Baba Dham Deoghar, also known as Baidyanath Dham, is one of the most sacred Hindu pilgrimage sites in India. Located in the state of Jharkhand, this temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, and it is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas, which are considered the most auspicious places to worship Lord Shiva. The temple is believed to have been built by Ravana, the legendary king of Lanka.
The history of Baba Dham Deoghar dates back to ancient times. According to legend, Ravana was a great devotee of Lord Shiva, and he wanted to take the lingam of Lord Shiva to Lanka. He started praying to Lord Shiva, and when he became successful in pleasing him, Lord Shiva granted him the lingam. However, he also warned Ravana that if he put the lingam down on the ground before reaching Lanka, it would remain there forever. When Ravana reached Deoghar, he needed to take a break, but he was unable to find a suitable place to keep the lingam. At that moment, Lord Vishnu appeared in the guise of a Brahmin and asked Ravana to hand over the lingam to him. Ravana, unaware of the Brahmin’s true identity, handed over the lingam. Lord Vishnu placed the lingam on the ground, and it remained there permanently, becoming the Baidyanath Jyotirlingam.
Baba Dham Deoghar holds immense religious significance for Hindus, especially those who worship Lord Shiva. The temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas, which are considered the most auspicious places to worship Lord Shiva. According to Hindu mythology, Jyotirlingas are self-manifested lingams (phallic symbols) of Lord Shiva, and they are believed to have immense spiritual power. Devotees believe that offering prayers to these lingams can help them attain moksha (liberation from the cycle of birth and death).
The lingam at Baba Dham Deoghar is known as the Baidyanath Jyotirlingam, and it is considered one of the most powerful Jyotirlingas. According to legend, the lingam was installed by Ravana, the legendary king of Lanka, who was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. The temple’s history is also linked to Lord Vishnu, who placed the lingam on the ground when Ravana needed to take a break during his journey to Lanka. The combination of these legends adds to the temple’s spiritual significance.
The temple complex is a fine example of traditional Indian temple architecture and has undergone several renovations and restorations over the centuries. The main temple at Baba Dham Deoghar is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is built in the Nagara style of architecture, which is characterized by a curvilinear tower or shikhara. The temple’s shikhara rises to a height of 72 feet and is made of stone, giving it a majestic appearance. The main sanctum of the temple, where the Baidyanath Jyotirlingam is enshrined, is a small room with a high roof, and it is believed to be the original structure built by Ravana.
One of the unique features of Baba Dham Deoghar is the use of wood in the temple’s architecture. The temple’s doors, ceilings, and pillars are all made of wood, and they are intricately carved with images of Hindu deities and mythological scenes. The wood carvings are particularly notable for their fine craftsmanship and attention to detail.
Over the years, Baba Dham Deoghar has undergone several renovations and restorations to maintain its architectural integrity. The most significant of these was the restoration work carried out by the British archaeologist Sir Alexander Cunningham in the 19th century. Cunningham’s work involved repairing the temple’s damaged stone structures and preserving its wooden carvings.
Events and places at Baba Dham
One of the most significant events at Baba Dham Deoghar is the Shravani Mela, which is held every year during the Hindu month of Shravan (July-August). During this time, thousands of devotees from all over India visit the temple to offer holy water from the Ganges to the lingam of Lord Shiva. The holy water is carried in pots, which are balanced on the devotees’ shoulders. The journey from the Ganges to the temple is about 100 km long, and it takes around three days to complete. The entire route is lined with small stalls that sell food, water, and other essentials.
Apart from the main temple, there are several other temples and shrines in the Baba Dham complex. The most famous of these is the Naulakha Mandir, which is dedicated to Lord Krishna. The temple has a beautiful idol of Lord Krishna, which is made of nine lakhs (one million) rupees worth of precious stones. The Baba Dham Deoghar complex also has several dharamshalas (guesthouses) and ashrams where devotees can stay during their visit. There are also several restaurants and food stalls where devotees can enjoy traditional Indian cuisine.
Some important places of worship & tourist attractions in Deoghar include:
- Trikuta Hills
- Satsanga Ashram
- Harila Jori
- Rikhia Yogashram
- Jaisar Children’s Park
- Nandan Pahar
- Hathi Pahar
Baba Dham Deoghar is an important pilgrimage site for Hindus and a must-visit destination for those who seek spiritual solace. The temple’s unique architecture and rich history make it a popular destination for tourists as well. Whether you are a devout Hindu or a curious traveler, Baba Dham Deoghar is a place that you should definitely visit at least once in your lifetime.Baba Dham Deoghar is not only a place of immense religious significance but also a site of architectural importance. The temple complex is a fine example of traditional Indian temple architecture, with its curvilinear tower, intricate wood carvings, and use of stone and wood. The temple’s unique features and history have made it an important cultural landmark in India and a must-visit destination for those interested in architecture and spirituality.