The Lost Glory: Nathnagar

Barely 30 minutes from the Bhagalpur Railway station in Bihar, lies a hidden gem, ruined by years of mismanagement and lack of maintenance- the Nathnagar (Shwetambar) Jain Temple. I had heard about its glory from a lot of people, and a visit to the place was a must on my itinerary.

Finding our way in the muddy narrow lanes lined with vegetable vendors on both the sides, one could hear the chugging of local trains in the nearby Nathnagar Railway station. Even after repeated queries to locals, no one was able to guide us to the Jinalay.


The beautiful Mandap housing the presiding deity, Shri Vasupujya Swami Bhagwan. Note the beautiful ceiling work and the garish tiles in the background. The Shikhara has been made to stand on a fresh layer of Plaster of Paris to prevent it from falling!

Deeply engrossed in our treasure hunt, after a lot of efforts, a rickshaw-wallah guided us to a ruined colonial building- depicting the scars of time. Cracks filled with creepers , roots dangling- the structure looked like it could fall any moment !

Once inside the structure, the inhabitants also did not care that we had come for a visit . The wooden stairs creaked as one moved up towards the temple. The stairs led us to a narrow courtyard with beautiful colonial arches whose white plaster was peeling away. The marble flooring withstood the test of times leading us to the Jinalay. Once inside the 125 year old temple one could just have two emotions- awe and gloom. Awe for the beauty of the structure and deep sadness for its current state !


The beautiful ceiling glass artwork

Built by a wealthy Marwari Jain, the temple bears resemblance to Colonial-Mughal & Bengali architecture- similar to the famous Shitalnath Temple (fondly called the Parasnath temple) in Kolkata built by Sheth Badridas Mookim. The beautiful mirror work and motifs were now fading away. Bang in the middle of the large hall is the marble mandap, which doubles as the Sanctum Sanctorum. The statue of the mulnayak lord (presiding deity), Shri Vasupujya Swami is placed upon an elevated marble platform with statues of Indra Dev's on each side of the deity. The beautiful carvings on the dome indicate the level of artwork of the artisans of that period.


Surya Dev

One interesting part of the temple is the stained glass artwork on the large doors and windows of the temple. One of the doors showcase people from different walks of life - a Bengali Babu, a Marwari Sheth, woman in traditional attire etc.

Although years if neglect have taken a toll on the temple and the current inhabitants show no interest, I can just hope some sangh or powerful pedhis preserve this beautiful heritage and restore it back to its original glory

The pictures I clicked would tell the story of the remaining glory of the Jinalay-

The beautiful ceiling glass artwork


The beautiful ceiling glass artwork


A dangling bulb tarnishing the beautiful ceiling glass artwork


A dangling bulb wire tarnishing the beautiful ceiling glass artwork signifying colonial adaptations


Stained Glass Windows


Stained glass windows depicting scenes from daily lives


Stained glass windows depicting scenes from daily lives


Stained glass windows depicting scenes from daily lives


The beautiful mirror work and paintings of the Ashtamangal in the top


The decaying mirrorwork due to years of neglect

Comments

  1. Thank you arpit bhai for throwing light on above issue.
    Does no jain stay there as of now?
    Hope if we can help in anyway.
    Jai jinendra.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this month

Instagram Feed