Shri Mahavirji Temple, also known as Atishya Kshetra, is located in the Chandanpur Village of Karauli district in Rajasthan. The village rose to prominence after the antique idol of Lord Mahavira, the twenty-fourth Tirthankaras of Jains, was unearthed from the soil. Thus, it was renamed as 'Shri Mahavirji'. After this incident, the temple became one of the most popular Jain shrines in India. Devotes from all corners of the world come here to witness the 78 cm high unearthed copper colored idol of Lord Mahavira. An annual fair is held in the premises of the temple, which is one of the biggest attractions of this place. This fair is held for five days and ends with a beautiful and colorful Rath Yatra. In the temple, there is a 52 ft. high pillar called Manstambha, made of marble, positioned near the main entrance and on the top of it, there are idols of the Tirthanakras placed in all the four directions. Along with this, there is another small temple made of red stone on the backside of the main temple, which was also excavated few years ago and is now used as the place of meditation.
The legend of the excavation of the idol of Lord Mahavira revolves round a miracle story. The popular legend goes that there was this tanner's cow that apparently did not yield him any milk. Worried, he made up his mind to find out the reason behind this. He followed the cow to a nearby hill and was completely balled over by what he saw. He was surprised to see the milk of the cow ooze out miraculously. On further investigation, he found a copper idol of Lord Mahavira lying underneath the place where the cow expelled her milk. Since then, this place has come to be regarded as a miraculous site. Once the villagers got wind of this miracle, they flocked in large numbers to offer their prayers here. Later, Shri Amar Chand Bilala of Basawa (Jaipur) constructed a huge temple for worshipping the idol. It is said that during the excavation of the idol, many people tried to lift the idol, but failed to budge it. Later, the tanner had to be summoned to shift the idol from the hill to temple, who did it with ease. Since then, this temple has come to gain immense significance among the Jains.
The Mahavirji temple is a mind-blowing blend of ancient and modern architecture of Jains. This temple is entirely made of white marble and engraved with complex designs, just like all other Jain temples. The things to notice in the temple are the main idol of Lord Mahavira, which sits erect in a padmasana posture and is made up of sandstone. On his right is the idol of Lord Pushp Danta, and on the left is the idol of Lord Rishabdev. The beautifully carved temple boasts of a colossal 32 ft. high statue of Lord Shantinath, the sixteenth Tirthankara of Jains. Apart from this, there are idols of all the twenty-four Tirthankaras. The temple looks very alluring during the evenings when the entire premise is lighted with thousands of lights. The pillars and the ceilings of the temple are embellished with marvelous motifs and offers a peaceful, sanctified and serene atmosphere to the disciples.
Other Jain temples to visit in this village are Kirti Ashram Chaityalaya (small temple) and Bhagwan Parshvanath Jinalaya, which is also known as 'Kanch Ka Mandir' because of its magnificent colorful glass work.
The most favorable time to visit the shrine is from March to May, during the annual fair. Besides this, you can also visit the shrine in the winter season, when the weather is at its best.
How To Reach
The nearest airport to this place is Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. After reaching the airport of any of these cities, one can hire a taxi to reach the shrine.
The railway station of Mahavirji (Chandanpur) is seven kilometers away from the temple. From the railway station of Mahavirji, there is the free bus service provided for the pilgrims. This place lies on the main line of Delhi-Mumbai. Jaipur railway station is 175 kms away from this place.
There are private and public buses from Jaipur, Kota, Gwalior, Meerut, Sawai Madhopur and other places in North-India. One can also hire a private taxi from Agra, Delhi or Jaipur to reach the shrine.
Shri Mahavirji temple is famous because of the miraculous story and its splendid architecture. Every year, thousands of people, irrespective of their caste and religion, come here to take the blessings of all the Jain Tirthankaras. This temple has a great importance among the Jain community and is one of the esteemed sanctum sanctorum of Digambar Jains.