Archana Das is a voracious reader. She likes to dig into the stories of Indian mythology and pen down her thoughts on paper often.
Baijnath is an enchanting town in the Kangra district of India’s paradise, Himachal Pradesh. It is located about 50km from Dharamshala. And the story of Lord Shiva (Baijnath) comes to life right there, giving the town its name.
The town’s major attraction is Baijnath temple, as it is connected to the ancient lore of Lord Shiva. During the Treta Yuga, Ravana, the demon king, became invincible and powerful by worshiping Shiva in the Kailash.
He was a devotee of Mahadev and, in order to please him, he offered his ten heads into the sacred fire (havan kund). By seeing the extraordinary deed of Ravana, also known as Dashshanand, Mahadev restored his head and bestowed him with immortality and invincibility.
An Incomparable Boon and the Request to Take Lord Shiva to Lanka
On receiving a significant and incomparable boon from Shiva, Ravana requested him to accompany him.
"Mahadev, I want to take you with me so that I can worship you throughout my life in the palace I made for you." Ravana requested Lord Shiva.
"Awashya (sure)! But on one condition. Will you accept it? said Lord Shiva."
"What are your conditions, my Lord? I will accept whatever you say. "Ravana waited to hear Harahar’s answer."
"Ravana, you must not install me on Earth before we reach Lanka. If you keep your promise, I will reside with you forever. " Lord Mahadev told him.
And Ravana agreed.
Shiva then transformed himself into Shivling and requested that the Demon King carry him, warning him, "Don't put me on the ground on your journey." If you do so, I will be with you; if you don't, I’ll rest in whatever place you place me. "
On hearing this, Ravana took Linga in his hands and started to move in the south direction towards Lanka, reaching Baijnath.
He was thirsty. He wasn’t stopped for days and didn’t drink a drop of water. At some distance, Ravana saw Lord Ganesha, son of Shiva, disguised as a shepherd. He asked him for water.
Lord Ganesha tricked Ravana and requested the Lord of the Sea or Water, Varuna Dev, to convert himself into a small pot of water.
Thereafter, Ganesha offered the water to Ravana to drink.
"You seem such a great devotee of Shiva. Aren’t you? Lord Ganesha teased and tricked him. But how would you drink the water?
" I can’t do that. I promised my Lord that I would place him in Lanka. " But his parched throat forced him to drink water so he gave Linga to Ganesha.
After drinking water, Ravana felt an urge to answer nature's call. He again requested Ganesha to hold the Linga until he came back.
Lord Ganesha put the Shivling on the Earth and went.
When Dashashanand returned, he found Linga had been established there. He tried to pull it but couldn’t.
He understood, he was tricked, and thus Baijnath, the form of Ardhnarishwar (Lord as half male and half female), came into existence in the Treta Yuga.
Archeological History of Baijnath
The structure of the temple is vast and breath-taking. The temple walls are carved with beautiful legends.
There are two long inscriptions found engraved on stone slabs in the main hall.
The inscriptions have Sanskrit written using the Sharada script and the local Pahari language in the Takri script.
They offer significant details about the construction of the temple. In India's national calendar, Saka, in the 8th century, there were two merchants named Manyuka and Ahuka. It also praises Lord Shiva. It also has the current ruler, a king named Jaya Chandra, and a list of several architects and other merchants of that time.
Another inscription is found having the names of Kangra district's old names, such as Nagarkot, where the Baijnath temple was built.
Sculptures and Idols in the Baijnath Temple
Several idols are engraved on the walls of the Baijnath temple.
Some of them are present, dating prior to the present temple being built.
The following sculptures are included in the temple: Lord Ganesha, Harihara, Half Lord Shiva, and Half Lord Vishnu.
Apart from these, there is also a unique idol of Lord Shiva as Kalyanasundara depicts the wedding of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. The temple also includes a battle between Asura Andhaka and Lord Shiva.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Archana Das