Bhimashankar Temple (Maharashtra) is one of the well known Jyotirlinga shrines which is situated in the Sahyadri hills in the state of Maharashtra. In fact, it is the sixth Jyotirlinga in the series of Dwadash Jyotirlingas of India. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The post shares with you Bhimashankar Temple History and Timing.
The Bhimashankar Temple is situated amidst dense forest at a distance of 125km from Pune. This forest is called as Khed. The temple is located at the Dakini Hills (Shikharam) in the Bhorgiri village, near Pune.
Nana Phadnis of the Peshwa kingdom developed this place and built this beautiful temple. In recent times, the place has got a lot of attention as it has been declared as the Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary. This place is rich in diversity in flora and fauna. Many different varieties of birds, animals, insects, and plants can be seen near this place.
This place is also famous for the Malabar Giant Squirrel, which is locally called as “Shekaru.” It is the source of the river Bhima which is popularly known as Chandrabhaga in Pandharpur.
The Bhimashankar Temple is located at 3500 feet above sea level. It observes low temperatures throughout the year. The place witnesses heavy showers in the monsoon season.
The best time for visiting Bhimashankar temple is from October to February. Devotees climb 300 steps of Bhimashankar Temple to get the Darshan of Lord Shiva.
In the Bhimashankar Temple, Lord Shiva has been depicted in the form of “Ardha Narishwara” that is half man and half woman. There is a continuous water flow from this Jyotirlinga, which is a specialty of this temple.
Some other places of interest near this temple are Kamalaja Devi Temple, Hanuman Lake, Bombay Point, and origin of Bhima River.
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The Bhimashankar Temple Architecture
The Bhimashankar Temple consists of old and new structures that have been built in the Nagara style of architecture. The structure exhibits Excellency achieved by ancient Vishwakarma sculptors. Some influence from the Indo Aryan style of architecture can also be seen in the temple.
It’s a modest yet graceful temple that dates back to the 13th century. However, the temple sabhamandap and shikhara was built by Nana Phadanavis in the 18th century CE.
The temple has a self emanated Shiva Lingam (Swayambhu Lingam) at the center of the floor in the Garbh Graha. The temple pillars and doorframes have intricate carvings of divine beings as well as human figurines.
Various scenes from Hindu mythology have been inscribed in the temple carvings. The idol of Nandi has been installed at the entrance of the temple. The temple precincts also have a small shrine of Lord Shani (also called as Shaneshawara).
There is the ‘Shani Temple’ which is located inside the main complex of the Bhimashankar Temple. There is an ancient huge Portuguese bell between the two pillars that stand outside the Shani Temple.
So, there is much to be known and appreciated about the Bhimashankar Temple that stands amidst the Sahyadri Hills.
Other temples and shrines near the Bhimashankar Temple
In fact, there are other temples and shrines near this main temple of Bhimashankar.
For example, there is the Kamalaja shrine near the Bhimashankar Temple. Kamalaja was an incarnation of Goddess Parvati who helped Lord Shiva in the battle against demon Tripurasura.
There is even a shrine dedicated to Shiva Ganas and for the wives of Tripurasura – Dakini and Shakini – who assisted Lord Shiva against the demon.
Sage Kaushika is said to have done penance here. The place where he bathed is known as Mokshakund Tirtha and is located behind the temple of Bhimashankar.
The Legend of Bhimashankar Mandir
The legend associated with this temple states that Lord Shiva overpowered the demon Tripurasura here.
He took the form of “Bhima Shankara” and took abode in this place on the crest of the Sahyadri Hills, upon the request of the Gods.
It is said that the sweat that poured from his body during the battle with Tripurasura formed the Bhimarathi River.
This legend states that there was a demon named Tripurasura who did immense penance in the Bhimashankar forest to please Lord Shiva.
The demon Tripurasura wanted the gift of immortality from Lord Shiva.
The Lord was pleased by Tripurasura immense devotion. Lord Shiva blessed him with immortality on the condition that he would use his boon for the service and welfare of the local folks. However, if Tripurasura forgot his vow, then Lord Shiva would sue him for his misdeeds.
As time passed, Tripurasura forgot about his vow to Lord Shiva and began torturing the local folks as well as other deities. So, there was chaos in the world. All the deities approached Lord Shiva and requested Him to save them from the menace of Tripurasura.
Lord Shiva, together with Goddess Parvati, took the form of “Ardha Narya Natestwar” and killed Tripurasura on the eve of Kartik Poornima. The day came to be known as Tripurasura Poornima.
However, Tripurasura wives were much grieved by his death. So, Dakini and Shakini (wives of Tripurasura) approached Lord Shiva and questioned him about their existence without Tripurasura. So, the Lord blessed both of them with immortality.
As per the Shiva Purana, once Lord Brahma and Vishnu had an immense argument over their supremacy. To solve the dispute between Brahma and Vishnu, Lord Shiva appeared in the form of an endless light of light. Vishnu moved upward to find the end of light while Brahma moved downward to find the end of the light.
However, Brahma lied that he had found the end of the light. On the other hand, Vishnu accepted his defeat that he could not find the end of the light.
So, Lord Shiva cursed Brahma for lying to him that he would not be a part of any ceremonies. Lord Shiva was pleased with Lord Vishnu and said that he would always be worshiped.
So, Jyotirlinga is shrines of Lord Shiva where He appeared in the form of a fiery column of light. Each of the twelve Jyotirlinga, including the Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga, is considered a different manifestation of Lord Shiva. In fact, the Jyotirlinga represents the infinite nature of Shiva wherein Lord Shiva appeared for the well being of his devotees.
Learn more about 12 Jyotirlinga Temples
The twelve Jyotirlinga is:
- Somnath in Gujarat
- Mallikarjuna in Andra Pradesh
- Mahakaleshwar in Madhya Pradesh
- Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh
- Kedarnath in the Himalayas
- Bhimashankar in Maharashtra
- Vishwanath in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
- Triambakeshwar in Maharashtra
- Vaidyanath in Jharkhand
- Nageshwara in Dwarka
- Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu
- Grishneshwar in Maharashtra
Festivals in Bhimashankar Temple
- Kartik Poornima is celebrated with immense enthusiasm from Kartik Ekadashi to Poornima. It was on Kartik Poornima that the demon Tripurasura was killed by Lord Shiva
- Mahashivratri is the biggest festival in the Bhimashankar Temple. It is celebrated on the Krishna Paksha Chaturdashi in the Magh month
- Ganesh Chaturdashi is celebrated with great enthusiasm in the Bhimashankar Temple
- Deepawali is celebrated with faith and devotion in this temple
Bhimashankar Temple Timings
- Kakada Aarti: 4:30am to 5:00am
- Nijarupa Darshan: 5:00am to 5:30am
- Sarva Darshan: 5:30am to 6:00am
- Abhishek: 6:00am to 12 noon
- Naivedya: 12:00 noon to 12:30pm
- Sarva Darshan: 12:30pm to 3:00pm
- Abhishek: 12:30pm to 3:00pm
- Madhyana Aarti: 3:00pm to 4:00pm
- Shringar Darshan: 4:00pm to 9:30pm
- Night Aarti: 7:30pm
- Temple Closing Time: 9:30pm
(Note: Abhishek Timings may get changed on Festivals)
How to Reach the Bhimashankar Temple?
- By Airport: The Pune Airport is the nearest Airport from Bhimashankar. It is 125km from Bhimashankar.
- By Railways: Pune Railway Station is the nearest Railway Station from Bhimashankar
- By Road: Regular Bus Service to Bhimashankar is available from Shivajinagar Bus Stand, Pune
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