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Twelve Jyotirlingas (Dwadasha Jyotirlinga) Darshana - 06. Sri Bhimashankar Temple, Near Pune

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Twelve Jyotirlingas (Dwadasha Jyotirlinga) Darshana - 06. Sri Bhimashankar Temple, Near Pune
Bhimashankar Temple is located in the village of Bhavagiri 50 km north west of Khed, near Pune. It is located 110 km away from Pune in the Ghat region of the Sahyadri hills. Bhimashankar is also the source of the Bhima river, which flows south east and merges with the Krishna river near Raichur. It is home to an ancient Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Shiva is said to have taken abode in the Bhima form, upon the request of the Gods, on the crest of the Sahyadri hills, and the sweat that poured forth from his body after the battle is said to have formed the Bhimarathi river.

Bhimashankar Temple is the sixth among the twelve or Dwadash Jyothirlingas. Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga is located on the banks of the Bhima River and is about 125 km from Pune; 251 km from Mumbai and 250 km from Shirdi (map is given below). Lord Shiva appeared here in the form of a Jyoti (small flame). On the way to the temple is the Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary. During Shivratri a three-day fair is held at the temple and includes special Arati and Mahashringar of the Garbhagriha and Sabhamandap.

Legends of Bhimshankar Temple

In the ancient times demons by the name Tripurasura become drunk with power. They harassed every resident of Swarg (Heavens), Narak (Hell) and Patal (Nether world). The divines were very scared. Then Lord Mahadev Himself came to destroy Tripurasur. Lord Shankar assumed colossal proportions. Tripurasur feared when they saw this Rudravatar. The fight went on. In the end, Lord Shiva killed the wicked demon and set the there worlds, Tribhuvan, free. Lord Shankar in the form of a huge hunk (Virat) was very tired. In order to get some rest, He settled here on the high area of the Sahyadri mountains sweat started pouring down from His huge body in thousands of streams. It all joined together and collected in a pond or Kund. The river that started from there is known as Bhima, which can be seen even today. Devotees then prayed to Bhimakaya Rudra thus: “In order to save the good people, reside here forever”. Bholenath listened to the devotees and stayed there as a JyotirLinga forever.

Twelve Jyotirlingas (Dwadasha Jyotirlinga) Darshana - 06. Sri Bhimashankar Temple, Near Pune
There was once a demon called Bhima, whose parents were Kumbhakarna and Karkati. Demon Bhima was harassing and torturing one and all. He was hell bent in the path of destruction of Dharma. Once he asked his mother about the details of his father. His mother told him that his father Kumbhakaran is the younger brother of Ravana, the king of Lanka, who was slain by Sri Ramchandra.

“I am yet to see Lanka; I met your father on some mountains near by, and after you were born, I continued to stay here itself. After my husband was killed, only my parental place became a refuge of sorts for me. My parents are Pushkasi and Karkat. When they went to eat up Agastya the saint, he burned them to ashes with the power of his meditation and Tapas”.

When he heard the story, he was at once eager to take revenge against all the divines along with Hari. He began a severe penance or Tapas, and a pleased Brahma granted him the bon of becoming a very strong man. With this new strength, he captured all the divines including Vishnu and Indra. They were in his control. After this he won a victory over the great Shiva devotee Kamarupeshwar. Kamarupeshwar did not stop his worship of Shiva even when in prison. He performed the Puja with the same devotion, observing all the procedures his wife also joined him in this.

On the other hand, Brahma and Vishnu along with all the other divines started praying Shankara and of asking for deliverance from the wicked Demon King. Shiva assured the divines and sent them home after pacifying them.

Bheema learnt from someone that Kamarupeshwar was making preparations to kill him. On hearing about this, he went straight to the prison and started inquiring into the process and aim of his worship. When he learnt the truth from the king, the wicked Demon called Lord Shiva names and insulted Him and ordered the king to worship Bheema himself instead. When Kamarupeshwar resisted, Bhemma attached the Linga with his sword. Before he could strike, Shiva appeared there. A severe fight ensued in which bows, arrows, swords, axe, the disc and trident etc. were used. In the end, at the request of Narada , Lord Shankar blew a fire and burned the wicked Demon Bheema to ashes. Thus the Devas were released from their sorrows. After this, the divines who were present there, and the saints together pleaded with Lord Shankara to remain there. In view of the welfare of the world, Shiva decided to stay there in the incarnation of Bheema Shankar JyotirLinga.

Twelve Jyotirlingas (Dwadasha Jyotirlinga) Darshana - 06. Sri Bhimashankar Temple, Near Pune
Self-emanating Mahadev, in the shape of a chariot, the mountains have become the abode of BheemaShankara. It is also known as Rathachala. One Bhatirao Lakadhara (wood-cutter) used to live here. Once he was cutting some wood. Just as he struck the tree with his axe, blood started to flow from the earth. Bhatirao got scared and ran away. Soon, a crowd had gathered there. Someone brought a milk cow and made it stand there. The milk that came from the cow’s udders stopped the bleeding of the earth. Surprising everyone, a glowing JyotirLinga of Shankara, emanated from the earth. People built a temple there and installed the JyotirLinga in the temple. This temple eventually came to be known as Bhima Shankara temple.

Bhimashankar Temple Timings

Bhimashankar Temple daily opens at 04:30 hrs. Aarti is performed thrice a day-04:30 hrs, 1500 hrs and 1900 hrs. The Sanctum Sanctorum is closed after 1500 hrs except on Mondays and during special tithis (days) like Pradosh etc. Mahapuja is performed at 1230 hrs. The temple closes at 2130 hrs. A devotee can enter the Sanctum Sanctorum and perform pujas and abhishek.

The Sanctum Sanctorum at Bhimashankar

More than 25 people can worship inside the garbhgriha or sanctum sanctorum at the same time. The murti of Swayambhu Jyotirlinga is in an underground chamber and is visible through the light of a lamp. Marigolds and Bilva leaves are offered here.

Bhimashankar Temple Structure

Bhimashankar Temple is a perfect amalgamation of old and the new structures and is built in the Hemadpanthi style of architecture in black stones. The temple was first built during the 13th century. A major part of the present structure was built during the 18th century.

The main Bhimashankar temple is surrounded by Temples of Lord Ram, Datta Maharaj, Lord Vitthal and Mataji.

There are two important temples of Shani Maharaj and Nandi near the main temple. Another attraction is a huge bell located near the temples.

A few stories associated with Bhimashankar Temple

Legend has it that Lord Shiva entered the body of Goddess Parvati here to take the form of Ardha Nari to kill demon Tripurasura at Bhimashankar. After completing the divine act, saints and gods asked Shiva to stay at Bhimashankar to bless humans. He appeared here in the form of a jyoti. This is one among the numerous stories associated with Bhimashankar.

Another legend has it that a demon named Bhimasur was ruling the area and he wanted all the people to worship him. Once Bhimasur attacked a Shiva devotee and tried to destroy the Shivling he was worshipping. Lord Shiva came to the rescue of the devotee and killed Bhimasur. The devotee requested him to stay here and Shiva obliged.

The Swayambhu Linga (self appeared) was first discovered by a woodcutter – who discovered blood emerging from a spot. He informed the villagers and they brought a cow and offered its milk and suddenly a glowing Jyotirlinga became visible.

1 comment:

  1. The temple of Bhimshankar has been there from the 18th century. The temple has one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of India. It is a good place for trekkers, bird watchers and photographers and was built by Nana Fadnis. The architecture of the temple depicts the Indo Aryan and the Nagra style of designs.