Jain Centre Leicester

Jagat Seth Manickchand was supposedly one of the richest person in the world during the 17th / 18th century. His daughter, Magan Bai carried on her father’s wishes to propagate the Jain philosophy within India and overseas. Indeed their dreams came true with the establishment of the first Jain temple in Europe at Leicester which is about 100 miles north of London.

The journey of Jain Samaj in Leicester began when a few Jain devotees gathered in a small house for Paryushan from 1969 onwards. In 1973 Jain Samaj Leicester was officially established.

In 1979 a spacious church was purchased in Oxford Street and renamed to Jain Centre. The church was established in 1862 as a Congregational Chapel. What a transformation from a simple chapel to a spectacular Jain temple! Its exterior has been clad in white marble imported from India, whilst interior decorations and furnishings were created by thousands of hours of fine craftsmanship. Features include 44 magnificently carved yellow sandstone pillars from Jaisalmer, a beautiful temple dome and ceiling with traditional carvings, white marble floor, mirrored walls, traditional doors at the Garbhagriha (the inner sanctum) and hand-carved staircases. The Centre houses consecrated images, temples, a museum, library, auditorium, dining hall and other facilities.

Pujya Gurudeva Chitrabhanu and Acharya Sushilkumarji blessed the development of the Jain Centre. On the ground floor a wonderful museum of Jain history has been illustrated with the guidance of Pujya Acharya Chandanaji. On 10th November 1983 Shinalayas ceremony (laying the foundation stone) was performed for the first Jain temple in the Western world. On 14th December 1984 the Anjanshalaka ceremony was performed in Pali, Rajasthan. The main deity is Shāntināth Bhagwān with Pārsvanāth Bhagwān and Māhāveer Swāmi on either side. There are also idols of Manibhadra Veer, Ghantākaran Māhāveer, Padmāvati Mātā, Saraswati Mātā and Gautamswāmi. The pratistha ceremony was celebrated between 18th – 23rd July 1988. The murtis were consecrated on 20th July 1988 at 08:48am local time.

It is truly a non-sectarian Jain temple. Within the same temple there are Digambar murtis, statue of Bāhubali, a separate floor dedicated to Shrimadrājchandra Gyān Mandir and a Sthānakvāsi Upāshraya.

1. Internet
2. Jain Samaj Europe
3. Jain Digest 1988, 2015
4. Jainism the Cosmic Vision
5. Story of Leicester