Digambar Jain Temple
Located just opposite the massive Red Fort at the intersection of Netaji Subhas Marg and Chandni Chowk, Digambar Jain Temple is the oldest temple of the Jain religion in the capital, originally built in 1526. An impressive red sandstone temple today (the temple has undergone many alterations and additions in the past and was enlarged in the early 19th century), the Digambar Jain Temple is popularly known as Lal Mandir.
The main devotional area of the temple is on the first floor. It is reached by ascending to the terrace after crossing the small courtyard of the temple, surrounded by a colonnade. There are a number of shrines in this area but the main shrine is of Lord Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism. Born in 599 BC in the ancient republic of Vaishali (Bihar) as a prince, he renounced all worldly pleasures and comforts and went in search of ‘Moksha’ (salvation). Soon he attained keval-jnana (Enlightenment), and spent the rest of his life preaching to the people all over the country about the eternal truth of life and ways to attain Moksha. Though some believe that he was the founder of Jainism but he was in a real sense the reformer of an existing faith who reorganized and presented the tenets of the religion in a form suitable to the period.
The statue of Lord Adinath, the first Tirthankara of the Jain religion is also present here, along with the shrine of Lord Parasnath, the immediate predecessor of Lord Mahavira. The temple is quite popular among the people as devotees come and make offerings such as fruits, grains, rice and even candles. The place is very peaceful and the ambience is really soothing especially due to the shining of the gilded paintwork of the shrine area under the lights of butter lamps and candles.
There is also a bookstore in the complex where a wide range of literatures on Jainism is available, apart from unique curios and souvenirs related to the religion. Visitors should take off their shoes and all other leather goods and hand it to the concerned person before entering the temple complex.