There are countless Jain temples scattered throughout the country and if you happen to be in Jaipur, you are in luck, for a remarkable Jain Mandir (the local word for temple, shrine, or any similar place of religious worship) happens to be located here. Anywhere from 14 to 16 kilometres from the city proper and said to be within the territories of the town of Sanganer, one particular Jain temple can be seen that simply begs the traveller to pause and inspect the beauty it holds within its structure.
The town of Sanganer is known for having a few more Jain temples, but they are often remarked to pale in comparison to the seven-storey Jain Mandir that is often called the Shri Digamber Jain temple. This is why it is not really called a centre of Jainism or Jain structures despite all the temples it has. The town is perhaps better known for its craftsmen, artisans, and talented artists, in fact, as well as for the fact that it happens to hold the Jaipur Airport.
The Shri Digamber Jain Temple of Sanganer is dedicated to the Lord Adinath, who is also referred to as Rishabha. This personality is often identified by cross-legged statues, and he is considered the first of the 24 Tirthankaras. A Tirthankara is an enlightened human who has been freed of his negative karmas and whom others should attempt to emulate, according to the doctrine of the Jain religion.
Something interesting about this temple is its sheer height. Few of the mandirs nearby can rival its imposing height, for it stretches all the way up to seven floors, providing it a commanding view of the environs. This temple is, as might be expected of any major structure near the Jaipur area, constructed of reddish stone, in keeping with the reputation of the city as a “pink-hued” one. The mandir is supposed to have been finished around the 10th century CE and is certainly a triumph of architectural styles from that period and of Jain sensibilities. The intricacies of its wall carvings and the relentless geometry of several of its portions have drawn architects and artists here time and time again. There are also several spires that tower straight up from the main body of the edifice. These are called shikharas and are quite impressive to look at.
A common observation made by historians and casual observers alike is that the temple has a great deal in common with the architectural styles that informed the creation of the Jain Dilwara Mandirs near Mount Abu. The details and trim, and even the basic lines certainly do evince certain similarities. The sculptures are similarly exquisite and detailed across both temples too. Interestingly enough, though, the Dilwara temples were made a century to three centuries later than the Jain Mandir of Jaipur, which is claimed to have been a 10th century construction. Whatever the case or linkage between the two, it is undeniable that this is a temple worth visiting, just like the famed Dilwara temples.