Located near Gingee in Villupuram district of Tamil Nadu, Mel Sithampur Jain Math is the main religious centre of the Tamil Jain community. The place is sacred to all Jains living in Tamil Nadu. They pay homage to this holy math. Headed by Bhattaraka Laxmisena Swami, this math is one of the important learning centres of Jainism. It teaches the disciples how to lead religious life with a devotion and dedication to the God. It is said that this math was once located at Kanchipuram before its relocation to the current location, Gingee.

Mel Sithampur Jain Math is also popular by its different names like Chitamur Jain Math, Mel Chittamur Jain Math, Jina Kanchi Jain math or Sarva Jinalaya Paribalakar. Sarva Jinalaya Paribalakar is a Tamil word which means the caretaker of all Jain abodes. Therefore, we can easily understand the importance of this holy math. Since the time of its establishment, it has received increasing attention from the different parts of the world. Many people come here round year, considering it as one of the holy places in India. It allows all to pay a visit irrespective of their classes and creeds. It was an active Jain centre and residence of Jain saints till the 9th century AD. Now it is the residence of Bhattaraka Laxmisena, the current Tamil Jain community chief.

Mel Sithampur Jain Math had been an active centre of learning Jainism. Many pious monks used to live here. Flat stone beds prepared from the rocks are lying here and there. This certainly proves that many Jain monks used to live here. On the walls, you will get to see many delicate sculpture works. Most of them depict the Jain Tirthankars. Most of the sculpture works are more than 1100 years old. It can clearly prove that it has a clear link to the antiquity of the Jain religion. It is a matter of regret that a few temples have now collapsed. NOW we get to see a few temples that stand as the emblem of antique Jain monastery. Most of the temples have been built for the Jain saint ‘Parshvanatha’.

The main attraction of it is the math and its rock-cut sculptures. Jain Tirthankars are the deities here. On the wall, you will get to see rock-cut sculptures dedicated to many Jain Tirthankars. Most of these works can please any onlooker with their wholeness, harmony and radiance. With the certain richness and complexity, they can eclipse any classical stone sculptures.

Since the ancient time till date, math has been become successful to retain its glory. It earns a significant amount of cash offered by the members and followers. Besides it receives revenue from mango trees and coconut trees. It keeps many cows in a huge shelter to contribute to the Math. All these help the math to maintain everything well.

Author's Bio: 

The author is a travel writer interested in writing on many new travel destinations. He has written few articles on Mel Sithampur Jain Math