PRESIDING DEITY AND LOCATION :
Sri Neminath Bhagwan in black color, in a standing posture of height 5 meters, in a shrine on a hill about 300 feet high near the village of Tirumalai, one thousand feet above sea- level. (Dig).
ANTIQUITY AND SALIENT FEATURES :
As per scriptures, the ancient times of this place are found to be Vaige, Vaiga-ur,Srishailam, Sripuram, Palkundkottam, Chandragiri, Charangiri. Vellimallai etc.,
There is a legend among people here that “Samosaran” of Sri Neminath was once held in this area. It is said that when Pandavas came to this place, they had commandeered the making of this idol to enable them to offer to it their prayers. It is believed that at one time 8000 saints walking from different places gathered here. During the periods of Chola and Pallav rulers, this place remained very prosperous and affluent .Rajkumari Kundvai, sister of the first Chola king built here a temple and got ceremonially installed therein the idol of Sri Neminath Bhagwan which still exists today. The temple is well known by the name of “Kundvai Jinalaya”.
There are more than fifty inscriptions of the period of Chola and Pallav rulers still available today. In one of them there is a reference in which it is stated that queen Sinnavai of a certain Pallav ruler made a “Deep- daan” (presentation of a perpetual lamp or lamps) to the temple on the hill top here. In another inscription it is stated that the present was definitely meant for Kundvai Jinalaya. These inscriptions are of the period 1023 AD. It is evident from this that this shrine belongs to a much earlier period. At present, the shrine is being managed under the authority of the Government Archeological Department but prayers and worship continue to be still offered as per Jain rites and rituals.
There was a very large population of Jains according to some inscriptions during the reign of the first Pparandak Chola King (A.D. 9120) and the first Rajendra Chola King (A.D. 985-1014) and that they were in possession of immense wealth. The significance of the shrine is not only because of this fact but also because of further acts that Tirthankar Sri Neminath’s “Samosaran” was held here and that Pandavas had commandeered the making of the idol for their worship.
This place is also the one which has served many Acharyas as the place for their religious austerities, Acharyas such as Rishabhsen, Sri Samantbhadra, Sri Vardutt, Sri Vadiraj, Sri Gajkesari and many more.
In numerous ancient Tamil books, this shrine has been referred to Sri Gunvir Pandidar composed his volume entitled “Neminatham” at this place. And so also “Vachchanandimalai” is believed to have been composed here. This shrine is described as Jainbadri (Shravanbelagola) of Tamil Nadu. It is said that as recently as only 75 years ago, scholarly Pandits for the sear of the Bharrarak of Shravanbelgola were being selected from this place. Thus is also becomes evident that Sri Shravanbelgola of Karnataka and Tirumalai of Tamilnadu were very intimately connected with each other.
Here there lived a great scholar by the name of Sri Shikamani only 75 years ago. He too has described the significance of this shrine as well as the idol of Sri Neminath Bhagwan. Village people of this area even today call this idol by the name of “Shikhamaninath” (Lord of Shikhamani).
Every year on Shravan Sukla 6 and Posh Sukla 3, a festival fair are held here when thousands of both Jain and Non-Jain devotees gather to participate with joy and enthusiasm to offer their prayers.
On this hill itself, there is one another temple of Sri Parshvanath Bhagwan. On the top of the hill, there are Foot- Prints of Acharya Sri Rishabhsen, Sri Samanthbhadra and Sri Vardutt. At the base of the hill, there are two more temples built by Pallavas kings.
In all these temples, both at the base and on the hill, ancient idols of rare art can be seen. There are many metallic idols which also are worth seeing. On the hill, there are numerous caves and water reservoirs and it is stated that these caves were used by Jain saints for the practice of their austerities. In one of the caves there are colored paintings drawn which are still fresh and vivid today.
APPROACH – ROUTE :
This shrine is at a distance of 5 Kms from the railway station of Vadmadimangalam on Arani-Polur road in the district of North Arcot in Tamil Nadu. Buses and cars can go upto the base of the hill. From Arani, the shrine is 14 Kms away. From Chennai city it is about 120 Kms and from Vellore 45 Kms away. Taxis are available both at Vellore and Arani to come upto the shrine.
AMENITIES FOR JAIN PILGRIMS :
At present there are no arrangements for lodging here.
MANAGED BY :
Sri Jain Mandir
P.O. Vadamadimangalam – 606 907
Dist : North Arcot, Tamil Nadu