The Hastinapur Teerth Kshetra is an ancient place in Meerut District of Western ‘Uttar Pradesh’, which was a center place at sometime in India for political, cultural, and spiritual events.
Out of 52 Mahajanapadas established by Bhagwan Adinath (Rishabhdev), Kurujangal Pradesh was one of them, it’s capital was Gajapur. It may be that due to the huge quantity residing in the forests near the bank of River Ganga, it was named ‘Gajapur’ (Gaja –Elephant). Later on a brilliant king named ‘Hastin’ of ‘Kuru Vansha’ (Vansha -Dynasty) ruled here, so this place was called ‘Hastinapur’. In ancient literature many names are given to this place, but Hastinapur is the most popular name up to the present time.
Next to Ayodhhya, Hastinapur is the most important Teerth. 18 Kalyanakas of 5 Teerthankaras took place at Ayodhhya; while 12 Kalyankas of 3 Teerthankaras – Shri Shantinath, Kunthunath & Arahnath took place at Hastinapur These 3 Teerthankaras were Chakrawarti also. But this Teerth became most famous due to the ‘first Aahar’ of first Teerthankara ‘Bhagwan Rishabhdev’ given by King ‘Shreyans’; the juice of sugarcane was given as Aahar (Meal). Thus the starting of Daan Teerth (Daan-Donation) took place from here on the day of ‘Akshaya – Tratiya’ (the day Vaishakha Shukla Tratiya). From that time Akshaya Tratiya is celebrated all over India as a sacred day.
At that time when Rishabhdev were in the state of ascetic saint, they decided for keeping fast for six months for Tapa. After six months due to unknowingness (unacquainted) of the procedure of Aahar to an ascetic, they did not receive Aahar upto next 6 months and 13 days. While Rishabhdev came to Hastinapur for Aahar next day, King Shreyans saw them from the window of his palace; suddenly Shreyans recalled the process of Aahar due to ‘Jatismaran Gyan’ (The knowledge of previous life) only due to this Shreyans was able to perform the procedure of Aahar to an ascetic saint.
Elder brother of Shreyans, ‘King Somprabh’ was the ruler of Hastinapur and both were the sons of ‘Bahubali’ – the son of Rishabhdev. Somprabh’s another name was ‘Kuru’. So at the name of Somprabh – Cahndra Vamsha & at the name of Kuru – Kuru Vamsha became famous. Later on in KuruVansha – ‘Kauravas’ and ‘Pandavas’ of Hastinapur became famous.
‘Megheshwar Jai Kumar’ – the son of Somprabh was the chief of the army of ‘Chakrawarti Bharat’ and was famous for his bravery. Wife of Jai Kumar – ‘Sulochana’ was the daughter of King Akampana of ‘Kashi’. First ‘Swayamvara’ (a ceremony organized to select a husband by a young female as per wish of her own) of the world for the marriage of Sulochana was organized in ‘Kashi’. So many stories about the bravery of Jai Kumar and modesty of Sulochana are described in Jain Texts.
Later on after 15th Teerthankara Dharmanath, 4th Chakrawarti Sanat Kumar also established his capital in Hastinapur. After that 5th, 6th, & 7th Chakrawarti Shri Shantinath, Shri Kunthunath and Shri Arahnath (these were 16th, 17th, & 18th Teerthankara also) born here. First four Kalyankas (out of five) of these three Teerthankaras were celebrated here at Hastinapur by ‘Devs’ of heaven and public also.
In Jain Texts so many stories are described related to Hastinapur, some important out of them are given below: -
1. Shri Gurudatta was a King here. Later on he became ascetic and left his kingdom. Once he was in deep meditation in the valley of Dronimati Hills, a man created heavy troubles to him. He wrapped pieces of old cloths on the body and set them on fire. But Muni Gurudatta engrossed in deep meditation and penance, attained ‘Keval Gyan’ and salvation from there.
2. Famous festival of ‘Raksha Bandhan’ also started from Hastinapur, in the memory of vanishing the trouble of 700 ascetic Munies by ‘Muni Vishnu Kumar’ on the day of ‘Shravan (Savan) Shukla Poornima’.
Full story about ‘Raksha Bandhan’ is available on the Website – ‘JainTeerth.com’ separately.
3. Famous war of ‘Mahabharata’ in ‘Kurukshetra’ also took place between Kauravas & Pandavas of Hastinapur. The place ‘Varnal’ is also near Hasitnapur, where Duryodhana built a house ‘Laksha Grih’ to kill Pandavas. Five villages Bagpat, Sonipat, Tilpat, Panipat and Indraprastha which were demanded by Pandavas through Lord Krishna are also near Hastinapur.
4. Once, at the time of Bhagwan Munisuvratnath (20th Teerthankar) there lived a businessman named Ganga Dutta in Hastinapur. He was owner of seven crore gold coins. Once Bhagwan came to Hastinapur, Ganga Dutta went there to visit them. After listening the precept of Bhagwan Munisuvratnath, he became ascetic; he left all the property and accepted ‘Muni-Dharma’ near Bhagwan Munisuvratnath.
5. Once Muni Dam Dutta came Hastinapur and stayed in garden. Kauravas passed from there; being wicked by nature they threw stones on Muni and used bad words for Muni. After sometime Pandavas came there, they worshipped Muni and removed stones. At that time Muni was in deed meditation and penance, Muni attained Keval Gyan (Supernatural Knowledge). Soon Devs from heaven came there and celebrated the occasion.
Destruction and Construction of Hastinapur
(i) Firstly, at the time of King Nichakshu, the son of Adhiseem Krishna in the dynasty of King Parikshit, swarm of red locusts attacked on Hastinapur, it cleared all the crop, even leaves were not left on trees, at the same time there was flood in river Ganga, so the Hastinapur get ruined.
Later on river Ganga changed its route miles away from Hastinapur, so it became very difficult for residents of Hastinapur to get water for daily use.
In result, King Nichakshu shifted his capital from here to Kaushambi. Thus the Hastinapur get ruined first time.
(ii) Later on this city was again established. But that time it was under the rule of ‘Naga Vansha’ instead of Kuru Vansha. Bhagwan Parshvanath’s Samavasharan arrived there at that time. Later on Bhagwan Mahaveer’s Samavasharan also visited Hastinapur, after listening the spiritual precepts of Bhagwan, King Shivraj of Hastinapur accepted Jainism and he made a Stoopa in the memory pf Bhagwan Mahaveer. Hastinapur remained populated up to year 300 B.C. Later in a fierce conflagration Hastinapur turned in ruins.
(iii) Third time it was established by King of ‘Magadha’ Empire – ‘Samprati’, he was grandson of ‘Samrat Ashoka’ the Great. He also constructed many Jain Temples here. It remained up to year 200 A.D.
(iv) Fourth time Hastinapur was reestablished by King ‘Hardutta Rai’ of ‘Bhar Vamsha’ in 11th-12th century and it remained populated upto 14th Century.
In the year 1600 A.D. the great poet of Hindi Jain Literature ‘Shri Banarsidas’ visited Hastinapur with his family. He described this pilgrimage in his biography ‘Ardha Kathanaka’. Shri Banarsidas was contemporary of Mughal Emperor Shahjahan.
History of Construction of Jain Temple
Due to so many political and natural reasons, Hastinapur was ignored for centuries. In result, many temples stoopas and shrines were destroyed, but at that time too this remained a pilgrimage center, devotees from various parts of nation continued their traveling for pilgrimage here.
During 18th –19th century condition of Hastinapur was very pitiable. Devotees were thinking that a temple is a must in Hastinapur being a sacred place. In the year 1801 (V.S. 1858), in the festival on the day ‘Jyeshtha Krishna – 13, Shri Raja Harsukha Rai gave his consent for construction of temple at Hastinaupur. Raja Harsukha Rai was the treasurer of Mughal Emperor Shah Aalam in Delhi.
Hastinapur, at that time was under the ruling of King Nain Singh of Bahsume. Peoples of Shahpur were against the construction of a Jain Temple with out any reason. Lala Jai Kumar Mal of Shahpur was the friend of King Nain Singh.
Raja Harsukh Rai requested to Lala Jai Kumar Mal to complete this work of temple by asking Raja Nain Singh. At same night, Jai Kumar Mal talked to King Nain Singh about this; he also added that Raja Harsukh Rai has put off his turban (Pagari) in the feet of Panchayat. King Nain Singh was also grateful to Raja Harsukh Rai, because once he had paid Rs. 1 Lakh against loan for King Nain Singh to emperor. So King granted the permission for construction of temple at Hastinapur. King Nain Singh also accepted lay of foundation stone by his hands on the request of Lala Jai Kumar Mal.
Next day, in the presence of Raja Harsukh Rai, Lala Jai Kumar Mal and hundreds of public King Nain Singh placed five bricks in the foundation of temple on a 40 feet high hillock.
After this function, by the money of Raja Harsukh Rai and in the supervision of Lala Jai Kumar Mal a huge spired & magnificent temple was constructed in next five year. It is said that when the time arrived for organization of installation ceremony of principal deity, Raja Harsukh Rai requested to the present public that now his all money has been spent in the construction and he has no more to finalize the remaining work, so he requested to present public to contribute in the construction. The public present there contributed, money was collected in a pot and then the work of construction was thus finalized.
Even the collected amount was very little, but by this Raja Harsukh Rai intended to make the affection in public about temple that they have also contributed in temple. He also tried to keep away himself from the proud by doing this.
Later on V.S. 1863, year 1806 function was organized for (Vedi Pratishtha & Kalasharohan) installation of principal deity on the altar. At that time the idol of Bhagwan Parshvanath without serpent hoods was installed as principal deity, it was brought from Delhi. In V.S. 1897. A huge main gate of temple was constructed by Lala Jai Kumar Mal.
A huge Dharmashala has been constructed surrounding the temple. Much extra work in the temple was completed by Raja Sugan Chand, son of Raja Harsukh Rai.
In year 1857, during first freedom fight of India, some peoples looted the temple and Bhagwan Parshvanath’s idol was also taken away. Later on from the new temple of Dharmapura, Delhi an idol of Bhagwan Shantinath was brought here and installed in the temple as principal deity, this was reverenced in V.S. 1548 by Bhattarka Jin Chandra.
From that time, this temple is known as Bhagwan Shantinath Temple.