Santosh Kumar Singh
(Sr. Microsoft Dynamics Axapta Technical,Mumbai)
See this - http://www.pujas.com/Jainism-History.html
It speaks about Tirthankars and Parshva and Mahavir.
Lead Editor: Ask Experts, ISC
The Jain religion is one of the oldest religions in the world. The Jain religion was also known as Shraman Dharma, Nirgranth Dharma, etc. It is not an offshoot of any other religion but is an independent religion recognized by these various names during different time periods. It was has been taught by Tirthankaras also called Jina. A follower of a Jina is called a Jain and the religion followed by Jains is called Jainism.
Jainism doesn't have a single founder. The truth has been revealed at different times by a tirthankara, which means a teacher who 'makes a ford' i.e. shows the way. Other religions call such a person a "prophet".
As great omniscient teachers, Tirthankaras accomplished the highest spiritual goal of existence and then teach others how to achieve it.
In what Jains call the "present age" there have been 24 tirthankaras - although there is little evidence for the existence of most of these.
Tirthankaras were not founders of any religion, but great omniscient teachers who lived at various times in man's cultural history. They accomplished the highest spiritual goal of existence and then taught their contemporaries the way to reach it by crossing over to the safe shores of spiritual purity.
Each new tirthankara preaches the same basic Jain philosophy, but they give the Jain way of life subtly different forms in order to suit the age and the culture in which they teach.
The 24 tirthankaras during this present age are:
Adinatha, Ajita, Sambhava, Abhinandana, Sumati, Padmaprabha, Suparshva, Chandraprabha, Suvidhi, Shital, Shreyansa, Vasupujya, Vimala, Ananta, Dharma, Shanti, Kunthu, Ara, Malli, Muni Suvrata, Nami, Nemi, Parshva and Mahavira.
Svetambara Jains believe that tirthankaras can be men or women, and say that Malli began her life as a Princess; but Digamber Jains believe that women can't be tirthankaras and that Malli was a man.