Shikharji (Giridih district, Jharkhand, India) is located on Parasnath hill, the highest mountain in the state of Jharkhand. It is the most important Jain Tirth (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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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