Digambar Jain Temple Delhi

A return to the Lahore Gate leads to the Red Fort's exit. Ahead is Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi's famous shopping street. At the entrance to the thoroughfare, on the south side, the corner site is occupied by the Digambar Jain Mandir, a temple built in 1656 for worship by members of the Digambar branch of the Jain religion in the new city of Shahjahanabad. It is closed 2.30-5 pm. Steps ascend to the hall, which is supported by marble columns. This, in turn, leads to the vedi, the gilded throne room, where the image of Tirthankara (prophet) Adinath is venerated. Jains have a deep respect for all forms of life and will not kill any living creature; priests will be seen wearing masks so that they cannot harm flying insects by swallowing or inhaling them accidentally.

Directly south of the temple is the famous Bird Hospital,run by Jains who care for the wounded birds. Many of the 'patients' are injured by domestic fans in the summer months, when around sixty a day are admitted. Every Saturday, the birds are examined, and released if fully recovered. As may be expected, donations from visitors are welcome.

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