Jainism in Pakistan has an extensive heritage and history.
Although Jains form a very small community in the country today, the history of Jainism in Pakistan will shock you!
Jainism being the most ancient religion, the traces of the Great religion of peace & non-violence are found across the World !
Several ancient Jain shrines are scattered across the country of Pakistan!
The most ancient proof of Jainism in Pakistan can be derived from the 2nd-century old Jain Stupa found in the Taxila region of Pakistan.
Just a few dozen meters from the Shrine of the Double-Headed Eagle sits the Jain Stupa, a relic of the Sirkap city period (2nd century B.C. to the 2nd century A.D.). This shrine is badly ruined.
Sadeed Arif, assistant professor of archaeology at the Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad, told Xinhua that Taxila was ruled by various empires over the centuries for its special location and also an important trade route in the times of yore. The ancient city used to be a regional or national capital.
Once strategically important place that linked Southern, Western and Central Asia regions to the West, Taxila was a meeting point of various cultures which include Achaemenids, Hellenistic, Mauryans, Indo-Greek, Kushan, Gupta, Huns and eventually the Muslims, said Arif, adding that different religions such as Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism had been practiced in Taxila.
We hope that the Jain Stupa is restored as soon as possible as well as there is a need of research on the same.
Historic evidence indicates the presence of Jainism in the Indus Valley Civilization, which existed in Pakistan and northwestern India.
Other archaeological evidence belonging to the Indus Valley Civilization of the Bronze Age in India also supports the antiquity of the Jain traditions and suggest the prevalence of the practice of worship of Rsabha- deva, the 1st Tirthankara, along with the worship of other deities. Many relics from the Indus Valley excavations suggest the prevalence of Jaina religion from 3500 to 3000 B.C, especially in the present Pakistani regions.
Let’s now see the various Jain Mandirs across Pakistan, many of which are in Ruins!
- Nagar Bazaar temple is present in the main bazaar of the Nangar Parkar town. The structure of the temple, including the Shikhar and the Torana gateway, is completely intact. It was apparently in use until the independence of Pakistan in 1947, and perhaps for some years even after that. There is also a ruined temple outside of the town.
- Bhodesar Jain Mandir, 7.2 km from Nagar, was the region’s capital during Sodha rule. Remains of three temples are present. In 1897, two of them were being used as cattle stalls and the third had holes in the back. The oldest temple was built in the classical style with stones without any mortar, built around the 9th century. It is built on a high platform and reached by a series of steps carved into the rock. It has beautifully carved huge stone columns and other structural elements. The remaining walls are unstable and partially collapsed. Parts of the building had been dismantled by the locals who used the bricks to construct their homes. It is perhaps the most spectacular of the monuments in Sindh. The two other Jain temples are said to have been built in 1375 CE and 1449 CE built of kanjur and Redstone, with fine carvings and corbelled domes.
- Karoonjar Jain Mandir is at the base of the mountain.
- Virvah Jain Mandir, are a number of ruins of Jain temples here. One of the temples had 27 devakulikas in it. The ruins of legendary Parinagar are nearby. One of the temples is in good preservation.
- Virvah Gori mandir is 14 miles from Viravah. The legendary temple with 52 subsidiary shrines was built in AD 1375-6. It is dedicated to Jain Tirthankar Gori Parshvanatha.
The Punjab region of Pakistan too has Jain Mandirs which are now in ruins or have been converted!
- Jain temple, Thari Bhabrian Lahore City.
- Jain Digambar Temple with Shikhar, Old Anarkali Jain Mandir Chawk This temple was destroyed in the riots of 1992. Now an Islamic school is run from the former Jain temple.
There were many famous Jain Munis who visited Pakistan to Spread Jainism
Most prominent Jain Muni of the region was Navyug Nirmata Acharya Shri Vijayanandsuriji of Gujranwala, whose samadhi (memorial shrine) still stands in the city & has been converted to a Police Station in the Sabji Mandi Area!
Talking about the Jain Community in Pakistan :
Bhabra (or Bhabhra) is an ancient merchant community from Punjab which mainly follows Jainism
The original home region of the Bhabras is now in Pakistan. While practically all the Bhabras have left Pakistan, many cities still have sections named after Bhabras.
- Sialkot: All the Jains here were Bhabra and mainly lived in Sialkot and Pasrur. The Serai Bhabrian and Bhabrian Wala localities are named after them. There were several Jain temples here before the partition of India.
- Pasrur: Pasrur was developed by a Jain zamindar who was granted land by Raja Maan Singh. Baba Dharam Dass belonged to the zamindar family who was murdered on a trading visit.
- Gujranwala: Two old Jain libraries managed by Lala Karam Chand Bhabra were present here which were visited by Ramkrishna Gopal Bhandarkar.
- Lahore: There were Jain temples at localities still called Thari Bhabrian and Gali Bhabrian.
- Rawalpindi: Bhabra Bazar is named after them.
- Mianwali: A well-known cast still present in the majority there nowadays.
So, basically, Jainism in Pakistan was a quite a growing religion before the Independence of Pakistan & internal riots which eventually moved Jains to India.
A few organizations are working hard to restore the Ancient Jain Temples in Pakistan, one of those we found is Pakistan Jain Temple One of the objectives of the Premchand Manaji Trust (PMT) which is owned by Mr. Ramesh Kumar Shah’s family. is to restore the Jain temples in Pakistan and organise Pilgrimage for the historians to study, document and restore these temples.