Jain holy days
Images of Mahavira are paraded through the streets © Mahavira Jayanti
This festival celebrates the day of Mahavira's birth.
Jains will gather in temples to hear readings of the teachings of Mahavira.
The word 'Paryushana' means 'to stay in one place', which signifies a time of reflection and repentance for the Jain devotee. Originally this was primarily a monastic practice.
This festival consists of eight days of intensive fasting, repentance and pujas. Often monks will be invited to give teachings from the Jain scriptures.
Digambra Jain Paryushana celebrations at a temple in Bulawadi, Mumbai © Divali
This festival is celebrated throughout all of India.
In Jainism it has special significance, as on this day in 527 BCE (according to Svetambara tradition) that Mahavira gave his last teachings and attained ultimate liberation.
On Divali parents will often give sweets to their children, and lamps are lit all over India. Some very religious Jains will also fast for the two days of Divali, following the example of Mahavira.
Following Divali in October/November is an important festival called Kartak Purnima. This is considered to be an auspicious time for pilgrimage to the sacred sites associated with the Jain religion.
This is a day-long observance of fasting and silence. Jains also meditate on the five great beings.