Looking for a unique experience in Delhi that combines spirituality and bird-watching?
Then a visit to the Sri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir, or the ‘Red Temple’, is a must. This ancient temple was built in 1658 and renovated in the 19th century, and it’s dedicated to the 23rd Jain Tirthankara, Parshvanath.
You’ll be awed by the stunning red sandstone structure and the intricate carvings and frescoes inside.
But that’s not all. The temple is also home to the Jain Birds Hospital, which treats avian patients for free. You’ll see all kinds of birds here, from sparrows to pigeons to koels, and you’ll be impressed by the efficient workers who take special care of them. The hospital even has an ICU and a special treatment ward. And the best part? Every Saturday, all the treated and healthy birds are set free to fly away to their freedom.
There’s no entry fee, so it won’t cost you a thing to experience the peace and serenity of this beautiful temple. And if you’re lucky, you might just catch one of the many festivals celebrated here, such as Paryushan or Deepawali.
The temple’s history is just as fascinating as its architecture. It was originally built with the permission of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in the Dariba Gali locality for Jain merchants, who acquired three prominent statues of Jain deities. Later, in the early 19th century, Raja Harsukh Rai made some modifications to the temple and added a royal shikhara, making it known as the “Naya Mandir” or new temple.
If you’re interested in Jain culture and religion, don’t forget to check out the tiny bookstore in the temple complex, which sells literature and accessories related to Jainism from around the world.
And if you’re looking for a unique way to experience Delhi, a visit to the Sri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir and Jain Birds Hospital is sure to delight and inspire you.