Jainism (4 of 5) – Shri Samved Shikharji

Shikharji (शिखरजी), (Parasnath Hill), Giridih district, Jharkhand,India, is a Jain pilgrimage site,[1]believed to be the place where twenty of the twenty four Tirthankaras along with many other saints attained Nirvana[2][3]

Quick facts: Coordinates:, Name …

Shikharji

Jain Temples at Parasnath Hills, Shikarji

Jain Temples at Parasnath Hills, Shikarji

Shikharji is located in Jharkhand

Shikharji

Shikharji

Location within Jharkhand

Coordinates:

23.9611°N 86.1371°E

Name

Devanagari:

शिखरजी

Sanskrit transliteration:

Śikharjī

Location

Country:

India

State/province:

Jharkhand

District:

Giridih

Elevation:

1,350 m (4,429 ft)

Architecture and culture

Important festivals:

parushan

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Etymology

Tonk of 1008, Parasnath Bhagvan, Shikharji

Trail map showing tonks on Parasnath Hill

Shrines at Shikharji

Shrine to Parshvanath

Jal mandir

Shikharji (Śikharji) means venerable peak. The site is also called Sammed Śikhar or Sammet Shikhar, meaning thepeak of concentration because it is a place where twenty of twenty-fourTirthankaras attained a state of mokṣathrough meditative concentration. The word Parasnath is derived fromParshvanatha, the twenty-third Tirthankara of Jains, who also attained nirvana at the site.

Geography

Shikarji is located in an inland part of rural east India. It lies on NH 2, the Delhi-Kolkata highway in a section called the Grand Trunk road.[4] Shikharji rises to 4,429 feet (1,350 m) making it the highest mountain in Jharkhand state. [5]

History

The earliest reference to Shikharji as a tirth (place of pilgrimage) is found in theJñātṛdhārmakātha, one of the twelve core texts of Jainism: at Shikharji, Mallinātha, the nineteenth Jina practiced samadhi. Shikharji is also mentioned in the Pārśvanāthacarita, a twelfth century biography of Pārśva.

The popularity of Shikharji as a site of pilgrimage followed that of Vulture Peak,Bihār, where it is believed Sariputraattained enlightenment.

Bihar state acquired Shikharji under the Bihar Land Reforms Act leaving the rights of Jains in doubt. Use of Shikharji as a tourist destination also impacts on the religious beliefs of the Jain. Sports such as paragliding and parasailing may take place at Shikharji. [6]

Approach

The pilgrimage to Shikharji is a round trip of 30 kilometre through the Madhuban forest. The section from Gandharva Nala stream to the summit is the most sacred to Jains. The pilgrimage is made on foot or by a doli’(palanquinpalkhi or litter) carried by adoli wallah along a concrete paved track. Along the track are shrines to each of the twenty revered Tirthankaras and vendors of tea, coffee, water, fruits and snacks. There is a option for parikrama of whole Parasnath Hill of 54km. The pathway of parikrama is throughout the forest and is only for walking.

Temples

The temple at Shikharji is a new construction with some parts dating to the eighteenth century. However, the idol itself is very old. Sanskrit inscriptions at the foot of the image date to 1678 AD. At the base of Shikharji is a temple to Bhomiyaji (Taleti). On the walls of theJain Temple at the village of Madhuban, there is a mural painting depicting all the temples on Parasnath Hill. Temples along the track include,

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