Monday, June 23, 2008

Temple at Deoghar | Baba Baidyanath Dham

Baidyanath Dham, also known as Baijnath Dham or Babadham, is located in north-eastern Jharkhand, four miles from Jasidih railway station on the main line of the Eastern Railway from Howrah to Delhi. There is a small railway branch line from Jasidih to Babadham. The railway station at Babadham is called Baidyanath Dham. Babadham stands near the G.T. Road connecting Calcutta with Delhi. From the G.T. Road, you can take a turn to the state road at Bagodar or at Dumri. Devotees coming down from Kolkata or other parts of West Bengal can take the route via Jamtara. In the North-East? Dumka, Rajmahal and Bhagalpur; in the North-West? Munger; in the West Hazaribag and in the South Giridih district border the region. Baidyanath Dham is famous for the Baba Baidyanath temple complex consists of the main temple of Baba Baidyanath, where one of the twelve Jyotirlingams is installed, which is called Baidyanath Jyotirlingam , and 21 other temples. These temples are - Narvadeshwar Temple, Ma Kali Temple, Ma Annapurna Temple, Chandrakupa, Laxmi Narayan Temple, Neelkantha Temple, Ma Parvati Temple, Ma Jagat Janani Temple, Ganesh Temple, Brahma Temple, Ma Sandhya Temple, Kal Bhairav Temple, Hanuman Temple, Mansa Temple, Ma Saraswati Temple, Surya Narayan Temple, Ma Bagla Temple, Tulsi Chaura, Neel Chakra, Baba Baidyanath temple, Sri Ram Temple, Ma Ganga Temple, Anand Bhairav Temple, Gauri Shankar Temple and Ma Tara Temple.

The Babadham temple has been famous since 8th century AD when the last Gupta Emperor Adityasena Gupta ruled this region. During Mugal period, the temple of Babadham was under their tributory rulers. During Akbar's rule, Man Singh was associated with his court and was also attached to the Gidhaur dynasty for a long time and had contacts with a number of rulers of Bihar. Man Singh's brother, Bhan Singh was married to daughter of Puran Mal. Man Singh got a tank excavated here, which is today known as Mansarovar. An inscription on the Baidyanath
temple states that Puran Mal built it at the request of the priest Raghunath Ojha. However, tradition relates that the inscription was forcibly put by Puran Mal, after he had the temple repaired, to mark his ownership of the surrounding land. Raghunath Ojha was unable to resist Puran Mal for this inscrition. Later, he had a porch created and therein set his own inscription. claiming to have created the entire temple. In the 18th century, the Maharaja of Gidhaur faced political turmoil. He had to fight against the Nababs of Birbhum. Under the Muhammadan government, the chief priest appears to have paid a fixed rent to the Nabab of Birbhum, and the
administration of the temple seems to have been left entirely in the hands of the priest. For a few years the Nabab ruled over Babadham. Subsequently, the Maharaja of Gidhaur defeated the Nabab and Babadham was brought back under his rule till the East India Company came in the picture. In 1757 after the battle of Pallasy the officers of the East India Company paid their attention to this temple. In 1788, under Mr. Keating's order Mr. Hesilrigg, his assistant, who was probably the first English man to visit the holy city, set out to supervise personally the collection of the pilgrim offerings and dues. Later, when Mr. Keating himself visited Babadham, he was convinced and forced to abandon his policy of direct interference. He handed over the full control of the temple to the hands of the high priest. People visit Baidyanath Dham to worship Lord Shiv. The month of Sawan or Shravan is especially important for the devotees. Shravani mela (fair) is held every year. The Kanwarias come from Sultanganj to Deoghar with water of the Ganga or Ganges and pour it to bath the shiv ling here during Shravan month of the Indian Calendar.

The hoary temple at Deoghar (the home of gods) is the most important pilgrim point in Bihar that attracts thousands of Shiv devotees during the month of Shrawan (July/August), when the summer heat has just given way to the early monsoon. Saffron clad pilgrims with pots of holy water, well balanced on their shoulder make a 100 km bare trekking from Sultanganj (where the holy water of Ganges is considered holdier due to its unusual flow northwards) to Baidyanath Dha at Deoghar. Water is poured on the lingam to appease Shiva.

The sanctity of Deoghar lies in its legend of Ravana who went all the way to Mount Kailash, pleading Shiva to make Lanka his hoe. Ravana's other was an ardent devotee of Shiva and she worshipped a Shivling made of clay, which soon dissolved with daily pouring of water over it. This prompted Ravana to implore Shiva if he would reside in Lanka. Lord Shiva did not accede to Ravana's prayer but offered him one of twelve emblems of his divinity (Jyotiralinga) which would be quite as effective and that he might take it away on the condition that the transfer should be effected without breaking the journey. Moreover if the linga was placed elsewhere on earth during the journey, it would remain fixed on that spot forever.

The other gods felt unhappy at the Jyotiralinga being tansported to Lanka which would render them powerless in their fight with Ravana. Accordingly they planned to outwit Ravana. Varuna, the god of water entered the belly of Ravana, urging him to relieve himself. Ravana was left with no alternative but to descend and befriend and old Brahamin (who was Vishnu in disguise) begging him to hold the lingam for a while. On return Ravana found the lingam lying on the ground and the Brahamin was nowhere to be seen. He was in a great rage but equally helpless as he tried hard to reove the linga from the spot but be only succeeded in breaking a piece of the top of it. This place where the jyotiralinga was destined to last for ever is Deoghar, also popular as Baijnath Dham.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There are times to laugh, singing, silence and cry enjoy as it will not be long for us to discover and realize we catch up with our ages.