Jain community protests removal of Tirthankar idols from stairs of Pavagadh

Pavagadh: Several members of the Jain community gathered at Pavagadh police station on Sunday evening after the idols of Jain Tirthankaras on both sides of the stairs leading to the Shaktipeeth Mahakali Mandir atop Pavagadh hill were removed. The community staged a protest and demanded an end to the vandalism, urging action against those responsible.

Today, leaders of the Vadodara Samast Jain Sangh reached the residence of the Vadodara Collector and submitted a memorandum demanding the restoration of the statues and strict action against the perpetrators of this act. Similarly, in Surat, committee members submitted the memorandum to Additional Collector Vijay Raval at the office of the Surat District Collector.

A Jain leader stated “that the incident occurred yesterday afternoon, where the idols of Lord Neminath, the 22nd Tirthankar, along with 7 other idols, were broken and thrown elsewhere. This has deeply hurt the sentiments of Jains. Discussions are ongoing with the stakeholders of Pavagadh Trust. We demand that the statues be restored. We have no other demands.”

“The government has spent crores of rupees on the Pavagadh Teerthdam, which houses 11 Jain derasars. Shouldn’t Jain temples also be included in pilgrimage development? Does it imply that we are a minority and are being neglected? Today, the leaders of Samast Vadodara Sangh have reached the collector’s office, met the collector, and submitted an application. Through this, we have lodged a complaint with the government, and we are also going to file an FIR against those who vandalized the statues,” he further added.

Speaking on the issue, Gujarat Minister Harsh Sanghvi says, “Pavagadh is a historic land. Many Jain teerthankars’ statues had been established on the mountains of Pavagadh. These statues have been there for thousands of years. No trust, organization or individual has the right to demolish such historic statues and religious places. Gujarat CM has ensured that the sentiments of Jains must not be hurt. These statues must be re-established at their original positions. In some hours, the statues will be re-established.”

It is noteworthy that for the past 4-5 years, the old stone stairs were closed for commuting due to their deterioration, and new stairs were constructed and were being used. Idols were installed along both sides of these stone stairs, but none of these idols were actively worshipped. Entry to these stairs was also restricted with a tin gate to prevent littering. However, when Jain community leaders reported littering earlier, the temple management promptly cleaned the area.

Ashokbhai, Trustee of Pavagadh Temple, issued a statement regarding the matter, clarifying that the idols in question were not intentionally vandalized. He stated, “There were idols on the steps leading to the old temple. People were informed about their removal even before the work was scheduled to start 20 days ago. It had been communicated long ago that if anyone wished to keep the idols, they should take them away.”

“Even during the commencement of the work, it was emphasized that the idols should be taken away. The idols were removed as per the request of those concerned. Despite informing them to collect the idols, they did not come forward to take them.”

He further explained about the broken idol, “Only one idol was broken, and this was not intentional. Due to the weak nature of the stone, the idol broke during its removal. I asked the artisan about it, and he mentioned that the idol broke because of its inherent weakness. Moreover, none of these idols were actively worshipped. If there is a need to reinstall this idol, we are prepared to provide it.”


The Pavagadh Tirtha Vikas Samiti explained that there are ancient steps leading to the temple up Pavagadh hill. Alongside Gokhala, on either side, seven idols, including the 22nd Tirthankar Neminatha Bhagwan, have stood for thousands of years. Jains visit daily for Seva Puja. The demolition of these old stairs began 20 days ago. At that time, Jains had filed a complaint with the Collector and the ASI, expressing concern that the idols of Jain Tirthankaras would be damaged in the process of vandalism. Despite being protected monuments, the idols were destroyed today, disregarding their plea.

Jain leaders allege that “while it is positive that the Mahakali Mata temple is being developed, the millennia-old Shwetambar Jain idols in Pavagadh have been mutilated, uprooted, and discarded at someone’s behest. This incident has deeply affected the Jain community, and they demand legal action against those responsible.”

Speaking on this issue, a Jain leader stated on Sunday “Our fears, despite submitting applications, have materialized. How could anyone demolish idols that Jains have worshipped for millennia? Vadodara’s Jain leaders will submit a petition to the Collector on Monday, and the matter will be taken to the High Court. The movement will persist until the idols are restored. Jain leaders in every city will meet with Collectors and file petitions regarding this matter.” DeshGujarat