Pawapuri is a Jain Siddha Kshetra which is located 8 kms from Bihar Sharif and 31 kms from Rajgir. It is also known as Apapuri(the sinless town). Around 500 BC, Lord Mahavira the 24th and last Tirthankara attained final Nirvana at this place and was cremated here.
Pawapuri was part of the Magadha kingdom during ancient times and was called Madhyama Pawa or Apawapuri. During the lifetime of Mahavira Ajatshatru the son of King Shrenik was one of the greatest disciples of Lord Mahavira. The King of Pawapuri at that time was King Hastipal. Lord Mahavira stayed in King Hastipal’s ‘Rajikshala’ when he came to Pawapuri. Mahavira after attaining Keval Gyan or omniscience at Rjukula began touring various parts of the country preaching the principles of Jainism. He then reached Pawapuri and in a park studded with many ponds he seated himself on a pure slab of stone. For two days he sat unmoved in meditation and in the last quarter of the night of the 14th day of the dark half of the month of Kartika he left his mortal coil and attained final enlightenment.
Places of Interest
There are five main temples in Pawapuri. They are the Jal Mandir, Gaon Mandir, Samosaran, New Samosaran and a temple built by Bibi Mehetab Kumari. There is a Digambar Jain temple near the Jal Mandir apart from these temples.
This temple is in the middle of a lake blooming with lotuses. It contains the Charan Paduka of Lord Mahavira and is said to mark the site where his mortal remains were cremated. This temple is said to have been built by King Nandivardhan the elder brother of Lord Mahavira. It is built in the shape of a Vimana and across it there is a 600 feet long stone bridge from the bank to the temple.
The Gaon Mandir or the village temple was said to have been built by King Nandivardhan the elder brother of Lord Mahavira and it marks the spot where Mahavira attained final Nirvana. It is at this spot that the Lord delivered his last sermons or Upadesha. People from all walks of life from across the country came to listen to these Divine teachings. When he took his last breath, all people lit lamps or Diyas filled with ghee and this tradition continues to this day. Gaon Mandir has a big Dharamshala in a large compound equipped with all facilities to cater to the pilgrims. Records on the dedicatory stone of the temple indicate that Pawapuri was restored by Shwetambari Singh of Bihar under Acharya Jina RajaSuri in 1641 AD during the reign of Emperor Shah Jahan.
It is a beautiful temple which marks the site where Mahavira sat to teach his disciples. The temple is made up of white marble and is circular in shape, rising by low steps into several concentric terraces with a beehive shaped shrine on the top containing the footprints of Lord Mahavira.
How To Reach
Pawapuri is located on the Bhaktiarpur-Rajgir railway line. It is 8kms from Bihar Sharif and 31 kms from Rajgir. It is 87 kms from Patna by road. Buses and taxis run from Rajgir to Pawapuri.
Accomodation is available in the New Samosaran temple with all facilities for pilgrims. There is a Bhojanashala in the city temple for meals. Near the Digambar temple there is also a Dharamshala with all facilities.
Pawapuri is one of the holiest places in Jain Pilgrimages as the place has been hallowed and sanctified by the presence of Lord Mahavira who preached and attained final Nirvana there. The faith and devotion of the devotees further purifies the place and the holy vibrations all around help the pilgrims in their divine quest for enlightenment and bliss.