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| Last Updated:: 13/09/2023

Chitharal Jain Monuments











The Chitharal Jain Monuments are the ruins of a Jain training centre from the 9th century CE, on a small hill in Chitharal village, Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu. Chitharal is historically known as Thirucharanathupalli – the abode of Jain monks belonging to the Digambara sect. It is famous for the hillock which has a cave containing rock-cut sculptures of Thirthankaras and attendant deities carved inside and outside dating back to the 9th century. Among the rock-cut relief sculptures is a figure of the goddess Dharmadevi. 





The Jain influence in this region was due to the Jain Tamil King Mahendra Verman-I (610-640). These temples of Jain Deities' were considered to be built in 9th century AD.








Around the period of the decline of Jainism during the rule of the Cholas in the 11th Century, it is believed that Chandragupta Maurya, along with a Jain ascetic Badrabhahu, reached Sravanabelagola in 298 BC. Their disciples travelled to this region to spread Jainism and chose the hillock for meditation. 



It was, however, converted into a Hindu temple in 1250 A.D., and an image of Bhagavathy was installed and named, Thirucharanmalai, means `the hill holy to the charanas'.  But still the rockcut sculptures and statues of 23 Jain thirthankaras including Mahaveer are left undamaged and still maintained without any damages. It was once called Chokkanthoongi Hills and now as Malaikoil by locals.



Stone Inscriptions: 

There are 9 stone inscriptions in Tamil vattezheutthu, sanskrit and Malayalam dating back to 9th Century A.D. One of the stone inscriptions says that there was a Jain University at this place during 1st century BC. and Queen Kuratimarayar had donated wealth to the university. This inscription is found in Tamil Brahmi scriptures