Elangadu Rishabhadevar Temple
இந்தப் பக்கத்தை தமிழில் வாசிக்க: இலங்காடு ரிஷபதேவர் கோயில்
Elangadu Rishabhadevar Temple (15th century CE) is a Jain temple located at Elangadu in the Thiruvannamalai district of North Tamil Nadu (Thondaimandalam). The first Tirthankara (supreme preacher), Rishabhanatha Devar, is the presiding deity.
Rishabhadevar Temple is located at Elangadu/Ilangadu, one kilometer west of the road from Vandavasi to Thellar, Tiruvannamalai District.
In the 15th century CE, Jains settled in Elangadu and built this temple. A new temple was constructed recently since the old one deteriorated.
The presiding deity of this temple is the first Tirthankara, Rishabhanadha Devar. The mandapam, which was part of the earlier temple structure, is now present in the south side adjacent to the circular compound wall. Since the pillars in this hall are square and octagonal in design and from the structure of the bevel and screws in the upper portion, it is understood that they belong to the 15th century CE. These pillars also have floral designs on them.
The previously originated temple was facing the north direction. After it fell into disrepair, a new temple was established on a slightly larger scale, designed such that it faced the west direction. There was a rumour that this temple was built earlier for warriors and the idol in it was slightly damaged which was then removed and Rishabhanadha was placed in the sanctorum instead.
At present, the temple consists of segments such as sanctorum, Arthamandapam and Mughamandapam. It is popularly called as "Mottai Gopuram" because of the presence of a circular compound wall around it and the absence of tower platforms on the westside above the entrance. On top of this, is an idol of Maharavira; it is not ancient.
Sculptures and Statues
There is a sculpture of Rishabhanathar depicting a state of meditation in the sanctorum and the pedestal is engraved with the Rishabha symbol. On the north side of the hall is Lord Brahma and on the south side is Goddess Dharmadevi. Lord Brahma is depicted with four heads and is seated on an elephant as a vehicle. The statue of goddess Dharmadevi is placed on a pedestal in Amartha kolam. Both these sculptures were placed at the beginning of this century.
There are metal idols of Neminadhar, Dharmadevi, Baahubali, Parsuvanadhar, Juvala Malini, etc. Among these, except the statues of Neminadhar and Dharmadevi, the rest were created in recent times.
There is a two feet tall metal statue of Neminadhar standing on a lotus flower shaped pedestal with carvings. This belongs to the 14th -15th century CE. The conch, which is the symbol of Tirthankara Neminadhar, is present on the pedestal of this Neminadhar statue. There is a scripture containing alphabets from the 15th -16th century CE. This scripture states that this idol in Elangadu belongs to Thirumaylapuri and was founded by Jinasena Acharya. This has cleared the fact that the Neminadhar’s idol belongs to the Sainak temple at Mylpaore, Chennai and that it was established here by Jinasena Acharya.
The stone sculpture of Neminadhar was carried away from Mylapore to Chithamur. Another metal idol represents Dharmadevi Yakshi. All the clothing, accessories and decorative works on these models are from the 15th -16th century. These were brought from Mylapore as well. Although there is no scriptural evidence to confirm this, its period and style can be known from the fact that it is similar to the idols of Neminadhar.
- Thondai Nadu Jain temples (Dr. A. Egambara Nathan) 1991.