The Emergence of Kundalpur Tirtha


Historical Evidence


This account in the BDJ Directory is supported by significant historical evidence. In the main temple there is no inscription on the pedestal of the idol of Bade Baba. However on the left side of the door there is an inscription which has 10 verses followed by some prose. An translation is given here.


Om Namah Siddhebhyah.


Year of Samvat 1757, magh sudi 15, on Monday.


1-2: In year 1757 of Vikrama, Magh sudi 15 Monday, during Magha Nakshatra, the temple of Lord Vardhaman, the teacher of the world, was completed.


3-4: In Mulasangh- Balatkaragan,-Sarasvatigachcha, in the anvaya of Kunadakunda, lord of the monks, there was great monk Yashakirti, wise, ocean of virtues, who was worshipped by the entire sangha.


5. His successor was Lalitakirti, wise, learned in the Jain scriptures, having retired from world, wearing the garb of the Jina, whose feet were worshipped by the Indras.


6. His successor was Dharmakirti, the author of Ramadevapurana, steadfast in Jain Dharma, embodiment of knowledge, who gave valuable discourses.


7. His successor was Padmakirti, brilliant like the sun, deep like the ocean, who had conquered his senses, who was like a bridge to cross the worldly ocean.


8. His successor was Surendrakriti, who was virtuous, who had traversed the forest of words, (i.e. literature) who was a great tapasvi with kindness in his heart.


9-10. His  pupil --- (the name is not clearly read) had the auspicious temple of Lord Mahavira restored using funds raised from shravakas, as asked by his guru Surendrakirti on seeing the ruined but beautiful shrine; so that the Dharma will be renewed and will grow.


Prose part 1: When Dharmasagar, having finished his life in Mandirtila (?) village, went to heaven and some of the vedis in the shrine were not yet finished; then his pupil, the learned Brahmachari Namisagar had the vedis etc finished and had this dated inscription installed.


Prose part 2: The shrine has been built during the rule of Chhatrasal, the ruler of rulers, the descendant of the Gaharvar kings of Kashi, glorious like the sun, conqueror of great rulers, with strong arms and who can discuss the scriptures of the six philosophies.  May it be auspicious.


The first line of verse 10 has not been clearly read. The reading in the BDJ Directory 1 is “(shu)chi brahma …ra” where as in other readings 2 it is “suchandra …”.  We thus do not know the exact name of the person who initiated the work, except that he was a pupil of Bhattaraka Surendrakirti. It is possible that the inscription was “Brahma-Dharmasagar”. “Brahma” was a popular short form of brahmachari. It was a common term for scholars who were pupils of bhattarakas.


The valuable gifts of Chhatrasal including chhatra and chamar made of gold and silver were plundered during the disturbances of the Ghadar of 1857AD.  Some of the brass utensils including a massive ghanta (gong) bearing his name were still present in the storage some time ago 1.


The Bhattarakas mentioned in the inscription belong to the Chanderi Patta of Balatkaragana-Sarasvati Gachchha 3,4. The seat at Chanderi (Dist. Guna) was established by Devendrakirti in Samvat 1473. At that time Chanderi already had been a major Jain center for many centuries.  Around this time the local administration of Chanderi had come in the hands of a Khandelwal Jain family from Rajasthan. This family continued to have  the hereditary chaudhari title right until the end of the Maratha (Scindhia) rule.  The bhattarakas of Chanderi generally came from the Parvar community who are numerous around Chanderi 5.  The Chanderi seat has been referred to as the Jerahat seat by Dr. Joharapurkar 6.


The lineage of the bhattarakas of the Chanderi seat is given below. Note that Devendrakirti was one of the several pupils of Bhattaraka Padmanandi of Delhi Patta.


Devendrakirti (Chanderi Mandalacharya)





Yashakirti (Jasakirti)








Bhattarak Surendrakirti was tenth in line from Devendrakirti. He had presided over sevaral pratishthas. Several  available contemporary inscriptions of sam. 1744 and 1746 mention him. Pandit Phoolchandra Siddhantashastri has written that Surendrakirti may have been the last bhattaraka of Chanderi 7. However he points out that the Bhattaraka seat at Sironj, a branch of the Chanderi seat continued for another century 8.