Jain Art and Architecture
Art and architecture of temples and places of worship is given special importance. Jain temples in India are some of the most beautiful spaces and monuments to sacred art. Temples are the primary places of worship and their location, construction and maintenance has to be performed carefully and in line with scriptural guidance. Jain temples are very fine, and although Jainism is a small religion, it has attracted many wealthy people who have built lovely temples. Temple design follows symbolic patterns – for example, the mountain is regarded as a spiritual place and most Jain temples are shaped around the symbol of the mountain inviting worshippers to seek height and elevation and remember that wisdom lies away from the crowds and in peaceful serene environments.
There are cities in India with hundreds of Jain temples, and many have symbolic decoration of the highest standard – like New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Kolkatta. There are major pilgrimage sites in Gujarat, Jharkhand and Karnataka – Palitana, Samet Shikhar and Shravana Belgola.
Art is seen as a key method of unlocking and expressing divinity and opening divine dialogue. This art can be through architecture, songs and poetry, through creative ritual worship and music, and through stories and literature.