Hear the stories of Kulpakji, Kolunapaka and Jain folklore from the people at Kulpakji temple. We spoke with the temple manager, worshippers, the caretaker and kitchen staff for their unique perspectives. Read all about Kulpakji Jain temple here.
The Kitchen Staff
The kitchen staff starts cooking hours before sunrise, specially on poornima because many worshippers land in Kulpakji to offer their prayers. Everyone comes to the bhojanshala for fresh Jain vegetarian meals. All the staff was very friendly and extremely courteous despite having spent hours in preparations.
The Third Generation Caretaker of Kulpakji
We were most fortunate to meet a lifelong resident of Kolunapaka and lifelong caretaker of Kulpakji mandir. He showed us around all the temples and explained each statue and their stories. His knowledge of the history and his passion for the temple was infectious.
He has been at the temple all his life. When his grandfather was the caretaker (even until more recently), there was no easy way to reach the temple. Since Kolunapaka has always been an important Jain
Gyanchandji Jain, a Devout Worshipper
The caretaker introduced us to Gyanchandji Jain who has visited the temple every year for 50 years! A lifelong resident of Hyderabad, he visits often to worship. His entire family of professionals is very religious. They all do extended fasts, know all about Jain scriptures and visit temples regularly.
Narendraji Sharma, Kulpakji Temple Manager
Narendraji Sharma is the extremely helpful and knowledgeable temple manager. He narrated many fascinating stories of the temple’s history and graciously provided pamphlets for my reading and pictures for this article. He also instructed the staff to open the Kulpakji museum for us to see and take pictures. He is himself a Brahmin from Jodhpur, but a professional temple manager.
Between the many stories, I asked him why Ravana was thought of as a the demon in Northern India and worshipped by many in Southern India. He had a very fascinating and compelling story – Ravana was a great king and one of the greatest scholars and
The Gods fabricated Sita Devi. She was not born a human but rather rose from the earth in her perfect form. So, Ravana wanted to have her for his queen but the rest is the story of Ramayan – the victory of the Gods over Demons of excessive power and arrogance.
Ravana, despite all his knowledge and wisdom and the dire consequences predicted by his beloved Queen Mandodari – dared to kidnap Sita Devi, then Queen of Ram Bhagwan. As the Gods hoped, Ravana persisted on his path to complete destruction of himself and his powerful country.
So today we celebrate Diwali as the victory of good over demons of lust, power, arrogance and more that Ravana embodied in the end. In Northern India little is known of all the virtues of Ravana.
Other Worshippers at Kulpakji Temple
We met other worshippers from Chennai (Madras).
A very lively and high energy lady in her 90s sat next to me for breakfast. She has been visiting the temple all her life. Her family travels from Chennai to Kolunapaka every month by train and said its a very convenient journey. Maybe convenience is reletive.
Walking around the temple grounds looking for a restroom, we started chatting with some women. It turns out their have a bus service from Hyderabad to Kolunapaka. Every Poornima, people signup for the trip. They leave Hyderabad bright and early. Arrive to the temple, have a breakfast, shower and rest in the Kulpakji
These groups come in large numbers, with men, women, kids and the elderly. It looked quite chaotic to get everyone fed, showered and dressed for pooja. Despite the commotion, the family was generous to let us use their restroom.