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Shikharji Temple information
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Shikharji Temple

Shikharji, 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 28 kms by walk and takes approximately to climb up and down the hill. If a short route is taken it takes approximately 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. The popularity of Shikharji as a site of pilgrimage followed that of Vulture Peak, Bihar, where it is believed the Buddhist Sariputta attained enlightenment. 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. There is an option for parikrama of the entire Parasnath Hill, a pilgrimage of 54 kilometres (34 mi). The parikrama path is through the forest and is walking only. 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. 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

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