Jainas were prolific temple builders like the Hindus, and their sacred shrines and pilgrimage spots are to be found across the length and breadth of India except in the hills.
The oldest Jain pilgrimage sites are to be found in Bihar dating back to Mauryan times.
Udaigiri and Khandagiri caves are also old Jain sites which were built in 2nd century BCE by Kharvela kings.
In the Deccan, some of the most architecturally important Jain sites can be found in Ellora and Aihole. Karnataka also have Jain architectures around Sharavanbelagola. Here the statue of Lord Bahubali/Gomatehwara is the largest monolithic freestanding statue of the world. Jain architecture has an origin in its own style which is considered as more Turanian. The main feature of Jain buildings is the horizontal archway. Sittanvasal caves are also examples of old Jain paintings and architecture.
In Central India, Deogarh, Khajuraho, Chanderi and Gwalior have some excellent examples and Rajasthan and Gujarat are traditional strongholds.
Mount Abu in Rajasthan is known for the Dilwara temple dedicated to Jain tirthankaras. These were built in pure white marble and adorned with exquisite sculpture. These were built under the patronage of Solanki rulers. They are notable for a simplistic exterior in contrast with the exuberant marble interiors with rich sculptural decoration.
The great Jain pilgrimage site in the Shatrunjay hills near Palitana in Kathiawar, Gujarat, is imposing with scores of temples clustered together.
Jain sculptures are mainly shown in either Yogic mudra or standing position with symbols of their teerthankars unlike Buddha which is shown in various other positions like reclining also.
North Indian Jaina architecture style – The shikhra or tower or the vimana is a common to both Jaina and Hindu architecture in Northern India. The image in a Jain temple is always placed in a square cell and receives its light only from the doorway.
South Indian Jaina architecture style – Jain Architecture in South India is divided into bettus and bastis. The bettus contain images of Gomata Raja. Bastis are ordinary Jaina temples dedicated to the Tirthankars and those at Shravanabelagola are best specimens of Jaina architecture in India. They are of the Dravidian style and the towers are surmounted with a small dome. Jaina temple is always twelve pillared here.