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Bhimashankar Temple

Bhimashankar Temple is located near Pune about 50 Km from Khed. The temple is a Jyotirlinga shrine located in the Sahyadri Hills in Maharashtra. Bhimashankar Temple is an important Jyotirlinga among the 12 Jyotirlingams across India. The temple has gained a lot of importance lately, as it has been declared as a wildlife sanctuary. This beautiful temple was built by Nana Fadnis during the Peshwa days. The architecture of the temple is worth noticing.

The temple is surrounded by lush greenery which attracts nature lovers. Apart from the temple there are several attractions in the surroundings that are excellent to visit. Some of these attractions include the Nagphani Point, Bombay Point, Hanuman Tank and the Gupt Bhimashankar, which is the starting point of the River Bhima. The temple gets its name from the river

The temple is located about 265 Km from Mumbai via Pune. The nearest airport to the temple is in Pune. The closest railhead is in Karjat and Pune from where visitors can take buses, taxis or cars to reach the temple. The temple sits at a height of 3250 feet and is surrounded by dense forests. When travelling from Karjat visitors have to cross the scenic Shirdi Ghat. Visitors to the temple can plan on staying for a longer time in the area if they wish to, as there is a well-maintained guest house in the area. The best time to visit the temple is between the months of September and February when the weather is pleasant.

History of Bhimashankar Temple in Maharashtra

There are various legends associated with Bhimashankar Temple. The most popular legend is that Lord Shiva killed Tripurasura and took abode on the peak of Sahyadri Hills. Tripurasura was a devotee of Lord Shiva and pleased by his devotion Lord Shiva granted him the boon of immortality. However, the boon was granted on one condition that Tripurasura should work for the benefit of the people or he will be prosecuted. With time, Tripurasura disremembered the condition and started troubling people. This is when Lord Shiva and his wife Goddess Parvati took the avatar of Ardha Nareshwar and killed Tripurasura during Kartik Purnima. After the battle with Tripurasura, Lord Shiva sweated and this sweat flowed into a pool. From this pool originated the Bhimarathi River. Today the river is also known as Chandrabhaga and several devotees can be seen dancing and chanting praises for lord Shiva on the banks of the river.

Another legend has it that once in the area resided a demon known as Bhima. He was the child of Karkati and Kumbhakaran and troubled all the people and divinity in the area. With his strength, he won over Indra, Vishnu and several other divinities including a devout follower of Shiva. Even after getting imprisonment, the devotee kept worshipping Lord Shiva with complete devotion. On hearing this, Bhima was enraged and wished to destroy the Shivalingam but before he could, Lord Shiva appeared and a fierce battle took place in which Lord Shiva slayed Bhima.

Rituals at Bhimashankar Temple in Maharashtra

The daily prayers at the temple start early in the morning at 4:30 AM with the Kakada Aarti, this is followed by darshan and regular puja commences from 5:30 AM. Again at noon, puja starts with Abhishek and regular puja performed at 12:30 PM. At 3:00 PM, a Madhyana Aarti takes place and the temple is open for darshan from 4:00 PM till 9:30 PM. At 7:30, another aarti is conducted.

The temple celebrates the festival of Shivaratri with complete celebrations wherein people from far off places come to visit the temple and pray to Lord Shiva. The priests at the temple conduct different pujas and archanas across the year. Every puja is conducted at different rates. It is best to enquire at the temple so that devotees come prepared for the puja.

The architecture of the temple is in Nagara style. Many people suggest that the temple has been at the location since the 13th century however the present structure dates back to the 18th century. The Shivalingam in the temple is placed right in the centre of the sanctum sanatorium. The walls and doors of the temple feature figurines of various deities and mythological characters. Inside the temple complex is also a temple dedicated to the Shani Devta. The river flows just behind the temple and can be reached easily. The temple also houses shrines of Daakini and Shakini who helped Lord Shiva in his battle against Tripurasura.

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