KOCHI JAIN TEMPLE

Many Jains came to Kerala from Gujarat, Kutch and other parts of India for trade and commerce in the early 20th century. The Kochi Jain temple was built in 1904 by Hirubai in memory of her husband Jivraj Dhanji. The main murti of the temple is that of Dharmanāth Bhagwān and it is believed to be more than 1500 years old. There is another temple within the same complex having the murti of Chandraprabhu Bhagwān built by Sheth Popatlal Govardhan Lalan. There is also a murti of Shāntināth Bhagwān which is considered to be miraculous.

Historically, Jainism spread to the south of India around 3rd century BC after the Mauryan Emperor Chandraguptā went to Sravanabelagola along with Acharya Bhadrabāhuswāmi.

The temple is also famous to witness hundreds of pigeons circumambulating the temple at noon and after listening to the prayers they feed on the grains. Jiva Daya (animal welfare) is a cornerstone of the Jain faith and for many years the pigeons were fed at random times. Once a monk arrived and by way of narrating a story, indirectly conveyed to the sangh that even animals need to have a schedule to follow and decided to change the time to feed the pigeons between 12.00-12.30pm daily. How could the pigeons be conveyed that their feeding time will change? The monk advised him that when your intentions are pure, animals will understand your spoken language. Around noon daily, members of the community strike on a steel plate and uttering “Chalo” (come on). The pigeons CIRCUMAMBULATE the temple dome thrice. Then the Jain Mangalik (holy prayers) are recited and then do the pigeons start feeding. Humans are losing faith in spirituality, yet what a sight to witness that these pigeons have an inherent sense of reverence to the Jain idols inside the temple and only after paying their respect and listening to the prayers do they feed !!!

References:
1. Internet
2. King Chandragupta
3. Acharya Bhadrabahu, Acharya Bhadrabahu Chitrakatha
4. Kochi Jain derasar
5. Some photos from World Orgs