History – Madhuban, the eastern most Jaina ‘temple-city’, embedded among trees at the foot of Parashnath Hill (better known as Sammeta Shikhara or Sametshikhar), has a very ancient history. It is said that the Twenty Tirthankaras of the present group of twenty- four tirthankaras and a number of Tirthankaras of the past groups of twenty- four Tirthankaras, attained salvation on this holy land. This place comes to life hours before sunrise. The priests, pilgrims, begin to climb the hill as early as three in the morning. By the time they finish their expedition across this hill they will have walked about twenty-seven Kms: nine up, nine round the five peaks, and nine back to Madhuban. The expedition across this mountain an unforgettable experience even for a newcomer to Jainism. The upper nine Kms they have to be walk barefooted the hill is laid out in such a way that it guides even the inexperienced pilgrim to all the twenty and more holy spots marked by small shrines (tonks) containing the footprints of the tirthankaras. The highest (about 1360 m above sea level) of all these is the shrine of Bhagawan Parshwanatha. Bhagawan Parshwanatha is believed to have attained nirvana at the age of one hundred during the eighth century B.C. at this place. In this temple we can find an underground cell, it is once again the Jaina symbol denoting nirvana – a pair of rock-cut footprints. There is a reference that in the second century Acharya Padliptasuriji came on a pilgrimage to this place by akashgamini vidya. Palganj was the original foot of Samet Shikhar and the present-day Madhuvan is at a distance of 20 kilometers from Palganj. Madhuvan is the present-day foot of the hill.
Sheth Khushaldas often came on a pilgrimage to this place and the idols had become very old. It was difficult to identify the places of nirvana of different Tirthankaras. Therefore, according to instructions of Devavijayagani, he practiced the penance of a three-day fast (attham) and muttered prayers (jaap) to Padmavatidevi. He saw a dream. Accordingly, he saw on the hill an auspicious figure of Swastika with particular numbers. The places of nirvana of tirthnkaras were fixed according to the numbers. With blessings of the goddess, Khushaldas built small temples of foot idols of these twenty Tirthankaras, a large temple named jalmandir, the Kothi dharmashala at the Madhuvan foot of the hill, the temple of Bhomiyadev and the seven temples of shamaliyaji Parshvanath and others.
When His Holiness Acharyadev Sagaranandasurishvarji came on a pilgrimage to this place in the year 1980-81 of the Vikram era, the twenty-second renovation of this great sacred place was begun according to his wish in the year 23012 of the Vikram era. Under the auspices of Maneksagarsurishvarji Maharaja, disciple of His Holiness Sagarandasurishvarji, the jalmandir and the twenty-nine Devkulikas were installed.
As the name suggests, Madhuvan, the foot of the hill is really a beautiful forest. At this foot of the hill surrounded by hills, trees, gardens and natural beauty, there is temple of Bhomiyadev. There are also a dharmashal, a bhojanashal, a beautiful garden and a group of eleven temples. They remind one of the chief tunk of Palitana. The ascent on the hill begins from a little distance beyond the Bhomiyadev temple. The ascent of six miles, six miles of round journey for seeing the tunk and descent of six miles make a journey of 18 miles. If the journey is begun at about 5 o’clock in the morning, it is completed at about 4 O’clock in the evening. For a pilgrim, it is advisable to keep a torch and a stick with him. For using on the journey, food is given to the pilgrims, when they return. It is convenient to ascent by the way of the Jalmandir and descends by the way of the tonk of Bhagawan Parshwanath. When the pilgrims climb half the distance, the tonks of nirvana places of Bhagawan are seen.
On the way downward, there is a Dak bungalow. There is also the Gadharvanal where food is given to the pilgrims for their use during their journey. From the hill, the group of peaks of temples below, looks like a divine city. The building style and artistry of all temples of Madhuvan are beautiful and spectacular. In Madhuvan at the foot of the hill, there are eight temples, two Dadawadis and the temple of Bhomiyaji Maharaja. Besides, there are eight temples of Digamber Vispantthis and nine temples of Digambar Terapanthis.
How to Reach – The Sammedha Shikhar Hill near Madhuvan is at a height of 4450 feet from the sea-surface. The nearest railway station of Girdih is at a distance of nearly 25 kilometers from the tirth of Madhuvan at the foot of the hill. Bus service and private vehicles are available. One can climb the hill on foot or in a swinging cot.
Accommodation Details – There are Svetamber and Digambar dharmashalas. There are good bhojanashalas, too. On the hill, there is an arrangement for bathing water.