This is in continuation with the A guide to Jain Pilgrimage at Bihar & Jharkhand
If you are settled in Shikhar Ji, it is time to start the journey for which we have arrived. It is time to understand a bit about Yatra.
What are the transports Available for Yatra? Is it like Vashno Devi?
Government has been vouching to create the road till Parasnath hills yet Jain Community is against this development for some valid reasons:
- It will be more of a picnic spot than a religious site. It is the highest point of Bihar & Jharkhand, so a well TAR road would draw flock of people who just wants to come for sightseeing. So it will certainly hurt the religious sentiments attached.
- Shikhar Ji is considered one of the most important site, because of toughness associated with the Yatra. A well motor able road, would eradicate the association and religious sentiment to it.
- Livelihood of various vendors are attached to it. So, if road is constructed, income would be stopped of major %age of inhabitants in the region.
So as of now, the options to complete the yatra are the followings
- Walking – for this only, you go to Shikhar Ji.
- Dolli (Palanquin) – It is helpful to carry people who cannot walk but can sit conveniently in a Dolli (Palanquin). The Person is carried by 2 another person on the shoulders. Cost for the Dolli is almost fixed by the Dharamshala’s. As of Feb 2020, it is INR 5,200/- + Food charges i.e. INR 200/- are extra. In future, it can be revised. In addition, even after the price is fixed, you might need to shell out additional money if you start late i.e. 4-5 AM.
- Chair Dolli (Palanquin) – It is most convenient way to complete the Yatra. Chair is attached to the Dolli, and 4 people will carry you to all the temples (Tonks). It cost you the same as normal Dolli but for food you would need to give INR 400/- instead 200/-
- Bike – It is most dangerous way to travel in Shikhar Ji. If you are only interested in Parasv Nath tonk, you can hire a bike who can drop you at Parsnath Tonk and later bring you back to the town. It is not possible to do the rest of the journey with the bike.
What Preparation do we really need?
In general, our parents know all about the real Yatra, and you must listen to their advice. But if you are travelling without them, you must surely be well prepared.
It is the most difficult and satiating from of Yatra. We saw a young couple, from Guna, MP, of 74 Years of age who had cervical, sugar, and Blood Pressure, but they were completing the trip on foot. Aunty was not able to walk, but she was sure to finish the Yatra by 9PM in the night. This couple gave us the strength to cover each and every tonk and complete the YATRA without any assistance.
For this walk, you not only need mental strength (Biggest factor) but also physical strength is very important.
- You must at-least be walking 5-6 Kms daily (3-4 weeks before starting the trip) to complete the trip conveniently.
- Before starting the trip wear Knee CAP, Ankle Cap, and socks (If your seniors allows it.)
- Must bring a wooden Rode (Dandi) – INR 10 only. It is required even for young people.
- Dolli (Palanquin)/ Chair Dolli (Palanquin)
You must book the Dolli (Palanquin) in the evening before actual day of Yatra. Talk to the Dolli wala, and keep the “Doli Wala’s” ID cards with you. You must be ready based on the time given by them. If you delay, in such a case, they will book another Yatri and leave you for rest. Dolli (Palanquin) wala ditched my parents and they had to hire another Dolli at INR 2,000/- higher.
If you have already done one or two yatra, and do not really want to visit all the TONKS, Bike comes to your rescue. You can directly go to the Parsvnath tonk, enjoy the darshan and poojan, and return. Bikes wala charges are not yet formalize but in general the charges are around INR 1,200/- – 1,500/- both ways.
Are your travelling with a child?
If you are travelling with the kid of 2 – 5 years, the journey is going to be little more difficult. In today’s time, it becomes difficult to travel at your own and carrying the kid is like participating in Olympics. Managing kid can be extremely troublesome and it is even more when kid is cranky or not ready to walk with other person. However child can travel with you with the help of GODIA – The person who can carry the kid, but still it is even more difficult for the kid. My daughter was not ready to travel with the person we hired. Post finishing the trip, she never let us travel to any other Pahad in any circumstances.
However Godia are extremely helpful, and the charges for the Godia is INR 920/- + Food i.e. INR 100/- (As of Feb 2020)
Day of Yatra
In general, it takes 9-12 hours to complete the yatra. Depending upon your stamina and time spend at each TONK. Most of the people start the journey at 3 – 4 AM in the morning. Dolli (Palanquin) wala also propose the same time. If you delay the start, you would have to face the full sun the entire day. So better to start early and end the journey early.
Yatra has various phases from the start of the Talhati.
- Kal Bhairav Tonk
As soon as you start the trip, you will find Kal Bhairav Tonk at the left hand side. It is said that you must ask for permission to start the trip and move on. On return, you must thank baba Bhairav for assisting you in completing the trip. (Just saying.)
- Bhomiya Ji Mandir (2KM)
On completing first 2Kms, you will reach to the first visible place to rest. It is Shwetamber temple where you can rest or move on after offering first prayer of the day.
- Gandharv Nala (4KM)
Earlier it was part of the trip but now a bridge has been constructed so it has become just a landmark. Once you reach to this point, you can rest here a bit.
- Sheetal Nala (Bhaat Ghar) (6KMs)
Same as Gandharv Nala, it is just a water stream now. Sheetal Nala is a place where you get Besan ke Laddu and Namkeem Sev. But generally, it is taken while returning back as a Prasad and distribution place is even called Bhaatghar i.e. Bhojan ghar.
- Chopada Kund (Kada) (7Kms)
Chopada Kund is primarily first Digamber temple. At the temple, they distribute some Kada which is quite energetic and it re-energize for further trips. People with no experience of Yatra are almost tired till this point. So this kada re-energizes you.
- Gautam Swami Tonk (9Kms)
Oh Yeah, 9Kms are over. This is the main station of our yatra. If you have reached to Gautham Swami tonk, you have almost won half the battle. Because direct uphill climb is almost over. Now you would wander in mountain to reach to the different peaks. It is the tonk for Gautham Gandhar. You can see almost all the peaks from here so the path looks little better than the unknown trail that we were following so far.
- Chandra Prabhu Tonk (1st Peak) (12Kms)
It seems to be the highest tonk in the region, yet it is not. There are atleast 10 tonks on the way to Chandra Prabhu Tonk, offer your Argh on each of those tonks and head to Chandra Prabhu tonk. You have to descend almost 2Kms and later there is a steep ascend of 1Km to reach to the tonk.
- Sheetalnath Swami Tonk (2nd Peak) (13.5 Kms)
On the way to Jalmahal, Sheetal Nath Swami tonk is on another peak. You would need to ascend and descend around 250 meters each to reach to the tonk and return.
- Abhinandan Nath/Basupujy Swami Tonk (3rd Peak) (16Kms)
Just when you are 50 meters away from Jalmandir, you see a signboard saying “Dude, not yet.” This signboard seems to be smiling at you & you head in the direction. It is another 1 Km ascend to the Abhinandan Swami Tonk. The view from all the peaks are amazing. It is just that you do not have the sufficient energy to take the pictures.
- Jal Mandir (A Place to rest during the Journey) (17Kms)
Jal Mandir is the place which most of the Yatri’s know. It is a place where you can rest a bit and later you could head towards remaining tonks. It is a shwetambar temple, you can pay your heeds at temple. Later rest a little. Washroom facility is available only at this place during the whole journey.
- Suparsnath Tonk (4th Peak) (19Kms)
Head to Gautham Swami tonk from Jal Mandir, and take a left from there. You will see Parsvnath tonk from there which is the last leg of the Yatra. On the way, there are many other tonks, where you must offer the Argh and keep moving. On the way, Suprasvnath tonk is on another peak, so first a small ascend is there. Again the view of the mountains are mesmerizing. Later after Drashan, a huge descend is there which will take you to Talhati of Parsvnath Tonk.
- Parsvnath Tonk (5th Peak) (20 Kms)
It is the last and final tonk of the Yatra, You will have to climb 100 odd steps to reach to the temple and pay your heeds at the temple. There are 2 temples. One is clearly visible and second is a cave which you must visit. You must click a few pictures at the top. Reaching at the tonk without any assisting, is really a great feeling. Though feeling of the achievement is not long lasting, as you have to walk another 12 Kms to reach to the TALHATI.
- Kal Bhairav Tonk
It is going to be 12 Km descend and your stick would be most useful this time. Once at ending point, bow your head to Kal bhairav thanking him for the great yatra.
There are many monkeys in the area, so you must keep your Argh or eating material as safe as possible, otherwise you would have to donate (By force obviously) it to these monkeys.
I made a mistake, and while returning I was quite hungry. I reached to my pocket and took out one packet of biscuits. As soon as, I took it out, I heard 2 unknown voices of something falling. I ignored it, but the screeching voice of 2 running monsters toward me was not miss-able. So only after 2 seconds, I was still hungry and my pocket was lighter.
Once you are back from Yatra, you must take Tel Malis which will relieve your legs a bit. It will be cost you INR 100/- for leg massage and 200/- for entire body massage. In addition, you must dip your legs within the salted warm water. These two things would certainly relieve the tiredness a bit.
In addition to the sacred mountain, Shikhar Ji has more temples at Talhati. Each one mapping to a sect i.e. Digambar 13 Panthi or 20 Panthi or Swetambar. There are already a lot but still more are under construction.
If you want to visit other places near to the Shikhar Ji, Click Here.
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