Baijnath Temple

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Label : Top Attraction

Tags : Temple

Timings : 6:00 AM - 9:00 PM

Time Required : 1-2hrs

Entry Fee : No entry fee

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Baijnath Temple, Kangra Overview

Baijnath Temple is one of the most popular temples in Himachal Pradesh, and here, Lord Shiva is worshipped as the 'God of Healing'. Baijnath or Vaidyanath is an avatar of the great Lord Shiva, and in this avatar, the great lord rids his devotees of all miseries and pain. As a result, this temple holds ultimate significance to all Lord Shiva devotees and is considered to be extremely sacred. In fact, the water of this temple is believed to be of medicinal value and has the potential to cure several illnesses and diseases. This draws thousands of devotees from all around the world every year.

Baijnath temple was built in 1204 A.D by two native merchants, Ahuka and Manyuka, who were doting devotees of Lord Shiva. Situated at a distance of only 16 kms from Palampur, this time-honoured temple is a place where one can attain sterling peace and untainted tranquillity in the gentle caress of god. It is one of the very few temples in India where both, Lord Shiva and Demon King Ravan are worshipped.

According to the ancient scriptures of Hindu tradition, Lord Shiva established 12 jyotirlingas, which were pillars that emanated pure light and unencumbered power, across the country as a challenge to Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma; and one of these 12 jyotirlingas rests inside the famous Baijnath Temple.

The ancient but magnificent temple is set in the backdrop of the Dhauladhar Himalayan Range. Imagine, an ancient rustic temple standing gloriously in front of vampire white mountains! The view of the peaks in the Himalayan Range covered in ghost grey mist as they pierce the sky is a feeling of both, marvel and satisfaction.

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Legend of Baijnath Temple

The demon King Ravan was a sworn devotee of Lord Shiva. How he became the king of Lanka is an integral part of our ancient scriptures. Ravan always wanted to become the king of the great land of Lanka, and for this, he decided to perform a penance in the name of Lord Shiva. He cut off his ten heads and sacrificed them to Lord Shiva as a part of his prayer. Pleased by his dedication, Lord Shiva not only granted him the boon of unparalleled strength and wisdom to rule the land of Lanka but also reinstated all his heads to as they were before. Hence, he is called the 'God of Healing'.

Overwhelmed by Lord Shiva's generosity, Ravan dared to ask the lord of another request; a request for the Shiva to accompany him to Lanka. Lord Shiva granted him this wish by turning himself into a Shivaling and asked him only to put it down once they arrive at Lanka. Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma became extremely worried that the power of the holy Shivling coupled with Ravan's newly found strength and wisdom could make him unbeatable.

The lords started blowing strong winds Ravan's face as he travelled to Lanka. The unbearable cold forced Ravan to attend nature's call. He saw a beggar sitting on the corner of the street, and asked him to hold the Shivaling while he was gone. This beggar was, in fact, Lord Vishnu in disguise. As soon as Ravan gave Lord Vishnu the custody of the Shivaling, he immediately put it down and the Shivling attached itself to the ground, rendering it immovable. This is now the Baijnath Temple.

Architecture of Baijnath Temple

The architecture of the Baijnath temple hints of an early medieval North Indian style which is popularly called as 'Nagara'. This technique has been blended with architectural styles that are mainly popular in Orissa. Hence, such an artistic blend is unique to the state of Himachal Pradesh.

There are two entrances, north and south and a vast vestibule in the middle with balconies on either side. This is the Mandap. Before the Mandap is a small porch that is based on four columns. On this porch rests Nandi, the mount or vaahan of Lord Shiva. The inner sanctum, where the Shivaling lies, is surrounded by walls that are speckled with artistic drawings and paintings.

The history of the Baijnath Temple is inscribed in the stone walls of the complex. Inscriptions on the walls of the temple indicate that before the present temple, a shrine of Lord Shiva rested on the same spot. Lush green gardens and manicured lawns make a perfect foreground for this unique and ancient structure.

Tips For Visiting Baijnath Temple

1. Since Baijnath Temple is considered to be an essential part of India's heritage, security arrangements are made to protect the temple as well as all the devotees.
2. Mahashivratri is actively celebrated in this temple, and people from all around the country come to celebrate the festival with full zeal and fervor. Hence, the temple is more crowded than usual, and the lines are incredibly long.
3. Wear proper footwear to the temple and be prepared to take them off before entering the inner premises.
4. The temple is not very generously lit in the evenings. Carry a flashlight to ensure your visit is safe and hassle-free.
5. There are no canteen or other food facilities available inside or around the temple. Carry your own beverages and munchies so that hunger and thirst don't stop you from being able to admire this example of true art.

How To Reach Baijnath Temple

There are no direct trains that run from other major cities to Baijnath. The closest railway station is Amb Andaura which is nearly 65 km away. However, all major cities have buses that ply to Baijnath, and the nearest bus stop is Baijnath Bus Stop, which is only a 4-minute walk from the temple.

The nearest airport is Gaggal Airport (DHM) which is only 37 km away. Flights depart to and from Gaggal Airport to major cities on a regular basis. Intra-city transfers are mainly by foot or by motor rickshaws.

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