The Emergence of Kundalpur Tirtha


The Bade Baba Temple


The massive idol of Lord Bade Baba in padmasan is carved of red sandstone. The essential components of the idol, the simhasan, the chhatra, the two indras bearing chamar, two flying gandharvas bearing flower garlands and the Lord Jina himself, each are carved out of separate block of stone. On both sides of the idol are two massive Parshvanath idols in kayotsargasana. Building this temple must have been a major engineering accomplishment.


The Bade Baba idol does not have a lanchhan (mark) that would identify him as a specific Tirthankara. There has been a common convention that an unmarked idol is regarded to be of Lord Mahavira. The idol was assumed to be that of lord Mahavira right after discovery, as the inscription by Brahmachari Namisagar indicates. About three decades ago, Niraj Jain observed that the carving right below the ears of the idol actually represents locks of hair 14. The simhasana (seat) is flanked by a yaksha and a yakshini on the two sides. The yaksha with a bull-like head is easily identified as the Gomukha yaksha and the yakshini bearing a chakra is clearly Chakreshwari. Both of them are associated with Lord Adinath and not Lord Mahavira. Based on the locks of hair, Gomukha yaksha and goddess Chakreshwari he concluded that the idol is obviously of Lord Adinath. It is now accepted that idol is indeed that of the first Jina.


When the temple was discovered, significant parts of the structure must have fallen, partially blocking the entrance. With Maharaja  Chhatrasal’s support it was reconstructed with a tall shikhar and a raised enclosed courtyard (baradari) in the front. A few years ago, the plaster of the main shikhar was temporarily removed for restoration. That revealed the construction if the three storied shikhara. It was made up of blocks of stone. The shikhar had a rectangular shape, somewhat similar to the temples of Devgarh.


The courtyard of the temple is on a raised platform, however the floor of the garbhagrah (main chamber) is approximately the same level as the ground level of the compound. Thus one has to climb a few steps to go up to the platform and then climb down a few steps to enter the garbhagrah. It has been a mystery why the courtyard is built on such a high platform. The answer to the mystery has been found recently. The temple is undergoing significant reconstruction and in the process the sides of the platform have been exposed. It appears that the platform consists of the rubble, presumably from the original construction. We can thus conclude that during Chhatrasal’s reconstruction, the large amount of rubble in the front was built into a platform, and an enclosed compound was built on the top.