Sunday, November 7, 2010
Name : Bhimashankar Temple
Bhimashankar Temple is located in the village of Bhorgiri 50 km north west of Khed, near Pune, in India. It is located 110 km away from Pune in the Ghat region of the Sahyadri hills.
Regular pilgrims near Mumbai visit Bhimashankar from Karjat via Khandas.
Eons ago in the dense forests of Dakini, on the lofty ranges of the Sahaydris lived an evil Asura by the name Bhima with his mother Karkati. Compassion and kindness shivered in the presence of Bhima. The divine and the mortals were scared of him alike. But he was confronted by certain questions about his own existence which continuously tormented him.
When Bhima could no longer sustain his agony and curiosity, he asked his mother to unveil the mysteries of his life. He urged his mother to tell him who his father was and why he had abandoned them in the wilderness of the forest. After much hesitation and with a lingering fear, Karkati his mother, revealed to him that he was the son of the mighty Kumbhakarna, the younger brother of the Lankadheeswara - the mighty all powerful King Ravana of Lanka.
Lord Vishnu in his incarnation as Lord Rama annihilated Kumbhakarna. Karkati told Bhima, that his father was killed by Ram in the great war. This infuriated Bhima and he vowed to avenge Lord Vishnu. To achieve this he embarked on a severe penance to please Lord Brahma.
The compassionate creator was pleased by the dedicated devotee and granted him immense prowess. This was a terrible mistake. The evil tyrant caused havoc in the three worlds. He defeated King Indra and conquered the heavens. He also defeated a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva – Kamarupeshwar, and put him in the dungeons.
He started torturing Rishis and Sadhus. All this angered the Gods. They all along with Lord Brahma beseeched Lord Shiva to come to their rescue. Lord Shiva consoled the Gods and agreed to rescue them from the tyrant. On the other hand Bhima insisted and ordered Kamarupeshwar to worship him instead of Lord Shiva.
When Kamarupeshwar denied, the tyrant Bhima raised his sword to strike the Shiva Linga, to which Kamarupeshwar was doing abhishekam and pooja. As soon as Bhima managed to raise his sword, Lord Shiva appeared before him in all his magnificence.
Then the terrible war began. The holy sage Narada appeared and requested Lord Shiva to put an end to this war. It was then that Lord Shiva reduced the evil demon to ashes and thus concluded the saga of tyranny. All the Gods and the holy sages present there requested Lord Shiva to make this place his abode. Lord Shiva thus manifested himself in the form of the Bhimashankar Jyotirlingam.
It is believed that the sweat that poured forth from Lord Shiva's body after the battle formed the Bhimarathi River.
There are 2 ways to go, basically the Ganesh route and Shidi(ladder) route once you reach the base village of Khandas near karjat. Shidi route is much shorter but risky and should be avoided in rainy seasons if you are not well experienced.
It is believed that the ancient shrine was erected over a Swayambhu Lingam (that is the self emanated Shiva Lingam). It can be seen in the temple that the Lingam is exactly at the centre of the floor of the Garbagriham (the Sanctum Sanctorum).
This temple also has shrines to Bhairavanath and Devi, and a temple tank by name Shivaganga.
Bhimashankar is also the source of the Bhima river, which flows south east and merges with the Krishna river near Raichur. It is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines in India. Bhimashankar Temple is a buzzing temple with beautiful architecture. The Bhimashankar trek to the top goes through beautiful jungles, cliffs, plains and some thrilling patches.
Within the temple precincts there is also a small shrine dedicated to Lord Shani Mahatma (also called Shaneeswara).
There are Buddha style carvings of Amba-Ambika, Bhootling and Bhimashankar in the hills of Manmaad near Bhimashankar. This is at a height of 1034 mtrs. A big size bell in Hemadpanthi structure built by Nana Phadanavis is also a feature of Bhimashankar. Various places that could be visited in Bhimashankar are Hanuman Lake, Gupt Bhimashankar, Origin of River Bhima, Naag Phani (view point), Bombay Point, Sakshi Vinayak and a lot more.
Three worship services are offered every day. Mahashivratri is a season of greate festivity here.
Flora and Fauna :
Bhimashankar is a conserve red forest area and wildlife sanctuary where a variety of birds, animals, flowers, plants can be seen. A rare animal "Shekru" can be found in deep woods. Bhimashankar is worth visiting for jungle lovers and trekkers as well as for pilgrims. There is a beautiful spot called Naagphani (Snakes hood) from where one can see vast landscapes. Also an observant trekker can see the rare and huge shekru (mountain squirrel).
The Mokshakund thirtha is located behind the Bhimashankara temple, and it is associated with the rishi Kaushika. There are also the Sarvathirtha, the Kusharanya thirtha where the Bhima river begins to flow eastward, and the Jyanakund.
Kaushika Maha Muni is said to have did 'Tapas' (penance) here. The place where he bathed is called Mokshakund thirtham which is located behind the Bhimashankara temple.
Pilgrims usually stay here for three days. The local upadhyayas or priests make arrangements for the lodging and boarding of pilgrims at a small cost. Visitors are accommodated in either temporary hutments or in dharamshalas near the village. A new dharamshala is under construction. There are ST buses to return back.