Nalgonda has a great history and houses many ancient temples and monuments from our history. The Kolanupaka or Kulpakji Jain Temple is situated in a village named Kolanupaka of Nalgonda district in the state of Telangana, India. This Jain shrine is around 82 kms away from the district headquarters and is also known as "Shri Shwetambar Jain Tirth". The word "Kolanupaka" is derived from 'Kolanu' meaning 'a pond' and 'Paka' meaning 'a hut', as once upon a time this place was full of ponds. This temple is dated around 10th century and is about 2000 years old and is one of the sacred and biggest shrine for Swhetambara Jains of South India. There are three main Jain Tirthankaras idols situated in this temple namely Lord Rishabha, Lord Neminath and Lord Mahavira. The idol of Lord Rishabha is carved from a green stone and is historically famous as Manikyaswami. During 11th century, this place had served as substitute capital of Kalyani Chalukyas Dynasty.
Ancient Kulpakji Jain Temple Nalgonda Telangana
Kulpakji Temple is also registered in Guniess Book due to the rarest Idol of Lord Rishabha made with precious green single stone, which is not visible in any other temples.
History Of This Temple:
Kulpak being a religious place for the Jains with the presence of this ancient temple is also of great importance as there are a number of Jain antiquities and nearly 20 Jain inscriptions were also found here. It is believed that Kolanupaka was established as a Jain center during the Rashtrakutas period. These inscriptions, also tell us about the ancient Jain monastic order of Kulpak which was the major center of Kranur Gana of MulaSangh. A Manastambha inscripted around 1125 AD is also found here. One of the 12th century inscription found in this temple tells us about Meghachadra Siddhanta Deva who entered Sallekhana (A Jain religious ritual of suicide by fasting). The Jain activities heavily declined after 1276 AD and again got rejuvinated in 1711 AD, when the Manikyaswami temple got renovated and a boundary wall was erected.
Main Entrance of Kulpakji Jain Temple
Legend says, Mandodari- The wife of Ravana was the true worshipper of Manikyaswami and this idol was brought here by ruler Sankar of Kalyana.
The main temple was built by Bharata Chakravarty, the descendant of the Lunar dynasty of Kshatriya Varna, the son of King Dushyanta and Queen Shakuntala of Hastinapur. He conquered all of Greater India, united them into a single political entity which was named after him as Bharatvarsha. Jainism was prevalent in Andhra before 4th century and due to its rich history, Kolanupaka remains one of prominent Jainism center from early times.
Significance of this Temple: This temple is dedicated to Lord Adinatha who is the very first Tirthanakara of Jain Religion. His Idol got originated here after He choose this town to be His resting abode. The great significance of this temple is associated with Bharata Chakravarthy who built this temple and installed Lord Rishabha along with all 24 Tirthankaras on the day of Ashtapad Parvat. The main Idol was made of same blue precious stone which he was wearing in his own ring. Manikyaswami-Lord Rishabha is the chief deity of Mandodara-the wife of Ravana who worshipped Him with great devotion.
Main Idol Manikyaswami-Lord Rishabha of Kulpakji Temple
Construction Of This Temple:
Lord Rishabha is the first Tirthankara in the Jain religion, also known as Lord Adinath. It is believed that the original idol of Lord Adinath, was locally known as Manikya Deva, made Kolanupaka its abode by itself. There are also other Eight idols of the other Jain Tirthankaras visible on both sides of the temple. The idol of Lord Mahavira is made up of single piece of jade about 130 cm tall. Every Jain Tirthankara has a unique identity like Lord Mahavira is depicted with a Lion and Lord Rishabha with a Bull on their pedestals and Lord Parshawnath with a multiple headed Cobra as His umbrella. The Idols of Lord Simandar Swamy and Goddess Padmavati can also be seen on either sides of the main temple. Around 150 artisians were called from Rajasthan and Gujarat to renovate the temple. Thus the temple got a complete new look as it was built around the existing towers along with the preservation of old garbhagraha. Kulpakji is the major pilgrimage center for the Swetambara Jains of South India.
Lord Parshawnath with a multiple headed Cobra
Jade stone statue of Lord Mahavir in Kulpakji Temple
Goddess Padmavati Idol in Kulpakji Temple
The deities named Bhuminath ji and Manibhadra Veerji are both kshetra palakas of this temple who guard the temple. It is a rare instance that this temple has two kshetra palakas and is not seen in any other temple.
This temple also has a Dharmashala and Bhojanashala. There is accommodation facility also available near this temple.
Best Time To Visit:
It is best to during October to April.
To perfrom a pooja, one needs to adhere the dress code of the temple as men should wear dhotis or panchas and women in sarees.
Celebration of Festivals:
Mahavir Jayanthi is the main festival of this temple. Every year this temple celebrates festival in Chaitra sudh teras (13) and on Full moon days (Purnima) as thousands of devotees gather to worship the deity and offer their prayers.
How to Reach:
By Road: As it is nearby one can travel in their own transport. There are a number of APSRTC buses available at regular intervals from Hyderabad and Warangal to Aler. While travelling on Hyd-Warangal road this temple is around 6 kms from Aler. The Nearest Bus Station is at Warangal Bus Station (0 kms) and Hanmakonda Bus Station (3 kms). After reaching, one can hire a private vehicle to Kolanupaka.
By Train: All the raillines are well connected to Aler from Hyderabad and other major cities. The nearest railway station is at Warangal Railway Station (0 kms) and in Aler (8 km) from Kolanupaka. There are two major railway junctions close to this temple namely Secunderabad (76 km) and Warangal (84 km).
By Air: The nearest airport is at Hyderabad-Rajiv Gandhi International Airport around 100 kms away from the temple and is well connected to major cities of India and abroad.
Image Courtesy: http://www.storiesbyarpit.com, tripadvisor.co.za