Located on the Parasnath Hill, the highest mountain in the state of Jharkhand, in an inland part of rural east India, of the Giridih district of Jharkhand, Shikharji is one of the holiest pilgrimage sites for Jains. It is believed that here is where twenty of the twenty-four Jain Tirthankaras had attained moksha (in other words, freedom from the cycle of rebirth), along with several other monks which makes it one of the most important and holy sites for Jain Tirthas. Shikharji rises to a height of 1,350 m thus making it the highest mountain in the state.
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History of Shikharji
The word "Shikharji" translates to "vulnerable peak", it is also regarded as the "peak on concentration".The Shikharji temple is a deeply religious site for Jains as it is believed that twenty of the twenty-four Jain Tirthankaras had attained moksha at this location. The idol in the temple dates back to the 18th century, but some portions of the temple are newly constructed. The pilgrimage to the temple is also regarded as an important part of one's religious life.
Where is Shikharji?
Shikharji is located on the Parasnath hill which is the highest mountain in Jharkhand. It is located in an inland part of rural east India, in the district of Giridih. The height of Shikharji is 1,350 m which makes it the highest mountain in the state of Jharkhand. It lies on NH 2, the Kolkata-Delhi highway, on Grand Trunk Road.
How To Reach Shikharji
To make the pilgrimage, the base town is the town of Madhuban, and the forest here, the Madhuban forest is the one pilgrims must cross to reach the mountain temple. There are several other ways to reach too. The nearest railway station is Parasnath station which is about 23 km away from the base town. The closest major airports include the airports of Ranchi, Patna and Kolkata.
One may avail NH 2 to reach the base town. If one is coming from Delhi, it is about 1,150 km, and from Kolkata, it is about 350 km. Some of the closest major towns and cities include Kolkata, Asansol, Dhanbad, Ranchi, Patni, among others. One must reach the mountain temple via the Madhuban forest, and one may reach there using the Grand Trunk Road if the trip is availed through the National Highways.
What to Expect at Shikharji - Attractions & Things to Do
Not only does the religious sentiments cause pilgrims to make the perilous journey to the mountain temple, but also the gorgeous inlaid work on the walls of the temples and the murals present there. There are several inscriptions in Sanskrit that makes it beautiful.
Apart from the beauty and serenity the mountain temple provides, tourists may also enjoy adventure sports such as paragliding and parasailing. The section between the summit of the mountain and the Gandharva Nala stream is a very religious and holy place for Jains. The idol present in the main temple dates back to the 18th century even if some portions of the temple is relatively newly constructed.
There are many temples at the foot of the Shikharji temple such as Bhomiyaji temple, Ganadhara temple, Kunthunatha temple, Rishabhanatha temple to name a few. These temples are also frequented by tourists and pilgrims alike. The serenity available at the top of the mountain along with the peace the temple provides makes the journey to the temple as well as the entire trip all the more worth the while and trouble. The natural beauty and the profound historical significance make for an unforgettable trip down history's lane.
There are many temples apart from the main temple that one may visit which are just as beautiful and mesmerising. Some are present around or at the foot of the central mountain temple. Some of these temples include Varishen, Sumatinatha, Shantinatha, Mahavira, Suparshvanatha, Shreyanasanatha, Pushpadanta, Padmaprabha, Ganadhara, Kunthunatha, Rishabhanatha, Chandraprabha, Naminatha, to name a few. The pilgrimage is also part of the attraction of this mountain along with the natural beauty the hill and forest provides. Tourists may also avail activities such as adventure sports like parasailing and paragliding. Another close by places frequented by tourists includes the Gandharva Nala stream which is beautiful as well as auspicious for Jains.
The Shikharji temple on the Parasnath hill is a beautiful and serene location for the likes of the holy and the ones afflicted with wanderlust. It makes for an enriching heritage trip but also is a sacred and auspicious place for those who practice Jainism. Thus, this temple on the summit of a mountain is a must-visit place for those who enjoy aesthetic architectural beauty and history, and for those who want to achieve religious sanctity.