The Lal Mandir Jain Temple is the oldest Jain temple in Delhi built in 1658 and is directly across the Red Fort in the Chandni Chowk area. The temple is dedicated to the 23rd Tirthankara Lord Parshvanath. A second building behind the temple houses an avian veterinary hospital known as the Jain Birds hospital. The temple made of red sandstone has undergone many alterations and additions in the past.
Modern Delhi was founded by the Mughal Emperor Shahjahan. It is said that he invited several Jain financiers to settle in the city and granted them land and also permitted them to house a temporary structure for a Jain temple. The Jain community acquired three marble idols with the main idol being Bhagavan Parshvanath. Initially a Jain officer in the Mughal army kept the deities in a tent. During the Mughal period the construction of a Shikhara or the pinnacle over the sanctum sanctorum of the main shrine for a temple was not permitted.
The Temple Complex
The temple’s architecture is magnificent with detailed carvings and decorative paintwork in the ante chambers that surround the main shrine of the 23rd Tirthankara Lord Parshvanath. A Manasthamba column stands in front of the temple and after crossing the small courtyard of the temple surrounded by a colonnade and ascending to the terrace the main devotional area of the temple which is on the first floor can be reached. The prayer chamber ceilings are painted and there are fluted Shahjahani columns in white marble. Devotees come and make offerings of grains, rice, fruits and candles and the peaceful atmosphere of the temple makes it popular to the devotees. Under the lights of butter lamps and candles the gilded paintwork of the shrine area appears to shine and creates a soothing ambience. There are a number of shrines in this area but the main shrine is of Lord Mahavira the 24th Tirthankar. The statue of the 1st Tirthankar Lord Rishabdeva or Adinatha along with the shrine of Lord Parshvanath is also present here.
In the complex there is a book stall where a wide range of literature on Jainism apart from souvenirs and curios related to Jainism are available.
The Birds Charity Hospital
A unique medical centre for birds is housed here. The message followed here is ‘Live and Let Live’ preached by Lord Mahavira and it serves as a rescue sanctuary for birds which are caught and wounded by fowlers and bought here by Jain merchants who bring them here to be treated and to recover. There are separate wards for parrots, pigeons, domestic fowl and sparrows. Squirrels and birds of prey are also treated here on outpatient basis. The recovered birds are released as the central tenet of Jainism is enabling the freedom of all living beings no matter how small or insignificant they are. Nearly 30000 birds are treated every year. The treatment is free of cost and funded by Jain donations.
How To Reach
Delhi’s airport is the Indira Gandhi International airport and is very well connected to cities across India and the world. There are regular flights to Delhi from Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Goa, Kolkata, Guwahati and international destinations as well.
The Airport is 22 kilometers away from the city centre. There are regular DTC (Delhi Transport Service) buses which operate regularly from outside the airport towards the city and the ISBT bus stand and the New Delhi Railway Station.
The New Delhi Railway Station is located in Paharganj, near Connaught Place. There is a pre-paid taxi booth outside the railway station and one can take a taxi from here to go further into the city. The Delhi Metro line 2 also connects the New Delhi Railway Station to other parts of the city and is a convenient way to get into the city.
Delhi is well connected by bus to cities like Jaipur, Agra, Alwar, Chandigarh, Amritsar, Shimla, Manali, Dharamsala, Dehradun etc. The Delhi Metro and local DTC buses and auto rickshaws conveniently connect these bus stands to the rest of the city. Delhi is well connected by a strong network of highways.
There are budget, semi luxury and luxury hotels close to the temple. Advance bookings will enable devotees to visit the temple at convenient times.
The calm and peaceful ambience inside the Lal Mandir enables devotees to pray peacefully with faith and devotion and the holiness and Divinity of the Tirthankars enable the devotees to move forward on their spiritual quest of bliss and enlightenment.