Shri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir – The oldest Jain Temple

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Visiting Detail

  • Location: Netaji Subhash Marg, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi – 110006
  • Timings:
    • 5:30 am – 11:30 am and 6:00 pm – 9:30 pm (In summers)
    • 6:00 am – 12:00 pm and 5:30 pm – 9:00 pm (In winters)
  • Type: Jain Temple
  • Deity: Parshvanatha
  • Religion: Jainism

Overview

Shri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir is the oldest Jain temple in Delhi which is located just opposite to Red Fort in Chandni Chowk area. It was established in 1656. Later, the temple had several modifications over the years. This temple is also known by the name of Lal Mandir or “Red Temple” devoted to 23rd Jain Tirthankara – Parshvanath.

The temple has a big statue of Parshvanath and idols of Lord Mahavir, Rishabhdev and other deities. Shri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir is also famous for  Jain Birds Hospital which is behind the temple. 

History

Shri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir was built during the Mughal period when the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan was in reign. As per Balbhadra Jain, a jain officer from Mughal Army had tirthankara (spiritual teacher of dharma) in his shelter for worship. Then other jain officers also get attracted towards the worship of  tirthankara. As a result in 1656, a jain temple was constructed at the same place. During that time, the temple was constructed at the place named “Urdu Bazar” that’s the reason the temple was known by the name of “Urdu temple”.

There are several stories on this temple. One such incident is that, once Aurangzeb ordered to ban all the musical instruments in the temple. However, the sounds of drums could be heard miraculously even there was no one in the temple. Aurangzeb was surprised and blocked the ban.

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Now the present day jain temple buildings were built after the collapse of the Mughal Empire from 1878. But one of the temple buildings was constructed in the year 1491 by Bhattaraka Jinachandra. The Agrawal Jain community had won 3 marble statues for the temple established by Bhattaraka Jinachandra in 1548. The main idol was of  Tirthankara Parshva which was kept in the shelter of Agrawal jain officer from the Mughal Army.

Naya Mandir and Gauri Shankar temple were the 2 near by jain temples. Gauri Shankar temple was constructed in 1761 next to Lal Mandir. A Maratha Brahmin, Appa Gangadhara had built this temple. Raja Harsukh Rai (chief of Agrawal community) built Naya Mandir (meaning New Temple), another jain temple in the Agrwal jain neighborhood of Dharampura to the south of Chandni Chowk.