Nandgiri: A Jain Cave Temple in Maharashtra

Nandgiri, also known as Kalyangad, is a fort situated in Satara District of Maharashtra. This fort was built by the Shilahar King Bhoj II in early 13th century. He built 16 forts in total in western Maharashtra.

The Shilahar Dynasty was follower of Jainism. This dynasty ruled all over the south Maharashtra and North Karanatka between 11th to 13th Centuries. King Bhoj II was disciple of Jain Acharya Maghnandi. Acharya Maghnandi was his spiritual and political Guru. The Kings, Queens and Generals of this dynasty were staunch Jains and promoted Jainism in their region.

After decline of Shilahar Dynasty, the Nandgiri fort was captured by Adilshah of Bijapur. The fort was taken back by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in 1673 A.D. As this fort was very difficult to climb, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's treasury was kept on this fort.

On Nandgiri hill, there is a big cave. There is a big lake filled with clear water in the cave. An ancient idol of Shree Parshwanath Swami is situated on one side of the lake in the cave.

A big number of devotee Jains come here for darshan. Mostly they are from western and southern Maharashtra. This place is almost unknown to Jains in other parts of India.

In 1930, Shri. Hirachand Shaha constructed a railing in the cave, which helps us to reach to the idol. Shri 1008 Parshwanath Digambar Jain Gupha Mandir Trust is developing this Shrine. Dr. Vijay Shaha is the President of the trust and Mr. Vijaykumar Randive is the secretary. The trust is running a high school for village children.

I was fortunate enough to visit this shrine with Shri Shirish Shaha (Satara), Dilip Khobare (Pune) and Abhishek Jain Shastri (Sagar). To climb the 3557 feet high hill and to enter in the dark cave, and again to climb down was a thrilling experiment. I think that every Jain should visit this shrine at least once in the life.

You can easily go to the hill by road from Satara, as there is a tar road. Satara is about 110 Km. From Pune. Nandgiri is about 25 Km. far from Satara. You can reach Satara by road/train from Pune and Mumbai. You should start to climb the hill early in the morning or before 3.00 P.M. Climbing on the hill, taking darshan in the cave and then coming back takes 3 hours. It is very difficult to climb down the hill in dark, so you should start early to climb down if you start climbing up after 2.00 P.M. You must have a battery while you visit the cave.

You can stay at Shree Parshwanath Digambar Jain Sanskritik Bhavan, Opp. Ajinkya Colony, Sadar Bazar, Satara 415 002 before going to the hill. Contact details for more information:Dr. Vijay Shaha, 170 Sadashiv Peth, Satara 415002Phone: 0216 2244236

(c) M.S. Chavan

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