Sammed Shikhar History: Sammed peak is located in Giridih district in Jharkhand. Geographically Sammed peak is considered to be the top peak in Jharkhand that is called Parasnath hill. Its height is 350 meters. It is referred to as The Himalayas in Jharkhand. Jains all over the world recognize that hill is Shri Shikhar Ji and Sammed Shikhar. It is his most sacred shrine. The town on the crest of this hill is called Madhuvan.
Sammed Shikhar History
There were 24, Tithankaras (supreme Jain gurus) in Jainism. From these twenty Tithankaras offered their lives when performing penance i.e. achieved Nirvana (or salvation). Lord Parshvanath was of the 23rd Tithankara and was also one of the groups of people who reached Nirvana(Sammed Shikhar History). Lord Parshwanath’s Tonk is located at the sammed. Its symbol Parshvanath is a snake.
The area is also known as Parasnath in honor of his name. It is also known as Siddha Kshetra within Jainism it is known as Tirtharaj i.e. the King of the pilgrimages. Lakhs Jain devotees make their way to Jain each year.
They can reach the Sammed Shikhar where they the worship of the temples in Madhuvan. The trip between Madhuvan towards Sammed Shikhar of the hill , is approximately nine kilometers. The devotees walk on foot or via doli to climb to the top of this holy mountain, which is surrounded by forest.
What’s the issue with pilgrimage sites vs tourist sites?
The central government’s Ministry of Forest and Environment has declared a portion of Parasnath hill as a wildlife sanctuary as well as an eco-sensitive zone. The Jharkhand government has designated it as a holy tourist spot as part of its tourist policy.
The adherents of Jainism claim that the sacredness of this sacred spot will be violated if it becomes an official tourist spot (Sammed Shikhar History). If visitors come in the context of tourism, shady practices like eating meat or drinking will increase , which could harm the morals of a non-violent Jain society.
It is the reason it’s important to let it be a pilgrimage site. The announcement issued by both the state and central government to declare it an official tourist spot should be removed. In the last month, the silence by Jain followers in protest of the demand has been taking place throughout the country and internationally.
What is the timeline of the controversy?
On the 22nd of October on the 22nd of October, 2018, under the time of the Chief Ministership of Raghubar Das the Department of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sports of the Jharkhand Govt issued an official order, which stated it was Parasnath Sammed Shikhar Ji has been the most sacred and revered spot for Jain devotees for centuries. its sacredness is a matter of state policy is determined to keep it as it is.(Sammed Shikhar History)
On February 26 2019 the government also released a gazette announcement that included Giridih’s Parasnath Madhuvan is listed as a destination for tourists. The gazette announcement is not focused on Parasnath Madhuvan only, but tourist destinations across all 24 districts in the state were included in the notification.
On August 2nd 2019, The Ministry of Forest and Environment, Government of India, issued a gazette where it was declared a sanctuary for wildlife as well as a tourist attraction that is eco-sensitive.
Hemant Sarkar identified as a holy tourist destination
The coalition government of Hemant Soren in Jharkhand announced an updated tourism policy in 2021. The gazette announcement was published on the 17th of February 2022. In this notification, Parasnath is listed as an important religious tourism destination. This notification, while protecting the sacredness of the temple it is also being talked about its growth. (Sammed peak History)
The Jain society is slamming the issuance of these notices declaring Sammed Shikhar i.e. Parasnath as a place to visit. The leaders of the religious society believe that it must be kept as an area of worship, or the sacredness of this spot is ruined by the decision to make it a tourist spot.(Sammed Shikhar History)
To meet this demand, Jains have taken out a peaceful procession and protested in a variety of cities across the country as well as abroad during the months of December and January.