Pawapuri Jal Mandir or Pawa is a holy site and temple for Jainism, located in the small town of Pawa in Nalanda district in Bihar (around 101 kilometers from the capital city of Patna), India. I actually had no idea about this important holy site/temple for Jain religion, until I was passing by Nalanda district on a work tour. I am glad to have made this interesting discovery and sharing my experience of Pawapuri Jal Mandir Visit.
I had no intention of visiting the temple, being out in the field for 3 the past days in immense heat & humidity and just wanted to finish off the required site visit for the day. However, when our car passed by a serene looking pond filled with water lilies, the sight immediately caught our eyes and we learnt that this was ‘Pawa Puri Jal Mandir’, we had to come back to visit this post our site work.
The first thing that catches the senses of any visitor to Pawa Puri Jal Mandir is the beauty of the water lily pond which surrounds the temple on all sides. Walking through the gateway into the path leading the temple, the calmness of the surroundings engulfs every visitor in an aura of serenity. My mind instantly felt calmer, even though it was almost 50 degrees Celsius hot & I had been sweating bucketfuls all day long.
The temple building is sparklingly white and on a hot summer day shone like a beacon in the middle of the water lily pond; it was quite an indescribable impression the whole scene left on me!
There were lot of water birds and fishes in the pond, which one could spot on a bit of close observation; the birds also seemed to be in a state of trance, staying still I between the big leaves and peeking out at the visitors in one position.
History of Pawapuri Jain Mandir – Around 500 BC, Lord Mahavira, the last of the 24 Tirthankaras and one of the founders of Jainism, breathed his last here. This is the place where Lord Mahavira achieved Moksha or Nirvana (Salvation from the endless cycle of life and death). He was cremated at Pawapuri, also known as Apapuri (“the sinless town”). There was a great rush to collect his ashes, with the result that so much soil was removed from the place of his cremation that a pond was created.
The field co-workers told me that the Pawapuri Jain Mandir is a Shwetambar Jain Temple. The temple building itself is very quaint and has been constructed in the same style as Dilwara temples and Ranakpur Jain Temple, with white marble carvings (though of very simpler styles).
We spent around 15-20 minutes in Pawapuri Jal Mandir and came away with a calming feeling. A visit to Pawapuri Jal mandir is highly recommended if visiting Nalanda district in Bihar.