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6th Jyotirling-Bheemshankar

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6-Bheemshankar Temple

The 6th Jyotirling, the sacred Bheemshankar or Bheemeshwar Temple Jyotirling is situated in Pune, Mahaaraashtra - India. Bheemshankar in Maharaashtra is an ancient shrine, enshrining Bheemshankar as one of the 12 Jyotirling of Shiv. Bheemshankar is located in the village of Bhavagiri 50 km North-west of Khed, near Pune. It is located 110 km away from Pune in the Ghaat region of the Sahyaadri hills. Bheemshankar is also the source of the river Bheem, which flows South-east and merges with the Krishnaa river near Raaichoor. The other Jyotir Ling shrines in Mahaaraashtra are Tryambakeshwar and Grishneshwar.

The Bheemshankar Temple is a composite of old and the new structures and is built in the Naagar style of architecture. It is a modest temple yet very graceful and it dates back to mid 18th century. The Shikhar of the temple was built by Naanaa Phadnavees. The great Maraathaa ruler Shivaajee is also said to have made endowments to this Temple to facilitate the carrying out, of worship services. As with other Shiv temples in this area, the sanctum is at a lower level. Although the structure here is fairly new, the shrine Bheemshankar (and the Bheemarathee river) have been referred to in literature dating back to the 13th century CE. Saint Gyaaaneshwar is said to have visited Tryambakeshwar and Bheemshankar Temples. In some classics like Shiv Leelaamrit, Guru Charitra, Stotra Ratnaakar etc, Bheemshankar is described as a woman. Gangaadhar Pandit, Raamdaas, Sreedhar Swaamy, Narahari Maalo, Gyaaneshwar, and other saints describe Bheemshankar as Jyotirling.

The Temple of Bheemshankar is built in Hemad-panthee style. It is decorated with the Dashaavataar statues. The Nandee temple is close to the main temple. A huge bell weighing 5 Man (1 Man = 40 Ser = approx 90 pounds, so 5 Man = 450 pounds) is located close to the temple. It has 1721 AD inscribed on it. When this bell is rung, the entire place echoes with its sound. This is called "Deepmaal", which is common in the temples of the Mahaaraashtra State. Each branch of this structure is lit every night during prayers. The worship of Bheemshankar is done, with Rudra-abhishek and Panchaamrit Snaan, everyday. The Lord is praised in rich words. On Mondays and as well as on other days, a lot of devotees flock here for Darshan. A big fete (Melaa = fair) takes place on Mahaa Shiv Raatri festival.

Legend behind Bheemshankar Temple
According to the legends, once a demon called Bheem lived with his mother Karkatee in the dense forests of Daakinee, on the lofty ranges of the Sahyaadri. It is said that Bheem was so cruel that everyone was scared of him. But what tormented Bheem was his curiosity regarding his own existence. One day, Bheem urged his mother to tell him who his father was and why had he abandoned them in the wilderness of the forest. His mother revealed that he was the son of Kumbhkarn, the younger brother of the mighty King Raavan - the King of Lankaa. Bheem’s mother Karkatee also told him that Lord Vishnu in his incarnation as Lord Raam annihilated Kumbhkarn. This infuriated Bheem and he vowed to avenge Lord Vishnu.

Bheem performed severe penance to please Lord Brahmaa. The compassionate creator was pleased by the dedicated devotee and granted him immense powers. With so much power, Bheem began to cause havoc in the three worlds. He was hell bent in the path of destruction of Dharm. He defeated King Indra and Lord Vishnu and conquered the Heavens. He also defeated a staunch devotee of Lord Shiv - Kaamroopeshwar and put him in the dungeons. All this angered the Gods and they along with Lord Brahmaa beseeched Lord Shiv to come for their rescue to which Lord Shiv agreed.

Tyrant Bheem asked Kaamroopeshwar to worship him instead of Lord Shiv. When Kaamroopeshwar refused, Bheem raised his sword to strike the Shiv Ling. But as soon as he raised his sword, Lord Shiv appeared before him in full magnificence. Then the terrible war began between Bheem and Shiv. Holy sage Naarad Jee appeared and requested Lord Shiv to put an end to this war. It was then that Lord Shiv reduced the evil demon to ashes and thus concluded the saga of tyranny. All the Gods and the holy sages present there requested Lord Shiv to make this place his abode. Lord Shiv thus manifested himself in the form of the Bheemshankar Jyotirling. It is believed that the sweat that poured forth from Lord Shiv’s body after the battle formed the Bheemarathee River.

The Jyotirling thus manifested is a powerful representation of 'Ardh-Naareeshwar' in the Temple provides proof of instant fulfillment of all desires thus attracting thousands of devotees, especially on all Mondays and definitely on Shiv Raatri festival. As in certain other cases like at Ujjain, the Swaayambhoo Jyotirling is set at a level lower than the normal ground; also there is a specialty here that there is a constant flow of water from the Ling!

The Bheem Shankar Temple is also associated with the killing of Demon brothers Tripuraasur along with Devee Paarvatee in her manifestation as Kamalajaa whose Temple is also nearby the main Temple. Devee Kamalajaa was worshipped by Brahmaa and hence she was called so. Shaakinee and Daakinee were among those whose contribution was significant in the battle against Tripuraasur and their worship too is performed at the Temple. 'Moksh Kund Teerth', the Holy water body adjacent to the Bheem Shankar Temple is associated with Sage Kaushik.



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Created and Maintained by Sushma Gupta
Created on March 15, 2003 and Updated on February 12, 2013