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Sonagiri, Madhya Pradesh Overview

With a sense of spirituality spreading all across the town and the stunning architecture of the Jain temples reflecting the rich heritage, Sonagiri is a place to spend some quality time in Madhya Pradesh, and to soak in its true essence. Sonagiri has at least a hundred Jain temples, small and big and with excellent architecture, scattered all around the town, all of which are top-rated destinations among Jain monks and devotees.

If you translate Sonagiri to English, it stands for ‘The Mountain of Gold’ or ‘The Golden Peak. But the town of Sonagiri, located 60 kilometres away from Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh, is neither a mountain nor is it famous for gold. What it is well known for is a rich heritage of Jainism and numerous shrines to speak for its legacy. Sonagiri might not be one of those places which you will find in big bold letters in every itinerary. It is also not a place where you can expect an endless list of attractions. However, Sonagiri is something very special and unique in itself.

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Sonagiri

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The Temples of Sonagiri

Among all the temples, 77 are with high spires and rise high above the city like many towers. Among them, the 57th one is the most popular and most visited one, referred to as the Sonagiri Temple. This is also the largest temple in the town – you can see the artistic 11 feet tall spire of the temple above all others. This is the shrine which houses the much-revered idol of Lord Chandraprabhu, along with statues of Lord Parsvnath and Lord Sheetalnath.

This temple is the site where most of Chandrababu's preaching sessions took place, and his eminent disciple, Nangang Kumar and fifteen million more Jain devotees attained enlightenment.

Sonagiri Temple
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The spiritual significance of the Sonagiri Temple is reinstated by the 43 feet tall Manstambh, meaning the Column of Dignity. Because of such a rich history and frequent visits of ascetic saints, this temple is a very important destination of pilgrimage for the followers of Jainism. There is an air of silence, serenity and spirituality which sets the perfect ambience for regular meditation.

In the premises of many of these temples, you will find groups of parrots and an occasional pair peacock and peahen as well.

The one speciality of the temples of Sonagiri is that they are mostly stark white. You will find the walls of the temples covered in Om and Swastika symbols as well as other religious signs left behind by hundreds of thousands of devotees over the years.

How to Reach Sonagiri

Sonagiri lies on the road that connects Datia and Gwalior. The town can be easily reached from Jhansi as well, which is around 45 kilometres away. Sonagiri has a local train station, which can be reached by any train on the Agra-Jhansi line from Datia, Gwalior or Jhansi.

The nearest airports to Sonagiri are in Bhopal and Gwalior, both of which take more than 7 hours slightly from the town. Sonagiri is a common inclusion in Central India tourism, and for that reason, cabs and rented cars are easy to find to go to Sonagir.

The beautiful destination - Sonagiri
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Sonagiri might not be one of those places which you will find in big bold letters in every itinerary. It is also not a place where you can expect an endless list of attractions. However, Sonagiri is something very special and unique in itself.

The Legacy of Sonagiri

The history of Jainism in Sonagiri can be discerned from the many texts relating to the faith. According to those texts, the eight Teerthankar, Chandraprabhu is the numen of the town of Sonagiri. The Samavasara or preaching session of Chandraprabhu took place here in Sonagiri on seventeen different occasions over the years of his presence. There is a rock cut statue of Chandraprabhu here in the main temple, dating back to 5th-6th century, which further cements the importance of this saint in the establishment of Sonagiri as a Jain pilgrimage.

Since then, this place is considered sacred by Digambar Jains and has been visited by throngs of Jain devotees every year, who practice austerity here to achieve moksha or salvation.

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