SHRI ACHALGADH TIRTH
PRESIDING DEITY AND LOCATION :
Shri Adishvar Bhagwan in golden color (idol cast in metal) seated in a lotus posture and of height 1 ½ meters in a shrine, built in a fort raised by Rana Kumbha on the highest peak of Arbudhachal mountain in Aravalli Hills, 1402 meters high above sea-level. (Shve)
ANTIQUITY AND SALIENT FEATURES :
The abtiquity of Achalgadh is must as that of Mount Abu because the former is only a part of the latter. Among the temples existing at present, the one on small hill at the foothills of Achalgadh is the most ancient and it is the temple of Sri Shanthinath Bhagwan believed tohave been built by Raja Kumarpal. IT is stated in “Vividh Tirth Kalp” and “ArbudgiriKalp” though there is reference that the temple of Sri Mahavir Bhagwan was built by raja Kuarpal, it is possible sometime during repairs and renovations, the idol may have been substituted. On the high peak of the mountain the world renowned temple with four images (Chourmukhi), the Principal Seity being in the north Sri Adinath Bhagwan was built by brave and generous Sri Sahasashah, the grandson of Ratnashah (who was the brother of Sheth Sri Dharnashah, the builder of Ranakpur Shrines) and the Chief minister of Badshah Gyasuddin at the inspiration of Acharya Sri Sumatisuriji and after obtaining permission from the local king Sri Jagmal. The ceremonial consecration and installation of the idol of this extra-ordinary size and weight 120 monds the metal idol of Sri Adinath Bhagwan was done at the hands of Acharya Sri Jaikalyansuriji on Falgun Sukla 10 in Vikram year 1566. The description of this event is given in “Guru Guna Ratnakar Kavya”, in “Tirthmala” composed by Sri Shilvijayji etc.,
There are inscriptions found on the idols of Sri Adhishvar Bhagwan installed in the eastern direction and Sri Shanthinath Bhagwan installed in the southern direction of this temple which state that the ceremony of installation had taken place on Vaishakh Krishna 4 in Vikram year 1518 at the hands of Sri Laxmisagarsuriji during a large and prestigious festival organized by Oswal Shreshthi Sri Salhashah who was a minister of Raja Sri Somdas of Doongapur City of Mewad. On the idol of Sri Adinath Prabhu installed in the western direction of the temple, the inscriptions states that its ceremonial installation had taken place at the behest of Shreshthi Sri Salhashah of Doongarpur and many other Jain householders at the hands of Sri Laxmisagarsuriji in Vikram year 1529. On both sides of the Presiding Deity , on the idol in meditating standing posture there is an inscription dated Vikram year 1134. According to these inscriptions, these idols were meant for the temple of Sri Mahavir Bhagwan in Sanchor. On the second floor of this temple there are all metal idols in four direction of which one in the eastern direction has an unusually divine expression which is very sweet and impressive. No inscription is found on it. It is believed to be 2100 years old and may be, it was the Presiding Deity once upon a time thereby suggesting that there may be existing here also an ancient temples like Dilwara.
Here there are a total of about 18 metal idols of which the weight is 1444 monds (.e. about 26 tons). From the shrine and the color of the idols, it is evident that more gold has been mixed while making them. Such extra-large size metal idols are no where to be found. These idols mainly of Brass/Bronze which speak volumes about the craft of metal casting in India during relevant periods in the past centuries were made by the skilled artists of Dungarpur Mewad. The idol of Sri Kunthunath Bhagwanis of bronze which again is a rarity. In this fort built by RanaKumbha in Vikram year 1509, there was also a palace which has since been destroyed.
The final place of austerities and ultimate departure from the world, Yogiraj Sri Vijayshantisurishvarji was this one. In the wilds of the surrounding area, he had practiced intense mediation and austerities. Near the principal temple, there is a room where he usually liven and many kings were his faithful followers. In a book entitled “Abu Na Yogiraj” written by Swami Sri Rikhabdas who resurrected the shrine of Puzhal (Near the city of Chennai), there are many eye-witnesses accounts of the miracles and marvelous events about Sri YOgirah Vijayshanisurishvarji. One such account relates as under when Swami Rikhabdas was also present.
After the marriage ceremony of the Prince of Shirohi, 22 kings including Princess had come here to have sight of the Yogiraj and to offer prayers to him. The doors of the room were closed and they anxiously waited for the doors to open. As soon as the doors opened, all of them started prostrating at the feet of Yogiraj. They were meticulously dressed in fine and rich garments but because of the flood of devotional feelings, none retained a sense of proportion about the clothing. Swamiji further comments that the scene was worthy of a photograph for permanent memory but a camera was not available. Gurudev, had inspired a number of persons to give up hunting, meat eating and drinking of liquor, On Aasoj Krishna 10 in Vikram year 1999. Gurudev, shuffled off his mortal coil in a room near the temple of Sri Kunthunath Bhagwan in Achalgadh whre the wooden Pat (bed) on which he died is still preserved and a large nice photo of his is preserved for devotees and kept on it. His dead body was taken to Mandoli village where it was cremated. A magnificent temple n his honor has been built there.
The natural scenery of Achalgadh is mind-captivating. On all sides of the temple one as if one is in heaven. The whole atmosphere is so peaceful. Besides all these, the spots of Mandakini kund, Bhartruhari and Gopichand caves, bhrugu Ashram, Tirthvijay Ashram etc are worth seeing.
There are three more temples, one of Sri Adhinath Bhagwan the second of Sri Shanthinath Bhagwan and the third of Sri Kunthunath Bhagwan all which are ancient. There is Gurushikhar at a distance of 3 Kms from here which is the highest peak of Aravalli hills. Here is one small single room shrine the footprints of Sri Adishvar Bhagwan are enshrined.
APPROACH – ROUTE :
The nearby railway station of Abu Road is 37 Kms away from where one has to come here Via Mount Abu Dilwara. There are many buses plying between Abu Road railway station and Mount Abu. From Mount Abu, many buses go to Achalgadh. Also taxis are available. From the foothills of Achalgadh, the ascent to the temple is of 400 meters. For elderly people, chair carriers are available. Buses and cars can go upto the foothills which is about 6 Kms from Mount Abu and 4 Kms from Dilwara temple.
AMENITIES FOR JAIN PILGRIMS :
On the hills near the temples there is a dharamshala with all facilities including a bhojanshala for meals is available. IN Abu Road and Mount Abu, Delwara also there are Jain Dharamshala in Arna and at the foothills of Mount Abu there is a Shanti Asharam. In these places, for Jain householder devotees there are arrangements for lodging and for saints and munis there are arrangements for their care and service.
MANAGED BY :
Sheth Shri Achalsiji Amarsiji Jain Swetamber Pedhi, Achalgadh
P.O. Achalgadh – 307 501
Dist : Sirohi, Rajasthan.
Tel : 02974 – 44122.