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Millennium Post

Between heaven and earth

Between heaven and earth
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Sandwiched between heaven and earth, crowned with sanctity, greened by acres of sacred groves, there is a place whose beauty is parallel to none. Sammed Shikharji transcends the superlatives of scenic beauty with its stunning scenery. What could be a better treat for the senses of devotees who take up this venerable pilgrimage in the Jain faith?

This ancient tirth is considered the holiest since 20 out of the 24 Tirthankars attained Nirvana here. To revive the memory of this holy place of Jainism and to tell the story of Jain Saints in the form of pictures, Varun Joshi has come up with a coffee table book on the famous pilgrimage site of the Jains.

Sammed Shikharji, meaning vulnerable peak, is nestled on the Parasnath Hill in Girdih district of Jharkhand and it is believed that a visit to this sacred place destroys bad karma and eliminates troubles.

The picturesque land is dotted with several temples, each important in its own right. The land of penance and nirvana, Shikharji is surrounded by the Madhuban forest and cradled by yawing valleys. This is where the 27km ascent starts for the pilgrimage.

The experience of the pilgrimage and the unmatched beauty that surrounds the holy place has been captured in its most pristine and exquisite form by photographer Varun Joshi in his book Shikharji.
To have undertaken the arduous pilgrimage and come back with stunning shots is no mean feat! Each image in his book brings to life the elements at their glorious best - like the silence of the forests, the chill at the peaks, the smell of wood, the sacred air and much more.

The pictures are rife with stories of grandeur, fortitude and the sacred. His book is the only book that has ever featured Shikharji so perfectly. The coffee table book which covers the age old temples, other monumental wonders, the greater thinkers and above all the unique tenants of the faith has been sponsored by the Jain body- Paras Foundation.

Varun Joshi has several coffee table books to his credit, but he considers this book as the most enriching experience.

The pictures are a mere reflection of what I saw there, but what I experienced cannot be interpreted in any image’, says the photographer who is scaling new heights with every passing book.

The book is so popular among Jains that it's 1,000 copies have been sold already and 5,000 more copies are under print.

His previous coffee table books include Jainism (Digambar), Jainism (Swetambar), Hyderabad, Pushkar, Digah, Dilwara (Mount Abu) and Brij. A coffee table book on Telangana is also under publication.

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