By Vivek Jain

This page details the information required to conduct a successful Pilgrimage to the Holy place of Shikharji. All efforts are made to provide comprehensive and accurate information.

NOTE: All external weblinks are provided for Informational purposes and Siddhachalam does not endorse or recommend any information provided on those webpages.

Location: Teerthraj Shikharji is located on Parasnath Hills (Wikimapi location), and is accessible from the town of Madhuban, District Giridih, State of Jharkhand. Parasnath Hills stands high at 4769 feet in the middle of barren and agricultural plains of Chikri, Jharkhand. It covers an area of 200Sq KM.

Weather at Madhuban: Weather on the Parasnath Hills can change suddenly. It may be nice and sunny at Madhuban, however it may be raining up in the mountaines. So, always prepare for extreme weather up in the Hills.
Accuweather at Madhuban

How to get there:

Where to Stay and eat:

There are many Dharamshalas (rest house for spiritual pilgrmis) in Madhuban, managed by various Digambar and Shwetamber Societies. There is no online information of these Dharamshalas. However Phone #s of many Dharamshalas are provided here for convenience. In general, most Dharamshalas have in-house Bhojnalaya (place serving vegetarian food) and are well-maintained by local standards. It is advisable to contact the Dharamshalas in advance to make a room reservation, since many have different types of rooms to accomodate various needs and budgets of Yatris.

Pilgrimage Logistics

Pilgrimage Duration: It is recommended to plan for a 3-5 day pilrimage to Shikharji. Even though the Yatra to the Hills is for 1 day, however there are many Religious attractions in Madhuban to be seen. 1-2 days for planning, Madhuban attractions, rest, massage etc.; 1 day for Yatra; 1 day for post-Yatra rest, Madhuban attractions.

Trail Description: The total foot path trail distance to visit all 31 Tonks is estimated to be 27KM. 9 km is going up to the 1st Tonk, 9km is coming down and 9km is traversing all the tonks over the mountain top. 1st tonk is in the center of the mountain, while 12th tonk is on the far east side (about 3km) and 31st tonk is on the far west side (about 3 km). Since the tonks are not numbered, a Yatri will usually make a guess about the numbering of the Tonks. However, many Yatris do not really care about the numbering of the Tonks. Also, all Yatris may not cover all the Tonks based on their strength, stamina, time and weather. Yatra route is cement paved. Upto 4 km of initial trail is mostly flat, albeit hilly. They are motorable by a mobike. After 4 km, the trail is mostly steps as the steep climb starts.

The route is uphill right from the beginning, with some flat sections and some downhill sections when traversing mountains. There are 2 smaller mountains that need to be crossed before climbing the main Parasnath Hill. There are some nice views along the route from about 5 km. You can also see the sunrise if you leave early. There are some covered shelters in the first 3-4 kms. However there are tea/snack stalls along the route where one can rest and have water, tea, biscuits etc. There are no lights on the route. There are no formal bathrooms (restrooms) on the trail route. Bathroom and bathing facilities are however available at Jal Mandir, Dak Bunglow or Chopada Kund.

The return journey from Parshvanath Tonk is fairly easy due to descent and path in good condition. A walking stick is very helpful during descent. At Gandharva Nala, refreshment is made available by Beespanthi and Terapanthi Kothi and Shwetamber Society . After taking some refreshment, one must return to the Dharamshala. Maximum of pilgrims do adoration of Shikharji three times, some of them also have a round of hill that is about 30 miles.

Madhuban is at an altitude of about 400mts or about 1300 feet from sea level. The highest Peak is named Parasnath Peak which is 4769 feet. Therefore, net altitude climbed is about 3400 feet. In reality, the total height physically climbed is more since there are many peaks that are traversed to see various Tonks. Since one has to ascend and descend many peaks, the total height climbed by the Yatri is about 5000 feet. The average height of Tonks is about 1400 mts or 4600 feet.

Yatra Time and Distance: Shikharji Yatra has to be completed in a day since there are no facilities to stay overnight on the Hill. There is a provision to stay in Dak Bunglow facility only if prior arranegements are made at Madhubhan. The Yatra takes about 12 hrs for a normal healthy person to cover 27 kms, however it can take up to 16 hrs for elderly, Yatris with kids etc. Before starting the Yatra, most Yatris pays homage to BhomyaJi and pray for a safe and a successful Yatra. BhomyaJi temple opens at 4 am. Many Yatris staying at different Dharamsalas may start early based on the suggestions by the local people.

Estimated yatra timings: Start 3-4 am, reach 1st tonk around 9 am, see all tonks by about 1 pm and start return journey. Reach Madhuban by 5 pm. Later return times are also possible if covering all the Tonks.

Food & Water: Water, tea and biscuits are available on the way from vendors. However, there are no food facilities on the way or on the mountain. Therefore, its recommended to carry some food with you, especially with kids.

Best Time of Year: Yatra is open year around. However, there are 4 seasons to go. Spring, Summer, Rainy and Winter/festival time. Rainy season is not the good season to go. It usually starts around May 15th to July. If you want to avoid crowds (however can deal with summer heat), going in spring/summer time may be best. Most organized Yatras are during festival time, around Diwali and winter time. It also gets very crowded and expensive during winter time.

Tips for a successful Yatra :

Religious Attractions in Madhuban

Following list has some of the many attractions in Madhuban. (NOTE: Information below is compiled from other publicly available sources.)