Parasnath in Giridih district of Jharkhand is situated at an elevation of 1350 m, the highest one in Jharkhand. Apart from being an important Jain pilgrimage centre, Parasnath is equally traversed by trekkers. The hill is named after 23rd Tirthankara, Parasnath and it is believed that he attained his salvation here. Pilgrims are amazed to see 2000 year old temples standing tall and upright on the Parasnath ranges.
If one is interested in trekking at Parasnath, he has to start from Madhuban which is a dense forest region at the base of the Parasnath hills. Gandharva Nala and Shital Nala are the two trek routes taken in order to reach the summit. The former is considered sacred and is thus preferred more by the trekkers. As a stretch of 27 km uphill is to completed within a day, trekking needs to be started by 3-4 a.m.
"Doli" or palanquin is available for those people who cannot trek. Travelling in a doli is a new experience for many. Usually it is carried by 2-4 people. Though these people do not trek, still they relish the ride as they get an opportunity to view the striking beauty of the Parasnath Hills along with its lush greenery. Though the trek is regarded to be a safe one, it is usually advised to carry a stick and a torch throughout the trekking expedition.
Gautam Swamy hill and Chandra Prabhu hill come consecutively as one approaches the peak of Parasnath. Jal Mandir is another attraction which trekkers or pilgrims should not miss at Parasnath Hills. Trekking can be done both from northern and southern side of the hill. If one is approaching from southern side, he has start from Isri Bazar. 8 km trek can be done after an initial ride of 2 km.
If one is approaching from Madhuban or the northern side, it involves a trek of 13km on Dumri-Giridih Road. Madhuban is a well known spot as it lies on Grand Trunk Road where bus and hired taxis are readily available. Ponies, dandis and power vehicles like jeep are available for the further trail.
What to Do: Yes, it is a pilgrimage destination and also a trekker's point. But it also harbours other striking features like the awe inspiring views of Chandraprabhuji, Pushpnandanji, Goutamswamiji and Chaprakund. Other than the main temple tourists can also pay a visit to Samosharan temple and Bhomiyaji Asthan.
Do not miss out the Jain Museum at Madhuban. One will get a fair knowledge about the Jain manuscripts, idols and scriptures. The telescope at the balcony of the museum gives a close view of the temple.
Where to Stay: Jain Dharmashalas at Isri Bazar, the closest town to Parasnath provides you with accommodating options apart from Dak Bungalow at Dumri. Rest houses are also availble at Madhuban. Bharatbarshiya Digambar Jain Tirthashetra Committee maintains a dormitory where accommodation is available with additional charges. One has to strictly abide by vegetarian food. Non vegetarian dishes and alcohaol is strictly prohibited as Parasnath is a rekligious spot for Jains.
If one wants to travel by train, the route is equally simplified there. Parasnath lies on Howrah-Delhi route which makes it accessible for travellers coming from far off places. Some of the trains passing through Parasnath includes New Delhi - Kolkata Rajdhani express, Puri - New Delhi purushottam express, Mumbai- Howrah mail, Ahmedabad-Asansol - Parasnath express.
From Isri Bazar trekkers and pilgrims can avail bus service which will drop one at Madhuban from where the trek starts.
Best Time: October to March being the ideal time to trek Parasnath, plan it the earliest.