2013.02.09 ►Delhi ►Sumatinath Jain Swetamber Temple

Published: 01.04.2013
Updated: 30.07.2015

Thanks to modern mobile phone technology, suddenly the driver with the car appeared in the crush. Very fast we got in the car and relaxed. When not involved, the bustling activity on the roads of Delhi can be rather entertaining. The many human encounters there are calling the observer’s attention. My attention suddenly got back as the car which just had gained speed again slowed down without due cause. Not only this, we stopped in the midst of a group and someone unmistakable called, “Get out! Fast!”

The situation deserved closer attention. There was no group where we had stopped, there were so many people who only had in common to be just at the same time at the same location. The mere crowd of them formed on first sight something like an insurmountable obstacle. In terms of quantity this was reason enough to have a closer look at the situation from a less crowded corner. Very soon it was clear to me that the priority was to not lose contact with the other two of our triplet. Otherwise troubles might feel invited. Fortunately Christian Geerdes is overtopping most of the people in India and was like a lighthouse for me in the crowd. So fast action and jump ahead into the turmoil of Kinari Bazar in Old Delhi!

2013.02.09  Delhi - Kinari Bazar N0273

Kinari Bazar, Old Delhi

But I had imagined it more difficult than it was. As soon as someone started to move, for a few seconds a small passage acting like a zip was opened in the moving direction. Following and not losing the thread takes the whole concentration of an unfamiliar! Definitely no place for amblers. Everybody here is very much target-oriented and wants to reach his or her destination as fast as possible. And so we did. We were fitting perfectly into the frame of motion, as it was Swami Dharmanand ji who directed ours and who knew how to adjust. With a remarkable speed for his age - in some weeks he will complete his 80th year of life! - he mastered the distance. Consistently he asked shopkeepers for confirmation of the direction, no wonder due to the snarl in the narrow alleys. Our destination is well known to everybody there, but it seemed more distant the more we moved in its direction.

2013.02.09  Delhi - Kinari Bazar N0271

The vast quantity of high voltage cables did not concern me anymore. I simply trusted they will not fall on my head.

In the beginning I was wandering and a little worried about the trishaws, but my glances at them became more and more longingly. Not only people, but also burdens in great quantities are transported on trishaws there! Admirable, how the drivers held balance when they pushed the loads piled to shaky small towers. Even motorbikes and motor scooters softly paved their way. But no chance for three-wheelers, too small! After many bends and some turns we reached a peaceful dead end lined with colourful dwelling houses in a row.

2013.02.09  Delhi - Kinari Bazar N0282

At the end of the lane some exhausted backpackers sat on the stairs in front of a building. We had reached our destination and entered Indraprastha Tirth Jain Swetamber Temple, also known as Delhi Sumatinath Jain Swetamber Temple after 5th Tirthankara Sumatinatha to whom it is dedicated. A friendly guard took our cameras in custody. No, unfortunately taking own pictures was not permitted. Instead we got the web address with photos [http://www.indfy.com/picture-gallery/delhi/jain-swetamber-temple/ (12 Photos)] These pictures are not shown here, because according to our view they are not matching with the originals, which really are stunning:

The temple is one of the eldest in Delhi, what is shown in the name of “Indraprastha”. Indraprastha is the ancient term for Delhi, long before Delhi got significance being the capital of India. Its origins are said to go back to the Pandavas of Mahabharata about 1500 years ago. According to some sources the Pandavas were Jains and dedicated followers of 5th Tirthankara Sumatinatha. Anyhow, the temple got his present shape of white marble at the end of the 18th century during Mogul empire (1526 - 1858).

City Secret - Jain Svetambar Temple, Kinari Bazaar
Photo:Mayank Austen Soofi

Even the floor of the temple has an extraordinary design. View on Mogul arches and Garbhagriha in the background.

The interiors are lavishly equipped with precious materials like Belgian glass and mirror mosaics. Arches decorated with gold together with excellently designed marble plates and selected sculptures and paintings are forming a location alluding to celestial landscapes of timeless beauty. The temple is dedicated to 5th Tirthankara Sumatinatha whose sculpture adorned with gold, silver, and precious stones is sitting a little elevated in the Garbhagriha, the sanctum sanctorum, flanked with equally splendid statues of 1st Tirthankara Adinatha, 2nd Tirthankara Ajitanatha, 22nd Tirthankara Neminatha. At their feet small statuettes of different Tirthankaras are installed. The sculptures of the Tirthankaras are framed with golden ornamented arches so-called Moghul arches, which clearly is seen on the photo. 


Garbhagriha, sanctum sanctorum of Indraprastha Jain Swetamber Temple with sculptures of Tirthankaras Adinatha (1st l), Neminatha (2nd l), Sumatinatha (m),??? (1st behind column), Ajitanatha (2nd r)..

Depictions of all 24 Tirthankaras do not differ, except for the symbols attributed to them. They only can be identified if a symbol is applied on the chair cushion or the pedestal. The column hides this part of the Tirthankara sitting to the right of Sumatinatha. Sumatinatha is wearing a halo of sun rays. All Tirthankaras seem to be illuminated by a heavenly glow. This effect is produced by adding pure gold or silver to the marble sculptures, whereas all the statuettes are made from gold only. Gold, silver, marble, and precious stones have been chosen for adequate depicture and ornament of the Tirthankaras because of their purity.


On many of the centuries-old paintings events of the life of a Tirthankara are shown. The colours for the paintings have been made of gold, rough gemstones, and water according to a traditional procedure.


Door made of pure silver surrounded by ancient paintings.

City Secret - Jain Svetambar Temple, Kinari Bazaar
Photo:Mayank Austen Soofi

Traces of time are requiring an elaborate restoration by an expert.

City Secret - Jain Svetambar Temple, Kinari Bazaar
Photo:Mayank Austen Soofi

The statuettes daily are adorned with fresh roses and anointed with sandalwood paste.

After turning from the peaceful dead-end street of the temple into the much more animated lane with many shops we immediately dived into the worldly activities of the buzzing Kinari bazar. The way back seemed to be endless, contrary to former experiences when it seemed always much shorter. With firm resolution Swami Dharmanand ji stooped two trishaws, and we very comfortably got back to the main street. Grace to mobile the driver with the car was called, and after some seemingly very long minutes we discovered the car. The whole action had taken quite some time because a manifestation took place where we were awaiting the car. Very relieved we got into the car, and Swami Dharmanand ji said, “I think, all of us are not very much used to walk.” Then we fell asleep und awoke only when the car stopped in the court of ASK. Fortunately we were in time for evening meditation, and especially after a day like this it was truly relaxing. Naturally it was guided by Swami Dharmanand ji. Incredible India!

Photos & video by HN4U
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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Adinatha
  2. Ajitanatha
  3. Christian Geerdes
  4. Concentration
  5. Delhi
  6. Delhi Sumatinath Jain Swetamber Temple
  7. Dharmanand ji
  8. Garbhagriha
  9. HN4U
  10. Indraprastha Tirth Jain Swetamber Temple
  11. Mahabharata
  12. Meditation
  13. Neminatha
  14. Pandavas
  15. Sanctum
  16. Sumatinath
  17. Sumatinatha
  18. Swami
  19. Tirth
  20. Tirthankara
  21. Tirthankaras
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