Jain temples are known for being some of the most highly decorated of any in India, and the Pareshnath Jain Temple in Kolkata (Calcutta) is one of the most resplendent. Built by art enthusiast Ray Badridas Bahadur in 1867, the temple interior is filled with intricately patterned marble, mirrors, stained glass, European chandeliers and gilded surfaces.
The pastel candy-colored buildings are subdivided into four smaller temples, set within a garden dotted with silvered statuary, fountains and mosaics. The main temple is dedicated to Sitalnathji, one of the 24 sages believed to have achieved Nirvana (tirthankaras) in the Jain religion, and houses an eternal flame in his honor.
The temple opens to non-Jains daily in the morning and afternoon with no admission charge. Give yourself an hour or two to stroll around the grounds and appreciate the detail while learning about a religion of which little is known in the Western world.