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Jains are one of the main communities in India. Jains are very religious people and firmly believe in Lord Mahavir Swami. There are many places of pilgrimage for the Jains in India. However, the most important place of pilgrimage for Jains is Sametshikhar that is situated in the State of Jharkhand. Jharkhand State is newly formed in India from the old State of Bihar. This Sametshikhar tirth is also known as Parasnath Mountain. This place is the death (Nirvana) place of 20 Jain Tirthankars out of total 24 Tirthankars. That is why it is considred the most important place of pilgrimage for all Jains.
Sametshikhar can be easily reached by direct train from various part of country. You need to get down at Parasnath station. The base camp for Sametshikhar is known as Madhuvan, which is only around 25 miles away from Parasnath railway station. There are lots of hotels to stay at Madhuvan, which also provide good quality Jain vegetarian food items at very nominal rates. The Parasnath Mountain is around 4500 feet high.
All the pilgrims are supposed to take one full round of this mountain on feet, total distance of around 18 miles, in one day. The yatra starts at the dawn, even before the sunrise and has to be completed before the sunset on the same day. The yatra starts by the darshnas of lord Bhomia at the base of the mountain. The pilgrims reach Gandharvnala and Shitalnala within first 2 miles of walk. The pilgrims can take some rest here prior to proceeding further. The total parikrama of the mountain Parasnath from this point consists of three main stages.
The first phase covers yatra in East direction that covers Navtuk. It starts from Guru Gautama Swami tuk. The tuks of Kunthu, Neminath, Aar, Malli, Shreyans, and Suvidhinath comes next on the way. The pilgrims have to proceed with the darshanas at all these tuks. Finally, the first phase of the pilgrimage ends at the tuk of Munisuvrat Swami. The second phase is slightly difficult as the route passes through the mountains and finally reaches to the tuk of Shree Chandraprabhu.
As soon as you reach this tuk, you will forget your strain of walking and shall be totally relaxed and overjoyed as you will feel the divine pleasure due to the calm and peaceful environment here. There is also a provision for taking a bath here and all the pilgrims take bath here before going to the temple of lord Parshvanath. The pilgrims take some rest here prior to starting for the third and final phase of their yatra in the West direction.
The route passes through the Gautama Swami tuk and the pilgrims reach the tuks of Shree Dharma, Sumati, Shantinath, Mahavir Swami, Suparshvanath, Vimal, Ajitnath, and Neminath. Finally, the pilgrims reach to the highest tuk of lord Parshvanath. The complete detailed profile of the Parasnath Mountain is visible from here and all the visitors get the most divine pleasure due to the panoramic view of the entire region. The large footprints of lord Parshvaprabhu are here. The pilgrimage of Sametshikhar completes here at this point.
The pilgrims follow different route for returning to Madhuvan, the starting point of their pilgrimage. This route is equally difficult and you need to take all sorts of precautions while getting down. All the pilgrims make sure to reach at the base before the sunset and feel fully contented and satisfied. The best time to visit Sametshikhar is after Diwali days during the winter months from October to January.
You can also take nearby excursions while visiting Sametshikhar. The most famous spots are the Kevalsthan of Mahavir Swami, his birthplace in Kshtriya kund, and his Nirvana place at Pavapuri. The visit to Pavapuri on the Diwali day is considered most holy and sacred
There are regular conducted tours to Sametshikhar, arranged by various travel agencies from all the major cities of India. It is really economical and convenient to travel through such agencies as it would eliminate all the hassles and the tensions of arranging the tour by ourselves.
All the Jains have one common wish to fulfill in their life and that is to perform the pilgrimage of Sametshikhar and Pavapuri. I sincerely hope that this article shall be very helpful to all those who would like to perform this holy pilgrimage during their trip to India.



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