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Country  India
State Karnataka
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)

Humbaj (Kannada: ಹಂಬಜ) (better known as Humcha or Hamchawadi) is a hamlet located in Shimoga district in the Indian state of Karnataka. It is famous for being home to an ancient temple of Goddess Padmavati, and to the Humbaj Matha (seminary/monastery), an important institution of the Jain community. Other notable highlights of the place are a lake that reputedly never dries up and a tree that likewise always remains green.

The Jain Matha at Hombuj

The Bhattaraka seat at Humcha was founded in the 8th century AD, during the reign of Jinadatta Rai, founder of the ruling dynasty of Santar. In 1048 AD, the Mahamandaleshwara Chandarayarus made a donation to a Bhattaraka of Balagara-gana at Balligame near Banavasi in present-day Karnataka. Thus, the Bhattaraka seat at Humcha may be one of the oldest of its kind.

The most widespread Bhattaraka order has historically been the MulaSangh-NandiSangh-BalatkaraGana-SaraswatiGachchha (MNBS) order. It has seats at Surat, Idar, Ajmer, Jaipur, Chittor, Nagaur, Delhi, Gwalior, Chanderi, Sironj and many other places. There are perhaps hundreds of thousands of Tirthankara idols, spread across the country from Surat to Decca (in Bangladesh), bearing inscriptions mentioning this order. Most of these idols were installed by the Bhattarakas of this order in the past 7-8 centuries. Many of these Bhattarakas were great scholars and prolific authors.

The ancient institution at Humcha is the original home of the MNBS order. It is headed by Bhattaraka Devendrakirti. He is the only existing Bhattaraka of the MNBS order, since all the Bhattaraka seats in north India became extinct in the early part of the 20th century. Several Jain organizations are run by the institute at Humcha.

See also

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