Bhimashakar Jyotirling temple:
We all know that according to Hindu Brahma,Vishnu & Maheshwara are the creators of the universe. As per the Shiva Mahapurana, once Brahma & Vishnu had an argument about creation. To test them, Shiva pierced three worlds as a huge endless pillar of light , the Jyotirlinga.
Vishnu & Brahma split their ways to search downwards & upwards respectively to find the end of the light in either direction . Brahma lied that he found where the light ends, while Vishnu conceded defeat. As Brahma lied Shiva appeared as second pillar of light and cursed Brahma that He would have no place in ceremonies where Vishnu will be worshipped till the end of eternity.
The Jyotirlinga is the supreme part less reality, out of which Shiva partly appears. The Jyotirllinga shrines thus are places where Shiva appeared as “column of light” .
There are 64 forms of Shiva, but 12 Jyotirlingas, each considered different manifestation of Shiva. At All these sites, the primary image is “lingam” representing the beginning less & endless Stambha pillar, symbolizing the infinite nature of Shiva.
BhimaShankar is one among the 12 holy Jyotirlinga’s. It is located 120kms from Pune, Maharashtra. There are 3 Jyotirlinga’s located in Maharashtra. One is Trayambakeshwar in Nasik, Grishneshwar in Aurangabadh & the 3rd is Bhimashankar.
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Far away from the tumult of urban life, peeping through the white clouds, Bhīmāshankar can be termed a pilgrim’s paradise. Situated at the extreme end of the Sahyādrī Ranges, this place gives a wonderful view of the world around the local rivers and hill stations.
BhimaShankar is located in Ghat region of Sahyadri hills. BhimaShankar is also the origin of river ‘Bhima’ which flows southeast & merges with ‘Krishna’ in Raichur.
Temple & temple architecture:
BhimaShankar temple was built in 13th century shows the Excellency of Vishwakarma sculptors, while the Sabhamantap was built in 18th century by Nana Phadnavis. The Shikhara was built by Nana Phadnavis.The famous Marata ruler Shivaji is said to have made endowments to this temple. Although the structure looks fairly new, the shrine Bhimashankaram dates back to 13th century.
Temple influences the Indo-Aryan style of Architecture. It is believed that the ancient shrine was erected over a Swayambhu Lingam (that is the self emanated Shiva Lingam). It can be observed that the Lingam is exactly at the centre of the floor of the Garbagriham (the Sanctum Sanctorum) of the temple.
Within the temple there is also a small shrine to Lord Shani Mahātma. The idol of Nandi, Lord Shiva’s Vahan has been installed as is the case with all the Shiva Temples, just at the entrance of the temple.
This temple is closely associated with the legend of Shiva slaying the demon Tripurāsura associated with the invincible flying citadels, the “Tripurās”.
Shiva is said to have taken abode in the ‘Bhīmā Shankara’ form, upon the request of the Gods, on the crest of the Sahyādrī hills, and the sweat that poured forth from His body after the battle is said to have formed the Bhīmārathi river.
History unveils itself in the peaks of the Sahyādrīs. Bhīmāshankar – a place where spiritual splendour merges with nature’s magnificence is definitely a pilgrim’s paradise.
There are other temples and shrines, near the main temple. There is a shrine to Kamalaja near the Bhīmāshankar temple. Kamalaja is an incarnation of Pārvathi, who aided Shiva in his battle against Tripuraasura. Kamalajaa was worshipped with offerings of lotus flowers by Brahma.
Unique bell at BhimaShankar temple:
A unique Roman style bell can be seen infront of Bhimashankar jyotirling temple. The bell has an idol of Mother Mary & Jesus. This bell was presented by Chimaji appa(Brother of Bhajirao peshwa 1 & uncle of Nanasaheb peshwa).
Chimaji Appa collected 5 large bells after he won a war against the Portuguese from the Vasai fort. He offered one here at Bhimashankar & others at Menavali near Wai in front of Shiva temple on the banks of the river Krishna, Banashankar temple, Pune, Omkareshwar temple, Pune & Ramalinga temple, Shirur.
Places to Visit near Bhimashankar:
Visiting BhimaSkankar jyotirling temple wont be a lonely place to visit, there are other places which can be covered. Hanuman Lake, Gupt BhimaShankar, Origin of river Bhima, Nag phani, Bombay point & Bhimashankar wildlife sanctuary.
It has a forest area of 130.78km2 . The wildlife sanctuary is a part of Western Ghats. It is rich in floral & fauna diversity. A variety of birds, insects, animals & plants can be seen. A rare animal Malabar Giant squirrel locally called as ‘Shekaru’ can be found in deep woods.
How to reach:
One route is from Pune is vis Manchar. Another route is via Rajgurunagar. The road journey via Rajgurunagar will be a bit of tiring experience as the roads are not good.
Bhīmāshankar is 74 miles or 127 km from Pune by road. Private vehicles and cabs travel from Pune to Khed (Rajguru Nagar) to Manchar to Taaleghar and finally to the Bheemāshankar temple. State buses go there from Pune daily and take more than five hours.
During the Mahashivaratri festival, when there is a great fair at the temple, buses ply to and fro daily. It is accessible from Karjat on the Pune — Mumbai section of the Central railway. There is no proper road from Karjat to Bhīmāshankar and only the devotees who wish to go to the temple on foot during festivals use this road
Government MSRTC buses (non luxury) run from Pune to Bhīmāshankar every 30 minutes from 5:30 am till 4:00 pm. You can get State Transport buses from Shivajinagar, Pune. The fare is Rs. 155 and it takes around 3–4 hours to reach there from Pune.
There are hotels & lodges available near BhimaShankar jyotirling temple. But Pilgrims usually take lodging & boarding arranged by priests here at a small cost. Visitors are accommodated in either temporary hutments or in dharamshalas near the village
Best time to visit:
Best time to visit Bhimashankar jyotirling temple is from August & February. Though any time is good to visit Bhimashankar , It is better to avoid visit during summer & mansoon.