ISSJS 2009 Pilgrimage & Jaipur Camp

Posted: 16.06.2009
Updated on: 12.11.2010


 

ISSJS 2009 completes the pilgrimage and Jaipur session of one month program (June 7th till June 14th 2009). The tempo of the first fortnight is maintained with continued very successful and rewarding experience.

 

ISSJS 2009 Pilgrimage & Jaipur Camp

Pilgrimage:

 

4.30 AM on June 7th, the participants accompanied by the director ISJS and Dr. Renuka Porwal (expert on Mathura History) left by AC bus for the three days of absorbing and sacred pilgrimage. All participants were oriented in details about the pilgrimage, handed detailed handouts to read so that they enjoy the pilgrimage.

The first stop was at Mathura Chaurasi, the holy place where the last omniscient of Jains, Jambuswami attained liberation. The temple and Mathura were detailed by Dr. Porwal (en route and at temple about Mathura) along with a tour of the temple. The participants also observed large number of devotees offering their worship at the temple. The new idol of Jambuswami in the open hillock made was also visited and enjoyed. The group then visited the Jain museum (Government owned and operated at Mathura) to see the Jain idols and artefacts from 2nd century BC to 8th century AD). History of Kankali Tila and its remains in the museum and other art objects from Mathura were explained to the participants. From there we proceeded to the city of Agra.

The Jain community (literally several hundred) welcomed the group in traditional Jain style and honoured Prof. Jaini and Dr. Shugan Jain along with the entire group. We visited the beautiful Jain temple at Hari Parvat, the library of ancient manuscripts preserved and an absorbing lecture by Prof. Jaini on the contribution of scholars from Agra (notably Banarasi Dass and Hem Raj Pandey) to Jain religious literature. The meeting ended with a very sumptuous Jain lunch in traditional Indian thali style at a Jain restaurant. Overall it was a true Jain experience of temple, community, hospitality and old manuscripts. The participants then visited famous Taj Mahal and enjoyed its glory even though the mercury was touching 44oC.

The group then travelled to Sonagir, the sacred Jain pilgrim place for night halt. Next day i.e. June 8th, we left for the most famous and largest collection of Jain idols and temples from 8th to 13th century AD. It is a good 175KM bus drive in most primitive Bundelkhand area (heart of Jains with a chain of Jain pilgrim places every 50KM) and Indians known for valour. The bus journey was a little demanding experience as good eating and toilet facilities are conspicuous by their absence in the entire area. We tried to serve good wholesome packed lunch, snacks, water and cold drinks en route to all. However the group was very cooperative and enjoyed every experience. As the group entered Devgarh museum, all the hardship of the journey were forgotten and the entire group immersed in the study of the Jain icons (laid out to give a feeling of the Jain heavens and Videhasketra). Prof. Jaini became our guide in explaining peculiarities of each and every icon as Prof. Tiwari could not make it due to illness. The group returned to Sonagir in the midnight. The next day the group visited Sonagir hill and enjoyed the large number of temples, the presiding idol of Chandaprabhu and the sacred ambience of the hill. The management of Kund Kund nagar organized a public reception and lecture for Prof. Jaini and the group. We then went to Gopachal in Gwalior. It was an experience as we reached there at 12.30PM noon. The walkway to the hill was very hot and yet everyone including Prof. Jaini climbed the hill and spent more than two hours enjoying the large collection of extremely large Jain idols. We then had a very delicious and complete Jain lunch at Hotel landmark. This was the end of the well organized, enjoyed experience of the pilgrimage. We travelled back to Jaipur the same day, spending some anxious moments (as the driver chose to take the small village roads) and then the highway.

 

 

Jaipur Camp

 

Stay at Jaipur was managed by Ms. Shivani Bothra, commissioned by ISJS. Everyone was extremely happy and recommended Jaipur as a must site for the ISSJS program. It was an experience to see all participants enjoying meals and then internet (wireless) in the lunch room itself. The lectures were delivered by the most respected names in Jain studies (Prof. Kusum Jain at Rajasthan University for one month program) and Prof. K. C. Sogani at Nasiaji for the two months program. Lecture by Prof. Jaini on development and ecology was attended by several hundred academicians and community leaders. On Saturday, visit to Chulgiri and Sanganer temples and Dadabari were enjoyed by all. The one month group left on June 13th by evening train to Varanasi for further studies while the two months group stayed back in Jaipur.

Prof. Jaini delivered a lecture on Jainism and Christianity-an interfaith dialogue based on his meetings with Pope John Paul II and Mark Tully on BBC. It was organized at Royal Asiatic Society library in downtown Mumbai. The program was attended by hundreds of Jains, Christians and academicians.

The next week starts in Parashwanath Vishyapeeth Varanasi for one month and at Nasiaji Jaipur for the two months group.

This year saw a tremendous fraternity feeling amongst the participants and a resounding support from Jain community and the academic community everywhere.

 

 

Photos:

 

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