Pawapuri: The Sinless town of Bihar

Where Lord Mahavira attained salvation


October 18, 2022

/ By / Pawapuri, Nalanda

Pawapuri: The Sinless town of Bihar

Jal Mandir, where the mortal remains of Lord Mahavira are said to be cremated is highlight of Pawapuri

The place where Lord Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, a religion that finds its roots in non-violence and renunciation, attained salvation, Pawapuri, in southern Bihar has a lot to offer to its visitors, who find themselves immersed in an ocean of absolute peace.

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“If one’s vision is capable of expelling the darkness, he would not need a lamp. Likewise, the soul itself being blissful, there is no need of external objects for bliss.”   

Lord Mahavira, Jainism-Pravachansara, 1/67


Each year, on Kartik Amavasya, the day when most Hindus celebrate Diwali, or Festival of Lights, Jains head to Pawapuri, a small town near Nalanda in Bihar to pay obeisance to the founder of Jainism, Vardhaman or Lord Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara, who is said to have attained salvation here.

Legend has it that after he preached for about 30 years, Lord Mahavira came to Pawapuri and got into a deep meditation which eventually led to his attaining salvation in the year 528 BC. The site where Mahavira attained salvation has since become one of the most popular pilgrimage sites for Jains in India. A magnificent temple, Jal Mandir, stands today and where mortal remains of the Lord are said to be cremated. Jains also call Pawapuri as “Apapuri” meaning the city without sin.

Born as Vardhamana in a royal family, Lord Mahavira was the 24th and last Tirthankara of Jainism. According to the Jain philosophy, a Tirthankara is a pious and enlightened soul. Fed up with the worldly pleasure, Vardhamana left his home and family at the age of 30, in pursuit of spirituality. He experienced the spiritual awakening only after going through severe penance and the regular practice of meditation for the next twelve and half years. He spent the rest of his life travelling across the country, practicing and preaching the Jain philosophy.

When to Visit

For devotees as much as tourists, “Kartik Amavasya” is the best day to visit place. On this occasion, the Jal Mandir is decorated with lights and candles to commemorate the Nirvana Day of Lord Mahavira. Legend says that Lord Mahavira attained salvation during ‘the Brahmamuhurta of Kartik Amavasya’ in 528 BC at this place. Tourists who visit the city on this occasion say they feel specially blessed.

“Apart from its religious significance, this Sinless City offers its visitors peace, happiness, and beautiful scenery. Life in Pawapuri is different from the metropolises. I had discovered a soothing thaw in my bewildering thoughts while travelling to this place,” S Patel, an official of Bihar government, who visited the city last year, tells Media India Group.

The places to visit:

Jal Mandir: This temple is one of the most revered pilgrimage centers in Jainism. The temple is said to have been built by King Nandivardhana, who was the elder brother of Lord Mahavira. The temple is located at the center of a pond filled with lotus flowers. The Charan Paduka, or Lord Mahavira’s footprint, is deified in the temple’s sanctum sanctorum. The place offers a beautiful picture filled with tranquility and bliss. According to one of the legends, the pond was formed when a large crowd of Lord Mahavira’s followers rushed to take the ashes of their Lord. It is also believed that Lord Mahavira still visits this temple every day to bless his followers.

Digambar Jain Mandir: Almost adjacent to Jal Mandir, this is another revered place of pilgrimage for the Digambar sect of Jainism. Lord Mahavira used to deliver his sermons at this place during his sojourn.

Gaon Mandir: Another holy site in Pawapuri, this is the place where Lord Mahavira is said to have delivered his last sermon. This beautiful temple is made up of white and red marble. The Gaon Mandir is also known as the Mahavir Swami Nirvaan Bhumi or the site of Lord Mahavira’s salvation.

Apart from the pilgrimage spots within the city, Pawapuri is also well connected with some of the most famous tourist places in Bihar. One could include Rajgir, Nalanda, and Bodh Gaya in the itinerary while planning a visit to Pawapuri.

How to get there

Pawapuri is easily accessible by rail, road, and air. At barely 20 km, Rajgir is the closest railway station, while Bihar’s capital Patna is about 80 km away. One can book a taxi from both the stations to reach Pawapuri. Besides the Patna airport, Gaya is another airport within 100 km of Pawapuri. In addition, bus and taxi services are also available from the major cities of Bihar to Pawapuri.

Where to Stay

There are several places to stay. However, most of the hotels are located in Rajgir. Hotel Siddharth, Hotel Rajgir Residency, Mahavihar International Restaurant, Hotel Nalanda Regency and Indo Hokke Hotels are some of the popular places to find an abode during a sojourn here.



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