In this season of auspicious Hindu God Lord Shiva, you may be planning to visit one of the most sacred places of Lord Shiva. So, I am going to talk about Baba Baidynath Dham Pilgrimage at Deoghar located in Santhal Parganas division of the Indian state Jharkhand. Last year I had visited Deoghar two times during Shravan Mela (also called Sawan Mela or Shravani Mela) which holds for one month during July – August every year.
Baba Baidynath Dham Pilgrimage is one of the twelve Jyotirlinga (also called Jyotirling or Jyotirlingam) of Lord Shiva. Baidynath Jyotirlinga is also known with the name Vaidyanath Dham, Baba Dham or Baidyanath Dham. It is located 8 KM from Jasidih Junction on the Howrah-Delhi Railway route.
The campus of Baba Baidyanath is very large. There are good chances that you will be lost due to the large campus and the huge croud if your are new to the place. The campus consists of 22 temples including the main temple of Baba Baidyanath.
Every evening gathers there a huge croud for Sandhya Aarti and Shringar of Baba.
The 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva
We are giving here the names and locations of the twelve Jyotirlingas as mentioned in Shiva Purana :
- Somnath (Prabhas Patan, Saurashtra, Gujarat)
- Mallikarjuna (Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh)
- Mahakaleshwar (Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh)
- Omkareshwar (Island in Narmada River, Omkareshwar, Madhya Pradesh)
- Kedarnath (Kedarnath, Uttarakhand)
- Bhimashankar (Bhimashankar, Maharashtra)
- Kashi Vishwanath (Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh)
- Trimbakeshwar (Trimbakeshwar – Close to Nashik, Maharashtra)
- Vaidyanath (Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga, Deoghar, Jharkhand)
- Nageshvara (Close to Dwaraka, Gujarat)
- Rameshwar (Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu)
- Grishneshwar (Close to Ellora, Aurangabad, Maharashtra)
Legend of Baba Baidyanath Jyotirlinga and Shiva Ganga
According to Hindu Holy Epic Shiva Purana – demon king of Lanka, Ravana worshiped Lord Shiva on mount Kailash continuously and got Shiva pleased who then as a boon gave Ravana his Lingam to carry to Lanka. Shiva put the condition before Ravana, not to place the Lingam on earth or transfer it to anybody else in the mid-way of his journey to Lanka. If the Lingam is kept on earth in the mid-way then it will remain there fixed forever and no amount of force can get it detached from there. Ravana then happily began his journey to Lanka.
The other gods were terrified because if Ravana became able to take Shiva’s Lingam to Lanka then he would become unconquerable and he will then threaten the world with his evil and non-pious actions. So, gods decided to trick Ravana on the mid-way. Parvati offered water to Ravana and secretly directed the three sacred rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati into his stomach.
Due to rivers inside his stomach, Ravana in the mid-way caught the urgent urge to urinate, which he could not attend with the holy Shiva’s Lingam in his hand. Ganesh then appeared there as a Brahmin and Ravana asked him to hold the Lingam for sometime so that he can attend the nature’s call. Ganesha pretended to be getting late and kept the Lingam to the ground and it got fixed there permanently. To wash his hands to get pious Ravana hit the ground with his fist thus making a big crater which was filled with water called Shiva Ganga. After washing hands Ravana tried to move the Lingam but failed. In extreme anger he pressed down the Lingam with his thumb thus cracking the top of the Lingam a little and it got down further a little deep into the ground.
That Lingam is now called Baba Baidynath Dham Jyotirlinga and it is still fixed at the same place with temples built around. The pond formed by Ravana’s blow is known as Shiva Ganga (previously called Varvoghar Kund) which is a large lake 200 m from Baidyanath temple. It is believed that taking bath in Shiva Ganga makes pious and cure diseases.
Sultanganj and Ajgaibinath
During the Shrawani Mela – first of all, devotees visit Sultanganj (Bhagalpur District, Bihar) which is 109 KM from Baba Dham. They take bath in the holy river Ganga in very early morning and take the holy water of Ganga in bottles or “Kanvars” along with them. This water is brought to Baba Dham and poured on Baba Baidyanath.
Some of the devotees march from Sultanganj to Baba Dham on foot without resting anywhere on the way. These devotees are called Daak Bam. You can listen enthusiastic devotees shouting “Bol Bam” and “Har Har Mahadev” all along the way.
At Sultanganj, people also visit Ajgaibinath which is a temple of Ghaibinath Shiva.
Trikuta Parvata is situated 10 KM from Deoghar on the Dumka route. The 2470 feet tall hill consists of three main peaks and that’s why it is called Trikut or Trikutachal. The hill is also called the garden of Shiva because of numerous trees of Wood Apple there. There is a cottage of sage Dayananda on the hill.
There is a modern ropeway with a large number of cabins which take pilgrims and tourists to the top and then to the bottom after they have visited the place.
Trikutachal Mahadev Temple, an altar of goddess of Trishuli is also located at the place. Trikuta Parvata is also the source of river Mayurakshi. The place is very exotic with a flowing cool stream. This is a popular picnic spot for pilgrims and tourists.
The place is full of rogue monkeys which are always in attacking mood if you tease them.
Tapovan is 10 KM away from Babadham. The temple of Taponath Mahadev is situated here. It is a small hill with lots of black-faced large monkeys. There are too many caves in the hill. Shiva Lingam is mounted in one of the caves. It is believed that Sage Valmiki came here for penance. Previously it was a popular meditation spot (Tapobhumi) of Nagas.
There is an amazing mysterious cracked rock at Tapovan with a portrait of Hanuman inside the crack. It is amazing to feel that how the portrait was made or inserted inside. There is a cemented holy water body called Shukta Kund or Sita Kund which is below the hill. It is believed that Sita used to bath here.
Nandan Pahad is just 3 KM from Baidyanath station and on the western side of Deoghar. This is a small hill from where you can watch the whole Deoghar. The sunset and sunrise looks so beautiful from here. Filtered water is supplied to the whole Deoghar through large pipes installed on this hill. There are a few temples on the top with idols of Shiva, Parvati, Ganesha and Kartikeya.
There is a legend behind this hill that once Ravana tried to forcibly enter into Shivadham who was stopped by the doorkeeper Nandi (Shiva’s Holy Bull). Angry Ravana threw him forcefully and so he fell into this hill. The name Nandan Pahad is derived from Nandi.
There is a recreation park made for kids located on the top of this hill. This is called Nandan Hill Entertainment Park. Inside are Joy Rides, Aquarium, Bhoot Ghar and a water fountain. Down the Nandan Pahad is the facility of boating on a fresh and large pond.
Basukinath Temple is 42 KM from Doghar near the village Jarmundi. It is a very famous temple of Lord Shiva and Baidyanath pilgrimage is considered to be incomplete without paying homage at Basukinath. The campus of the Basukinath consists of other small temples.
Naulakha Temple or Naulakha Mandir is just 1.5 KM from Baidyanath Temple. The 146 feet tall temple is the temple of Radha and Krishna. The security personnel there stopped me from taking photographs but I somehow managed to take a few photographs which I am sharing here.
The name Naulakha is kept because at that time the cost of construction of the temple came out to be 9 Lakh. At that time this much amount used to be a very hefty amount. The money was entirely donated by Rani Charushila (from Pathuria Ghat King’s Family, Kolkata).
Other Places of Interest at Deoghar
Deoghar is the place of temples as the name suggests. There are several places to talk about at Deoghar other than those mentioned above.
A quick list will contain Baiju Temple, Kundeshwari, Kathikund, Jain Temple, Dolmanch, Deva Sangha Math, Hathi Pahad (Mahadevatari), Harila Jori, Pagla Baba Ashram, Lila Temple, Mansarovar, Rikhia Ashram, Shitala Temple, Tarapeeth, Satsang Nagar & Ashram, Ram Krishna Mission Vidyapeeth etc.
Video – Temples inside Baba Baidyanath Campus
Watch this short video to see the temples inside Baba Baidyanath campus.
See also : Bhangarh : The Most Haunted Place in India