Mahavir Jayanti

Mahavir Jayanti is celebrated all over India by the Jain community with devotion and religious fervor. It is a festival celebrating the birth anniversary of the 24th and the last Tirthankar of the Jains, Vardhaman Mahavir, the founder of Jainism. Born as a prince in 599 BC, Lord Mahavir renounced worldly life at the age of 30 and undertook austere penance until he achieved realization. He spread the message of non-violence, prohibited any kind of killing and taught his followers to seek salvation through penance and abstinence. The Jains are divided into many sects of whom the main ones are Digambaras and shwetambars. The latter is again divided into Deravasis and Sthanakvasis. On Mahavir Jayanti, Jain temples which are also called Derasars are decorated with flags. The idol of Lord Mahavir is given a ceremonial bath and is then placed in a cradle and carried in a procession around the neighborhood. Devotees offer milk, rice, fruit, incense, lamps and water to the idol. People meditate and offer prayers. Jain pilgrims from all over the country visit the ancient Jain Temples on the Girnar Hill and in Palitana in Gujarat and the Jain temples at Mount Abu in Rajasthan on this day.

Updated on 7th June, 2005


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