Pilgrimage or going to sacred places for Jains is meritorious and spiritually inspiring. Pilgrimage sites fall into four categories-
1. Kalyanaka Kshetras– These are places associated with the birth and other memorable events in the life of a Tirthankar like Ayodhya, Hastinapur etc.
2. Siddha Kshetras or Nirvana Kshetras– These are places where Tirthankars or ascetics attained liberation like Sammed Shikhar, Kailashgiri, Girnargiri etc.
3. Atishaya Kshetras– These are places where miracles occurred in the lives of great Tirthankars or ascetics like Padampura, Tijara etc.
5. Kala Kshetras– These are places famous for their temples, monuments and images. Most of the Jain temples fall under this category.
Bawangaja or Digambar Jain Siddha Kshetra Chulgiri is a holy Jain pilgrim centre located in the Barwani district of Madhya Pradesh. In the midst of the Satpura ranges at a height of 4000 feet is the world’s tallest statue carved out of a mountain of Lord Rishabhdeva(or Adinatha) the first Tirthankar in the 12th century. This captivating statue is in the standing posture of meditation or Khadgasan. The height of the statue is 84 feet or 52 gaja(unit of measurement) in the olden days hence was named Bawangaja. From the hill the river Narmada can be seen flowing in front and the lush valley and the scenic beauty all around makes it a beautiful experience for the pilgrim.
Idol of Lord Adinatha
The idol is 84 feet high or 26m high and is made in brown stone. The idol stands at the base of the mountain. The hands of the idol are not joined with the legs but are separate. It is perfectly carved in proportion and symmetry. On the left side of the idol is the four armed Gomukh Yaksha and on the right side is the 16 armed Yakshi Chakreshwari. The idol is supported from the back unlike the one at Shravanabelagola in Karnataka. The idol of Bhagwan Ajitnath carved artistically on a stone slab is present here. Idols of Lord Mallinath and Lord Chandraprabhu are installed in the main altar. On both sides in the Mahamandap several idols are also installed.
Situated on the highest peak of the Satpura ranges the Chulgiri Kshetra has been sanctified by great ascetics due to its peace and solitude hence is ideal for meditation. The main temple of this Kshetra was constructed in the 12th century and is referred to as Siddha Bhumi. There are 11 Tonks and 15 temples on top of the hill and 19 other temples at the bottom of the hill.13 temples are surrounded by a rampart and 6 are constructed separately. The idol of Lord Neminath is installed in one of the beautiful temples.
How To Reach
Rail: -The nearest railway station of Mahuva is at a distance of 130 kilometers; Khandva is at a distance of 185 kilometers. Indore railway station is about 160 kilometers from Badwani.
Air: – Nearest airport is at Indore about 150 kilometers away.
Road: – Well connected from all sides having good roads–Badwani which is 8 kilometers away is well connected by roads. Buses are available for Badwani from Indore, Ujjain, Khandwa, and Baroda etc
There are 5 dharmashalas containing 30 rooms and 5 guest houses containing 20 rooms. There are 3 huge halls and mess facility is also available. Tents, beds and utensils are also available with restaurants and canteens to cater to the pilgrims.
Tirthankars by their penances and practices of self control show the world the way to overcome the infinite cycles of birth and death. The places associated with these Divine beings get sanctified and becomes holy and pure thus uplifting any pilgrim who comes to these places. These Kshetras give the message of eternal peace, non violence and unity and guide mankind on the right path.