Pawapuri is a holy site for Jains located in the Nalanda district. Its located about 38 kilometers from Rajgir and 101 kilometers from Patna.
During ancient times about 2600 year ago, Pawapuri was one of twin capital of Mall Mahajanpad which later became the part of Magadha Kingdom and was called “Madyama Pawa” or “Apawapuri“. Ajatshatru, who was one of the greatest disciples of Lord Mahavira was the King of Magadh during the lifetime of Mahavir. During the reign of Ajatshatru, Hastipal was the King of Pawapuri. When Lord Mahavira came to Pawapuri he stayed in King Hastipal’s “Rajikshala”.
Around 500 BC, Bhagwan Mahavir, the last of the 24 Tirthankaras achieved Moksha or Nirvana. He was cremated at Pawapuri, also known as Apapuri (the sinless town).
There are five main temples in Pawapuri –
- the Jal Mandir,
- the Gaon Mandir,
- the Samosaran,
- the New Samosaran and
- another temple built by Bibi Mehetab Kumari
Apart from these temples there is a Digambar Jain Mandir near Jal mandir.
The Gaon mandir or the village temple marks the spot where Lord Mahavira breathed his last. It is said that this temple was built by King Nandivardhan, elder brother of Lord Mahavira.
Jal mandir is a temple in the middle of a lake blooming with lotuses. The main deity of the beautiful temple is a very old “Charan Paduka” of Lord Mahavira. It marks the spot where the mortal remains of Lord Mahavira was cremated. It is believed that this temple was built by King Nandivardhan, elder brother of Lord Mahavira. Jal Mandir is built in the shape of “Vimana” and there is a stone bridge about 600 feet in length across it from the bank to the temple.
Bhagwan Mahavir attained nirvana in a park, near Pawapuri, round about which there were many pounds or lakes. At present the site of the nirvana of Mahavira is accepted near Bihar-Sherif where a magnificent Jain temple stands in the centre of a big lake. This is accepted as the tirtha-ksetra on all hands. Both the sects, Digambra and Svetambra, have voluntarily accepted this place as the spot of the nirvana of Bhagwan Mahavir. A marble temple, the Jalmandir, was later built in the middle of the tank, where Bhagwan Mahavir attained salvation. Another beautiful Jain temple of white marble called Samosharan is located at this place. Bhagwan Mahavir had delivered his sermon here. The best time time to visit Pawapuri is between October and March.