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Ideal time : 1-2 hours

Entry Fee : No entry fee

Timings : 4:00 AM - 3:30 PM & 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Baidyanath Dham, Deoghar Overview

The Baidyanath Jyotirlinga temple, commonly referred to as the Baidyanath Dham, is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas in India and is considered to be the most sacred abode of Lord Shiva. Located in Deoghar division of the state of Jharkhand, the large and magnificent temple complex comprises of the main temple of Baba Baidyanath, where the Jyotirlinga is installed, along with twenty-one other significant and beautiful temples. The giant temple complex is a fantastic place to be at, for the tranquillity and peace that it offers. The procession of devotees in the Hindu calendar month of Shravan is especially spectacular, as they carry water from the Ganges River in Sultangaj 108 km away, to the temple. The line of devotes is rumoured to stretch the whole 108 km, without an interruption!

The Baba Baidyanath Temple at Deoghar has a remarkable and rich history attached to it. The temple finds mention in several ancient scriptures and continues to be mentioned even in modern day history books. The story of the origin of this Jyotirlinga goes back to the Treta Yuga, in the era of Lord Rama. According to popular Hindu beliefs, the demon Ravana, king of Lanka, worshipped Shiva at this very site, where the temple is currently located. Interestingly, Ravana offered his ten heads one after the other, as a sacrifice to Lord Shiva. Pleased with this act, Shiva proceeded to descend to the Earth to cure Ravana, who was injured. Since Lord Shiva had acted as a doctor, he is referred to as 'Vaidhya', and it is from this aspect of Shiva that the temple derives its name.

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Structure of the Temple

According to religious beliefs, the temple of Shiva was built by Vishwakarma, the architect of Gods. The temple is divided into three parts: the main temple, the middle part of this main temple, and the entrance to the temple. This 72 feet high temple is east facing and is shaped like a lotus. The top consists of three ascending shaped gold vessels that were donated by the Maharaja of Gidhaur, Raja Puran Singh. Besides these vessels is a 'Punchsula', which is five knives in a Tridenta shape, and an eight-petalled lotus jewel, known as Chandrakanta Mani.

The central lingam is about 5 inches in diameter and projects about 4 inches from the centre of a large slab. The top of this lingam is broken. The courtyard also has numerous temples dedicated to different gods and goddesses, the temple of Lord Shiva being considered as the supreme one. The shrines are built in both new and old styles of architecture and worship Maa Parvathi, Maa Kali, Maa Jagat Janani, Kal Bhairav and Lakshminarayan. The temple of Maa Parvati is tired up to the main temple using red sacred threads. This unique feature is worth mentioning and symbolises the unity of Shiva and Shakti.

Baidyanath Temple Timings and Schedule

The worshipping of the Baidyanath Jyotirlingam commences at 4:00 AM. From 4:00 AM to 5:30 AM, the Sarkari Pooja takes place. The puja rituals continue till 3:30 PM, following which the temple is closed.

The temple then opens at 6:00 PM for the general public and worshipping begins again. At this time, the Shringar Puja takes place. The temple finally closes its gates at 9:00 PM.

Legend of the Temple

There is an old story that is a part of this temple's origins and is worth giving a read. When Ravana, the King of Lanka, felt that his capital would be incomplete and under the constant threat of enemies unless and until Mahadeva (Lord Shiva) decided to stay there forever; he offered constant prayers to the Lord. Pleased, Shiva permitted Ravana to carry his 'Atmalinga' along with him to Lanka on the condition that there neither should be a break on the journey to Lanka nor should the lingam be transferred to any other person. If this were to happen, the lingam would remain fixed at that place forever where it was deposited.

The other gods were against this plan because they knew that if Shiva went to Lanka with Ravana, the evil deeds of Ravana would threaten the entire world. They thus requested Varuna, the God of Water, to enter Ravana's belly on his way back. When the Lord did so, Ravana felt a severe urge to release water, and he handed over the lingam to a Brahmin, who was Lord Ganesha in disguise. The Brahmin placed the lingam at this location, which is now known as Baidyanath Dham.

Ravana tried hard to remove the lingam from the spot where it had been placed. His frustration at being unable to do so made him retort to violence, and he damaged the lingam in the process. His guilt then made him visit the spot daily, and this continued forever. The place where Lord Shiva descended the Earth is known as Harilajori, which is located about four miles from Baidyanath. The place where the lingam is kept is Deoghar, while the lingam is known as Baidyanath Jyotirlingam.

Shravan Mela at the Baidyanath Dham

The Baidyanath Temple is famous all across the world for its Shravan Mela that takes place in July and August. About 7 to 8 million devotees visit this place from all parts of the country and partake in this lively fest. In this festival, devotees collect holy water of the Ganga from Sultanganj and then walk barefoot all the way up to Baidyanath, which is 108 kilometres away.

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