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Bhairav Temple

Lord Bhairava also called as Bhairo or Bhairon, is the fierce manifestation or an angry expression of Lord Shiva. Legend has it that Lord Bhairava comes in eight different manifestations. Some of the notable ones include Kala Bhairava, Asitanga Bhairava and Samhara Bhairava. Lord Bhairava is identified with wearing a tiger skin and a garland of human bones. The divine vehicle (vahana) of Bahirava is a dog (shvan). It is believed that age old Bhairava temple located in Delhi was built by the Pandavas of the epic Mahabharata. Lord Bhairava is worshipped in many parts of India and also in Nepal.

This holy temple which is dedicated to Lord Bhairon has two wings. Both are well known for the offerings the devotees can tender at the feet of the Lord. One can offer milk at the Doodhiya Bhairava Temple while at the Kilkari Bhairava Temple the Lord is offered alcohol. Some devotees also offer meat and live chickens to express their devotion.

Origin of Bhairava

One of the origins of Bahirava is that he was initially a Rashasa as mentioned in the Vishnu Puran. It is said that once Goddess Vaishno went into a cave and left a monkey to guard the entrance. Bhairava, unmindful of the powers of the Goddess, infringed on her privacy and entered the temple. A fierce battle ensued wherein the Goddess turned herself into her Chandi avatar and cut off the head of Bhairava. When Bhairava prayed for mercy Goddess Vaishno forgave and granted him that he will be considered as a God from now onwards and be liberated.

Legend has it that Pandava Kaleen Sri Kilkari Bhairav Temple, as it is popularly called, was built the legendry Pandavas. It is believed that the temple at Purana Qila was constructed when Pandavas were in the process of constructing their capital at Indraprastha.


Though Bhairav Temples can be sited at many places, the capital of India has a popular one at Purana Qila road and another one at Kalakaji.

Folklore has it that Bhim, one of the Pandavas carried Bhairava on his shoulders to the present location of the temple to stop demons from interrupting the Yagna (Holy fire). This temple is also known as Kilkari Mandir in Delhi. Although the construction of the temple is about the era of independence; the foundation actually dates back to 5000 years. There are three deities of Kali, Hanuman and Bhairava in the temple, which attracts more devotees and also adds on to its popularity.

Bhairav Temple is most famous for its prasad. Unlike other temples of the country, the fierce manifestation of God is not offered sweets here. Instead, he is offered alcohol.

The catch is that one has to bring his own alcohol as liquor is not sold in and around the premises of the temple. At times meat is also offered to Lord Bhairava. However, only few drops of alcohol are offered and the rest is to be carried back home! For those who do not wish to offer alcohol, Doodhiya Bhairava Temple is where one can offer milk and seek the blessings of Lord Bhairava.

The Legend

The story of this temple goes way back to the ancient times when once Veer-Langur was assigned the task of guarding a cave which Goddess Vaishno had entered. As a matter of chance, Lord Bhairav tried to enter the cave. The much annoyed Devi took the form of Goddess 'Chandi' & killed him. As a result of the killing, the head was detached from the body and landed at a place, which is now called Bhairav Ghati. It is there where the temple has been constructed. After the magnificently powerful sword of the Goddess detached the head of Bhairav, he prayed to the goddess for mercy. She took pity on Bhairav and gave him a boon of liberation. Based on this story this place is now said to have, miraculous powers to fulfil the wishes of the thousands of hopeful devotees who gather to worship in this immensely holy temple with complete faith and absolute devotion.

Due to this incident it is believed that the idol of Bhairav placed in this temple by Bhim, does not have the entire human body. The idol which is situated above a well is massive but only has a head with two big blue eyes and a trident in the hand. There are other deities in the temple such as Ganesh & Durga (worshipped in her nine forms) apart from the idol of Bhairava.

Kala Bhairava

The primary manifestation of Bhairava is Kala Bhairava. Kala Bhairava is considered to be the Guru of the planetary deity Saturn. in Tamil , Bhairava is known as Vairavar. In southern India he is often presented as a Grama Devata or folk deity who acts as a protector of the devotee on all eight directions (ettu tikku). Among the Sinhalese he is known as Bahirawa, the one who protects treasures. The Aghora sect worships Lord Bhairava as their main deity .

Other popular Bhairav Temples are located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, at Courtalam, Aragalur, Karaikudi and Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu; at Sri Dungargarh and Jaisalmer Highway in Rajasthan; Nizamabad District and Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh; and at Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh.

What it means to pray to Lord Bhairav

 Vedic Hindu astrology says that Rahu is known as a shadow planet, which plays an important role in the life of a creature.

As per astrologers, Bhairav or Bhairavi are worshipped when there are malefic planets in the birth lagna (time) or when natural malefic planets are transiting. Bhairon safeguards and removes a person’s ill fate developing from these types of transitions.

Thus people are often suggested to worship Lord Bhairav to reduce the evil effects resulting from the malefic position of Rahu in their horoscope.

Bhairav - The Lord of Yogis

Yogis and Tantriks are known to worship Lord Bhairav to gain Siddhi. The Lord is conside ed to be the guardian of Yogis and Tantriks who through their sadhana attain accomplishment of Mantras.

Bhairav - The Guard

Lord Bhairav is also known as "kotwal" (Guard)as he stands guard to the temple of Lord Shiva .

Bhairav - The Worship

One must worship Lord Bhairab to win over ones enemies, gain success in life and to enjoy all materialistic comforts. It is believed that to satisfy Lord Bhairav one must perform normal worships daily. Some stipulated mantrasars chanted with devotion to get Lord's blessings. Flowers, coconut sindoor, Mustard oil and black til are offered to satisfy the God and seek his blessings.

Must Know

While it is interesting that alcohol is served to Lord Bahirav here, make note that this also attracts a lot of beggars outside the temple. Do not pass on the alcohol to them to avoid inconvenience to Delhi police.

Another interesting thing about the temple are the dogs seen in its vicinity. Dogs are considered a vehicle (vahana) of Bhairava.

Visiting Time

One can visit Bhairav Temple from 5 am to 12 in the afternoon. After this, one can also visit the temple from 3 pm to 9 pm. Sunday is the busiest day of the week at this temple and a visit then is considered to please the lord.

How to Reach

Bhairav Temple lies in central Delhi, which makes it convenient to reach. One can take a metro train to Pragati Maidan and hire a rickshaw or taxi from here. It lies 18 km away from Indira Gandhi International Airport.

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