GLITTERING LIKE A JEWEL: Sri Sankeshwar Paraswanath temple. Photos: S. Siva Saravanan
Sri Sankeshwar Paraswanath temple, in R. S. Puram, Coimbatore, is a magnificent specimen of Rajasthan's intricate architecture. Dedicated to Sri Sankeshwar, the 23rd teerthankara, this 25-year old temple is a well-known Jain pilgrim centre.
Acharya Vikram Suriswarji performed the `Anjan Shalaka Pran Pratishta' (Kumbhabhishekam) of this temple in 1981. He was the inspiration behind the Coimbatore Jain Swetambar Murthipujak Sangh which has sponsored this temple. The temple has three garbhagrahas — Sri Sankeshwar (at the centre), flanked by Sri Shanthinath and Sri Mahavir.
There are also separate niches for Sri Munishwar, Sri Adinath and Sri Sumathinath. This temple, situated on the busy Ponnurangam road, glitters like a jewel. All people, irrespective of their faith, are welcome inside. However it is expected that only vegetarians enter the precincts. The temple, built on the lines of the `Sompura Jain architecture,' is unique because not even a single nail has been used anywhere in the construction.
A painting that adorns the wall.
With the 60 ft. tall gopuram, the appearance of the temple is enhanced by the kamans (arches) torans (flower-strings) and putalias (statuettes).
Pujas and festivals
Besides the regular pujas by the priests, devotees perform `Bhava puja' in front of the deity drawing swastika using `akshatha' (rice). The holiest season for the Jains is the `Paryushan Parva,' the last eight days during which the devotees observe fast and visit the temple daily. On the last day, they ask for forgiveness for their sins. This festival falls in the month of September, while Mahaveer Jayanthi falls in April. Both these festivals are well-attended and celebrated with great fervour and grandeur.
The temple management has plans for the construction of huge halls for prayer, meditation and discourses. `Dwajarohana,' flag-hoisting ceremony, was performed recently to mark the beginning of the silver jubilee celebrations.