Muchhālā Māhāveer Tirth

As the name suggests, it implies that the murti (idol) of Lord Māhāveer has a moustache. Isn’t this intriguing?

The tale goes back to the 15th century during the reign of Rānā of Mewār. He was once on a hunt and came to this temple where he was offered prasād (प्रसाद – food considered to be sanctified after being presented to God) by the priest. Rānā was amused to find a strand of white hair in the prasād which must have fallen from the priest’s head. As a joke, the Rānā asked the priest “What! Does your Lord have a moustache?”

The frightened priest, without realizing what he was uttering, replied “yes”. Carrying the joke further, the Rānā refused to pay his respects to the Lord that day, and told the priest that he would return after three days, and wanted to see the Lord’s moustache. The priest didn’t know what to do and spent the next two days in prayer. When he did not see any results, he decided to commit suicide rather than be killed by the king. When he picked up the dagger at the temple to kill himself, the Lord appeared before him and advised him to cover the face of the idol with a piece of cloth and ask the king to remove the cloth himself after offering prayers. When Rānā arrived the next day, the priest welcomed him and asked him to have a bath and offer prayers to the Lord himself. Seeing the cloth covering the face of the idol, he became angry and demanded an explanation. The priest repeated to Rānā what he had been ordered to do so by the Lord. Rānā agreed and offered his prayers to the Lord, and when he opened the cloth, lo and behold, the idol of Mahavir not only had a moustache, but also a beard. King repented and sought forgiveness from the priest. He was forgiven, and the beard and moustache disappeared, but the name has stuck. The murti (idol) has since then been called ‘Muchhālā Māhāveer’ (mucchā मुच्छा in Prākrit refers to a moustache).

During various Moselm invasions, the main murti of Lord Mahaveer had got damaged. It was decided to replace it with another murti of Lord Mahaveer. However, the main murti could not be moved despite all efforts. Consequently, the main murti was restored to its original glory and the replacement murti was kept on the adjacent shrine. On the main murti the following inscription can be read “Samvat 1010 (i.e. 953AD) Fagan Sudi 5…”