Jain Temple: History in stone

 A few kilometres away from Panamaram in Wayanad — on the Punchavayal-Neervaram route, to be more precise — lies this stone structure that stands testimony to Wayanad’s long standing relationship with Jainism....

 A few kilometres away from Panamaram in Wayanad — on the Punchavayal-Neervaram route, to be more precise — lies this stone structure that stands testimony to Wayanad’s long standing relationship with Jainism.

It is believed that Jains came to Wayanad in the Middle Ages. Considered to be among the first settlers in Wayanad, these Jains who came from Karnataka are said to have settled beside that part of Kabini River near Panamaram. To this day, Wayanad is home to a community of Kannada-speaking Jains whom the locals often refer to as Gowders. Wayanad is also home to a good number of Jain temples in several parts of the district, many of them functional with Jain priests to conduct the holy rituals. 
 Owing to its ancient history with Jains, Wayanad also has within its territory, a few age-old Jain temples that today attract visitors. Among these is this temple on the Neervaram road.

This Jain temple, now in ruins found its way into the tourism map of Wayanad just a few years ago. Due to its proximity to my place in Wayanad, I’ve seen this structure over a hundred times. However when we drove past this temple recently, I thought I should stop by and take some pictures for posterity.

Jutting out onto the road is a rectangular part of the temple that is sure to catch one’s eye while driving this way. Right at the middle of this structure is the entrance to the temple. The sculptured doorway lets you witness an admirable stone mantap supported by sculptured pillars. Look further inside and you will see what must have been the sanctum sanctorum.

Partly concealed by coffee estates, this Jain temple, to us locals (if I may call myself that) has always been what we called it Kal Amabalam (meaning Stone Temple). It might be featured in several brochures as a must-see location but it is not one that is overflowing with tourists all day. Given its long life, the extremely quiet locale it is part of and the sculpture you find here, more travellers deserve to see this ancient site.
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13 Comments on this post.
  • Deepu George V
    24 January 2012 at 7:30 am

    First of all, let me say thanks for visiting my blog and leaving your precious comments. Last two days I went through various posts in your two blogs especially this one, the travel blog, may be because I too love traveling and photography. Your blog says a lot, in fact the reader get a good idea or better I should say that the reader feels like he/she had a trip to those places you blogged. You have explained things in that details and your pictures captured almost everything.
    Going through your blog I understood that you are settled somewhere in California – San Francisco. I was lucky to visit that beautiful place and especially the Golden Gate Bridge during a short visit to California. The pictures are yet to be posted in my blog. I stayed one day there IN San Francisco as a guest of my family friends there in San Jose.
    Going through your travel blog, I reached this article and to my wonder understood that you too hails from Wayanad. I live a few kilometers away from this “Kallambalam”, a place called Payyampally which you might very well know if you were in Wayanad for a long time. I too went past this heritage site many times, but somehow never bothered to stop by and get into to see more. After reading this article, I feel I should go inside this Jain temple and see more. A while ago, I remember somebody commented on my blog seeing that I am from Wayand, asking about if “Koundars” are there still in Wayanad. The man who asked the question was a foreigner probably doing some research on the culture and tradition or discovering something about the colonial period. I explained to him about “Koundars”, Gowdas, Gowdars and the rich Jain tradition seen still in Wayanad, which he never expected.

    I promise I will be visiting your travel blog to see more places. A lot of people started blogging a few years ago before the social networking sites but quit them and gave way to those social networking addictions. It is difficult to find somebody like you now a days who blogs consistently.

  • dNambiar
    24 January 2012 at 7:03 pm

    Hey naatukaara,

    You're welcome.

    I didn't expect to hear from you. I don't always hear from people whose blogs I happen to visit. Thank YOU for stopping by and this is by far, the lengthiest comment I ever received on my blog:). Thank you also for your kind words…now that's a lot of motivation to write a lot more.

    I'm so glad this post made you want to go check out this temple. Please do that and do blog about it too.

    Come by Tipsy from the trip as often as you like 🙂

  • Deepu George V
    25 January 2012 at 6:37 am

    You said it, people do not stop by to comment these days, but they might scrap or twitter. Nevertheless do not stop blogging. People always visit blog due to various reasons, might be while searching for something in the internet. I feel that all kind social networking sites get outdated after some time, but true creative blogging out of some creative things like writing, traveling, photography or painting or anything instead of blogging for just the sake of it will be worth after a while.

  • dNambiar
    25 January 2012 at 8:16 pm

    Yeah, that's right. I'll continue to blog as long as I can.

  • R Niranjan Das
    9 April 2013 at 6:39 am

    Awesome it looks. Am visiting it next time for sure.

    • dNambiar
      6 June 2013 at 12:34 am

      Please do. I hope you've seen the directions I left for you on your blog.

  • P.N. Subramanian
    12 April 2013 at 3:35 am

    It was nice to learn about the Jain temple over there. I am yet to make my foray into Wayanad. There are traces of Jainism in Thrissur district as well.

    • dNambiar
      6 June 2013 at 12:36 am

      Wayanad is a place you must visit. Waynad still has a good number of Kannadiga Jains and there are several Jain temples that are still functioning.

  • basil sunny
    28 November 2013 at 5:52 pm

    Do you know anything about "treasure" related to this temple??????

  • basil sunny
    28 November 2013 at 5:52 pm

    Do you know anything about "treasure" related to this temple??????

    • dNambiar
      29 November 2013 at 2:40 am

      I'm sorry Basil, I don't think I've heard of that (as yet ) 🙂

  • Prashant Goyal
    10 May 2016 at 10:00 am
  • swatis5
    18 June 2016 at 11:55 am

    This is really nice post.I regularly visit your blog post and i love to read that post.well done keep it up.
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