Jain Temples at Parasnath Hills, Shikarji
|Elevation:||1,350 m (4,429 ft)|
|Architecture and culture|
Shikharji (Śikharji) means venerable peak. The site is also called Sammed Śikhar or Sammet Shikhar, meaning the peak of concentration because it is a place where twenty of twenty-four Tirthankaras attained a state of mokṣa through meditative concentration. The word Parasnath is derived from Pārśva, the twenty-third Tirthankara to attain nirvana at the site.
Shikarji is located in an inland part of rural east India. It lies on AH 1, the Delhi-Kolkata highway in a section called the Grand Trunk road. Shikharji rises to 1,350 feet (410 m) making it the highest mountain in Jharkhand state. 
The earliest reference to Shikharji as a tirth (place of pilgrimage) is found in the Jñātṛdhārmakātha, 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.
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. 
The pilgrimage to Shikharji is a round trip of 27 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' (palanquin, palkhi or litter) carried by a doli 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.
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 the Jain Temple at the village of Madhuban, there is a mural painting depicting all the temples on Parasnath Hill. Temples along the track include,
- Jal Mandir
In Jainism, the building of replica temples is seen as auspicious and worthwhile. There is a small scale replica of Shakharji at Dadabari, New Delhi. A full size replica was opened on 13 August 2012 in the US.
Nearest railway station named "Parasnath Station" is situated in Isri bazar, Dumri Jharkhand. Its around 25km from Madhuban. Parasnath station is situated on Delhi-Howrah Grand Chord via Kanpur, Allahbad, Mugalsarai, Gaya, Asansol. Many long distance have halt at Parasnath Station. Daily connectivities to Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur, Ajmer, Kolkata, Patna, Allahbad, Kanpur, Jammutavi, Amritsar, Kalka etc are available. Even 12301-12302 Howrah Rajdhani Express via Gaya Junction has a halt on Parasnath sttaion which run 6days in a week.
- Video on Madhuban, Giridih Jharkhand
- Description of Shikharji Tonks
- Photos of Parasnath hill
- Giridih-Tourism official website
- Jain V. "Hikharji." Herenow4u.net 15 April 2011 Accessed 26 May 2012
- "On a spiritual odyssey – Hindustan Times Travel." Travel.hindustantimes.com 14 January 2011 Accessed 7 July 2012
- "Indiapedia, Jainism." Hachette UK, 2013 ISBN 9350097664, 9789350097663.
- "Parasnath." Google Maps Accessed 23 April 2014.
- "Shikharji." Jharkhandtourism.in Accessed 26 May 2012
- "Adventure Tourism in Jharkhand." Deptartment of Tourism, Government of Jharkhand. Accessed 9 March 2012
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