking water from the same pond are also there. Small structures of mountains are also present which grab the tourist’s attractions.

Visiting this most sacred temple of the Jains makes you calm and soothes your soul. Also, you can experience utmost peace and silence here with the presence of birds and nature. Moreover, different duties are assigned to different people to take care of different parts of the temples.
Amenities

Six washrooms separate for males and females are available and are always clean. Parking space is also available inside the temple premises, and clean drinking water is always available at the temple premises. Neither the pilgrims nor the visitors face any issue here.

Trivia

• The temple stands mainly for the 23rd Jain Tirthankar – Parasnath Dev.
• The temple is primarily for the Digambar sect of Jains but even the other sect of Jainism – the Shwetambars also visit it.
• Besides, the 190-year-old tradition of celebrating Lord Parashnath’s Sobha Yatra takes place every year on Kartik Purnima with full enthusiasm.
• Also, thousands of Jain devotees from all over India visit the temple.
• The Manastamba is 81 feet high.
• Besides, Jains are a religious minority with 4.2 million followers.
• Jains also have the highest religious literacy rate.