Ferozepur, Feb 19 : Jain Swetambar Temple in Zira town in Punjab's Ferozepur District is visited by Sikhs and Hindus, besides Jains.
For the villagers, the temple is looked upon as a place of worship where one can offer prayers anytime.
"Sikhs have bonds with people of all religions, including Muslims and Hindus. Though we pray in a gurudwara, we also visit temple and mosques," said Swaran Singh, a villager.
A few Jain families in Zira look after the temple, but pilgrims and saints of various faiths and religions visit this temple.
"We have visited Gujarat, Maharastra, Saurashtra, Rajasthan and Punjab. Punjab holds a special attraction for us. One gets the true picture of love and affection here. Be it a Sikh, a Jain or a non-Jain, all meet together like brothers and sisters. Forgetting caste and religion, each one behaves like a human being. Each one here spreads love among the people considering it as a duty," said Sadhvi Priya Dharma, a Jain guru.
The temple was constructed in 1890. The paintings on the walls of the temple speak of the ancient Jain culture and history. It is named after the 23rd Tirthankra Parsavnathji Maharaj. The main idol is believed to be one of most sacred and ancient.
Vijayanand Suriji Maharaj, the first guru of the 'Mandir Margi' sect of the Swetambars was born here in 1837. He advocated the worship of idols.
Maharaj, who was also a scholar poet and a social reformer of his time, performed the holy 'partishthas' ceremony at this temple in 1896 A.D.
While the Jains make up only 0.4 per cent of the country's population, their contribution to culture and society in India have been considerable. By Ravi Khandelwal