Parashnath – The abode of Jain Tirthankars

The holy Shrimad Bhagwatgita describes God as pure knowledge itself; that which is the inner most of everything, that firmly established thing, about which there is nothing to doubt. He is the truth itself that has neither beginning nor end. He is eternal and has no attributes. The bible says that God is our refuge and strength, a very pleasant help in trouble. Empedocles sees God as a circle with centre everywhere but circumference nowhere. Jinology, the faith of Jainism, a self-generated one, does not perceive the existence of God, although it believes, the Tirthankars to establish the faith.

Parashnath is the 23rd of the 24 Tirthankars of the present six-cycle period of Jain Chronology; the 1st being Rishabhdev and the last being Mahvir. Jina is one who overcomes the mind and senses and attains salvation. Jina’s wordless discourse is reveled to others through the Gandhar who only comprehends it. Named after this penultimate Tirthankar, Parasnath is the most sought after tourist place, located in the Giridih District of Jharkhand sate in India.

The tallest peak of Parashnath stands at a height of 1350 meters above sea level and is known as Sammeet Sikhar. It is considered the holiest of all pilgrimages of Jains because 20 out of the 24 Tirthankars are said to have attained deliverance on this holy hill. This is evidenced by the presence of 20 gumti or tuk that enshrine these Tirthankars. The local tribes call this hill as Marang Buru that means the hill of deities.

Parashnath hill can be approached either from the southern or from the northern sides. The southern approach could be made from Isri Bazar; 2 km by vehicles and the rest, a climb of 8km. This provides enough of thrill and excitement associated with mountaineering adventure. The northern approach could be made, starting from the village Madhuban and covering 13 km on road. Madhuban village is 40km away from Giridih and 10 km from Parashnath railway station. Visitors can find a number of Jain temples at Madhuban too. Northern approach to Parashnath is comparatively easier.

After travelling 3.5 km from Madhuban, a stream named Gandharva Naala falls, after which comes Sitaa Naala. Areas starting from Gandharva Naala up to the summit are considered most sacred by the Jains. The sanctity of the areas could be realized by any visitor from the serenity and peaceful ambience of the locality. Ponies are the hybrid of horse and ass and thus give pleasure of horse riding and the load taking capacity of an ass. It will be an exclusive and memorable experience reaching the summit of Parashnath, sitting on the back of ponies or dandies.

Two famous Jain temples are Samosharan and Bhomiyaji Astan. Beside, vistors can have the views of Chandraprbhuji, Pushpanandji, Goutamswamiji and Chaprakund. The museum at Madhuban Museum has many exhibits related to Jainis.

Virtues and vices are two sides of the ‘human coin’. To be virtuous needs certain deliberate efforts, of which visiting places of religious and spiritual importance is one. The place may be related to any religion because every religion that teaches man to be virtuous is good.