Weather :

Timings : 6:00 AM - 11:00 AM (Entry restricted after 11:00 AM)

Time Required : 2-3 hrs

Entry Fee : No entry fee

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Muktagiri, Chikhaldara Overview

Muktagiri is famous pilgrimage centre dedicated to Jainism located in Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh border in the central part of Indian. It is a collection of 52 temples situated on the Satpuda Mountain ranges amidst lush greenery very close to a breathtaking waterfall. The picturesque location is mind-stirring, especially during monsoons when the waterfall gushes with gallons of clear water and the vegetation is dense and verdant green. Since the temple complex is situated on a hill, devotees have to climb up the hill. There are about 350 steps to reach the top. It may sound a bit exhausting to climb so many steps, but once you are up there, the panoramic view of the entire complex under the lovely skies is sure to uplift you with a sense of experience like never before.

Muktagiri is also known as Mendhagiri or the Digambar Jain Siddha Kshetra Muktagiri. It is best explored with by foot making it a hot spot for people searching for trekking trails in the region. Just pack your essentials, wear your trekking gear and get going. A halt at the waterfall is advisable to rest before you proceed to the magnificent temple complex. The ones who are not in a physical condition to climb the stairs can take palkhi (palanquin) services from the base of the hill at a minimal cost.

Many followers believe that many miracles have happened here and hence come here to attain peace. Some religious texts state that many saints have attained peace and salvation at Muktagiri. The divine vibe of the temple complex won't go unnoticed, and you are sure to feel a step closer to Nirvana.

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History of Muktagiri

Muktagiri is believed to be named so after there was a shower of pearls when Bhagwan Sheetalnath, the 10th Teerthankar arrived at the location of the temple complex. Moti and Mukta mean Pearls, hence the name Muktagiri. Another legend explains why the place is also called Mendhagiri. It is said that a saint was meditating near the waterfall when a sheep (Mendha) slipped and fell near the saint. To relieve the sheep from the pain, he chanted the Namokar Mantra upon which the sheep is said to have attained peace and become Dev. This avatar of the sheep offered his prayers to the saint and showered pearls on the hill. Because the sheet attained eternity here, the place is also known as Mendhagiri. In fact, during the Hindu months of Ashtami, Chaturdashi and Poornima a saffron shower still occurs in the region.

The Cave Mandir or the Guha Mandir in the temple complex is said to have built by Shrenik Bimbasar who was the emperor of Magadh about 2500 years ago. King Shrenik was a believer of Bhagwan Mahaveer. About 1500 years later, the King of Achalpur, Ail Shripal developed the region as a Teertha Kshetra. The Kalamkar Family of Sultanpur in Achalpur has been managing the temple complex for the past 200 years. In 1923, Nathusa Kalamkar purchased the temple complex from Mr Kharpade who was charging a surcharge to visit or worship at the temple. Nathusa Kalamkar also built the Mahavir Temple and the Dharamshala.

Miracles at Muktagiri

Believers visit the temple complex of Muktagiri from all over the world as it is famous for the miracles that happen during the saffron shower. They especially visit to offer their prayers to the idol of Bhagwan Parshvanath in the 26th temple on the hill. It is believed that doing so will relieve people suffering from diseases and illness. Many have also observed many animals from the jungle surrounding the temple visit the temple during the saffron shower. They do so to get rid of their natural violent tendencies. For many years, none of the animals has ever harmed any human.

Layout of Muktagiri

There are two different routes maintained at Muktagiri to climb and to descend the hill. The oldest temple is believed to be the Mendhagiri Temple which is the 10th temple in the Kshetra. This is a cave temple that is about 16 feet tall and 16 feet wide with carvings of Arihant and 72 idols of the Tirthankaras. The main temple is the 26th temple dedicated to Bhagwan Parshvanath. The idol of Bhagwan Parshvanath stands underneath an idol of a 100 serpent-hooded idol in between two elephant sculptures.

The 40th Temple is an ancient temple that has been dug into the mountain. The walls of this temple have exquisite carvings and beautiful pillars. Out of the remaining temples, two are dedicated to Lord Aadinath, one is dedicated to Mahavir, and the remaining are dedicated to the remaining Jain Tirthankaras and are grouped as Temple Number 1 to 4, 5 to 9, 11 to 26, 27 to 30, 31 to 33, 34, 35, 36 to 49, 50 to 52.

Muktagiri Temple Directions

Since the temples are grouped and situated in different areas on the hill, devotees need to follow the directions marked on the steps in orange colour. Some temple passages are not well lit, and devotees need to carry a torch while walking through, while some are extremely narrow and small. Also, the 51st and the 52nd temple can be accessed from inside the 50th shrine. The descend back to the base of the hill begins from temple 52. This path is also very dark. It is advisable that people descend in groups along with a guide to reach the base through the correct path.

Best Time To Visit Muktagiri

The best time to visit Muktagiri is between July and February. Between July and September, the region receives an average annual rainfall of about 1,300 mm, however, the natural vegetation on the hills surrounding Muktagiri are lush green making it a mesmerizing trekking destination.

Stay Near Muktagiri

Muktagiri Dharamshala is an affordable option for a stay while visiting the temple complex. They provide clean rooms, basic amenities and wholesome vegetarian food to all the guests. The facility has about 70 deluxe rooms with attached bathroom, a hall which can be used for Pravachan, a library with books on literature, a dining hall and electricity backup.

Tips For Visiting Muktagiri

1. It is advisable to travel in groups and avoid exploring in the region after dark.
2. If travelling during the monsoon season, carry rain gear.
3. Carry a change of clothes if required, enough water and snacks. Also, carry a first aid kit if trekking to the temple.
4. Since the temple has to be climbed barefooted, reaching it is difficult for the kids and elderly.
5. Palanquin services are available at the base of the climb at the cost of around INR 500 per person.
6. There is a small canteen in the temple premises which serves delectable Jain food at very low prices.

How To Reach Muktagiri

Muktagiri is very well accessible by road from Betul, Madhya Pradesh. Betul is just about 99 kilometres from the site. Tourists can hail public transport and travel to Muktagiri via NH 548C. The temple complex is also accessible by road from Paratwada, Amravati in Maharashtra which is just 18 kilometres from the site. Public transport is readily available from Amravati to reach Muktagiri via NH 548C.

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