Chapter 10. Jain


In ancient India, the same builders and stone carvers built Hindu temples, Buddhist temples, and Jain temples. Architectural styles are generally similar across regions and periods.

Māu-Gurjara architecture

In Gujarat and Rajasthan, the Jain adopted a regional style of Hindu architecture, but they increased the density of external niches to accommodate more statues, and they added continuous rows in relief of dancers in many poses, equestrians, elephants, and monsters called kīrtimukhas. Interiors are even more elaborately clustered with carved decorations on walls and ceilings, on pillars and lintels, and on arches from pillar to pillar. These temples are richly carved even though the Jains valued renunciation of the world, non-possessiveness, and frugality. J. L. Jaini said that the Jains didn’t worship gold or idols; they worshipped the qualities that the images represented.


A common feature of a Jain temple is its “column of honor.” At the top of a pillar before the entrance are four statues facing the four directions of one of the twenty-four teachers of the dharma.