The Lost Birthplace of Lord Shitalnath - Bhaddilpur
|Shri Shitalnath Bhagwan, Bhaddilpur Tirth|
Unknown to many, the birthplace of Lord Shitalnath, Bhaddilpur was lost until a couple of years ago. According to ancient scriptures, the kingdom of Bhadrikapuri was ruled from its capital, Bhaddilpur by King Dradhrath and Queen Sunanda (of Ikshavaku clan), parents of Lord Shitalnath. The city was thus blessed with the fortune of being the holy land where Lord’s Chyawan, Janma, Diksha and Kevalgyan kalyanaks took place.
|Dawn at Bhaddilpur Tirth|
|Dawn at Bhaddilpur Tirth|
Declared Vicchedit (destroyed & lost) since the past century, the Kalyanak Bhumi was long forgotten by Jains until 1993 when a shravak named Shri Lalit Kumar Nahata planned a yatra to all the Kalyanak Bhumi’s. On finalizing the route, he found that the locations of 2 Kalyanak Bhumis (Bhaddilpur and Mithila) were unknown to all. This inspired Shri Lalitji to initiate the journey to find these lost tirths.
He started the search for Bhaddilpur by researching all the ancient books and taadpatras (inscriptions on palm leaves) preserved in his ancestral library, 'Abhay Jain Granthalaya' in Bikaner. With a few resources in hand he started correspondence with many revered Acharya Bhagwat’s and notable Jain shravaks which yielded negligible results.He also sought guidance from his uncle, Shri Bhanwar Lalji Nahata who was a notable scholar to locate and re-establish long lost Kalyanak Bhumi's like Bhaddilpur and Mithila as well as other important Tirths including Ahichhatra.
|Bhaddilpur tirth with Dharamshala|
After years of research in various gyaan bhandars (jain libraries) and correspondences, Shri Lalitji got various resources (namely - Shri Tirthmala Amolak Ratna published in 1893, Jain Tirtho no Itihaas by Munishri Nyay Vijayji , published in 1949, Jain Tirtho ka Aetihasik Adhyayan published in 1991 and Parasgiri ka itihaas) which helped him to identify the location of this ancient Kalyanak bhumi within the Chatra district in Bihar. However, the exact location was still unknown to him.
When researching on the historicity of Chatra District with Shri Ashokji Baid from Patna, he chanced upon various books by western scholars namely Sir William Hunter and Dr.Stane which led him to Kolhua Pahad near Hunterganj in Jharkhand which was earlier known as Sahetuk Van. According to Jain scriptures, Sahetuk Van was the forest where Lord Shitalnath Bhagwan attained Kevalgyaan. For three years after taking Diksha, the lord practiced penance and meditation on this forested hill and attained Kevalgyaan on Paush Krishna Chaturdashi. Till date many ruins of Jain idols, temples and rock cut caves have been discovered on this hill which proves its antiquity. (Read more about Kolhua Hill below)
After visiting the Kolhua Pahad, Shri Lalitji became sure that the birthplace of the lord would be near to the hill. He enquired with local municipal authorities as well as with the Revenue Department with respect to Jain ruins in the area which led him to the village of Bhondal. On reaching the village, the locals headed by Shri Mukesh Prasadji from Hunterganj started the search for a land which would be an ideal place for the Kalyanak Bhumi. Shri Lalitji intensely prayed to the Shasan dev for an ideal place to construct the temple. The very next morning a local villager came to Lalitji and offered his farmland for building the temple.
Considering this as the divine intervention of Shasan dev, Shri Lalitji purchased the farmland and thus the construction of Kalyanak Bhumi temple was initiated near the banks of River Niranjana (Falgu river) on NH99.
|Beautiful lake atop Kolhua Pahad. Photo Courtesy: Jay Bakhai|
In 2007, Shri Lalitji initiated the construction of the temple with the active help of Shri Subhash Chandji Bothra of Ranchi. The Anjanshalakha and pratishtha mahotsav was conducted in 2014 in the presence of Pujya Shri Mahendrasgarji Maharaja (disciple of Khartargachhadhipati Shri Jinkailashsagar Surishwarji Maharaja). Today a beautiful temple stands in the midst of serene natural surroundings. A stunning idol of Lord Shitalnath along with 4 Charan Padukas have been installed within the temple.
|Commemorative Special Cover published by India Post on the occasion of Pratistha Mahotsav of Bhaddilpur Tirth|
Long ignored by Jains, it was due to persons like Shri Lalitji Nahata which have helped to identify our lost Kalyanak Bhumis. Now it is upon us to re-visit these revered Kalyanak Bhumi’s and restore back its ancient grandeur.
|Left: Ancient idol of Lord Parshwanath found inside a cave atop Kolhua Pahad. Right: Ancient Footprints of Lord Shitalnath atop Kolhua Pahad|
About Kolhua Pahad-
Around 12 kms from Bhaddilpur Tirth (Bhondal Village) stands the mighty Kolhua Pahad enveloped in natural surroundings. Highly revered by locals as the abode of Koleshwari Devi, the hill has become an important pilgrimage spot for the Hindus, Jains and Buddhists alike. The entire trek is around 6 kms and a cemented pathway along with stairs has been constructed till the temple of Koleshwari devi.
|Bird's eye view of Kolhua Pahad|
|Ancient idols of Tirthankar's inside Rock Cut caves atop Kolhua Pahad|
Further on climbing the cliff, on the highest point of Kolhua Pahad is the Kevalgyan Kalyanak bhumi of Lord Shitalnath. A 3 inch footprint of the lord has been carved on the rock which is very difficult to climb. The uphill trek post the temple of Koleshwari Devi is a rugged one as there is no pathway and one has to climb the rocks to visit the Kalyanak Bhumi of Lord Shitalnath, thus only physically fit persons are advised to climb the rocky terrain.
|Shri Shitalnath Bhagwan, Bhaddilpur Tirth. Photo Courtesy: Karan Doshi|
How to Reach-
Bhaddilpur Tirth is located about 50 kms (around one and half hours) from Gaya on NH 99 near the town of Hunterganj. Cars/ Autos can be hired from Gaya. Regular buses are available from Gaya to Hunterganj.
Jain Shwetambar Kalyanak Tirth Nyas
Village Bhondal, NH 99, PO: Hunterganj – 825414,
District Chatra, Jharkhand.
Phone: 8228872000/ 8227872000
The tirth has a well equipped Dharamshala with 27 rooms, 1 Hall, a library and a Bhojanshala.
|Bhaddilpur Tirth Jinalay illuminated with lamps. Photo Courtesy: Yash Koradia|
PS: The Kalyanak bhumi of Mithila (4 Kalyanaks of Shri Naminath Bhagwan and Shri Mallinath Bhagwan respectively) has also been identified by Shri Lalitji in the town of Sitamadhi (Bihar). A two storied temple is nearing completion by Jain Shwetambar Kalyanak Tirth Nyas. A Dharmashala having 27 rooms is already functional there. Chal Pratistha of this Kalyanak Tirth was performed on 23rd. February, 2015. Pratishtha Mahotsav will be held on 1st February 2020.