Jain Sites of Tamil Nadu

Investigator(s): Prof. Nalini Balbir , Dr. Karine Ladrech (co-Principal Investigator)
Start date: 2008
Axis 4. of the Indology Department /

Jainism has had a fundamental importance in the construction of Tamil culture through the centuries, but it has not yet been studied in depth. The aim of this project is to undertake a direct study of all the Jain sites by visiting them and document their present condition. The study has documented 462 sites including Jain temples / caves, rock beds, inscriptions, converted sites and stray sculptures. The study has given special emphasis on the iconography of 24 Tirthankaras and other associated Gods, the rituals and festivals of Jains and their contribution to Tamil culture.

Materials and methods:

This study of Jain sites of Tamil Nadu enhanced with new photographs will focus on the architecture, the iconography and the epigraphy, as well as the rites and celebrations. The CD-ROM will include three different way of search engine (Jain sites, map search and key words), literature, grammar and the role of Jains in Tamil culture.

External team members:
  • Prof. Nalini Balbir (University Paris III Sorbonne-Nouvelle)
  • Dr. Karine Ladrech (University Paris IV Paris-Sorbonne )
Main outputs:
– A CD-ROM that will be published by the end of 2017.
– Duration: 9 years
– Funding Agency(ies): ARCUS ; UMR 7528 Mondes iranien et indien; Digambar Jain Tirthshetra Committee, Mumbai ; Hukamichand Jain, Pondicherry
– Partners:
  • ARCUS¬†
  • UMR 7528 Mondes iranien et indien (CNRS-Paris III-EPHE-INALCO)
  • Digambar Jain Tirthakshetra Committee, Mumbai
  • Hukamichand Jain, Pondicherry