Vijay Vallabh Smarak Complex ►Museum Of Jain Art & Culture

Posted: 07.04.2013

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Introduction

Legendary Vijay Vallabh Smarak Jain Mandir built amidst a verdant 20 acres of prime land on National Highway No. I, under the aegis of Shree Atma Vallabh Jain Smarak Shikshan Nidhi - an all India recognised Educational Trust, is a land mark in Delhi. The majestic shrine has been constructed in sand stone without the use of any steel. The structure is in complete harmony with Jain Art & Architecture. Vijay Vallabh Smarak houses many projects. Besides the Museum, it has an excellent collection of works on Jainology & Prakrit along with thousands of handwritten manuscripts at the Library of Bhogilal Leherchand Institute of Indology (BLII) - a centre for Education, Research & Publications; a Senior Secondary School, a Homoeopathy Dispensary, a Bhojanshala and Temples for meditation & worship.

This Smarak was established to perpetuate the sacred memory of great reformer Saint Jain Acharya Vijay Vallabh Suri Ji Maharaj (1870-1954), who chose education as the vehicle for uplift of masses. Later, his learned disciple Mahattra Jain Sadhvi Mrigavati Ji Maharaj took up the cause of imparting knowledge and education in right earnest. Thus, she became instrumental in the establishment of this great Institution.

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Chandra Prabhu, 8th Century CE

 

The Museum & its Collections

The Archaeological Heritage

Since this is predominantly a Jain Museum, most of the collections are from Gujarat & Rajasthan. Although Jainism has spread to various parts of India, religious persecution forced its adherents being confined mainly to Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra in Western India, and Karnataka & Tamilnadu in Southern India. In Western India, it has a strong following among the mercantile communities who endowed temples and supported the monastic establishments. The Jains also commissioned bronze & stone sculptures which became integral parts of temples. Some of these interesting architectural fragments & remains, including a large number of Pabasans, Parikars and Images of Jain Tirthankars, pronouncing the grandeur of the medieval sculptural tradition of Western India, especially Gujarat, are on display in the Museum.

 

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Goddess Laxmi - One of the fourteen dreams of mother Trishala

 

 

Archival Display

Apart from the Sculptures and Metal Images, the collection also has a number of literary artefacts on display, such as folios from Kalpasutra, Kalikacharya Katha, Dhanna Shalibhadra Ka Rasa and parts of Vignaptipatra scroll etc. Also on show is a galaxy of manuscripts depicting the cosmos, according to Jain cosmology. Jain Acharya Vijay Vallabh Suri Ji Maharaj was instrumental in the collection of these artefacts way back in early thirties of the 20th Century at Gujranwala (now in Pakistan), which have since been retrieved. In addition to these masterpieces, the collection also has a number of other miscellaneous antiquities, ritualistic items of deep interest and curios related to the Jain Pantheon, such as 'JAIN MAT VRIKSHA' created by the great Guru Acharya Shrimad Vijayanand Surishwar Ji Maharaj in his own hand-writing. Personal belongings of Late Jain Acharya Shri Vijay Vallabh Suri Ji Maharaj are also on display, to name a few.

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Kausaga Mudra, Tirthankar llth-12th Century CE

 

Antiquity

Artefacts displayed in the Museum cover a period from 5th to 19th century A.D. Although the institution has a small collection, the images and sculptures are fantastic and a grand admixture of Art, Tradition and Spiritualism. The walls of the Museum are replete with photographs of Jain cave architecture and some beautiful Jain Temples (2nd Century BCE to 11th Century CE).

 

Sources of Acquisition

Since the commissioning of the first phase of Shree Vijay Vallabh Smarak in 1984, there commenced a steady inflow of its archaeological collections. The credit for the collection of the artefacts must go to the monks & munis, who, en route their Viharas, go on collecting rare art pieces from remote villages and towns where they, otherwise, lay unattended and neglected and would vanish forever. Here, it would be ungrateful for the Museum authorities if they do not thank Revered Jain Acharya Shrimad Vijay Nityanand Sun Ji Maharaj for his blessings and ceaseless efforts to acquire these rare pieces, which adorn the Museum today.

 

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Parikar, 11th Century CE

 

Conservation Laboratory

The Museum also houses a Conservation Laboratory to look after the preservation and restoration of the Museum collection. The Laboratory is also functional in maintaining and conserving the rare manuscripts which are kept in the adjoining rich library of BLII. About 15000 manuscripts which are more than 500-600 years old, have since been conserved and the work of conservation keeps going on.

 

Fascinating & Informative Feature

In Delhi, it is a Museum of its own kind and unique in many respects. It has the candid objective to bring to light the invaluable treasures of Jain Art, Architecture & Culture before the general public and researchers too, who intend to delve deeper into this subject. The artefacts on display, undoubtedly, provide a feast for the eyes, as they bring history back to life.

 

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Wives are requesting Shalibhadra not to accept asceticism

 

MUSEUM OF JAIN ART & CULTURE

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Vijay Vallabh Smarak Complex
Atma Vallabh Puram
20th Km., G.T. Karnal Road,
PO. Alipur
Delhi-110 036

 

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