Adinatha Temple

Khajuraho – Adinatha Temple


Dated to the late 11th century A.D, the Adinatha Temple is one of a cluster of three Jain temples considered part of the eastern group at Khajuraho.

Only two major parts of the temple now survive, the vestibule and the sanctum.  The temple porch is a much later addition to the monument. The plan and design of the temple is very similar to that of the Vamana Temple, one of the differences being the images depicted on the top row of the outer wall. The other difference, perhaps more significant, is the curvilinear shikhara which is considered to have better proportions. These elements coupled with a slightly more evolved style of sculpture suggests that the Adinatha Temple was constructed after the Vamana Temple.

The walls of the temple have three bands of exquisite sculptures, including beautiful apsaras in classical dance poses. Notice how they are decked with ornaments in their hair, ears, arms and waists.



Interestingly, despite being a Jain temple, these walls feature carvings of many Hindu deities. The niches however are reserved Jain imagery, with sculptures of Ambika, Chakreshwari, and Padmavati.

Inside the temple is a dark idol which I presume is Adinatha. The distinguishing features of Adinatha are his long locks of hair which fall on his shoulders, and here we have just that.



Adinatha (“Lord of the Beginning”) is portrayed by Jain legend as having lived many millions of years ago. He is the first of twenty four Tirthankaras (saviours) of Jainism. His full name, Rishabhanatha, comes from a series of fourteen auspicious dreams that his mother had in which a bull (rishabha) appeared before his birth.


Back outside and immediately behind the Adinatha temple is an interesting collection of sculptured masonry that has been found on the site. There’s also a narrow slot in the ground with steps leading down, which looks to lead down to a source of water.

Group Khajuraho Monuments
Western Lakshmana Varaha Kandariya Mahadeva Mahadeva Shrine ♦ Jagadambi Chitragupta Parvati Vishvanatha Nandi Pratapeshwar Bhairava Statue MatangeshvaraChausath YoginiLalguan Mahadeva Chopra Tank
Eastern Hanuman  Brahma  Vamana  Javari  Ghantai  Adinatha  Parshvanatha  Shantinatha
Southern Duladeo  Chaturbhuj Bijamandal




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3 replies »

  1. Having moved across India, since last 4 decades as an Engineer but with an Eye of Tagore’s school Santiniketan, always intrigued me about our own History by English speaking British, where Buddha gave it’s importance but what about 23 Jain Tirthankars on whose name such temples were built after 1000 years or more?


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