7. SHATRUNJAY SERIES
#13 PADMAVATI TEMPLE & THE SNAKES KINDOM
The Padmavati temple is part of the Shri Pujya Toonk. The entrance is to the right, past the benches and water station.
As you enter, notice the water reservoir, or parab, on the left. Now look to the right. These are individual shrines for each of the 24 tirthankars with idols and footprints.
The tree beside each shrine is different. It matches the tree under which that tirthankar achieved enlightenment, also known as moksh or “Kevalgyan”. Inside the shrine, the color of the footprints matches the color associated with that tirthankar: gold, red, black, greenish blue, and white. The idols are also carved in the same posture that each tirthankar achieved “Kevalgyan.” Pretty neat, right?
Next, let’s go to the medium-sized shrine in the center of the courtyard. It is the temple dedicated to Padmavati Devi. Padavati is the protective goddess of Lord Parshwanath, twenty-third Jain Tirthankar. She is an important religious deity in her own right and is very popular amongst Jains. A snake’s hood covers her head, and she sits on a lotus flower. Look for a small image of the Lord Parshwanath placed in her crown.
According to one Jain sect, Parshvanath saved two snakes that had been trapped in a burning log when a he was young prince. Later, one of these snakes as reborn as Dharanendra, the lord of the snake, or “Nag”, kingdom. The other was reborn as Padmavati. They sheltered Parshvanath when he was harassed by the snake Meghalin. While Padmavati is Parshwanath’s protective goddess, Dharnendra is his Attendant God, or “Yaksha”.
Every few years, there have also sightings of snakes here by the security guards and other employees who are the only ones allowed to be on the hill at night. Nobody else can stay overnight. As you turn back and head to the entrance, the temples you see on the distant mountain peak is our final destination. You’re 75% of the way there!
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