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ANUPAMA (Thirteenth Century)


Anupama is remembered in the legend surrounding the building of the Jain temples at Mount Abu and Dilwara temples. She is said to have advised her husband and his brother to use a cache of buried treasure they found to build temples at Shatrunjaya and Girnar.

Anupama was the daughter of a merchant, Dharaniga, from the town of Chandravati at the foot of Mount Abu. She was married to Tejapala, who with his elder brother, Vasthupala, was minister to King Viradhavala of Dholka. They were wealthy Jains and legend has it that when they went on a journey to bury some of their wealth, their digging unearthed yet more. They asked Anupama, whom they went for advice on all matters, what they should do with this treasure. She replied that it must be placed on the top of a mountain, so that it might not fall into the hands of others, as it had fallen into theirs. Thus began the building of the Vimala Vasahi temple to the twenty-second Jain tirthankara Neminatha and other temples on Mount Abu and Mount Girnar. The entire complex of Jain temples on these mountains was built between 800 and 1200 CE, but the ones built by Anupama are the most famous.

True to Anupama’s prediction, no other of the family’s public works, of which there were many, has survived. Anupama herself was learned and accomplished. She was called the ‘shad-darshana-mata or the mother of the six philosophical systems for her impartial patronage of and interest in philosophy. She is said to have composed the Kankana-kavya. The Samara-rasu of Ambadevi-suri states that Tejapala and Vasthupala dug a lake on Mount Shatrunjaya in her memory.

After Anupama’s death Tejapala was grief-stricken. His family guru rebuked him for such an unmanly show of grief, reminding him that, when he had been newly married to Anupama, he had been so disappointed at her plain and unremarkable looks that he had offered rich gifts and food to the Kshetrapala (head priest at the temple) to annul the marriage.
 
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