Baijnath, the tehsil headquarters of the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, is famous for the Baijnath Shiv Temple, Kangra built in the 13th century. Baijnath means “Vaidya + Nath” which means lord of medicine or medicines. Lord Shiva, to whom this temple is dedicated, also known as Vaidya + Nath.
This temple is situated right next to the Pathankot-Mandi National Highway in Baijnath. The old name of Baijnath was ‘Keergram’ but with the passage of time this temple became famous and the name of the village became Baijnath. The Binwa river, which later joins the Beas River, flows at the north-west end of the temple.
The architecture of Baijnath Shiv Temple, Kangra
The sanctum sanctorum of the temple entered through an antechamber, in front of which a large square mandap built and large balconies made on both the north and south sides. In the front part of the mandap, there a small verandah supported by four pillars, in front of which there a statue of the Nandi bull under a small stone temple. The whole temple surrounded by a high wall and there are entrances on the south and north.
Two long inscriptions on the verandah of the temple indicate that the temple of Shiva existed at the spot even before the construction of the present one.
The present temple a beautiful example of early medieval North Indian temple architecture known as the Nagara style of temples. The swayambhu form of the Shivalinga enshrined in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, which has five projections on each side and a tall curved shikhara.
The outer walls of the temple have several curved images of gods and goddesses. Many paintings are also fixed or engraved on the walls.
The outer doors in the porch as well as the inner doors leading to the sanctum sanctorum of the temple are inlaid with a large number of paintings of great beauty and symbolic importance. Some of them are very rare and are found elsewhere.
Pilgrimage at Baijnath Shiv Temple, Kangra
Baijnath Shiv Temple, Kangra visited by a large number of tourists and pilgrims throughout the year from all over India and abroad. Special prayers offered in the morning and evening every day except for special occasions and during the festive season.
On the outer walls of the temple, there are idols of many gods and goddesses made to display the idols and other ornaments. Many pictures carved on the walls. The outer gate of the verandah and the inner gate leading to the sanctum sanctorum filled with innumerable paintings depicting the ultimate beauty and importance. It is rare to find some of these pictures anywhere else.
This temple is a beautiful and excellent example of the Nagada style of pre-medieval north Indian temple architecture.
Baijnath Shiv Temple, Kangra- Center of Religious Faith
Baijnath Shiv Temple, Kangra holds an important place for the religious faith of people coming from far and wide. The temple attracts a large number of tourists and pilgrims from all over India and abroad throughout the year.
Prayers offered every day in the morning and evening. Apart from this, special worship done on special occasions and festivals. Festivals like Makar Sankranti, Maha Shivratri, Vaishakh Sankranti, Shravan Somwar, etc. celebrated with great enthusiasm and grandeur.
Every Monday falling in the month of Shravan considered to be of special importance for worshiping in the temple. Every Monday of the month of Shravan celebrated as a fair. A five-day state-level function organized every year on Maha Shivratri.
The Dussehra festival, which traditionally celebrated to burn an effigy of Ravana, celebrated in Baijnath as a mark of respect for the penance and devotion done by Ravana to Lord Shiva.
The special importance of bathing in Kheer Ganga Ghat
Bathing in the Kheer Ganga Ghat built on Vinva Khad flowing along the temple has special importance and earns virtue by getting rid of sins.
Ravana Gave Sacrifices of Ten Heads Here
There are many ideas regarding the establishment of Shivling in Baijnath Shiva temple. According to legend, during the Ram-Ravana war, Ravana had done severe penance on Mount Kailash to please Shiva and asked Lord Shiva for a boon to go to Lanka so that victory could be achieved in the war.
Lord Shiva pleased and promised to walk with Ravana to Lanka in the form of a Pindi and at the same time put a condition that he should take this Pindi directly to Lanka without keeping it in the ground.
As soon as Ravana left for Lanka with this divine Pindi of Shiva, Ravana felt a slight doubt at a place called Keergram (Baijnath) and he handed over the Pindi to a person standing there for a while. Retiring from the slightest doubt, Ravana saw that the person in whose hand he had given that Pindi had disappeared and the Pindi had been established in the ground.
Ravana tried a lot to lift the established Pindi but could not get success, then he did severe penance at this place and sacrificed his ten heads in the Havan Kund. Pleased with the penance, Rudra Mahadev reinstated all the heads of Ravana.
Pandavas Build The Temple Partially
Baijnath Shiv Temple, Kangra built during the unknown abode of Pandavas in Dwapar Yuga. According to the local people, the remaining construction work of this temple completed by two merchants named Ahuk and Manuk in 1204 AD and since then till now this place is famous in northern India as Shivdham.
Significance of Sacred Kunda
It said that the water of Brahma Kund used for drinking. Mahakal anointed with the water of Shiv Kund and this water can also be used for bathing. The water of Sati Kund is not said to be used. It said that 3 queens were sati here at some point.
Recent History of Baijnath Shiv Temple, Kangra
In the year 1905, there was a severe earthquake in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh, which caused huge destruction. A large part of this temple had collapsed in that earthquake. That part has been redone. The special thing is that the Durga temple here was established by the king of Mandi about four and a half hundred years ago. But the king’s only son had passed away, so he refused to install the idol.
It said that after this whoever wanted to install the idol, an accident would happen to him or his family members. In a situation, after many years, in the year 1982, Swami Ramanand installed the Durga idol here. By the way, there is also a Shani temple at this place.
How To Reach Baijnath Shiv Temple, Kangra
The nearest airport to Baijnath Shiv Temple, Kangra is the Gaggal Airport, located at a distance of 37 km. Flight can also be taken from Shimla airport, which is located in Jubbarhatti at a distance of 225 km from the temple. A private cab or taxi to travel to Baijnath Shiv Temple, Kangra can be hired.
Alternatively, one can hire a state transport bus from Shimla to Mandi and then can hire a taxi to reach Baijnath Shiv Temple, Kangra as there is no direct flight or train between Baijnath and Shimla. One can also hire a taxi or state-run bus from Shimla to Dharamshala, after which one can hire a private taxi to Baijnath Shiv Temple, Kangra, which is located at a distance of 54 km from Dharamshala.
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