North Chotanagpur : Parasnath Hills
Parasnath Hills are a range of hills located in Giridih district of Jharkhand. The highest peak is 1350 metres. It is one of the most important pilgrimage centre for Jains. They call it Sammet Sikhar. The hill is named after Parasnath, the 23rd Tirthankara. Twenty of the twenty-four Jain Tirthankaras attained salvation on this hill. According to some, nine Tirthakaras attained salvation on this hill. For each of them there is a shrine (gumti or tuk) on the hill. Some of the temples on the hill are believed to be more than 2,000 years old. However, although the place is habited from ancient times, the temples may be of more recent origin. The Santhals call it Marang Buru, the hill of the deity. They celebrate a hunting festival on the full moon day in Baisakh (mid April).
Best time to visit is from october to march when the weather is pleasant.
Parasnath Hill is on Grand Trunk Road NH 2.The nearby place for reaching Parasnath is Ranchi 190 KM, Bokaro 40 KM, Jhumri Tileya 80 km and Hazaribagh 80 km
Parashnath station on the Howrah-Delhi grand chord line is the base for a visit to Parashnath. The adjacent town is called Isri or Isri Bazar. It has got some Jain dharmashalas. There is a Dak Bungalow at Dumri about a mile from the station. There is small staion at Nimia Ghat from where also Parasnath Hill is accessible, but the said route is not the popular one, people only travel by this route once a year. Best is to take 36 seat bus/rental car from Isri Bazar for Madhuban and the metalled trek route of 9 km to Shikharji(Parashnath). Google Maps
Almost all the major trains running on The Grand Chord line ( Delhi to Kolkata) stop at Parasnath station. These include New Delhi - Kolkata Rajdhani express, Puri - New Delhi purushottam express, Mumbai- Howrah mail, Ahmedabad-Asansol - Parasnath express. In view of the tourist volume, Parasnath station has been built as a model station by Indian railways.
The summit of Parasnath Hill can be reached either from the southern or the northern side. There are two recognized routes to Parasnath Hill.
The southern approach is from Isri Bazaar, to the top, is motorable for about 2 km, the rest being a climb of 8 km.
The northern approach is a 13 km route from Madhuban village on the Dumri-Giridih road. Madhuban is about 40 km from Giridih and about 10 km from Parasnath rail station/ Isri Bazaar/ Dumri, all on Grand Trunk Road (NH 2). Buses ply along this route from Dumri to Giridih and stop at Madhuban village. Hired cars or taxis are available at Isri Bazar, just outside the rail station. There are a number of Jain temples at Madhuban.
After 3.5 km from Madhuban there is a stream called Gandharva nala and further up there is another stream Sita nala. The Jains hold the portion from Gandharva nala up to the summit as very sacred. It is easier to reach Parasnath from its northern side.
Ponies and dandis for the climb can be arranged at short notice. Jeeps and such power-driven vehicles can be hired to carry visitors for a considerable distance up the hill. Therafter they have to walk.
There are small eateries, where vegetarian food is available.
Nothing is openly available.
The Jains have provided rest houses at the foot of the hill at Madhuban. The food is strictly vegetarian at these places. Non-vegetarian food, even if brought from outside is not allowed.