The Kolanupaka temple or Kulpakji Jain temple in the village of Kolanupaka in Nalgonda district Andhra Pradesh is a well known Jain temple. Kolanu means lake and paka means hut indicating that there were lots of huts and lakes at this place. The temple is said to be more than 2000 years old and renovations have been carried out from time to time. The temple houses three idols of the Tirthankars namely Lord Rishabhdeva, Lord Neminath and Lord Mahavir. The image of Lord Rishabhdeva is carved out of green stone and is historically famous as Manikyaswami.
Jainism was prevalent in Andhra Pradesh before the 4th century and from early times Kolanupaka was one of the prominent centres of Jainism. During the Rashtrakuta period Kolanupaka flourished as a Jain centre. During the 11th century Kolanupaka was said to be the 2nd capital town of the Kalyani Chalukyas. A number of Jain antiquities and over 20 Jain inscriptions have been found at Kulpak. The inscriptions suggest that Kulpak was a major centre of Kranur Gana of Mula Sangha which was an ancient Jain monastic order. A Manasthambha(Column of Dignity) with an inscription dating to 1125 AD has been found. A 12th century inscription found in the temple mentions the great Jain monk Meghachandra Siddhantadeva entering Sallekhana(suicide by fasting as per Jain precepts). After 1276 AD the Jain activities declined and was re-established in 1711 AD when a boundary wall was erected and the temple of Manikyaswami was renovated. In the Jain scriptures it is mentioned that the Manikyaswami image was originally worshipped by Mandodari the wife of Ravana and was brought here by the ruler Sankar of Kalyana. Some legends state that the temple was built by Bharat Chakravarti the son of Rishabhdeva and the ruler after whom our country is named.
The main idol of Lord Rishabhadeva also known as Manikyaswami is made of green stone. On both the sides of the main temple there are eight idols of the other Tirthankars. The statue of Lord Mahavir is 51 inches in height and is said to be made from a single piece of jade. On either side of the main temple are installed idols of Lord Simandar Swami (who is said to be a Tirthankar) and Devi Padmavati.
Recent renovations were carried out in the temple by employing more than 150 artisans from Gujarat and Rajasthan supervised by Sompuras from the village in Karnataka. The old sanctum sanctorum (Garbha Griha) was preserved and a completely new temple was created surrounding the existing tower.
How To Reach
Air- Hyderabad-The Rajiv Gandhi International Airport is at a distance of 100 kms.
Train- Aleru railway station-6 kms, Hyderabad- 81 kms, Warangal- 81kms
Road- From Kolanupaka bus station the temple is 0.5 kms. Kulpakji is 80 kms from Hyderabad on the Hyderabad Warangal Highway(NH 202). Buses from Hyderabad station halt at Aleru station which is 6 kms from the temple from where tongas and autorickshaws are available to go to the temple.
There are Choultries or Dharamsalas for the visiting pilgrims to rest and stay. The old ones are free to stay in, while a minimal amount is charged for the newly constructed rooms. There is dining hall for the pilgrims where breakfast, lunch and dinner is served between sunrise and sunset.
Kulpakji is an important pilgrimage centre especially for the Jains of South India. It is architecturally brilliant and endowed with beautifully carved statues of Jain Tirthankars. It is said to grant wishes of the pilgrims hence many pilgrims come here to find a panacea for their troubles. The peace and quiet atmosphere of the place and the soothing ambience enable the pilgrims to pray fervently with faith and devotion and move forward on their spiritual quest for liberation and enlightenment.