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Importance Of Ashtapad
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Ashtapad in Jain Religion
Sanya Kalra

Sanya Kalra
Dec, 05-2018

Teaching every Indian on how to pave the way for utmost liberation and bliss, Jainism is a religion hailing from a highly ancient era. A religion of self-help ardently following the three guiding principles i.e. right conduct, right knowledge as well as the right belief. Jains have a dire faith in the concept of rebirth and thus, they passionately follow Mount Kailash with the same reason. According to them, the ultimate liberation or moksha can be perceived by our soul when it leaves the human body and thus, this can be attained by them at the Ashtapad Mountain located near Mount Kailash.

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Ashtapad carries plenty of spiritual prominence along with it which make it majorly renowned amongst varied devotees all around the globe especially those belonging to Jainism. Jains typically believe in visiting this mountain with an intention of attaining the utmost salvation from the continue cycle of birth and death. But why is it so significant amongst the Jains? The answer to this question lies in the story associated with this peak. Ashtapad means eight steps informing that one can descend from this mountain on taking the eight giant steps or because there are eight mountains in a row and lastly also because the eight giant steps here might lead to a palace. However, there exist a good number of myths connected with this name.

It is said that Bhagwan Rushabhdev also known as Rishabhanatha who was the first Tirthankara believed to have lived millions of years ago attained salvation at Ashtapad. He is known as the ultimate founder of Jainism and is assumed to be the one who has lived for approximately 8,400,000 years with a height of 1200 feet. These features were truly ‘non-human’ and also these were carried on for the next 21 Tirthankaras. Also, it has been notified that a palace beautifully decorated with gems was established by Bhagwan Rushabhdev’s son Chakravati Bharat on the Ashtapad Mountain. Due to this reason, the Ashtapad peak holds a special place in every Jain’s heart.

However, no person till date is successful in figuring out the exact location of this mountain and as a result, this is majorly called as a ‘Lost Tirth’. On the other hand, Ashtapad is counted amongst Shvetambara Jainism’s five holy mountains and having an access to it is quite difficult as compared to the other four peaks i.e. Abu, Girnar, Shatrunjaya and Sammeta.

Just like there are different pilgrimage hubs for different religions, Jainism also comprises of many important spiritual journeys (known as the Maha Tirth) and one of them is the very significant the Ashtapad Tirth. According to some sources, it is assumed that the first saint of the Jains Shri Adinath Bhagwan meditated on Ashtapad that is known to be situated about 5 km north of Darchen. Thus, they reach this spot in order to pay homage to their saint Adinath along with the Southern view of holy Mount Kailash.

In order to explore the Ashtapad Mountain, one needs to seek permissions from the Tibetan authorities and being there, you are going to witness a unique environment. Thus, get ready to be a part of the tranquillity that lies here! Surely, you are going to have an experience like never before.

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