Parasnath Hill – A Pilgrimage Place In Giridih, Jharkhand

Here is a perfect weekend getaway for you- Parasnath Hill.

Jainism followers believe in Parasnath hills and visit it more often as it has a Jain temple at the hilltop. However, youth enjoy trekking through narrow paths of hills. Once you reach the destination, there is a beautiful view with lovely clouds. Parasnath consists of temples on the hill that are as old as 2000 years old. It is known that the place was inhabited in ancient times. However, some of the temples are of more recent origin.

Importance of the Place

Shikharji (Śikharji) means the venerable peak. The site is also called Sammed Śikhar or Sammet Shikhar, meaning the peak of concentration, because it is a place where 20 of 24 Tirthankaras attained a state of mokṣha through meditative concentration. Names of the 20 Tirthankaras who attained moksha here are Ajitnath, Sambhavnath, Abhinandan Prabhu, Sumatinath, Padmprabhu, Suparshwanath, Chandraprabhu, Suvidhinath, Sheetalnath, Shreyansnath, Vimalnath, Anantnath, Dharmnath, Shantinath, Kunthunath, Arnath, Mallinath, Munisuvrat Swami, Neminath and Parshwanath. The word Parasnath is derived from Parshwanatha, the twenty-third Tirthankara of Jains, who also attained nirvana at the site. The earliest reference to Shikharji as a place of pilgrimage is found in the Jñātṛdhārmakātha, one of the twelve core texts of Jainism: at Shikharji, Mallinātha, the nineteenth Jina practised samadhi. Shikharji is also mentioned in the Pārśvanāthacarita, a twelfth-century biography of Pārśva.

It has been made accessible since the construction of a road in 1838. Significantly the oldest of the Jain temples appears to date only from AD 1775. Parasnath is the “Marang Buru ” or hill deity of the Santhals of Hazaribagh, Manbhum, Bankura and Santhal Parganas.They celebrate a hunting festival on the full moon day in Baisakh (mid-April).

In his book, Mahopadhyaya Lalitprabh Sagar Ji described Shikharji as follows: “When just one auspicious event of one Tirthankar can convert a place into a pilgrimage, it will be quite impossible for human intelligence to assess the holiness and power of that pilgrimage where as many as twenty Tirthankaras have lit-up the inextinguishable light of nirvana”.

Have a look at some of the major places to visit in Parasnath.

About Parasnath Temple

This temple is located at a distance of 63 kilometres from the city of Dhanbad and is situated in the city of Parasnath where there are many old Jain temples.The Parasnath Temple can be found on top of Parasnath Hill, which is also called the Samved Shikar and stands at a height of 4431 meters above sea level. You can reach the temple by road from Dhanbad.

The delicately carved stone sculpture of Parasnath points out that the deity was restored to the temple after being sealed in a wall of the nearby Tera Panthi Shrine for many decades.

About Parasnath Hills

Parasnath Hills as discussed above are a range of hills located in the Giridih district of Jharkhand. The highest peak is 1350 metres. It is one of the most important pilgrimage centres for Jains. They call it Sammed Sikhar. The hill is named after Parasnath, the 23rd Tirthankara. Twenty of the twenty-four Jain Tirthankaras attained salvation on this hill. According to some, nine Tirthankaras attained salvation on this hill.Both Digambar and Shwetambar sects of Jainism have their temples and shrines on this hill. Here there is a shrine (gumti or tuk) for each of them.

Things to take care of before starting your journey to Parasnath Hills:

  • Take some winter clothes, if you do trekking in winter. It gets pretty cold as the altitude increases.
  • Take water bottles. It’s a long and tiring trek, so you will feel thirsty for sure.
  • The path to the top is highly inclined, so stay mentally prepared. I would not suggest this trek for older people.

For going up to the top, it takes normally 5 hours covering approx. 13-14 km through a short route. It is good to start at 3 am in the morning. The walkway is cemented.

The trekking on the Parasnath hills is difficult but as you go higher and higher, there are some magnificent views which you can see and capture with your camera. You can find nature at its best while you keep climbing, there is an amazing blend of sky, clouds and hills all in one place.

1. Jain Museum

Jain Museum Madhuvan is a marvellous place to learn about Tirthankars, Saints and Munis of Jainism. It is located in Madhuvan town situated at the feet of Parasnath hills in Giridih district of Jharkhand India. It consists of many historic idols, a collection of postage stamps on Jain Tirthankaras, Jain architecture, literature and many more. It is a holy place for Jains. A lot of devotees and tourists arrive here in search of spiritual peace.

2. Jal Mandir

Jal Mandir is a work of art made out of white marble. Here you can find the merger of civil engineering and aesthetic sense to create poetry in stone. The artwork in the ceiling has lotus which is pink coloured. Even the gate, “Parshwa Sushil Dwar” is magnificent, where sculptures of mythological security persons and various religious symbols are depicted.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Parasnath is from October to March when the weather is pleasant. It is the time when you will not feel hot while going trekking or exploring the place.

Where to stay at Parasnath?

The Jains have provided rest houses at the foot of the hill at Madhuban. The food is strictly vegetarian at these places. Non-vegetarian food, even if brought from outside, is not allowed.

There is a dormitory at the foot of Parasnath, for which you have to take permission @ Rs50/- per head from the Bharatvarshiya Digamber Jain Teerth Kshetra Committee at Madhuban. This is especially for Jains who do the parikrama of “6 miles uphill, 6 miles parikrama and 6 miles downhill”. For the food in the evening, one has to reach Dak Bungalow by 4.30 pm. You will have hot water from early in the morning till 8 a.m., and food is served to only the pilgrims with staying permission.

There are some other lodges and hotels where you can stay at reasonable rates. You can find Parasnath tour packages to know more about food and hotels.

How to reach Parasnath?

By Road

Parasnath Hill is on Grand Trunk Road NH 2. The nearby place for reaching Parasnath is Ranchi 190 KM, Bokaro 40 KM, Jhumri Tileya 80 km Dhanbad 60 KM and Hazaribagh 80 km

The distance between Deoghar to Parasnath by Road is 119 Kms. Travel Time from Deoghar to Parasnath by Road is 3:2 hrs.

By rail

Parasnath station on the Howrah-Delhi grand chord line is the base for a visit to Parasnath. The adjacent town is called Isri or Isri Bazar where there are Jain dharamshalas. You can take a 36-seat bus/rental car from Isri Bazar for Madhuban and the metalled trek route of 9 km to Shikharji(Parashnath). Almost all the major trains running on The Grand Chord line ( Delhi to Kolkata) stop at Parasnath station. These include New Delhi – Kolkata Rajdhani express, Puri – New Delhi Purushottam express, Mumbai- Howrah mail, and Ahmedabad-Asansol – Parasnath express. There is a lot of tourist volume on Parasnath station and so it is built accordingly.

By Air

Now you can also reach Parasnath by flight. Deoghar International airport is the nearest airport to Parasnath with a distance of 81 Kms.

The summit of Parasnath Hill can be reached either from the southern or the northern side. There are two recognized routes to Parasnath Hill.

The southern approach from Isri Bazaar, to the top, is motorable for about 2 km, the rest being a climb of 8 km.

The northern approach is a 13 km route from Madhuban village on the Dumri-Giridih road. Madhuban is about 40 km from Giridih and about 10 km from Parasnath rail station/ Isri Bazaar/ Dumri, all on Grand Trunk Road (NH 2). You can take a bus to travel from Dumri to Giridih and stop at Madhuban village. There are hired cars or taxis available at Isri Bazar which is outside the rail station. There are a number of Jain temples at Madhuban.

After 3.5 km from Madhuban, there is a stream called Gandharva Nala and further up there is another stream Sita Nala. The Jains hold the portion from Gandharva Nala up to the summit as very sacred. It is easier to reach Parasnath from its northern side.

You can also get ponies and dandies for the climb at short notice. Jeeps are also an option that can carry visitors for a certain distance up the hill. After that, you need to walk.

Final Remarks

You cannot stop yourself from enhancing the unparalleled beauty of Parasnath hills. The place is a mixture of adventurous trekking, pilgrimage and beautiful nature. It’s a must-visit place for nature lovers and those who enjoy trekking. Hence, plan your trip to this religious place Parasnath and have a peaceful time amid nature.

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