By: Pramod Chavan
Powai - 17 February 08 : When we hear the name Powai our mind immediately conjures up images of a the famous IIT, tall and imposing buildings, a beautiful and self sufficient township called Hiranandani Gardens, L&T and many other such aspects which are typically Powai. This bustling suburb of Mumbai houses a population mix of all religions and corresponding to it also as many temples, mosques, churches and gurudwaras etc. The Jain Mandir of Powai is celebrating its 32nd Anniversary this year so let's find out a little about this place of worship in our neighbourhood.
In the year 1972 Jain Guru Vijay Dharam happened to pass through the area of old Powai and being tired started looking around for a place to rest for a while. That was the time he spotted this Jain kutir, he rested there for some time and told the people of Jain samaj present there that there should be a Jain mandir at this place. There were some Jain-Kacchi families who had been living in Powai since more than 45 years took it upon themselves to build a Jain temple there. When the mandir was completed in 1975-76 they installed a statue of Jain Guru Shantinath and marble statues of 7 Gurus especially brought from Rajsthan. The Mandir is made of marble and its walls are adorned with the various religious places of the Jain community.
Presently the Jain Temple and Kacchi Bhavan built over a fairly large area, comprises idols of Adya Guru Shantinath Ki pramukh Pratima and also idols of Parshvnath Swami, Mahavir Swami, Neminath Swami, Vasupuj Swami, Adeshwar Swami, Munisurat Swami. The gates of the temple opens with the first rays of the sun light, early in the morning, and remains open till 12 noon, then it is closed from 12 noon till 4 in the evening and closes its gates finally at 8pm. They have the Swetambar Puja first thing in the morning and the work of the temple begins after that. After this devotees keep pouring in for their daily prayers and blessings.
Another special feature of this Jain Mandir is the four storeyed Kacchi Bhavan which was built as a result of the inspiration of the Jain-Kacchi Acharya. This Kacchi Bhavan was built 9 years back and every day there is some programme or the other for the benefit of the samaj. This Mandir and Kacchi Bhavan is open to everyone but there are some rules and regulations which have to be followed once you enter their premises. These have been laid out to protect the religious sentiments of the community. No edible items are allowed inside the temple, even when there is any programme or puja the Prasad is also supposed to be brought outside the premises and had.
About three years back this Mandir has started a Medical Trust called the Shantinath Medical Trust. All the medical services in this Trust are made available to the general public at the least cost possible. It has been formed for the poor and less fortunate who would other wise not be able to bear the high medical expenses.
In the monsoon they have a variety of programme for eight days during which a number of Jains hold fasts and don't partake anything except water. They have grand pujas in the Mandir at that time and people from all over participate in it. Besides the Mandirs Anniversary is celebrated every year in a grand way and the flag on top of the dome of the temple is changed. This is called 'Chadhava'. The Jain community attaches a lot of significance and importance to this ceremony and every year this honour is specially given to different families.
Presently more than 60 Jain families reside in Powai who enjoy the facilities, benifits and the joy of worship at this Temple but besides them families from Chandivali, Mulund, Bhandup, Sakinaka also come here for worship. When the Jain sadhus are traveling they make it a point to stop at this temple and take the blessings of their Gods. The trust of this Mandir is sending out an open invitation to one and all to come and visit the Mandir on the occasion of its 32nd Anniversary.