Bawangaja Jain pilgrimage is also known as Shri Digamber Jain Siddha Kshetra Chulgiri. This sacred pilgrimage is located in Bawangaja which is just 8 km away from Badwani which comes in Madhya Pradesh state. The temple is situated on the highest peaks of the Satpura mountain ranges. The most attractive element of Bawangaja temple is the kadgasan idol of Lord Adinath (Rishabhdev) which is 84 feet high, made by using brown stone. The idol is made by artistically cutting the rocks from one distinct mountain only. This idol of Lord Adinath reminds us of the idol of Lord Gomateshwar Bahubali of Shravanbelgola.
The idol has been made very carefully and is in exact proportion. The emotions of happiness, forgiveness, kindness are clearly visible on the face of the beautiful idol of Lord Adinath. You will see the four armed Gomukh Yaksha on the left side of the huge idol. On the right side of the idol a 16 armed Yakshi Chakreshvary has been constructed. As the idol is so big you will not be able to see it completely if you are standing at the foot of it. Hence to see it completely it is important that you stand at a distance from the idol. Another very interesting idol which is worth visiting is of Lord Ajitnath which has been creatively carved on the stone slab which is present here.
History: This pilgrimage destination is approximately 2000 years old whereas the main temple of this holy place was constructed in the 12th century. The other nearby 10 temples were constructed later in the 15th century. A very old inscription which was found at this place gives us the information that the main temple of Chulgiri Kshetra was established in the Samvat 1223. However there is no evidence which will help us to know when this huge idol was built. According to the Yati Madan Kirti scholar of the 13th century, Arkakirti was the constructor of this idol of Lord Adinath.
It is also said that Bawangaja was the place of nirvana and meditation for Ravan's younger brother Kumbhakaran, Ravan's son Indrajeet and many other saints.
Chulgiri Temple: Another beautiful temple situated on the hilltop is the Chulgiri temple which is also known as the Siddha Bhoomi. It is believed that Kumbhakaran, Indrajeet and many other saints attained liberation here through self-meditation. Based upon the ancient inscriptions we come to know that these old temples were built in Samvat 1116, 1223 and 1508. We can see the foot images of Kumbhakaran, Indrajeet and a few other Munis in this temple. Apart from this, in the main alter the idols of Lord Chandraprabhu and Lord Mallinath are installed. In the Mahamandap or in other words in the main assembly hall you will see several idols installed on both sides.
Other nearby attractions:
There are few interesting and pleasant tourist places near the Bawangaja pilgrimage which are Siddhaverkut, Talanpur, Mohankheda and Unpavagiri. The Ajanta and Ellora caves which are fun to visit are only 50 km from Badwani. Rani Roopmati's Palace and Mandav which is well-known for its forts, palaces and pools are hardly 75 km away from here. Another Digamber Jain Siddha kshetra which is just 80 km from Bawangaja is Pawagiri.
- Airways: Indore is the nearest airport from Bawangaja pilgrimage. From Indore you will get many buses which go to this holy pilgrimage.
- Railways: The closest railways station is Indore which is just 160 km away from Badwani.
- Roadways: From Badwani district headquarters there are buses available at every 30 minutes which go to Bawangaja Jain pilgrimage. Buses for Badwani are available from many places like Baroda, Ujjain, Indore, Khandwa etc.