For the first time in Jaipur, two 1,300-year-old Jain religious scriptures on palm leaves have been put on display at an exhibition in Abhigyan Bhawan at Mansarovar. The three-day event, which began on Sunday, boasts of over 200 rare Jain manuscripts.
Scriptures, manuscripts and invitation letters as old as 1,200 years have been brought from Anekant Gyan Mandir at Bina in Madhya Pradesh, which houses more than 25,000 rare manuscripts collected from all over India.
Sandeep Saral, director of Anekant Gyan Mandir, told TOI that every year during monsoon, the Jain saints stay at one place and that is when these exhibitions are organised. “We have organised such exhibitions in Kolkata, New Delhi, Mumbai and many other places. This is the first time the exhibition is being held in Jaipur. These rare manuscripts contain Jain religious texts along with ayurveda, geology, astrology and fables. There are scriptures with gold-painted illustrations which date back to 700 years. These are a just a part of the rich heritage of Jain religion,” said Saral.
Saral said their centre had collected these manuscripts and artefacts from all over the country in the last 30 years. “We have asked the temples and private collectors to give us these manuscripts for their better preservation,” he added. At the exhibition, there is a 5-cm granth that can be read only through magnifying glass. Besides, a10ft-long invitation letter, which used to be sent to the Jain monks to invite them to spend their monsoon in the city, is also on display.
Carved from a single paper, a genealogy scroll is a major attraction for the people coming to witness the exhibition. The exhibition, which ends on Tuesday, has attracted not just common people but even scholars and researchers. We hope to hold the exhibition next year too, the organisers said.