Temples in Delhi have always been a tourist attraction because of their beautiful decorations and serene environment. One of such temples in Delhi is Sri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir, which is considered to be the first Jain temples in the city.
Location: Chandni Chowk, Opposite Red Fort, New Delhi
During summers: 05:30 am to 11:30 am and 06:00 pm to 09:30 pm
During winters: 06:00 am to 12:00 pm and 06:00 om to 09:30 pm
Nearest Metro Station: Chandni Chowk Metro Station on Yellow Line
Nearest Bus Stand: Red Fort Bus Stand
When was the temple built?
Built in 1658, Sri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir is the oldest Jain temple in Delhi. Due to the extensive use of red sandstones in its construction, the temple is popularly known as the Lal Mandir or the Red Temple.
The mughal emperor, Shah Jahan who founded Old Delhi is said to have invited some Jain merchants to Delhi and they were given space on the south of Chandni Chowk so that they could stay there. Shah Jahan also allowed them to build a temporary structure or building so that a small Jain temple could be made there. With permission, the Jain merchants brought three idols for the temple and the idols were installed by Jivraj Papdiwal, who is known for installing many thousands of Jain images and idols in different temples. The main idol is of the twenty third tirthankara, Parshvanath.
What is the architecture of the temple?
The Sri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir is made up of red sandstone mostly and since its origin in 1658, it has gone through many restorations and additions. The temple looks beautiful in the combination of red and white colour materials, with beautiful carvings, dome and towers. Under the reign of Mughals, the Jains were not permitted to build the three towers that add beauty to the temple now. It was built only after India became an independent nation.
Just like most Jain temples have a column of honour, Mana Stambha, Sri Digambar Jain Lal Temple also houses a Mana Stambha. The temple consists of many chambers that contains idols of important tirthankaras including that of Mahavir, Parshvanath, Rishabhanatha and many others. The main shrine is of the twenty fourth and the last tirthankara, Lord Mahavira. As per Jains, a tirthankara is a person who has achieved enlightenment and has freed himself of the cycle of life and death.
What else is of importance in the temple?
Sri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir houses a Birds Charity Hospital that treats wounded or sick birds completely free. The hospital runs on the donation that it receives from many Jain and other people. The hospital keeps different birds in different wards for their safety and has a research laboratory and an intensive care unit.
The temple also has a bookstore that consists of books and literature related to Jainism. You will also find many souvenirs from here.
If you want to visit the place, remember that you will have to leave all the leather items and remove your shoes outside the temple. Even though it is situated in a noisy place of Chandni Chowk, the premises of the temple are very peaceful and serene.