History – Previously called by the names of Madaneshpur, Vasuharikpur and Nandanpur, Aharji was ruled during the 11th century by the Chandella rulers of Khajuraho (1011 to 1241). On entering the temple premises, the visitors can see a huge temple along with a group of shrines surrounded by a high wall. The deity in the main temple at Ahar is the spectacular and attractive idol of Bhagawan Shantinatha in the Kayotsarga. This idol was installed by Sheth Ralhanji during the rule of King Madanvarma in the year 1237 of the Vikram era. This is the place of nirvana of the Omniscient Madankumar of the time of Bhagawan Mallinath. Perhaps this is the reason why this place is known as Madaneshpur. This is an ancient pilgrim place which had many temples. Even today, their ruins are found on the hills nearby. Thirty-two castes of the Jain community, the names of disciples and grand-disciples of Bhattaraks and the names of disciples and grand-disciples of Aryikas are mentioned in the manuscripts here. A museum is also established here which has rare Jaina statues from the surrounding places. A fair is held here every year from the thirteenth to the fifteenth day of the bright half of the month of Magasar. Devotees from different parts of the state participate in this fair.
How to Reach – The temple is situated on the hills near the Ahar village. Lalitpur, the nearest railway station is at a distance of 83 kilometers and Tikamgadh is at a distance of 24 kilometers. From Tikamgadh, , a small bridge of Ahar Tigol is 15 Kms and from there further 5 Kms is Madansagar. Ahar starts from Madansagar. Bus service and private vehicles are available. Boarding and loding facilities are available at this place.
Main Deity – Nearly 18 feet 3 inches high, light rose colored idol of Bhagawan Shantinatha in the Kayotsarga posture.
Photos by – Rushab Shah (Mumbai)