Sunday, January 11, 2015

Rajgir (Rajgrihi) Vandana

Base Town: Bihar Sharif
Where: 100 Kms from Patna
How to reach: 15 km from Bihar Sharif
Best time to visit: Sept-February (post rains)
Time visited: Dec 2014
Stay:  Kundalpur Dharmashala
Food: Hotmeals in Dharmashalas 
Parking: Parking available intside premises

Tour Plan

Day 1: Madhuban - Rest and local Darshan
Day 2: The Climb-Vandana
Day 3: Parikrama (Pradakshina)
Day 4: Rest
Day 5: Gunawa-Guniyaj, Nawada, Pawapuri, Nalanda, Kundalpur
Day 6: Kundalpur-Rajgrihi-Kundalpur
Day 7: Gaya, Vaishali
Day 8: Vaishali Sightseeing, Patna

History as per Internet:

The city of Rajgir (Rajgrihi) was the first capital of the kingdom of Magadha, a state that would eventually evolve into the Mauryan Empire. It is also known as Panch Pahadi or city of five hills– Vipulachala, Ratnagiri, Udaigiri, Arungiri (Swarngiri) and Vaibhavgiri.This place was the capital of King Jarasandha (Contemporary to Bhagwan Neminath) and capital of the emperor of Magadha King Shrenik (Bimbsar). King Shrenik was the principal disciple of Bhagwan Mahaveer during the Samav saran of Lord Mahaveer here. It is also believed that Bhagwan Mahaveer stayed here in Chaturmaas (Four months period of rainy season), fourteen times in the state of Muni. His first Samavsharan was also established here on Vipulachala after attaining Kevalgyan and he delivered his first precept from here. Many munis like Jivandhara, Swet Sundarva, Vaishakha, Vidyuchchara, Gandhamadana, Preetinkara, Dhandatta attained salvation from this Siddha Kshetra . 


We started from Kundalpur and reached Rajgrihi by around 7/30 AM. 



A entire Tonga can be hired for 1000-1500 rs who will take you to first three mountains for Vandana. It take around 4-5 hrs to complete the treks. 4-5th tonks are very lonely and sometimes closed.

The Tonga dropped us at Vipulachala.


Vipulachala- Its round 1.5 Hours Trek. First of the five hills is Vipulachala, has four magnificent temples, among them one is recently constructed. To memorize the four Kalyanakas of Bhagwan MuniSuvratnath, a huge and attractive monument is constructed here.



The entrance to Vipulachala





View from the top.


Udaigiri: From Vipulachala, the trek continues for around 1/1.5 hrs where the temples are present through the forest. 



The tonga awaits at bottom of Udaygiri and then takes you to the base of third mountain which is 15-20 mins away.

The third temple


It was a beautiful experience and we were free to explore the rest of Rajgrihi by 12/12.30 AM. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Kundalpur- Nalanda

Base Town: Bihar Sharif
Where: 100 Kms from Patna
How to reach: 15 km from Bihar Sharif and Rajgir
Best time to visit: Sept-February (post rains)
Time visited: Dec 2014
Stay:  Kundalpur Dharmashala
Food: Hotmeals in Dharmashalas 
Parking: Parking available intside premises

Tour Plan
Day 1: Madhuban - Rest and local Darshan
Day 2: The Climb-Vandana
Day 3: Parikrama (Pradakshina)
Day 4: Rest
Day 5: Gunawa-Guniyaj, Nawada, Pawapuri, Nalanda, Kundalpur
Day 6: Kundalpur-Rajgrihi-Kundalpur
Day 7: Gaya, Vaishali
Day 8: Vaishali Sightseeing, Patna





History as per Internet:
Believed to be the birth place of Bhagwan Mahavir, it is said that he spent 22 years of his life at Kundalpur. The Nalanda University close by which was set up in the 5th Century B.C developed into a great centre for learning. Lord Mahavir is said to have made many visits there. Lord Mahavir’s three Ganadhars Agnibhuti, Vayubhuti and Indrabhuti were said to be born at this place. Several visits to this place and preachings and sermons delivered here have made this place very important. The temple is modern, built with a large open space and a beautiful temple structure. There are 72 idols of Jinas in a separate two storied building. There is also very good accommodation facility in a large separate building for the devotees. Kundalpur is alos birthplace of Gutamswamiji out of the eleven disciples of Lord Mahavira. 












Friday, January 9, 2015

Nalanda

Base Town: Bihar Sharif
Where: 100 Kms from Patna
How to reach: 20 Kms from Pawapuri, 5 Kms from Kundalpur
Best time to visit: Sept-February (post rains)
Time visited: Dec 2014
Stay:  Kundalpur Dharmashala
Food: Hotmeals in Dharmashalas 
Parking: Parking available outside premises

Tour Plan

Day 1: Madhuban - Rest and local Darshan
Day 2: The Climb-Vandana
Day 3: Parikrama (Pradakshina)
Day 4: Rest
Day 5: Gunawa-Guniyaj, Nawada, Pawapuri, Nalanda, Kundalpur
Day 6: Kundalpur-Rajgrihi-Kundalpur
Day 7: Gaya, Vaishali
Day 8: Vaishali Sightseeing, Patna







History on Internet:
Nalanda was a large Buddhist monastery in the ancient kingdom of Magadha. University had a long and illustrious life which lasted almost continually for 800 years from the fifth to the twelfth century CE. It was a completely residential university believed to have 2,000 teachers and 10,000 students. At its peak, the school attracted scholars and students from near and far with some travelling all the way from Tibet, China, Korea, and Central Asia.[8]:169 Archaeological evidence also notes contact with the Shailendra dynasty of Indonesia, one of whose kings built a monastery in the complex. It includes stupas, shrines, viharas (residential and educational buildings) and important art works in stucco, stone and metal. It is said that Mohammaad Bakhtiar Khilji destroyed Nalanda.








The study rooms









Stupas



Some pillars have Jain Carvings




Thursday, January 8, 2015

Pawapuri

Base Town: Gonava Village Nawada
Where: Patna-Ranchi Road, Bihar
How to reach: 23 Kms from Gunawa-Nawada, 38 Kms from Rajgir
Best time to visit: Sept-February (post rains)
Time visited: Dec 2014
Stay:  Dharmashalas
Food: Hotmeals in Dharmashalas and hotels around
Parking: Parking available outside premises

Tour Plan
Day 1: Madhuban - Rest and local Darshan
Day 2: The Climb-Vandana
Day 3: Parikrama (Pradakshina)
Day 4: Rest
Day 5: Gunawa-Guniyaj, Nawada, Pawapuri, Nalanda, Kundalpur
Day 6: Kundalpur-Rajgrihi-Kundalpur
Day 7: Gaya, Vaishali
Day 8: Vaishali Sightseeing, Patna






Pavapuri   known as Pava and Apapapuri was a city in ancient times forming a part of Magadh territory. It is said that at that time Bhagwan Mahavir walking from Champapuri had arrived here and was spending his “Chaturmas” at the Rajjugashala of  king Hastipal. Bhagwan finally attained Moksha during in the last moments of the last “Prahar” of the Amavasya night. There are five main temples in Pawapuri - the Jal Mandir, the Gaon Mandir, the Samosaran, the New Samosaran and another temple built by Bibi Mehetab Kumari. Apart from these temples there is a Digambar Jain Mandir near Jal mandir.






Jal mandir as the name suggests is a temple in the middle of a lake blooming with lotuses. 





Built in the shape of “Vimana” and there is a stone bridge from the bank to the temple. It marks the spot where the mortal remains of Lord Mahavira was cremated. It is said that the demand for his ashes was so great that a large amount of soil was removed from around the funeral pyre, creating the water tank.







Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Gunawa and Nawada

Base Town: Gonava Village Nawada
Where: Patna-Ranchi Road, Bihar
How to reach: From Parasnath Railway Station-Jhumri Teliya-Nawada (5 Hrs)
Best time to visit: Sept-February (post rains)
Time visited: Dec 2014
Stay:  Dharmashalas
Food: Hotmeals in Dharmashalas
Parking: Parking available outside premises


Tour Plan
Day 1: Madhuban - Rest and local Darshan
Day 2: The Climb- Vandana
Day 3: Parikrama(Pradakshina)
Day 4: Rest
Day 5: Gunawa-Guniyaj, Nawada, Pawapuri, Nalanda, Kundalpur
Day 6: Kundalpur-Rajgrihi-Kundalpur
Day 7: Gaya, Vaishali
Day 8: Vaishali Sightseeing, Patna



Gunawa


The temple is said to be built in 1925. 



Nawada
It is said that when Bhagwan Mahavir attained Moksha in Pavapuri, at same time, Bhagwan Mahavirs, first first disciple (Gautam Gandhar), attained Kevaldyan in Gunawa. The temple is dedicated to Bhagwan Mahavir Temple. Old idols of Bhagwan Kuntunath, Bhagwan Parasnath.  






Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Sammed Shikharji Parikrama

Base Town: Madhuban/Shikharji
Where: 23 Kms from Parasnath Railway Station, Giridih district, Jharkhand
How to reach: From Parasnath Railway Station and take a cab from there.
Best time to visit: Sept-February (post rains)
Time visited: Dec 2014
Stay:  Various Dharmashalas, Hotels
Food: Hotmeals in Dharmashalas, few eateries outside
Parking: Parking available inside Dharmashalas


Tour Plan
Day 1: Madhuban - Rest and local Darshan
Day 2: The Climb-Vandana
Day 3: Parikrama (Pradakshina)
Day 4: Rest
Day 5: Gunawa-Guniyaj, Nawada, Pawapuri, Nalanda, Kundalpur
Day 6: Kundalpur-Rajgrihi-Kundalpur
Day 7: Gaya, Vaishali
Day 8: Vaishali Sightseeing, Patna



The Parikrama is divided into 3 main sections.
1) Madhuban-Dhokatta: 21 Kms (5 Hrs)
2) Dholkatta-GT Road-Nimia Ghat Temple: 13 KMs (2.5 Hrs)
3) Nimia Ghat-Madhuban: 19 KMs (5 Hrs)

Things to Carry
Time-Distance: 53 Kms around 14 hours to complete
When to Start: 4 AM.
What to carry: Light lunch & snack that you can eat even when walking like Cucumber, Oranges, Dates and other dryfruits, Rajgira Vadi/Chikki 
What to wear: Shoes preferred but carry Floaters. Carry Jerkin/Sweater. It could be cold and chilly.
Medicines: Antiseptic & Bandages. You might get shoe bites and blisters.

Some loose coins. Its extreme poverty and its very remote. At every village, children would come after you begging.




Map from backpage of book- ‘Shikharji Guide’ by R.P.Pandit

We started early at 4.30 AM. The weather was chilly and breezy. Around 2.5 Kms after crossing 'Sita Nala' cross Pipradih village to reach Pandedih village which is around 5kms. Now the both the extreme ends on the Vandana- Chandraprabhu Tonk and Parshavnath Tonk are visible far away on the right side.






From Navadih village,we proceed to Baritond village. The clock read around 1.5+ hrs and mobile app showed 8KMS. At around 14 Kms you will reach Chatrobeda village. 
 





Barritond Village...



For almost next 1.5 hours the trail goes through dense jungle across the mountains and valleys. The trail is prepared by forest department. The fresh misty morning and eerie silence amongst the tall trees makes this 7 km walk the most enjoyable.



Just few kms before the Dholkatta village, as the jungle become less dense, you begin to again see the mountain range on right and almost 4 tonks-Chandraprabhu, Anantnath, Sheetalnath and Abhinandan are visible. 



Dhokatta (Dholkatta Nala) was the first stop for rest and breakfast- It was close to 9.15 AM- around 4/4.5 hrs and distance should be 21 Kms. After 20 mins rest we proceeded further.



After 10 mins walk you will come to diversion. A big dusty road prepared by Forest Department goes straight to GT road via Dahia.  We took the right trail which was shortcut to GT road.



The toughest 8KM walk under blazing sun on hot tar was tiring indeed. It was almost 12.45 PM and we had clocked almost 33 kms and we had reached our second destination- Nimia Ghat.




The peaceful surroundings of  Parshavanath Digamber Jain temple helps to much needed relaxation. Time to remove shoes and have hearty meal and refreshing chai from Pandit.

Around 2/2.15 we started the last stretch of 16 kms. Its straight road from here. After about 1Km, leaving the main road we took a diversion on the dusty trail on the left. Far away tucked in the mountains is Parasnath Tonk clearly visible (circled).



After crossing Kodotond at 33Kms, we procedded further to khuntahar village, famous for its huge idol of Bajarangbali.



It was close to 4PM and we had clocked 39 kms. After completing 10/11 kms walk from Nimia Ghat, the trial enters a dense forest but this time its steep climb. As confusing trail take us up and down it was also starting to get darker and darker.

The trail reached Mohanpur and it was pitch dark. Last few kms of trail was more of dragging our sore feet



The final readings...