Mel Sithamur Jain Math, Villupuram
Jina Kanchi Jain Math, Melsithamur, is a Jain Matha that is located near Gingee, Villupuram district, Tamil Nadu, India. It is the primary religious center of the Tamil Jain community. It is headed by the primary religious head of this community, Bhattaraka Laxmisena Swami.
The Villupuram area has been an important centre of Jainism since ancient times. Historically, there was a Jain Math at Kanchipuram but it was shifted to its current location here.
Mel Chittamur is 20 kms of Tindivanam and 10 kms east of Gingee. Head quarters of Digambara sect in Tamilnadu with the Jina Kanchi Math presided over by the Pontiff. Two temples, one dedicated to Parsvanatha and other known as 'Mailanatha temple was originally a boulder containing rock-cut images of Bahubali, Parsvanatha, Adinatha, Mahavira and Ambika yakshi carved in the 9th century AD. Rebuilt in the 16th century and renovated in the present century.
From 7th to 9th century A.D, this village was a part of Singavaram and was ruled by the kings of Pallava dynasty.
After the fall of Pallavas, Cholas took control of the entire Tamilnadu and patronized Tamil effectively. During the reign of Adithan-I, Rajadhiraja-II and Vikrama Cholan, this Sithamur was well looked after.
Kings of Sambuvaraya dynasty ruled over certain parts of Chola Empire. They had allotted land to Malainathar temple.
When Chola dynasty suffered a fall, Sadaiyavarman Sundara Pandiya-I took over the kingdom and Melsithamur was continued to be taken care of.
Vijaya Nagar - Kings of Nayaka dynasty:
It was since the rule of Vijaya Nagar kings that the parts around Gingee started flourishing one. Sri, Venkatappa Nayakkar helped to renovate Pareesan Temple. He had also sanctioned permission to erect Maanasthambam.
Various stone-inscriptions of Cholas, Vijayanagar kings and their successors are available at Sithamur. The various ancient glories of Sithamur are found in the stone inscriptions of Maarangiyur, Paranur, Thirumazhapadi and Singavaram and Copper stone inscriptions talk about the glories of Aalampoondi.
Malaiyanaar- Malainathar Kovil:
In the year 871 A.C. (i.e. 24 x 7), one Sri Mathiyan Arinthigai belonging to Then Kavai Kula Mangalam- Puthaambur of Pudukottai District of Cholanadu donated a Nandha lamp (Vilakku) to keep the preaching hall of Malainathar Kovil illuminated perpetually (i.e.) as long as the sun and the moon exist in the world.
Inscriptions below the statues of Malainathar (871 A.D):
The inscription begins with the “Swastishree Kaadavar Kon Pavia” and ends with “Aram Peruga Vaakumaval”. The meaning of the lines is that the magnificent queen of Aditha Cholan, Kadavar Kon Paavai wearing the clanking anklets, had chosen the glorious Melsithamur to improve and implement the already existing Jain charities there.
Stone Inscriptions of Vikrama Chola (A.D. 1136):
The inscription begins with “Swathi Shree Koparakesari and says that barren lands in between Venkalathur and Theevanur were donated to Sithamur Simmapurinathaswamy (Pareeswanathaswamy) at 3 Maa per village. Singapurinathar Jinalayam was famous during Chola period itself. In the succeeding periods of Vijaya Niagara kings, it was improved architecturally.
Stone Inscriptions’ of Kulothunga Cholan (A.D. 1148):
The opening line of the inscription starts with “Swasthi Shree Thiripuvana Chakravarthigal”. The inscription ends with “I gave to Pareesa Thevar of the temple”. During the 12th year of their rule, wife of Raja Kambeeramaran gave Sithamur itself an absolute gift to Pareesa Thevar. Parswanathar Temple is also called “Palliyaazhvaar Temple” and “Theerthangararai Paareesa Thevar”.
Rajadhiraja II (A.D. 1163- 1179):
During the 10th year of his rule, he had assigned government lands to Theerthangarar enshrined at Sithamur. Thiruvoorampalli Pandiya Naadu Kondaan has also given lands as gift.
Vishnu Deva Maharaayar (A.D 1218):
To meet out the expenditure occurred on work ship at Singapurinathar temple and its festival, a piece of land (extent 91 kuzhi) in the east of tank was given away. To meet out the expenditure towards worship at Malaiyanaarkoil, a piece of land (extent 30 kuzhi) was given away as Pallichandam.
Achuthappa Naickar (A.D.1582):
This inscription starts with a saying “Swasthi Shree” and ends with a saying “Let the most grievous sinners go to hell”. It informs that five persons employed in the temple were given lands.
Venkatapathi Deva Maharaayar (A.D. 1578- 1586):
12 persons, serving the temple of Simmapurinaathar were honoured with lands. One Busi Chetty s/o Boyee Chetty of Mahanaga Kulam, Karnataka, was given permission to erect Maanasthambam (Kannada and Sanskrit). The stone-inscriptions found here convey that they belong to ancient ages and also remain as valuable clues in history.
There are two temples and one of them is dedicated to Parsvanatha. The other temple is dedicated to Mailanatha and it was originally a boulder containing rock-cut images of Bahubali, Parsvanatha, Adinatha, Mahavira and Ambika yakshi. These images were carved in the 9th century CE.
Temple’s Raja Gopuram:
The Raja Gopuram is a seven storeyed tower with a total height of more than 70 feet. The base of the Gopuram consists of the structures of “Ubanam Kandam”, “Palti”,”Kumudhappadai” and “Kamothagam”. The walls are equally adorned with “Kumba Pancharangas” and “Kotta Pancharangas”.
Temple Kodimaram and Manasthambam:
Entering the beautiful towering temple, one can enjoy the Dharshan of Kala Theerthangaras on the walls of the temple. At the end stands a tall copper sheet pillar upon which is engraved a Kodithambam and the divine beings of 1) Aravaazhi 2)Sarvaana Yatchan 3)Mukkudai and 4)Dharma Devi.
There is an altar on the highly elevated dais. There stands a gigantic 52’ high Maanasthambam made of a single stone, promising salvation of sins and peace to the human souls. This was erected by the devotee, Buse Chetty, belonging to Karnataka. There are statues of Bhagwan Adhinath and Bhagwan Mahaveera. There is a statue of Bhagwan Sandhinathar at the west and that of Bhagwan Neminathar and Bhagwan Padmapraba at the north.
Shri 1008 Parswanath Bhagawan Temple:
On the first floor of Moola Gopura of Shree Parswanatha Jinalayam, there is a wide and broad room. This room is filled with the sculptures and paintings of divine Gods and Goddesses. These Colorful Ancient Paintings and Sculptures can be seen here.
Moolanathar – Shri 1008 Parswanath Bhagawan:
The statue of the Moolavar, Shri 1008 Parshwanath Bhagawan, is 14 feet high and is found in a meditating posture. The statue is sculptured of black stone. The eyes depict yogic stage; the lips with a divine smile and the amazing beauty of the face reflect immense kindness and grace. The statue itself is excellently crafted to provide it a perfect look.
Both sides of the tower (Prabavali) are engraved with the images of 23 Theerthankaras and 2 Samaraitharis, Peeta, Dharanendiran and Padmavathi Yakshi. At the front there is a magnificent exhibit of all the eight kinds of auspicious symbols (Ashta Mangalam) and at the centre Dharma Chakra glows. At the back of the sculpture, there are the symbols of 14 ancient scriptures (Agamas-Shrutha Sthambam).
Adjacent to mantapa there is a ‘Karuvarai’ for Kooshmandini alias Dharmadevi. The Yakshis eyes are filled with mercy and she is extremely graceful. Age old hymns and songs that praise the fame and glory of the Devi are being sung. She is deemed as the most powerful Devi who fulfills wishes of her devotees.
Vidhana Sculpture at the entrance of Mantapa (Muga Mandapa Vidhana Sirpam) is awesome. The carving in one and the same stone-sheet is excellent. A beautiful lotus bloomed with five rows of petals and six parrots seated on the petals picking them with their beaks and four more parrots relishing the blossom is a refreshing sight.
The statue of Lord Neminathar is six feet high. Neminathar magnificently stands in a meditating posture. This sculpture is made of black stone. The sculptural accuracy in the statue is great. There is Prabavali at the feet of Neminathar. Sarvaana Yatchagar and Kooshmandini Devi are also seen. This statue is said to have been brought from Chennai Mayilai (now known as Santhome) before 700 years. The age of the statue is more than 1700 years.
Brightly painted mandapam of five temples adjacently placed hold Shasana Devathas: Brahma Thevar, Motchalakshmi, Jinavani, Padmavathi Devi and Jwala Malini Devi. They seem to promise harmony and peace to the devotees. At present, these temples desperately need repainting which is usually done with herbs.
Vardhaman Mahaveer Temple:
There is the temple for Vardhaman Mahavir who has awakened the mankind from deep slumber and taught them to think good and do good to others. There are also idols of Bhagwan Chandraprabha, Bhagwan Santhinath, Bhagwan Neminath and Ganadhara Parameshti.
Sixteen Pillared Alankara Mandapa:
On each pillar one can find the carvings of 2 Mathaji’s, who displays the dogmas of Jain faith. Their clasped hands exhibit the eight kinds of Mangalas (Ashta Mangalas). They also contain the engraved 24 Tirtankaras, Bharathan, Bahubali, Natural Jinalayas (Akruthama), the status of Siddhas (Dharmasthigayam), the figures of Mummani (Rathnathrayam), Yatchan, Yatchis, Maha Munis, Aarikas, Navadevada, Aimbarametigal (Panchameru) and Aravaazhi (Dharmachakra) indulged in mortification and austerity.
The sculptures of “Thirivikram” describing the event of Nemi Kumaran entering the temple of Indiraa, standing on a snake, loading the arrow and blowing the conch shell (Sangu) are also depicted.
Mantapa at the front:
Yakshan and Yakshis of Kailayam, Sammedha Sigaram, Sampapuri, Oorjayanthagiri (Girinar), Paavapuri, perpetual Theerthangaras, 27-Stars, 12-Raasis, Shasana Deva-Deviar, 16 dreams of Jinamatha, 8 Manglas and amazing sculptures are beautifully carved on the pillars of the temple.
Jinalaya Shethra Balagar (Bairavar):
Shethra Balagar, the sole authority of the temple, along with his vahana, the Dog, gives his darshan here. He is adorned with garlands and ornaments of precious stones.
Moolavar – Parshvanath Bhagwan
Other Deities – Bhagwan Munisuvrat, Bhagwan Neminath, Bhagwan Mahavir, Bhagwan Bahubali, Ganadhara Parameshti, Dharmadevi Yakshi, Jinavani, Mokshalakshmi, Brahmadevar, Padmavathi Yakshi, Jwalamalini Yakshi, Navagraham.
The Math is located 20 km off Tindivanam and 10 km east of Gingee.
Shri Jinkanchi Jain Mat,
Shri Atishay Kshetra Mel-Chittamur
Kanchipuram, Gingee, Villupuram,
Tamil Nadu, India, 605602
Shri Adinath Digambar Jain Mangement Trust
Koliyanur, Villupuram, Tamil Nadu,
Contact Person: Sunil Jain: +91-94430-70754
Shri Digambar Jain Mandir
Villupuram, Tamil Nadu,
Mobile: +91-93451-41399, 94427-09316
Shri Digambar Jain Mandir
Subramanya swamy Koil Street,
Tindivanam, Villupuram, Tamil Nadu,
Contact Person: Shrenik raj Jain: +91-94432-63352