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शिखरजी / Śhikharjī (Hindi)
Jain Temples at Shikarji, (Parasnath hills)
|Location||Giridih, Jharkhand, India|
|Elevation||1,365 m (4,478 ft)|
Shikharji (Śikharjī), Giridih district, Jharkhand, India, is located on Parasnath hill, the highest mountain in the state of Jharkhand. It is the most important Jain Tirtha (pilgrimage site) for the Jains, believed to be the place where twenty of the twenty-four Jain tirthankaras along with many other monks attained Moksha, according to Nirvana Kanda and other texts.. Its distance to cover is 23 kms by walk and takes approximately to climb up and down the hill. If a short route is taken it takes approx 12 hours to complete. .
Shikharji means the "venerable peak". The site is also called Sammed Śikhar or Sammet Shikhar "peak of concentration." because it is a place where twenty of twenty-four Tirthankaras attained Moksha through meditation. The word "Parasnath" is derived from Parshvanatha, the twenty-third Jain tirthankara, who was one of those who is believed to have attained Moksha at the site.
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. Shikharji rises to 4,429 feet (1,350 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. Shikharji is also mentioned in the Pārśvanāthacarita, a twelfth century biography of Pārśva.
Jharkhand 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.
The pilgrimage to Shikharji is a round trip of 27 km 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 litter or doli carried by a doliwallah along a concrete paved track. Along the track are shrines to each of the twenty four tirthankaras and vendors of tea, coffee, water, fruits and snacks.
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. 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. On August 13, 2012, the world's first to-scale complete replication of Shikharji was opened in Siddhachalam in New Jersey over 120 acres of hilly terrain. Called Shikharji at Siddhachalam, it has become an important place of pilgrimage for the Jain diaspora. There is a small scale replica of Shikharji at Dādābadī, Mehrauli.
The nearest railway station named "Parasnath Station" is situated in Isri Bazar, Dumri, Jharkhand. Its around 25 km from Madhuban, at the base of Shikharji. Parasnath station is situated on Grand Chord, which is part of Howrah-Gaya-Delhi line and Howrah-Allahabad-Mumbai line. Many long distance trains have halts at Parasnath Station. Daily connectivities to Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur, Ajmer, Kolkata, Patna, Allahbad, Kanpur, Jammutawi, Amritsar, Kalka etc. are available. Even 12301-12302 Howrah Rajdhani Express via Gaya Junction has a halt on Parasnath station which run 6 days in a week.
By Airway; Nearest airport is Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport, Durgapur (RDP ) West Bengal and 1 hour drive from airport.
Durgapur has direct flights from Kolkata and Delhi
"Save Shikharji" is a protest movement by Jain sects who are against the state's development plans for Shikharji. Jain community members have opposed the plans of the state government to improve the infrastructure in the hill to boost tourism as alleged attempts to commercialize the Shikharji hill. This movement is currently headed by Yugbhushan Surishwarji, and demands Shikharji Hill to be declared officially as a place of worship by Government of Jharkhand.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Shikharji.|
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- "On a spiritual odyssey – Hindustan Times Travel." Travel.hindustantimes.com 14 January 2011
- Hachette India (25 October 2013). Indiapedia: The All-India Factfinder. Hachette India. ISBN 978-93-5009-766-3.
- Balfour, Edward (1885), The Cyclopædia of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia, 3rd volume (Commercial, Industrial and Scientific, Products of the Mineral, Vegetable, and Animal Kingdoms, Useful Arts and Manufactures ed.), B. Quaritch, p. 141, retrieved 2017-10-02
- "Parasnath." Google Maps Accessed 23 April 2014.
- "Shikharji." Jharkhandtourism.in Accessed 26 May 2012
- Shikharji at Siddhachalam
- "Plot identified for helipad atop Parasnath Hill". Times of India. Jan 11, 2016. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
- "Jains protest plan to convert sacred hill into tourist centre". Retrieved 14 October 2018.