It was recently that I had my knowledge updated on the spread of Jainism in Wayanad. Though Jains are very sparsely populated across Kerala, Jainism has quite a prominence in Wayanad and this can be seen from the numerous Jain temples spread across the district. Jainism ventured into Kerala in the 12th century and many temples that you see in Wayanad are a proof of the same. However the decline was quite soon from the 16th century onward. There has been many reasons behind their decline and the main ones seem to be the resurgence of Vaishnavism and Shaivism and the attacks of Tipu Sulthan. Over a period of time many got converted into Hindu temples while the other remained
There are numerous Jain temples on the Kalpetta- Mananthavady road, most of which remain dilapidated and neglected. The Jain temple in Sulthan Bathery remains the most famous of the lot and is also considered one of the most important temples of the Jains in Kerala. The 13th century Jain temple in Sulthan Bathery is quite well maintained and is a beautiful remnant of Jainism in Wayanad. This Basadi (Jain temple) also played a big role during the historical times as an ammunition for Tipu Sulthan. It is also sometimes referred to as Tipu's fort for the same reason.
|Jain Basadi at Sulthan Bathery|
The Basadi has been beautifully built with wonderful architecture and carved pillars. The inner sanctum has a carving of Mahavir Jain. There is also a raised platform with chiseled pillars in front of the main sanctum. Though most of it is in ruins, efforts have been made by the authorities to the maintain the temple. However the case is not the same with other Jain Basadis of Wayanad. They look dilapidated due to negligence and need to be given given attention. The beautiful architecture and engravings are covered with bushes and over grown creepers. Hopefully the concerned authorities would look into it and maintain them as beautifully as the one in Sulthan Bathery.
Location- Sulthan Bathery and Kalpetta- Mananthavady road.