JAYANTI - A JAIN FESTIVAL
Mahavir Jayanti is the
main Jain festival of the year. Mahavir Jayanti is
the birth anniversary of Mahavira, the founder of Jainism.
According to the Digambar school of Jainism, Lord Mahavira
was born in the year 615 BC, but the Swetambaras believe
that He was born in 599 BC. Both sects however agree
that he was the son of Siddhartha and Trisala. Legend
has it, that He was conceived by Devananda, wife of
a Brahmin named Rishabhdeva. The gods, ingeniously,
transferred the embryo to the womb of Trisala. It is
said that the expectant mother had sixteen auspicious
dreams before the child was born (only 14 according
to the Swetambaras). Astrologers intepreting these dreams,
stated that the child would be either an emperor or
This religious event is largely observed by the Jains,
by visiting sacred sites and worshipping the Teerthankars.
The event holds special significance in Gujarat and
Rajasthan, due to the ancient shrines at Girnar and
Palitana in Gujarat. Mahavira Jayanti is also celebrated
at Parasnath temple in Calcutta and at Pawapuri in Bihar.