The Majesty of Kulpakji Jain Temple of Lord Adinath

Priyanshi Pareek

Kulpakji, a vital Jain pilgrimage center in South India, features a temple with an interior crafted from red sandstone and white marble. Dedicated to Lord Rishabha, also known as Adinath Bhagvan, the first Tirthankar in Jainism, the temple is believed to be the abode of the local manifestation of Lord Adinath, called Manikya Deva.

The main temple is flanked by eight deities representing other Tirthankars. Notably, a 130-centimeter-tall statue of Lord Mahaveer, carved from a single piece of jade, stands prominently. Adjacent to the central temple, statues of Lord Simandar Swami and Mata Padmavati are installed, alongside other revered deities like Shantinatha, Chandraprabha, Abhinandananatha, Padmavati, and Bhomyaji, contributing to the spiritual sanctity of Kulpakji.

The renowned Someshwara Temple, established by the Chalukyas approximately 800 years ago, stands as a prominent landmark in Kolanupaka. The name “Kolanupaka” is derived from “Kolanu,” meaning lake, and “Paka,” signifying a hut, reflecting the historical abundance of lakes and huts in the region.

Historically known by various names such as Bimbavatipuram, Kottiyapaka, Kollihaka, Kollipaka, and Kolanpak, the village has a rich cultural heritage. During the construction of a school and library, numerous statues were unearthed, prompting Somalingam Kallem, a government official, to relocate and exhibit them in the museum of the Someshwara Temple.

This temple, with its deep historical roots, serves as a repository of cultural artifacts, preserving the heritage of Kolanupaka for generations to come.

History

The Kolanupaka Temple, with a history spanning over 2,000 years, is a significant Jain center that flourished during the Rashtrakutas period. Dating back to the 9th century, numerous Jain antiquities have been discovered, including a grant mentioning a gift to a basadi during the reign of Sanfkaragana at Akunur.

The site, marked by over 20 Jain inscriptions, served as a major center of Kranur Gana within the Mula Sangh. Noteworthy findings include a manastambha with a 1125 AD inscription and a 12th-century temple inscription referencing Meghachadra Siddhantadeva’s sallekhana. Further contributing to its historical richness is a 151-line Kannada inscription by Someshvara III of the Western Chalukya Empire in 1125 AD. This collectively forms a captivating historical tapestry of Kolanupaka.

In the 14th-century Vividha Tirtha Kalpa by Jinaprabhasuri, specific sections discuss the Kulyapak Rishabhadeva Stuti and Kollapakamanikyadeva Tirthakalpa. According to these texts, the Manikyasami image, initially worshipped by Mandodari, Ravana’s wife, was brought to Kolanupaka by the ruler Sankar of Kalyana. This historical account enriches the sacred narrative surrounding the revered Manikyasami image at the temple.

Legend has it that the main temple in Kolanupaka was constructed by Bharat Chakravarti. Jainism, having a strong presence in Andhra Pradesh before the 4th century, identified Kolanupaka as a significant center from early times. Notably, the temple underwent recent renovations, with over 150 artisans from Rajasthan and Gujarat employed for the restoration, showcasing a commitment to preserving and enhancing its historical and cultural significance.

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