The Bhimashankar Temple is a famous, “Jyothirlinga Temple”, dating back to the 13th century, and is situated in the dense forests of the Sahyadri Hills, in Pune district of the state of Maharashtra.
The river Bhima, originates from this place and a temple has been built over the origin of the river. King Shivaji gave a lot of endowments to this temple, during his life time. This temple is also known as “Moteshwar Mahadev”. The temple has been built in the style of the, “Nagara school of architecture”, and it has got intricate carvings on the pillars and door frames of the temple.
The image of Nandi the (bull) adorns the entrance of this temple. A unique bell (Roman style) can be seen in front of the temple. The "lingam", is exactly at the centre of the "Garbhagriham" ( Sanctum Sanctorum ). There is a temple tank, which contains the water from the river Bhima, and if you wish to bathe before doing puja, one may do so.
Lot of devotes visit the temple during the “Mahashivratri festival”, and a huge fair is conducted at the temple. Since there are no hotels in the area it is better, you visit the temple early and go back to your place by evening.
Bhimashankar area, has got rich fauna and flora. The best season to visit this temple would be in the Monsoon and the Winter seasons.
Legend behind the Bhimashankar TempleLong time ago a asura, named Bhima used to reside in the dense forests of Dakini, along with his mother Karkati. Bhima was a ruthless asura, and one day he asked his mother about his father’s name. To this question, his mother replied that his father’s name was Kumbhakarna, and that he was slain by Lord Vishnu.
Hearing these words, Bhima got very angry and decided to avenge his father’s death. He did penance to Lord Brahma, who was so pleased with Bhima, that he gave him supernatural powers. Using his supernatural abilities, Bhima created havoc to all the rishis and defeated King Indra also and dethroned him.
This angered the gods and they requested Lord Shiva to help them to get rid of Bhima. To this request Lord Shiva agreed, but the provocation for Lord Shiva to wage war with Bhima was that he had challenged a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva, named, Kamarupeshwar and was about to strike him down.
Then Lord Shiva appeared before Bhima, and a terrible war began between Bhima and Lord Shiva. Seeing all this chaos, Narada requested Lord Shiva to end the battle, so Lord Shiva reduced Bhima to ashes. After this battle all the gods and sages requested Lord Shiva to make the place his abode, so Lord Shiva manifested himself in the form of the “Bhimashankar jyothirlinga”. It is believed that the sweat that poured out from Lord Shiva’s body after the battle with the asura Bhima, formed the Bhimarathi river.
The Bhimashankar Jyothirling, is the most remote Jyothirling, apart from the Kedarnath Lingam. The Bhimashankar Temple is surrounded by a small village of about 200 houses. The people here eke out their living by selling Puja items for the devotees who have a Darshan of the temple.
The temple timings are from 4.40 am to 8 pm. So next time you are on a visit to Maharashtra, do not forget to visit this beautiful temple.