Bhimashankar Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas. It is in Bhimashankar reserve, near Pune in Maharashtra. The temple is also the source of the River Bhima. A holy dip in the river is believed to wash all the sins of a person.
Bhimashankar Temple – Facts
|Deity||Lord Bhimashankar (Lord Shiva)|
|Location||50 km North-West of Khed, near Pune, Maharashtra|
|Tours||5 Jyotirlingas of Maharashtra Tour|
|Darshan Timings||4:30 AM to 9:30 PM|
|Best Time to Visit||June to August|
|Festivals||Mahashivratri, Karthik Poornima, Ganesh Chaturthi|
|Jyotirlingas in Maharashtra||Sri Aundha Nagnath, Sri Trimbakeshwar,|
Sri Grishneshwar, Sri Parli Vaijnath
Bhimashankar Temple is one of the 5 Jyotirlingas in Maharashtra. The other 4 Jyotirlingas are:
- Sri Vaidyanath (in Parli)
- Sri Nageshwar (in Aundha)
- Trimbakeshwar (near Nasik)
- Sri Grishneshwar (near Aurangabad)
What are the timings of Bhimashankar Temple?
The temple opens at 4:30 AM in the morning and closes at 9:30 PM in the evening. The temple also performs various rituals during this time. The devotees can be a part of these rituals such as the afternoon and evening aarti.
The timings of Bhimashankar Temple are as follows:
|Darshan||4:30 AM – 9:30 PM|
|Morning Aarti||4:30 AM – 5:00 AM|
|Morning Darshan||4:30 AM – 3:15 PM|
|Evening Darshan||4:00 PM – 9:30 PM|
|Nijarupa Darshan||5:00 AM – 5:30 AM|
|Shringar Darshan||4:00 PM – 4:30 PM|
|Evening Aarti||7:30 PM – 8:00 PM|
What is the significance of Bhimashankar Temple?
The Linga of Lord Shiva is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas. These Jyotirlingas are self-manifested forms of Lord Shiva, unlike the Lingas that are instated by humans. It is said that these Jyotirlingas are when Shiva appeared as a fiery column of light. The Bhimashankar Linga occurs at a lower level compared to the ground in the main sanctum.
The top of the Linga is divided by a narrow groove in the Linga. Each half of the Linga signifies Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. The Lord appears as “Ardhanareeshwara” in the Bhimashankar temple.
According to beliefs, water flows continuously from the Linga since time immemorial.
The River Bhima is considered sacred by the people because it is believed that the river is actually the perspiration of Lord Shankara (Shiva) after he defeated the demon Tripurasura.
The Mokshakund, located behind the Bhimashankar temple is believed to be the place where the Maharishi Kaushik (also known as Brahmarishi Vishwamitra) performed penance or Tapasya to please the Gods.
The temple administration allows pilgrims to conduct Abhishekam and Poojas to the Jyotirlinga by themselves with marigold and Bilva leaves.
What is the history of Bhimashankar Temple?
The history of the original sanctum dates back to the 13th century. Various renovations were done on the complex during different time periods. According to beliefs, in the 13th century, a woodcutter named, Bhatirao Lakhadhara, discovered the Jyotirlinga when his axe hit the tree, the ground started bleeding.
The villagers gathered there and offered milk to the tree which stopped the bleeding. The people of the village built a small temple at the site and named it the Bhimashankar Temple.
Several notable figures like Chhatrapati Shivaji, Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath, and Raghunath Peshwa also regularly visited the shrine and carried out poojas and renovations. The Diwan of the Peshwas, Nana Phadnavis built the Shikhar of the Bhimashankar temple.
Legend of Tripurasura
As per one legend mentioned in the Matsya Puranam and the Shiva Puranam, there were three demons by the names of Vidyunmali, Tarakaksha, and Viryavana, and together they were known as the Tripurasura. They performed Tapasya and obtained a boon from Lord Brahma. The boon was that the Gods will construct three beautiful cities, each made of gold, iron, and silver for the Asuras. All three forts together will be called Tripura. However, the prophecy said that only a single arrow can destroy the city.
Demons from all over the world came and resided at the palaces. After the initial self-enjoyment, they eventually started troubling the people of the realm. They even misbehaved with Rishis and Maharishis, terrorized the common folk and eventually challenged the Gods. Therefore, Lord Indra accompanied by other Gods went to Lord Brahma to put an end to the Tripura, but Lord Brahma could not help and asked them to request Lord Shiva. Shiva obliged and the war between the Devas and the Asuras began. He also requested the help of Goddess Parvati and both of them took the form of “Ardha-Narya-Nateshwar” and descended to the Earth.
To destroy the Tripura, Lord Shiva asked Vishwakarma to build a chariot. The chariot had special features. The Goddess Earth (Prithvi) became the chariot, Sun and Moon became the wheels, Lord Brahma became the Sarathi, Mount Meru became the bow, Serpent Vasuki was the bow-string and Lord Vishnu became the arrow. Just as the three cities aligned, Lord Shiva burned them to the ground. Then the Gods requested Lord Shiva to take rest there and make the place his home. Lord Shiva turned himself into a Linga and made the Bhimashankar mountains his home.
What is the architecture of the Bhimashankar Temple like?
The Bhimashankar temple complex is small and has a simple structure with numerous sculptures depicting different Gods and Goddesses. The architecture of the temple follows the Nagara style and the Hemadpanthi style of construction. The temple consists of Garbhagriha, Sabhamandap, and the Kurmamandap.
The main door of the Bhimashankar temple is made of solid wood with figures of several gods and goddesses. A huge bell is there at the entrance of the temple. Chimaji Appa, brother of Bajirao Peshwa I gifted this bell. Two large Nandis are also there in the Temple. The one in front of the sanctum is very old and the other one is new. One can also visit the shrines of Lord Shani, Nandi, Lord Ram, and Dutta.
What are the festivals celebrated at Bhimashankar Temple?
Some of the festivals celebrated at Bhimshankar Temple are:
- Mahashivaratri: A huge fair is organized for five days in late February or early March as a mark of their respect for Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It is believed that Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati on this day. The day is famous for rigorous poojas, bhajans, and abhishekams. Thousands of people descend on the small town to visit the glorious festival. Pradosham is also said to be celebrated here.
- Karthik Poornima: The day falls anytime in-between November or December. On this day, Lord Shiva actually destroyed the demon kingdom of Tripura in all three realms.
- Ganesh Chaturthi: The festival comes in August or September with great enthusiasm and cheers. This is the birthday of Lord Ganesha, son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
- Deepawali: The festival comes in October – November. People decorate the whole temple with Deepams (lamps) and priests perform special poojas for Lord Shiva throughout the day.
What are the Sevas and Poojas performed at Bhimashankar Temple?
The sevas and poojas that take place at Bhimashankar Temple are:
- Rudrabhishek: The pooja is for Lord Shiva who the devotees worship as fire or Rudra. The pooja wipes out all sins and purifies the atmosphere. It also removes all sorts of planetary related ill-occurrences. Mondays of the month, as well as the Pradosham days, are ideal for performing the pooja.
- Laghurudra Pooja: This Abhishek is done to resolve issues related to health and wealth. It also removes the bad effects of planets in the horoscope.
The yearly poojas or sevas include:
- Prati Somvar
- Prati Pradosh
- Prati Shivaratri
- Prati Amavasya
Besides the above poojas, a Shashvat Pooja can also be performed at the temple. One can perform these poojas for 1 day every year for a period of 20 years. The poojas are:
- Mahapuja with Mahanaivedyam
- Shravan Somvar and Mahashivaratri
- Laghurudra with Brahman Bhojan.
How to reach Bhimashankar Temple?
Here’s how to reach Bhimshankar temple:
- Air: The nearest airport is Pune Airport.
- Train: The nearest railway station is Pune, 120 km away from the temple.
- Road: Regular buses are available from Pune from 5:30 AM to 4 PM. A bus also from Kalyan starts at 9 AM and one from Ghatkopar or Kurla at 11 AM
Where to stay nearby?
Limited options are available for staying near the Bhimashankar temple. The temple administration runs a guesthouse named Jeevan Guest House that provides the basic facilities. However, nearby towns have options like the Blue Mormon Jungle Holiday Resort, Ecogreens Sankalp Farms, and Holiday Maiyaan Karjat.
Where to eat nearby?
Several small restaurants are present near the temple premises such as Shivshakti and Shankar Vishranti where the visitors can eat. The cuisine available is a mix of both North Indian and South Indian food items. Moreover, the food items available here are primarily vegetarian.
What are some temples near Bhimshankar Temple?
Some of the temples near Bhimshankar temple are:
- Gupt Bhimashankar: A small trekking path from the Bhimashankar temple will lead you to the place of discovery of the Jyotirlinga. The Linga is on the banks of a waterfall and has greenery around.
- Sakshi Ganapati Temple: The temple is 2 km away from the Bhimashankar temple. The Ganapati here is “Sakshi” because he is the witness to the visit of the pilgrims to the Jyotirlinga. He keeps the attendance of whoever visits the Bhimashankar shrine. The pilgrims visit the temple to show their respects to the Lord Ganapati and Lord Shiva.
- Kamalaja Devi Temple: The temple is for Goddess Parvati, wife of Lord Shiva. She helped the Lord in his battle against the demons. Also, She sits on a lotus in this temple.
Some other famous temples in Maharashtra are:
- Ozar Ganapati Temple: It is a Ganesha Vinayak temple. The idol form worshipped here is called Vigneshwara. It is associated with the legend of Ganesha defeating Vignasura, the demon of obstacles. The temple is one of the Ashtavinayak Temples, the eight holy shrines of Ganesha in Maharashtra, India.
Frequently Asked Questions about Bhimshankar Temple
Yes, the Bhimashankar Temple is open all 365 days of the year.
The entry to the Bhimashankar Temple is free of cost.
No. There is no facility for online darshan available.
Yes. There is are palki services available for the specially-abled and senior citizens.
June to August are the months when the monsoon starts in Maharashtra. The weather is pleasant, making it an ideal time to visit the temple.
The summers at Maharashtra start from March and continues until June. The summers here can be very hot. Temperatures during the daytime often go up to 36 º C.
In Maharashtra, winters start in November and continue until January. The temperatures during this time range from around 20 º C to 30 º C.