The oldest Jain temple is located in Karwan, near Gudimalkapur. Gudimalkapur is where the vegetable wholesale market for Hyderabad region is located. Crowded constantly, it also rubs shoulders with Karwan locality. Densely populated, this area used to house ‘saukars’ or money lenders who belonged to the Jain community and were from Rajasthan mostly. In fact, Karwan was earlier known as Sahu Karwan. And therefore not surprisingly, there are close to 20 Jain temples in and around this area but the Shri Jain Shwetambar Jin Kushal Suriji Dadaji Bagh Mandir is the oldest among them all.
It is a tad difficult to find this temple, popularly known as the Dadabadi Jain temple. It is just off the main road and ensconced in one corner of six acres and more of property which also houses a wedding function hall and other offices.
Once you enter this place, a certain calm rests on you. Clean spaces, blue colored doors, white marble edifice and abutting a terracotta temple, you experience all this at one go. Then there are chairs facing the temple and as you take a seat, the falling leaves rustle as they drop with the breeze and then you see the old step well, which brings good omen, and a new colorful playground for children. It all suits well with the peaceful ambiance.
This Dadabadi Jain temple is dedicated to the third guru, Acharya Shri Jin Kushal Suri and his Charan Padukas hold a special place in the humongous hall that is devoted to this.
Dadabadi is a type of shrine, usually located near a Jain temple, and dedicated to one of the four gurus held in esteem by the community belonging to the Shwetambar Jain sect.
Mahavir Swami as the 24th Tirthankar was known as the founder of Jainism and this is because when he became the 24th Tirthankar, Jainism was waning and he helped re-establish it. In fact, each Tirthankar is termed as the founder of Jainism, not because they established Jainism but because they re-established Jainism.
But after Mahavir Swami, there were no more Tirthankaras and like in any other religion many saints and monks existed, but mainly the credit was given to the four acharyas and they were called Dada Gurudevas.
Dada Gurudev means supreme teacher and deity. The four gurus are Shri Jin Datta Suri, Shri Manidhari Chandra Suri, Shri Jin Kushal Suri, and Shri Jin Chandra Suri.
Monks advised the trust members of the Dadabadi Jain temple that a temple must be built beside the guru’s hall and so a temple was built in 2007 with Lord Shantinath, the 16th Tirthankar as the main deity. This main idol though made of marble is greatly highlighted by colorful marble tiles. There are four other Tirthankaras, two beside the main idol and two placed in the niches at the entrance. The top of this sanctum has a circular dome or a Gumbaz. In fact, the entire temple has been made without the use of iron and it looks grand and gorgeous in its terracotta charm.
Like many other temples, this temple was built with the help of Sompura Brahmins who are settled in Rajasthan and Gujarat and practice temple architecture along with Shilpa Shastra.
Pajoshan or Paryushan is the most important annual holy event for the Jains and lasts for four months and is popularly known as Chatur Maas when a lot of piety is maintained and people gather in various Jain temples and listen to preachings. Poojas are also conducted almost every Sunday.
During the monsoons, the monks do not travel because of the rains and so these four months have been devoted to piety.
A lamp burns here continuously, known as the ‘Akhand Jyoti’. There is a hereditary priest also at the temple who conducts the poojas in the morning and the evening.
Amongst all this piety, this trust also does social work. They run an ashram for the old and it is run by the Shri Jain Sevasharam Mahila Vibhag, a women’s group. This old age home is called Jain Sevashram and was started in 1995. This ashram provides the best care and support to the old aged people with only 2 people in one room. The ashram provides top-class infrastructure for the old aged people.
Meena Mutha is very proud of her home and runs it with confidence thanks to the help she gets from the Jain community. “The community is very helpful and donates generously for every celebration in this family,” she says.
The quietness around here is only broken by a bird’s song, through the day, thanks to the greenery around.