Thursday, November 3, 2011

Muktagiri

Marthwada-Vidharbha Circuit- 8 days, 1750 KmsPune-Ahmednagar-Parbhani-Navagarh-Jintur (480 Kms) Jintur-Lonar-Mehekar-Karanja (216 Kms)
Karnja-Amravati-Chikhaldara (153 Kms)
Chikhaldara-Partwada-Muktagiri (44Kms)
Chikhaldara-Semadoh-Chikhaldara (50Kms)

Muktagiri-Achalpur-Akot-Shegaon (120 Kms)
Shegaon-Mehekar-SindkhedRaja-Jalna-Aurangabad- (265 Kms)
Aurangabad-Nagar-Pune (236 Kms)


Type: Historic Jain Digamber temples
Base town: Muktagiri
Where: 70 Kms from Amravati
Route taken: Chikhaldara-Partwada-Muktagiri
Time visited: October 2011
My Meter reading from Pune: 914 Kms
Lodging-Boarding facilities:  2 Huge ashrams at the base and has 2/3 different Bhojanalayas.


We reached early morning. the drive from Chikhaldara was pleasant. One the way we spotted a school of parrots merrily singing and basking in the early morning sunlight.
After reaching Muktagiri we were welcomed by the office manager. Since it was Diwali time and was Nirvana Ladoo day there was huge rush. We managed to a get a room towards the mountain side on the ground floor. The rooms were neat and clean. The new VIP lodging facilities were much better was the old rooms were also in good condition.
After refreshing we started to climb the mountain. The easy steps and lush greenery made the climb very simple and enthusiastic.
There are separate routes for ascending up and descending down the hill.









The stairs are surrounded by beautiful green trees and variety of flowers. It takes around1.5 hours for an average person to finish the entire journey with little bit of pooja in each temple.












Muktagiri Siddha Kshetra is situated in the lap of the ‘Satpuda’ Mountain range and it is surrounded by beautiful natural forests.






It is ancient Siddha & Atishaya Kshetra beilieved to be built in 16th century. It’s another name is also ‘Mendhagiri’ or ‘ Medhrgiri’.

There are 52 temples on Muktagiri Siddha Kshetra.




From No. 1 to 4 there is one group and from No. 5 to 9 there is another group of Temples. There is huge gushing waterfall in between 10th & 11th temple. It must be wonderful sight especially in rains. Since it was October there was very less water but still a tranquil to watch the water fal;ling in the green surroundings.

A bridge is constructed over this waterfall and the whole Kshetra looks beautiful from here.






Mendhagiri Temple: - This is the oldest temple at Muktagiri and it is believed that this was got constructed by ‘King Ail Shripal’ of Elichpur. It is cave temple on the three doors of which Arihant idols are carved. Two doors are closed. In the center of temple the hall is constructed on four pillars. Around this hall the path of circumambience is also built. The 72 idols of Teerthankaras (three Chaubeesee) are carved beautifully on the walls of this temple. This temple is 16 feet & 3 inch tall and its width is also equal to its length. This temple was built in 10th century. The droplets of saffron can be seen on rocks kept outside the temple. It is that temple only where Mendha attained ‘Devgati’after hearing precepts from Muniraj. Therefore this temple is called Mendhagiri.


There was an old saying that one who comitted lot of sins or who had bad faith was not allowed by the god to visit the place and honey bees would swoop on him...

The 22nd temple has beautiful marble idol of Bhagwan Parshavnath (Left).

The 26th temple is main temple of Muktagiri and this is temple of principal deity Bhagwan Parshvanath. The 4 feet high black colored Padmasan idol of Bhagwan Parshvanath surmounted by seven serpent hoods is quite ancient & magnificent. It is said that King Kotibhatta Shripal saw the idol of Bhagwan Parshvanath near the pond of Elichpur in his dream and he was given order to take out idol from there. Presently that idol is installed at this place. There is spire above the forehead of the idol and elephants are present on both sides of the idol.









The 40th temple is dug in the lap of mountain and it is quite antique and beautiful. This is quite ancient and the carving the walls of temples are exquisite. The rhythm and symmetry of pillars and roof of temple is superb. The idol of principal deity is quite magnificent and worth seeing.



 
The way to 51st and 52nd Temple is from inside 50th Temple. A dark secret hidden passage opens up to these temples. You will need to carry along a torch. The downward journey starts from 52nd Temple. 

In the afternoon we enjoyed Dal-Bhati in the mess.
In the evening we again had round. and had yummy dinner in one of the houses.

Next day we proceeded to our next destination- Shevgaon.



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