<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Back in 1995, it took the determination of just two devotees to build an entire temple complex. Today, the Govandi Jain Temple has become a pilgrimage of sorts, attracting devotees from across the country. The big draw at the temple is the 2300-year-old idol of Neminath Bhagwan, the 22nd Tirthankara of Jains, which was sourced from a cave temple in Patan, Gujarat at the time of consecration of the temple.Till 1995, a makeshift prayer hall stood at the spot near Govandi station, when Roopchand Rathod set out to give Govandi’s 50-odd Jain families their own temple. Rathod contributed the land for the temple and he found a benefactor in Gowalia Tank-based Chinubhai Chimanlal Shah who alone offered Rs 25 lakh to build the temple. “The bhoomi poojan of the temple was done on the morning of December 6, 1992 — the very day the Babri Masjid was demolished,” says Manoj Rathod, son of late Roopchand RathodAfter months of scouting for the perfect idol under the guidance of Jain Acharya Yashodevsuriji Maharaj, they found a historic idol of Neminath Bhagwan at Patan in Gujarat. “The idol, excavated from an underground cave, belongs to the Sampratikaal Raja’s era according to the Jain philosophy and was donated by the Patan Jain Sangh for Govandi temple,” says Kalpesh Shah, son of late-Chinubhai, adding that this is the only ancient idol in the city. Emperor Samprati was the grandson of Emperor Ashoka, who ruled during 200BC and built thousands of Jain temples across his kingdom, including temples at Viramgam and Palitana.Every other Jain temple in the city has contemporary idols, carved by artisans from Jaipur.Besides the idol of Neminath Bhagwan, Govandi Jain temple also houses an idol of Sankeshwar Parshwanath and an idol of Bheru Bhagwan, which has gained a reputation of fulfilling wishes of the devotees. “It’s become a legend of sorts that if one prays before Bheruji’s idol for five consecutive Sundays, their wish gets fulfilled,” says Rathod, adding that the faith of the devotees has been increasing each passing year.

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Trithankara devotees flock to 2300-year-old Bheru Bhagwan idol