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"The significance of Baijnath temple in the hearts of devotees is immense. The destroyer of the unisverse, Lord Shiva is the rpesiding deity here in a different form."
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Baijnath Temple

Baijnath Temple, Himachal Pradesh
Baijnath Temple, Himachal Pradesh

The Baijnath Temple is located 16 km from Palampur in the Beas valley and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Shiva is worshipped here as Vaidyanath or the Lord of Physician. The temple has lent its name to town as well which earlier was known as Kiragrama. The history of the temple is stated on stone slabs. According to it, the temple foundation was laid down by two local merchants in the 9th century. The date of inscription is itself given in two eras – Saptarshi and Saka. The Saka year 1126, which corresponds to 1204 AD, is considered more authentic. Renovation work in the temple was carried out by Raja Sansar Chand in the 19th century.

As per a legend, it is believed that the King of Lanka, Ravana had worshipped Lord Shiva in the main Baijnath Temple. He sacrificed his head ten times at a place marked out in the temple. And because of this, the people here do not consider it right to celebrate Dussehra which remembers the day when Lord Rama killed Ravana. The people here think that celebrating Dussehra can offend Lord Shiva a lot. In past too, whenever any attempt has been made to celebrate the festival, the organiser died within years. Though the fact is that the deaths were in no way related to the celebration of Dussehra, the people here linked the two. Currently plans are again on to start the celebration of Dussehra in a nearby stadium.

Today, the temple is still very much in use and attracts a number of visitors year round. The unique feature of the temple is its architectural style, which is very different from the rest of the temple in the state. Actually, the architectural style is Orissan which is far away from Himachal.

The Baijnath Temple

The ancient Baijnath temple is constructed in the Shikhara style and is located within a well maintained complex of gardens, lawns and pathways in a single walled courtyard. The outside of the temple is beautiful with some exquisitely carved floral pattern and images of deities.

The adytum or the sanctum is 8 feet square inside and 18 feet outside. A conical shaped spire crowns it. The adytum is entered through a small anteroom and contains a linga called Vaidyanath. There is a 20 sq feet mandapa or front hall, the roof of which is held by four huge pillars. The pillars are joined by elevated benches which together form a passage leading upto the entrance of the sanctum. The architraves of these pillars segregate the ceiling into nine compartments. Right infront of the mandapa is a stately porch which is supported by four columns.

Though a major portion inside the courtyard of the temple is occupied by the main structure, still there are two other noteworthy shrines as well. Moreover, there are two pretty attractive statue of Nandi Bull (vehicle of Lord Shiva) too. Apart from the fact that the the two statues are nicely carved, what makes them unique is a rather peculiar feature - a small human figure is depicted holding Nandi's tail.

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