Jain architecture

Jain architecture is an offshoot of Hindu and Buddhist styles. In the initial years, many Jain temples were made adjoining the Buddhist temples following the Buddhist rock-cut style. Initially these temples were mainly carved out of rock faces and the use of bricks was almost negligible. However, in later years Jains started building temple-cities on hills based on the concept of mountains of immortality.

Contribution of Jainism in field of architecture

Elements of Jain Architecture- 

  • Jain temples have numerous pillars having a well designed structure, forming squares. 
  • The squares thus formed create chambers, used as small chapels and contain the image of a deity.
  • The roofs have pointed domes and wherever there is a dome, the pillars are omitted to create an octagonal space within.
  • The only variation in architecture specific to Jain temples is the frequently seen four-faced or chaumukh design
  • All of Jain temples are dedicated to one of the 24 Tirthankaras. In Jain style of architecture, bricks were hardly used, and the system of carving out temples from rock faces was adopted.
  • Hindus and Buddhists built temples, Jains built temple- cities on hills.


  • The Ranakpur temple is built in white marble and the main chamber is supported by finely carved columns, totaling 1,444 in all.
  • The followers of Jainism also built many famous caves such as Tiger cave of Udayagiri and Indira Sabha of Ellora.
  • These caves are excellent examples of architecture and sculpture of the period. The Jains also constructed cave-temples out of rocks. One of the best cave- temples of the second century B.C. exist in Orissa and is popularly known as Hathigumpha caves.
  • Temples of Gwalior, 57 feet high statue of Gometeshwar in Shravanabelagola, temples of Khajuraho and Abu are other marvelous examples of the high standard of Jain art and architecture.

In this way, besides religion and philosophy Jainism made a great contribution to the development of art and architecture. Many of these sites are famous pilgrimage and tourist centres contributing to the economy.

Practice Question-

Highlight the contributions of Jainism in the fields of architecture.

Leave a Comment