Bihar has been the originating place for Jain religion. There are innumerable Jain Heritage which depict the rich past of Bihar. Almost every district of Bihar has some elements of Jain Heritage. Here we present a few prominent Jain Pilgrimage Destinations in Bihar which together constitute the Jain Circuit.
Patna Kamaldah (Patna City) : In the area called Kamaldah (Gulzarbagh, Patna) is a high mound of brick ruins on which two Jain temples stand. There is mausoleum of Jain saint Sthoolhdbhadra and the temple of Sudarshan Swami.
Muzaffarpur Kund Gram : As per Jain tradition Lord Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankar, was born at Kundagrama and Vaniyagrama was his residence. Both the places was either part of or near to Vaishali. While the modern village of Bania can be taken as representing the site of ancient Vaniagrama. The location of Kundagrama is identified with the modern village of Vasokund, about 2 kms northeast of the gadh mound.
Nalanda Kundalpur : A beautiful Jaisalmer stone temple is situated close to the ruins of ancient Nalanda University at Kundalpur. This houses statues of Lord Mahavira, Adinath Swami and Gautam Gandharva. This place is believed to be the birthplace of Gautam Gandharva, the first disciple of Lord Mahavira. An ancient Jain temple could also be here.
Jalmandir : Pawapuri,which is also known as Apapapuri, the sinless town, is a very sacred Jain pilgrimage. As per Jain Mythology and belief, Lord Mahavira, the greatest propounder of Jainism, attained Nirvana at Pawapuri. Hundred of thousands of his disciples and devotees took away the ashes after his cremation here. The rush was so great that even the soils of the area were taken away and it became a tank. Later on, a beautiful temple of white marble was constructed in the center of the tank to commemorate the Lord’s Nirvana. This temple is known as the Jalmandir.
Samosaran : A beautiful temple honor the place where Lord Mahavira sat to teach his disciples. The temple is constructed of white marble, rising by low steps into several concentric terraces with a beehive shaped shrine on the top containing the footprints of Lord Mahavira.
Maniyar Math : This monument occupies a prominent position inside the valley, situated on the way to the Son Bhandar Caves, almost in the center of the ancient inner city enclosure. Legend is that Srenika or Bimbisara had 32 wives to each of which he daily gave new ornaments, and threw the old ones into a well, which is still shown. This covers a modern small Jain temple as well.
Sone Bhandar : There are two rock-cut caves, adjacent to each other, excavated on the southern face of the Vaibhara hill, facing the western portion of the valley. Of them the western one is locally called as Son-Bhandar (Gold Treasury). As per Local belief, the piece of rock within this space is an ancient wedge blocking up the passage to the treasury of gold in the body of the hill. It consists of a rock-cut chamber and its front part has been fallen. Inside the southern wall of the cave there are six small figures of Jaina Tirthankaras carved in relief and representing Padmaprabha, Parshvanatha and Mahavira.
Nawada Gonava Jee : Gonava village is situated at around one kilometer north of Nawada on Patna-Ranchi road. This is a pilgrimage site for the Jains of both sects. The Digambar Jain temple is just by the side of main road while the Shwetambar Jain temple is behind it. . The temple is famous and known as place of Nirvana of Lord Mahavira’s 1st disciple, Gautam Gandharva.
Bhojpur Bisram : This place is in town called “Arrah” where there are another 45 Jain temples. Lord Mahavira, the 24th Jain Tirthankara, took rest here for some time during his wanderings, hence this place is called Bisram (rest). Jains from every part of the country visit Bisram throughout the year. There is a Jain temple here containing an idol of Lord Mahavira.
Masadh : This village is located at around 9-kms southwest of “Arrah” town. An ancient Jain temple dedicated to Parshwanath is situated here and contains eight images, some of them dates back to ancient time. The temple was completed in the year 1819 A.D. while some of the eight images date back to 1386 A.D. as per archaeological records.
Banka Mandar Hill : It is about around 48-kms south of the Bhagalpur town. The hill is about 700-ft high that consists of a huge mass of granite overgrown near the summit with low jungle. This hill is believed to be extremely sacred as per the Hindu mythology. The Skand Purana associates Mandar or Sumeru with the famous epic or Puranic story of the Amrita-Manthana or the churning of the ocean. The story goes that the Gods and the Demons (Devas and Asuras) with a view to secure amrita (the divine liquor), which is believed to confer immortality, used this Mandara or Sumeru Mountain as the churning stick or rod. The great mythical serpent, Vasuki, was used as the rope. Due to this mythical association, the hill had assumed considerable religious significance and had been a place of pilgrimage ever since. Two Jain temples are situated on the summit of the hill. Large number of Jain pilgrims comes here to worship Lord Vasupujyanatha.
Bhagalpur Champanagar : A western suburb of the Bhagalpur town is at present known as Champanagar. In the Kalpa-Sutra this is mentioned as one of the places where the last Tirthankara Mahavira stayed for three rainy seasons in the course of his religious wanderings. According to the prevalent Jain tradition it is believed that Jain Tirthankara Vasupujya was born at Champanagar or Champapuri. There are two Jain temples of considerable size, both entirely built at the expense of the family of Jagat Seth, a supporter. At the nearby hamlet of Kabirpur there is another Jain temple with the footprints or padukas (footwear) of the 24 Jain Tirthankaras with an inscription dated V.S. 1694 or 1637 A.D.
Lachhaur : This is one of jain pilgrimage sites, situated about 8-kms west of Simaria and 7-kms south of Sikandra. It has s a large number of Jain temples and dharmshala built in 1874 by Rai Dhanpat Singh Bahadur of Murshidabad, for the benefit of Jain pilgrims, who visit some places in the adjacent hills. The nearest are about 5-kms of Lachhaur and are marked Muth Boodhroop and Muth Purusnath. These are two small shrines picturesquely situated in the valley between two parallel ranges of hills. In each of these shrines one can find a small statue of Mahavira, one of them dates back to Sambat 1505, and the other appears to be the older one. The temples themselves, however, are of recent date. Some Jains hold Lachhaur to be the birthplace of Mahavir Swami.
Kundghat : It is around 6-kms from Lachhaur. There is a temple of Kundeshwari Devi, which is considered sacred by the Jains