Chaurasi Mandir Bharmour is located in the center of Bharmour city of Chamba district in Himachal Pradesh and has immense religious importance due to the temples built around 1400 years ago. Life of the people in Bharmour is centered around the temple complex – Chaurasi Mandir so named because of the 84 temples built in its precincts. Chaurasi is the Hindi word for the number eighty-four.
The quaint little town of Bharmour is highly respected as this place’s holy land houses eighty-four temples. It is a complex housing several temples with Lakshmi Devi, Ganesha, Manimahesh, and Narasimha.
Mythological Story of Chaurasi Mandir Bharmour
It is believed that the land was first seen by Goddess Bharmani Devi. One day 84 Siddhas, who had come from Kurukshetra, were passing through Bharmour on their way to Manimahesh with Lord Shiva. He asked Bharmani Devi if he could take shelter for the night at Bharmour.
Bharmani Devi gave her permission but when she woke up the next day, she saw smoke and fire. She saw that 84 Siddhas had settled on his land. Enraged by this trespass, she ordered Shiva and the Siddhas to move out of the place as he believed that now people would pray to Lord Shiva and her importance would decline.
Shiva pleaded with all his humility and to console Bharmani Devi he said: “Whoever comes to Manimahesh has to first take a dip in the pool of Bharmani Devi only then the journey will be complete”. For this Bharmani Devi went up to the ridge of the Bhudhal valley and from there at any point, one cannot see the Chaurasi temple. Lord Shiva left but the 84 Siddhas transformed themselves into 84 Shivalingas as they fell in love with the calmness of Bharmour and decided to meditate here.
Equally interesting is the legend about how she became a goddess. It said that the Brahmani lived in a garden on a high peak and her son was very fond of Chitkor (a kind of bird). Chitkor killed by a farmer and his son could not bear the loss and die. Heartbroken, she buried herself alive and the spirits of the three of them began to haunt the local people.
Another story about the temple is that of King Sahil Varman, who ruled during the tenth century. 84 sages came to his kingdom and being pleased with his welcome and hospitality, blessed him with ten sons and one daughter. The city of Chamba said to have been named after his daughter. The city of Chamba said to have been named after his daughter Champavati. The temple also holds significance for being the residence of the Pandavas during their 14 years of exile.
About the Temples in Chaurasi Mandir Complex
Chaurasi Temple, the temple of Lakhna Devi is the oldest temple in Bharmour. It retains many of the old architectural features of the wooden temples and has a richly carved entrance hall. It said to have been built by King Maru Varman (680 AD). Durga depicted here as the four-armed Mahishasuramardini, the slayer of the demon Mahishasura.
Manimahesh (Shiva) Temple:
The Manimahesh Temple which is located in the center of the Chaurasi Temple is the main temple housing a huge Shiva Linga. Shiva Linga nothing but a symbol of the distinctive sign of Lord Shiva and worshiped as a symbol.
Narasimha (Narasimha) Temple:
Narasimha also called Narasimha, a name translated from Sanskrit as “man-lion”. An avatar of Vishnu Narasimha in which the god depicted in the pantheon as half man and half lion. The bronze statue of this deity, which exquisitely cast, is awe-inspiring.
Lord Nandi Bull Temple:
The life-size metal bull Nandi, locally known as Nandigan with broken ears and tail, can be seen standing in a modern shed in front of the Manimahesh temple. Nandi is the chief servant of Ganesha and Shiva, who had the shape of a bull and the qualities of a great devotee. Typically, in front of Shiva temples, there is a provision in the Shilpa texts for a couchant bull to roam outside and gaze at its lord Shiva. But here we have a life-size Nandi bull standing on all four legs (feet). The ‘Vishnudharmotra Purana’, however, describes such a bull, Nandi, who represents the firmness and stability of dharma.
Dharmeshwar Mahadev (Dharmaraja) Temple:
Dharmaraja, known as Dharmeshwar Mahadev, given a seat by Maru Varman on the northern corner of Chaurasi. It is a belief of the local people that every departed soul stands here to seek final permission from Dharmaraja to proceed and travel through this temple to the abode of Shiva after death. It believed to be the court of Dharmaraja and locally called ‘Dhai-Podi’, which means two and a half steps.
Ganesha or Ganapati Temple:
Lord Ganesha Temple situated near the entrance of the Chaurasi Temple of Bharmour. The temple built by the rulers of the Varman dynasty, as stated in an inscription made in the temple, by Meru Varman around the 7th century AD. The temple of Ganesha enshrines a bronze image of Ganesha. This magnificent image is life size with both feet missing.
How To Reach Chaurasi Mandir Bharmour
The best time to visit the Chaurasi Temple is from May to November as it is bitterly cold and snow falls during winter. Devotees visit it during their journey to Manimahesh Kailash and the pilgrimage takes place during this period. There is no dearth of places to stay in Bharmour and it also relatively easy to reach the temple, being well connected to Chamba which is 65 km away with several special buses plying on this route. When so many gods reside together, it becomes even more compelling to have a darshan and remove all sins.
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