Jain Temple: A Temple of Beautiful, Unique and Intricate Carvings
We discovered the Jain Temple while driving along Commonwealth Avenue in the nearby city of Buena Park, an amber-colored structure occupying almost one block of commercial buildings and offices. Out of curiosity, we turned around and decided to check it out. We drove to its parking lot and walked towards the open door, and found surprisingly a very accommodating staff. He even gave us a tour of the temple allowed us to take photos and filled us in on the temple’s interesting story.
Jainism, it turns out is one of the oldest religions in India. They believe in reincarnation, non-violence, and reducing harm to all living things (including plants and animals. They are strictly vegetarian. This is the Jain temple here in Southern California, an inspiration and symbol of their determination to maintain their beliefs amid Western life’s influences and distractions.
The design of the Jain Center was inspired by the ancient Jain temples of Delwada, Ranakpur, and Palitana Tirths in India. The exterior of the two buildings is constructed of carved Jesalmer yellow limestone, designed and produced in India. Source
The grand exterior walls are lined with Indian blocks and detailed and intricately carved columns which is an outstanding characteristic of Jain temples
This is the main entrance to the Temple, all marble, and is decorated with carved jarukhas (a carved stone jutting forward from the front wall), ornamental columns, and two Dwarpals (door guardians) on top of elephants.
The ground floor main lobby has on display a centuries-old replica of the Palitana Temple. According to our guide, the structure measures 35 ft. high and is hand-carved from teakwood. See the elaborate columns, wall panels, dome, two covered balconies, and two curved stairs leading to a second floor.
We took one of the stairs that led to the prayer rooms on the second floor. We noticed the framed guiding mantras and symbols on display on the staircase walls.
The whole interior is of white marble and granite - the walls, ceiling, and floors. They used white so that it would be easier to spot even the smallest insects on any surface, and avoid stepping on them or worse - inadvertently killing them. Jains cling strictly to a nonviolent code. And white evokes peace.
The white tiled floor’s interior design features large mosaic medallions.
Spaces on the walls are all adorned with intricately hand-carved white marble providing a majestic place for the 24 heavenly idols known as Tirthankaras. The Tirthankaras, also carved from white marble, represent liberated souls who have attained nirvana through repeated reincarnation. They are sitting in the lotus position, with painted eyes, red lips, and sometimes adorned with gold and silver ornaments.
The ceilings, just like the walls are all ornately carved and unique. Each has fabulous and different styles and degrees of detail.
Other Hand-Carved Statues
This beautifully engraved marble statue of stairs with figurines at the top represents the journey toward attaining enlightenment. Every life one lives through reincarnation leads to a different level of the stairs, the better one’s karma is the higher he goes on the level until he reaches the top and attains enlightenment, and escapes the mortal level.
The statue houses the footprint of someone who has attained enlightenment and is about to ascend to the top of the stairs.
Aside from its wonderful architecture, one of the most interesting things about the Jain temple is its pristine and very clean condition.
Jain Temple was a truly beautiful chance encounter for us today. In the future, I think we would be keeping our eyes wide open for more architectural gems like her.