Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


In Jainism, a Tirthankara ("Fordmaker") is a human who achieved enlightenment, became a Jina, and whose religious teachings have formed the canon of Jainism; although not Gods, statues of Tirthankaras are found in temples. Each Tirthankara is associated with an animal, object, or other such symbol.

Tirthankaras are so-named because they were the founders of "tirtha". which were communities of Jainists said to act as a "ford across the river of human misery".

All the Tirthankaras are said to have been princes, who adopted asceticism; except for the 19th, which Svetambaras believe to have been a woman. Many scholars believe that only the last two Tirthankaras actually existed.

List of Tirthankaras