Kunthunathar Jain Temple, Karanthai, Thiruvannamalai
Kunthunathar Jain Temple is located at Karanthai Village in Thiruvannamalai District of Tamilnadu. Karanthai Village is located at about 21 Kms from Kanchipuram. It is believed to build in the 9th Century AD. This place was called as Munigiri, as many ascetics and celibacies lived in this holy place. The various shrines and porches of this elegant temple are built in different centuries.
The east facing Jinalaya consists of entranceway crowned by three tiered tower with shikhara and five Kalashas and high wall surrounds the complex. Main sanctum comprises of Lime mortar sculpture of Shri Kunthunathar, in gold colour with eight features of Jinar resides on a plinth and figurines of Indira, devas, Shamaradharis are fitted on the interior wall of hollow vimana. It has closed inner corridor with two walls.
Then an Arthamandapam, on the entranceway Yaksha Gandharva and Yakshi Jaya are engraved on the wall. This chamber was built in the 9th century AD; a stone inscription is there to attest this. The Mahamandapam and the Mugamandapam were built in the 12th Century AD. The Portico has two side staircases. A Dwajasthambam pillar and an altar are established. The pillars were ornamented and engraved sculptures at the bottom.
An inscription refers that this Jinalaya was called as Veera Rajendra Palli. All the metal idols of important Thirthankars, Navadevatha, Yaksha and Yakshis are stored in safe chamber. A Santhi Porch, Shri Mahaveerar shrine and Shri Brahmadevar shrine is located on the southern side. Initially the Mahaveerar sanctum was on the plain, and then it was mounted on a deck. It is also built on 12th Century AD.
On the western side, back of main sanctum wall cell, Shri Parswanathar lime mortar engraved idol was dedicated in 9th century AD. It has a portico and few steps to reach. North side of open the corridor, Rishabhar Thirthankar shrine with sanctum embraces a stone idol. But the whole block was shifted from nearby village Aalankattamalai in the 15th Century AD. It has a magnificent look, like a back of a sleeping elephant (design).
Then in the northern side one more shrine for Shri Kooshmandini with shikhara and Kalasha on the top. Inside sanctum lime mortar sculpture of Shri Dharmadevi with female Shamaradharis figurines are reside on a plinth. Another stone made idol also in front of the deity is for daily pooja purpose.
Next on the portico, Acharya Agalangar, ascetic footprints are on a pedestal was built at the same time. All Jain rituals and Poojas are conducted regularly at the appropriate times. A Pramaurchav also celebrated for 10 days annually is one of the famous festivals in Tamilnadu.
Karanthai Village is located at about 21 Kms from Kanchipuram. One has to travel southwest of Kanchipuram on Kalavai Road for 19 Kms and take a turn at Ayyangarkulam and travel for another 2 Kms to reach this place. It is located at about 47 Kms from Vandavasi and 44 Kms from Arani. Nearest Railway Station is located at Kanchipuram and Nearest Airport is located Chennai.