Shri Sammet Shikharji, located near Giridih, in Jharkhand state, India, is a major Jain pilgrimage destination and one of the most sacred places for Jains in the world. As many as 20 out of 24 Tirthankaras attained Nirvana (Salvation) from here. The only ones who did not were Rishabh, Vasupujya, Naminatha, and Mahavira.
Address : Shri Digambar Jain Siddha Kshetra Samed Shikharji
Post – Madhuvan
Distt - Giridih (Jharkhand), India
Pin - 825329
Beespanthi Kothi – 06558 – 232228,232209,232361
Terapanthi Kothi - 06558 - 232231
Shri Samed Shikharji Tirth Kshetra is the one of the most important Tirth among all the Digambar Jain Tirth Kshetras, being the salvation place of 20 Tirthankaras and large number of saints.
Since very ancient time it is a belief that Samed Shikhar and Ayodhya are two main Tirth Kshetras, existence if these two is parallel to the existence of Universe, means immortal. All the Tirthankaras born at Ayodhya and attain salvation from Samed Shikhar. In addition, infinite number ascetic saints/munies also attained salvation from here by practicing deep penance and meditation. In ancient texts number of munies attaining salvation from the particular places of Tirthankara’s salvation is being described which is in millions and billions.
This is the only reason that when a devotee starts pilgrimage for Samed Shikharji, his heart and mind gets filled with great enthusiasm, joy and ingenuous devotion towards Tirthankaras.
According to ethics if a person adorates Samed Shikharji engaging his full mind and heart (i.e. with full devotion), he attains salvation in maximum 49 lives of his near future and thus he gets free from worldly affairs, affection and aversion. This all happens by thinking about the work of Tirthankaras their life free from worldly affairs, their penance and meditation, by thinking about the preaches they delivered in Samavsharan and ultimately applying their education and principles in ones life by accepting ascetism.
This way this Kshetra is highly sacred. Due to sacredness, so many cruel animals living here in the forest like lion tiger etc., never harm to pilgrims even while coming in front of each other. The absence of natural cruel in the heart of violent animals and fearlessness in the mind of pilgrims, is due to the effect of this great Tirth.
This is the only the efficacy of Samed Shikharji that from the ancient times so many Kings, Acharyas, Bhuttarakas and Shravakas came here with vast groups of devotees for pilgrimage with the purpose of self welfare and due to the devotion towards Tirthankaras and ascetic saints who attained salvation from here.
Description in Ethics:
According to Jain Texts Ist Tirthankara Bhagwan Adinath (Rishabhdev) attained salvation from Kailash Parvat, 12th Tirthankaras Bhagwan Vasupujya from Champapuri, 22nd Tirthankara Bhagwan Neminath from Girnar Parvat, and last 24th Tirthankara Bhagwan Mahaveer from Pavapuri, remaining twenty (20) Tirthankaras attained salvation from Samed Shikharji.
During 13th Century, great ascetic scholar ‘Yati Madan Kirti’ writes in ‘Shasan Chatustrinshatika’. According to this poem - Saudharma Indra here installed the idols of 20 Tirthankaras, nimbus of idols is incomparable being equivalent to their size, at that Samed Shikhar tree, vigorous persons reach there through stairs and due to good luck they worship those idols, no other person is able to reach there. This Digambar Dharma is immortal i.e. existing here continuously.
Among these three Kothies, Beespanthi Kothi is oldest. This Kothi was established to facilitate the pilgrims coming to Sammed Shikharji about 400 years ago. This was under the control of Gwalior’s Bhattarakji. Bhattarak Shri Mahendra Bhooshan established here a Kothi and a Dharamshala. Bhagwan Parshvanath’s beautiful idol was installed in the temple. Two generous persons of samaj constructed here two temples. At present this Kothi is working under control of Bharatvarshiya Digambar Jain Teerth Kshetra Committee.
There are three compounds and eight magnificent temples decorated with sky - high artful spires, where Bhagwan Parshvanath, Pushpadanta, Adinath’s idol are installed as principal deity with many other beautiful idols.
There is a huge dharamshala in this Kothi behind which in the garden two temples exist there.
In front of Kothi, on a hillock, a magnificent huge temple exists, where a 25 ft high standing colossus of Bhagwan Bahubali is present in the centre of ground. There are 24 temples constructed in all directions with idols of 24 Teerthankaras. In the right and left side of this Bahubali Jinalaya, two magnificent temples of Bhagwan Gautam Swami and Parshvanath’s Jinalayas are existing, and a 51 ft high Manastambha (Column of dignity) is standing really agreeable.
Above the Bhahubali Tekari there is construction of artistic Samavsharan Mandir. In this temple, there is a hall of 70 x 72 ft in the centre of this hall, a very attractive creation of Samavsharan exists which is pleasing to eyes, worth being seen.
In this Kothi there are five compounds and five Dharamshalas and so many gateways. In the second compound of Dharamshala a huge and magnificent temple ‘Chandraprabhu Jinalaya’ is existing, which was constructed by Lala Sohan Lalji Kolkatawala. Sanctum of this temple is based on four pillars, spacious and artistic, art of sanctum shows the proficiency of artists. In the centre of sanctum, in a high and beautiful alter Bhagwan Chandraprabhu’s magnificent white padmasana idol, about 5 ft in height is installed as principal deity. There is a Sabhamandapa ahead of Sanctum and a compound surrounding the temple. There are three gateways in three directions of the temple to enter. These gateways are similar to Sanchi’s gateways. A beautiful flower garden is developed around the temple.
Moving ahead of this Jinalaya and coming out from Sultan Singh Dwar (Gate), there comes Katak Mandir. This has four alters with beautiful idols installed in them. Versified moral sentences, hymns and prayers are written everywhere in this temple. In the third compound, a 51 ft high, Manastambha a beautiful creation made of marble is standing on a three - stepped high platform. Under the umbrella on the top of Manastambha four idols 17” in height are installed, each in one direction.
In the same way, on the platform, in four little alters four attractive white idols of Bhagwan Chandraprabhu are installed. In the night, due to light decoration, glamour of this Manastambha gets many folded.
In the same compound , there exists main temple in right side with 13 alters each alter is a separate temple with a beautiful spire. Details are as below: -
1. Shri Shantinath Jinalaya – 15 inch high attractive idol of Bhagwan Shantinath is installed here with other idols as principal deity. Two one feet high Manastambhas are also here made of brass, idols are carved on these Manastambhas too.
2. Shri Samavsharan Mandir - This is a beautiful temple with four 10” high Bhagwan Parshvanath’s idols installed as principal deity in Gandha Kuti, which is constructed over a three layer platform.
3. Shri Neminath Chaityalaya – Here a Bhagwan Neminath’s 3 ft high black idol in padmasana posture is installed.
4. Shri Pushpadanta Jinalaya - This is treated as main temple, gates of this temple are made of silver. Here Bhagwan Pushpadanta’s white magnificent idol in padmasana posture, 3’3” in height is installed as principal deity. Other metallic and stone idols are also present here which are worth being seen.
5. Ajitnath Temple – In this temple a 2 ft high padmasana idol of Bhagwan Ajitnath is installed as principal deity.
6. Parshvanath Mandir - Sanctum of this temple consists three arches, pillars of the sanctum are artistic. In the central alter Chinatmani Parshvanath’s black color idol in padmasana posture, 6ft in height is installed. The idol is highly attractive magnificent. In the left alter Bhagwan Shreyansnath and in the alter of right side Bhagwan Chandraprabhu are installed as principal deity with other attractive idols.
7. Pravesh Mandapa – At this place, an octagonal Mandapa exists. In this Mandapa, and four platforms, 52 Jinalayas and an attractive artful creation of Panchameru is existing. This creation is wonderful and pleasing to eyes. In each direction there exists 13 Jinalayas. Among them 8 are Ratikar, one Anjangiri and 4 are Dadhimukh jinalayas. In Panchmeru temples total idols are 80 in numbers.
8. Shantinath Jinalaya – In the right of main temple, this temple exists, where principal deity Bhagwan Shantinath’s 3 ft high white padmasana idol is installed with many other beautiful idols.
9. Neminath Jinalaya - In this temple Bhagwan Neminath’s beautiful black padmasana idol is installed as principal deity.
10. Ahead of this temple there exists a big library called Saraswati Bhawan.
11. Chandraprabhu Jinalaya - This is a Samavsharana Mandir where 1 ft high idol of Bhagwan Chandraprabhu is installed as principal deity.
12. Mahaveer Jinalaya – In this temple, a 7½ ft high standing idol of Bhagwan Mahaveer is installed, which is very attractive and magnificent. In the three sides of this temple 24 idols of 24 Teerthankaras equal in size are installed beside the walls.
13. Shastrakoot Chaityalaya – This is beautiful and agreeable Chaityalaya made of marble, 4 ft in height. This is so attractive, rare to find another.
Sammed Shikhar Hill
History of Tonks –According to ethics Saudharma Indra (King of Heaven –Saudharma) marked the places of Teerthankara’s salvation. On these places beautiful foot images were carved, thus attractive Tonks were constructed. It is said that at the time of King Shrenik of Magadha, these Tonks were in ruined state. Seeing this King Shrenik reconstructed the Tonks in magnificent manner. After a long period those were also destroyed. So many generous persons reconstructed of these Tonks using their money.
Bhattaraka Gyankeerti in his work Yashodhara Charit’ (V.S. 1659) describes about Naanu, the secretary of King Mansigh of Akbarpur near Champanagari. Naanu constructed twenty temples of 20 Teerthankaras attaining salvation from Sammed Shikharji. It was the same as Chakravarti Bharat constructed temples on Ashtapad (Kailash Parvat) being salvation place of Bhagwan Adinath Rishabhdev. Chakravarti Bharat went there for so many times for pilgrimage.
At the time of Yati Madankeerti, there was a pond called Amritvapika, where offering of AshtaDravya was performed for 20 Teerthankara by devotees. That Amritvapika, at present time is called Jal - Mandir.
Later, in year 1678, a great Panch Kalyanaka Pratishtha Mahotsava was organized here by Digambar Jain Samaj. Previously King of Palganj looked after this great Teerth, they were Jain. Now the temple of Palganj is also managed by Sammed Shikhar Kshetra Committee.
Preparing for Pilgrimage
There are two ways for adoration of Sammed Shikhar Hill, one from Neemiaghat and another from the side of Madhuvan. Second is most popular. Distance of total pilgrimage is about 18 miles i.e. 30 Kms, so preparation for pilgrimage is necessary.
For pilgrimage, one must wake up at 2:00 a.m. in night and after getting rid of daily routine, he should start for pilgrimage up to 3:00 a.m. Winter season is most appropriate for this purpose. In summer, due to heat pilgrimage becomes very difficult. In rainy season many types of insects are developed, greenery spreads throughout the path and risk of slipping on rocks/path makes difficult to pilgrimage.
During pilgrimage, one should wear light cloths. Heavy clothing causes uneasiness due to sudation, while returning heat and sunlight becomes intolerable.
One should hire a labor for kids, palanquin for ladies, old and weak persons and other must take a stick. Stick is very helpful during up and down ways. Lantern is very helpful while beginning in the dark of night. All these items are always available at Dharamshala.
While one starts for pilgrimage of Teerthraj Sammed Shikharji, not only the cleanliness of body and cloths is necessary but eternal sacredness the purity of mind, heart and speech is also necessary.
During adoration of Teerth, pilgrims must recite poems of worship (Pooja), hymn, Namokar Mantra etc. or have discussions about the path of salvation, preaches of Teerthankaras or about basic principals/fundamentals of Moksha Marg.
In this way enjoying the natural scenery, religious faith and enthusiasm, pilgrimage of Sammed Shikhar is completed. This is only the effect/miracle of Teerths that a such long journey on foot gets completed so easily without feeling tiredness.
Ahead of Beespanthi Kothi, pilgrimage of Shikarji starts. At a distance of 200 meters from Dharamshala, rising on hill starts. At a distance of 3 kms from here, there comes Gandharva - Nala, here a Dharamshala is managed by Beespanthi Kothi, where facilities are available for natural human necessities i.e. urinal etc. Next to this place these are all prohibited on sacred hill to maintain the holiness of Teerth Kshetra. At the time of returning from hill, breakfast or refreshment is made available in this Dharamshala by Teerth Kshetra Committee. At a little distance from Gandharva - Nala, a footpath goes to Seeta Nala and another towards Parshvanath Tonk. Going to left, one reaches to Seeta Nala, here offerings for worship one must be washed and prepared and also filtered water must be taken for consecration. Tough rising on hill starts from here.
First of all there comes Tonk of Gautam Swami after ascending some distance on hill, here a room is existing which comes in use of pilgrims for rest. In the left of Gautam Swami Tonk, there are fifteen Tombs for adoration. These Tonks are called Koot also. At Tonks foot images of Teerthankaras are installed. According to inscriptions on foot images, these all were reverenced in V.S. 1825. Details of these Tonks (Koots) are given below -
1. Gautam Swami Tonk - There are 32 images of white marble are installed in an alter. Out of alter a foot pair of black stone are present.
2. Kunthunath Tonk (Gyandhar Koot) - a pair of black foot images is installed here with a length of 5 inch. An inscription of V.S. 1825 is available here. Near to this foot images of Sudharma Swami, Chandranan Tonk & Rishabhanan Tonk are present, recently constructed by Shwetambar Jains.
3. Naminath Tonk - A pair of foot images of black stone about 6 inches in length (12 fingers are present here with an inscription of V.S. 1825. At a little distance from here, foot images of Shree Veerbhadra. The Ganadhara of Bhagwan Parshvnath are present, length is 14 fingers (about 7 inches)
4. Arahnath Tonk (Natak Koot) - Foot images of black stone 10 fingers in length (about 5 inch) inscription of V.S. 1825.
5. Mallinath Tonk (Sambal Koot) - Foot images of black stone 10 fingers in length (about 5 inch) inscription of V.S. 1825.
6. Shreyansnath Tonk (Sankul Koot) - Foot images of black stone, length 7½ inch, inscription of V.S. 1825.
7. Suvnidhinath (Pushpadanta) Tonk (Suprabh Koot) - White stone, foot images of 7½ length, inscription of V.S. 1825.
8. Padmaprabh Tonk (Mohan Koot) - Foot images of black stone, length 7½ inch, inscription of V.S. 1825.
9. Munisuvratnath Tonk - (Nirjar Koot) - Black foot images of 7½ inch length, inscription of V.S. 1825.
10. Chandraprabh Tonk (Lalit Koot) - This Tonk is at a large distance from 9th Tonk and is the highest. Here foot images of black stone, 7½ in length, inscription of V.S. 1825.
11. Adinath Tonk - While one returns from the same way towards Jal - Mandir, this Tonk comes. Here foot images of white stone, 7½ inch in length are installed, inscription of V.S. 1825.
12. Sheetalnath Tonk (Vidyut Koot) - There are two Tonks each of Bhagwan Sheetalnath at a short distance to each other, foot images of black stone having length of 7½ inch are installed on both places inscription of V.S. 1825 is also same on both Tonks.
13. Sambhavnath Tonk (Dhaval Koot) - Foot images of white stone, length 7½ inch, inscription of V.S. 1825.
14. Vasupoojya Tonk - here five foot image of white stone with a length of 7 inch are installed inscription of V.S. 1926
15. Abhinandan Nath Tonk (Aanand Koot) - Foot images of black stone, length 7½ inch, inscription of V.S. 1825.
From Abhinandan Nath Tonk, descending on hill, we reach to Jal - Mandir, here a huge temple is existing. In previous, this was Digambar Jain Mandir, but at present this is under the management of Shwetambar Jain. They have also constructed two Dharamashalas here.
From Jal - Madir we again reach to Gautam Swami Tonk, from where ways are available in all directions, in left to Kunthunath Tonk, in right to Parshvanth Tonk, in front to Jal - Mandir, and in back to Madhuvan. So pilgrims must move towards west direction for adoration of nine Tonks. Details of these Tonks is as under -
1. Dharamanath Tonk (Sudatlavar Koot) - A pair of foot images of black stone, 7½ inch in length are installed here. An inscription of V.S. 1825 is available here.
2. Sumatinath Tonk (Avichal Koot) - A pair of foot images of black stone, 7½ inch in length are installed here. An inscription of V.S. 1825 is available here
3. Shantinath Tonk (Shantiprabh Koot) - A pair of foot images of black stone, 7½ inch in length are installed here. An inscription of V.S. 1825 is available here
4. Mahaveer Swami Tonk - A pair of foot images of white stone, 7½ inch in length are installed here. An inscription of V.S. 1825 is available here.
5. Suparshvanath Tonk (Prabhas Koot) - A pair of foot images of black stone, 7½ inch in length are installed here. An inscription of V.S. 1825 is available here
6. Vimalnath Tonk (Suveer Koot) - A pair of foot images of black stone, 7½ inch in length are installed here. An inscription of V.S. 1825 is available here
7. Ajitnath Tonk (Siddhavar koot)- A pair of foot images of white stone, 7½ inch in length are installed here. An inscription of V.S. 1825 is available here.
8. Naminath Tonk (Mitradhar Koot) - Here 3 pairs of white foot images are installed length in 6 fingers (3 inches).
9. Parshvanath Tonk (Suwarnabhadra Koot) - This is the last and main Tonk of this side, where a beautiful temple has been constructed with a mandapa and sanctum. In sanctum, on an alter foot images of Bhagwan Parshvanth are installed, these are black in color, 9 fingers (4.5 inch approx.) in length having an inscription of V.S. 1949.
Bhagwan Parshvanath‘s Tonk is the highest among these Tonks. While one sees all around standing from here the scene is highly agreeable, can’t be expressed in words, heart gets filled with joy and cheer.
From here Ajay River in north and Damodar River in South may be seen. In such delightful natural scenery mind automatically gets expressed in meditation worship and hymn. After reaching here all pilgrims do worship of Teerthankaras.
Returning from adoration of hill
At the return journey from Parshvanath Tonk, it is very easy due to descendence and ways are in good condition, this time stick is very helpful. Below, at some distance near Gandharva Nala, refreshment is made available by Beespanthi and Terapanthi Kothi here. After taking some refreshment, one must return to his Dharamshala. Maximum of pilgrims do adoration of Shikharji three times, some of them also have a round of hill that is about 30 miles.
Chopada Kund, Digambar Jain Mandir and Dharamshala
On hill at Sammed Shikharji a magnificent temple and vast Dharamshala has been developed by Shri Digambar Jain Sammedachal Vikas Committee (established in Year 1992)
In the temple attractive idols of Bhagwan Parshvanath, Chandraprabh & Bhagwan Bahubali are installed.
(i) Beespanthi Kothi - There are facilities for about more than 2000 pilgrims. Rooms, Halls and flats well equipped with all necessary facilities are available here as per desire of pilgrims.
(ii) Terapanthi Kothi - This Kothi has the capacity to facilitate about 3000 Pilgrims.
(iii) Chopda Kund Dharamshala - On hill, this is newly constructed Dharamshala having the capacity of 150 persons.
Bed, food and utensils are available at all three places.
Others - NA
Means of approach :
Bus - Buses of Teerth Kshetra Committee are available for pilgrims from Sammed Shikharji to Eesari or Parshvanath Station from morning to evening daily.
Train - Parshvanath Station is situated on Delhi - Hawrah or Gaya - Kolkata line. Express Trains also have a stoppage here.
Air - Patna and Ranchi airport.