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shri mahavir ji
 
Among the holiest of Jain shrines is the temple of Sri Mahavirji near Sawai Madhopur in Rajasthan. Situated in the village of Chandanpur, on the bank of the Gambhir river, Sri Mahavirji attracts thousands of devotees every year. People come, from across India- and even abroad- to worship, to offer prayers and to seek blessings.
The legend behind the construction of this temple is rather quaint; it is believed that a local milkman observed that his cow, after a long day’s grazing, would return in the evening with her udders empty. Obviously puzzled, the man followed the cow, and discovered that the creature would stand atop a nearby hillock and allow all her milk to flow away on it.

A little bit of digging by the milkman revealed an idol of Mahavirji buried in the hillock. A temple was built to mark the spot and it is still, centuries later, an important center of pilgrimage for devout Jains. The temple, which is dedicated to the 24th Tirthankar, Sri Digamber Jain Mahavirji, is made from white marble and red sandstone. It consists of a large complex of small temples, the main temple being decorated with a series of pillared niches containing idols of the Jain saints. Within the complex is a towering 32 ft high statue of the saint Shantinath. The bustle and fervour at Sri Mahavirji reaches its peak during March and April, when an annual fair is held at the temple. The fair includes a ritual immersion of the sacred idol in the Gambhir river, as well as other festivities and ceremonies.


When to go

The period between Chaitra (March-April) and Vaishakh (April-May) is when the Sri Mahavirji annual fair is held. It’s an occasion for great rejoicing, and definitely the best time to visit the shrine. If you can’t make it during Chaitra or Vaishakh, try and time your visit for the winter. Summers can be unbearably hot in Rajasthan, and it’s really not advisable, no matter how devout you may be, to go travelling at this time.

Getting There

The nearest railway station is that of Mahavirji (Chandanpur), 7 km from the temple. The station, which is 175 km from the state capital at Jaipur, lies on the main Delhi-Mumbai line. There are frequent trains from both metro cities. From the Mahavirji station, buses (free of charge for all pilgrims) go to the temple and back.

Regular buses connect Mahavirji to Sawai Madhopur, Kota, Jaipur, Delhi, Gwalior, Meerut and other major cities in north India. Alternately, private cars and taxis can be hired from Jaipur, Delhi or Agra

Accommodation

Accommodation at Sri Mahavirji is provided by the temple trust. It’s very basic accommodation, but clean and comfortable. Rooms cost between Rs 10 and Rs 100 a night; food is also relatively inexpensive. Sawai Madhopur (which is 110 km from the temple) and Jaipur (175 km away) offer a much wider range of accommodation facilities, and are close enough for you to make a day trip to Sri Mahavirji from either of these cities.

Further information on Sri Mahavirji can be obtained from the Sri Digamber Jain Atishaya Kshetra, Sri Mahavirji (Chandanpur), Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan.

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