According to mythology (Shiva Mahapurana), Lord Shiva established lingams (universal symbol of Shiva), which were shining with light (pillars of light), in 12 different places as a challenge against Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma. There are 12 such places in India which are popular due to the Jyothirlingas.
Interestingly, the list of the 12 jyothirlingas is not the same in few texts. The Vaidyanath (Baijnath) temple in Deoghar is considered as one of the jyotirlinga temples; but as per a few sacred texts, the Vaidyanath temple in Parli (Maharashtra) has been listed as one of the 12 jyotirlingas instead of this one. And another text says that Baijnath temple in Himachal Pradesh is one among the 12 jyotirlingas. So, there has been some confusion over this list. However, all three temples have a lot of significance locally and are believed to be very sacred.
Here, we shall concentrate only on the Baijnath temple in Himachal Pradesh. Come let us explore the Baijnath temple of Himachal Pradesh and know of its importance.
Baijnath or Vaidyanath is a form (avatar) of Lord Shiva. In this avatar, Lord Shiva is known to be the 'Lord of Physicians'; in contemporary terms, he can be called a doctor, healing people of their miseries and sufferings. Yes, in the Baijnath temple, Shiva is worshipped as the 'God of Healing', and this is one of the popular temples in Himachal Pradesh.
There are several versions of the legend relating to Lord Vaidyanath or Baijnath. One famous legend tells us about the demon King Ravana and his penance to obtain invincible power. The well-known character from the epic Ramayana, the demon King Ravana was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. Once, he performed a huge penance to gain the blessings of Lord Shiva in order to obtain the kingdom of Lanka. While doing the penance, Ravana cut off his ten heads and offered it to the sacrificial fire. So, Lord Shiva was very pleased with Ravana's devotion and not only gave him the boon but also fixed all of his ten heads. It is said that Lord Shiva transformed as 'Vaidhya' (doctor) and healed the injuries of Ravana. Hence, he is worshipped in the form of Vaidyanath.
Baijnath Temple in Himachal Pradesh
Baijnath temple is a 13th century architectural site located in the town of Baijnath in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. This ancient temple is built in the Nagara Style of temple architecture.
Baijnath temple is a beautiful temple with a shikhara (temple tower) having a vestibule, a mandapa (main hall) and a sanctum. There is also a statue of Nandi in the entrance of the temple, which faces towards Lord Shiva in the inner sanctum. The inner and exterior walls of the temple are full of sculptures of Hindu gods and goddesses. The overall design of this shrine is beautiful and it is a must visit.
Where Is The Baijnath Temple?
Baijnath temple is set in the backdrop of the Dhauladhar Himalayan range, which is around 17 km from Palampur. Earlier, this place was named Kiragrama, which was later changed to Baijnath (derived from the temple). This small town is located on the Pathankot-Mandi Highway (NH20) of Himachal Pradesh.
So, a visit to this unique jyotirlinga temple is a must on your trip to Kangra. This ancient temple with interesting legends and a splendid architecture will surely be a worthwhile visit for you.