The Jal Mandir in Pāwāpuri is one of the holiest Jain pilgrimages as this is where Lord Māhāveer attained nirvana in 527BC. Another name of Pāwāpuri is Apāpapurī (अपापपुरी) which means a city without sins.
Legend has it that days after Lord Māhāveer’s cremation, grieving devotees came to pay their respect and took home some earth symbolic of the place where the Lord left his mortal body. As a result a massive hole appeared in the ground which over time got filled with water and is today a spectacular lake surrounded by beautiful lotuses. There is a majestic temple in the middle of this lake designed in the form of a celestial plane.
It is believed that a temple was built by Lord Māhāveer’s elder brother, Nandivardhan. The current temple was constructed around 1750 AD. The temple has foot idols of Lord Māhāveer with foot idols of Gautumswāmi and Sudharmāswāmi.
It is believed that Lord Māhāveer’s first disciple, Indrabhuti Gautum first met Lord Māhāveer in this town of Pāwā. In the scriptures Pāwāpuri is referred to as “Madhyamā Pāwā” perhaps to distinguish from other locations called “Pāwā”. A nearby town was called Puri so over time the township became known as Pāwāpuri.