The Jain influence in the culture and life of Sultan Bathery is very obvious and the history of Jain migration to the region starts from 12th century. In the 16th century too there was a major migration of the Jain community to the region and they came here mainly as traders, managing the cash crops. Now there are only a few Jain families which remain here and they belong to the Digambar sect, locally known as Gowdas.
The legacy of the earlier Jain settlers is revealed through the presence of Jain temples here. Most of them are now in ruins except two – one at Puthangadi (which lies about 20 km from Kalpetta on the Panamaram to Nadavayal Route) and the other at Sulthan Bathery. The beautifully carved pillars and mural paintings of the Puthangadi temple often lure tourists and the structure and ambience there exudes a feel of history.
Architectural peculiarities of Bathery Jain temple
The Jain temple at Sultan Bathery is believed to have been built in 13th century. The architecture of the temple has strong influences of the then Vijayanagar architectural style and it is made wholly of granite.
The carved square pillars built on a raised platform holds the stone slab roof and intricate cornices on all the sides and the exquisite carvings on the pillars are a connoisseur’s delight. A square granite slab with a carving of Mahavir Jain can be seen in the inner sanctorum of the temple which is surrounded by an open verandah. There is a raised platform made of granite in front of the main entrance. This too holds carved pillars and their fluted columns end without any crown stones. The surrounding grounds too are paved in granite.
The temple has an interesting history. It first served as a shrine, and then became an important centre of commercial activity. Later in 18th century, it became a dumping ground of ammunitions by Tipu Sultan.
|Ananthanatha Swami Temple near Kalpetta|