Standing at an elevation of 1366 m, the Parasnath Hills is the highest mountain peak in the state of Jharkhand and highest mountain range after the Himalaya Mountains. It is one of the most popular sights of Jharkhand, which include a number of temples. On the mountain top there is the Shikharji Jain Temple, an important Tirtha or Jain pilgrimage site.
Etymology of Parasnath Hills
Also known as "Samet Sikhar", the name Parasnath has been derived from the word "Parshvanatha", who was the 23rd Tirthankara to have attained Nirvana there. It is believed that nearly 24 Jain Tirthankaras received their salvation in these mountains. As one of the best sight for meditation, it attracts a large number of devotees who assemble in the Dharamshalas of the region. Even the oldest temple, which was built in 1775, is also located in the Parasnath Hills.
Flora and Fauna Parasnath Hills
These Parasnath Hills are also known for wildlife sanctuary as it is located within the dense forests of the mountain range. As the mountain is largely covered with dense forests it supports a wide range of natural vegetation and wild animals that needs to be protected. This encourages the state government to set up the wildlife sanctuary in Parasnath hills that would preserve the natural resources of the region.
Features of Parasnath Hills
With a number of shrines and well decorated peaceful meditation halls surrounded by evergreen forest ranges this area attracts a number of devotees as well as tourists from all over India. There are waterfalls and other tourist attractions in the area. This mountain range can be approached only through steep roadways. The passage to the hilltop passes through village Madhuvan which includes a trek of 11 km. It takes a full day to reach the hill top and return back.
Another striking feature of Parasnath hills is the local tribal community who inhabit the area. Parasnath hills are revered by the Santhal Tribe of Hazaribagh District, Santhals of Bankura District and Santhals of Manbhum and Santhal community of Santhal Parganas visit the area in every full moon night of the month of Vaisakhi. Though they do not worship the Jain Tirthankaras directly, they worship the sacred place as "Marang Buru".
Visiting Information on Parasnath Hills
Parasnath Hill is on Grand Trunk Road and is easily accessible from the Parasnath railway station at a distance of about 17 km. The closest airport is the Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport of Durgapur, which is at a distance of 145 km from the hills.