Himachal Yatra – बैजनाथ

 

The journey was going on well… after visiting Naina Devi, Jwalaji, Kangra and Palampur, we finally reached  Baijnath.  I had earlier passed through this sleeping village 3 times but everytime missed this art work, for no reason.  I was very happy to be here finally.

 

The village named after the temple – Baijnath is a small, sleepy town with shops on the sides of the main Pathankot-Mandi high way.  We asked a person about the temple and were guided towards it.  Turning left we entered a huge parking area, parked our car and looked towards the temple complex…. It was magnificent, artistic, ancient and beautiful.  The temple has been taken over by ASI and result was clearly visible.

Yours truly before Baijnath temple

The temple complex, unlike most of our other temples was very clean with no Parshad shops nearby, and without any chaos of visitors.  It has beautifully cut hedges, gardens and pathways all around.

Baijnath temple was re-built on the ruins of ancient Shiva temple by two Himachali businessmen in 1200 AD.

Main entrance Baijnath

The structure of this temple gives the hints of the early medieval North Indian style of architecture. This type of structure used to be known as ‘Nagara’ style of temple. The architectural style has been imbibed from Orissan style, which is very much unique in the state of Himachal Pradesh. The exterior walls of the temple have numerous alcoves with images of gods and Goddesses from the Hindu pantheon.

The temple was again destroyed by the (in)famous earthquake in early 1905 and was re-built again.  Presently Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has taken over the temple and declared it as National Heritage.  The temple is looked after by traditional priest, who work under the guidance of a committe, headed by SDM.

 

We entered the temple from main gate and were amazed by the sheer beauty of stone carvings, done long long ago.

Main temple Baijnath

 

On the main gate itself, there are carvings in stone of various gods and goddesses with magnificently carved pillars.  The discipline, the cleanliness and the beauty of the temple was simply mind blowing.

stone carving on main gate

Baijnath or Vaidyanath is a Sidhha temple of Shiva.  It is said that when Ravan worshipped Lord Shiva, he appeared and asked for a boon and Ravan wanted to take his shivalinga to Lanka.  Lord Shiva agreed but said that Ravan had to carry the Linga and should not keep it on ground in the way.  Here in Baijnath, Ravan wanted to go for call of nature and handed over Linga to a cow-herd, who was sage Narad in disguise.  Narad put the shivalinga on ground and it established itself there.

The same  story is said about Vaidyanth Jyotirlinga also. …doono which one is genuine.  Another priest revealed that it was at Baijnath that Ravan did the penance of Shiva and from here he took the Shivalinga, which was kept on ground in Baidyantha Jyotirlinga place.

Whatever the story, it seems to be a sacred place of Shiva and has some connection with Hindu history and mythology.

ancient magnificence

I took a round of the temple and saw the magnanimous art of stone carvings on all sides of the temple.

stone carvings

 

 

art work

All around the temple on the outer walls we saw stone carvings of Vishnu, shiva, Brahma, Kuber and depiction of many mythological stories many of which we did not know.

The stone carving of Vishnu lying on Sheshnag and Laxmi serving his feet was easily recognised.

stone carvings vishnu

So was the carving of Lord Shiva and Parvati sitting on Nandi, the bull.  The idols were beautiful, pious and energetic

stone carvings – Shiva and Parvati

 

Then we saw the main Shivalinga, which had been decorated by a copper snake around it.  The most impressing thing in the temple was there was no “Prasad” spread over the floor, which we saw in  many temples, specially in Jwalaji and Naina Devi.. people, specially kids throw part of prasad on floor which comes under feet of devotees and this act is treated as a sin.  We tried to clean the prasad in Naina Devi, but it was humanly not possible, until the temple authorities do some regular cleaning.

 

Another thing was that the priests were not greedy.  They were simply helping you in worshipping Shiva and not asking any money.  We offered some money which the priest silently put into “Daan Patra” a huge box lying near deity and this box is opened before SDM, money counted and used for upliftment/maintenance of the temple only.  The priests are given regular salary and a part of offering.

shivalinga

On the left side of the temple, there was a small water outlet, perhaps water offered inside drains out through a hole and is carried outside.  This  mini canal is called Ganga and there was a board indicating that we should not cross this water and do only half parikrama and go back.  We followed the rule and came back keeping our parikarma half, which is ritualistic in all shiva temples.

beautiful carvings on outer side of temple

Most of the visitors were local himachalis and perhaps we were the only tourists there.  We ventured around, visited other small temples of Krishna and Durga in the vicinity and came out of the premises.

 

Another view of temple

There was a huge old banyan tree outside, which is a common thing in all hindu temples.  The tree also had many red clothes tied around it, depicting the wishes of the visitors.   The beautiful garden around, the cleanliness and the discipline impressed us immensly as these things are normally missing in most of our temples.  In Garhwal temples, specially Kali math and Chadrabadni, we saw the same cleanliness and discipline….it is possible that due to management of ASI and lesser numbers of visitors, the temple has still kept its sanctity.

ancient tree and well trimmed hedges in compound

The view outside temple was magnificent with huge Dhauladhar as backdrop… (alas again without snow).  After quenching the thirst of our eyes, we took our shoes and left the temple premises with joyful heart and heightened energies

Baijnath external boundary and garden

 

baijnath

After Baijnath, we crossed Joginder Nagar.  This is the last station of Pathankot-Joginder Nagar toy train and is well built big township.   Joginder Nagar is famous for its power house built by Raja Joginder Sen.  King started this project in 1925 and the toy train track from Pathankot was laid to bring in the machinery here.  The project was completed with the help of British Engineers and till Bhakhra Dam was built, this dam was producing electricity for Punjab and Delhi.

This power house is unique, because of its sheer design.  There is no Dam here… instead water is collected uphill from Uhl river, near Barot (a beautiful place which is on my list of ” to be visited places”).  The water from the lake above is brought down by 3 huge steel pipes and electricity is produced.

Water pipes at Joginder Nagar power station

 

By the water pipes, there is a track coming from below the power house to above till Barot.  This is for the trolley which is a swiss design, in which the trolley rolls over train like tracks, but is pulled by a steel wire.  This trolley is used by engineers to go upto the lake for any repairs etc.  If we know someone from Himachal State Electricity Board or Punjab Electricity Board, we can perhaps have a free ride on this trolley.  We stood there and remembered all our relatives and friends, and found no one who could help us in riding the trolley.

cursing our contacts, we started our journey further towards Mandi.

trolley track

Mandi was still 60 Kms from here.  The day was coming to an end soon.   We had plans to go to Rewalsar today but given the time, it was almost impossible.  60 Kms to Mandi was a good 2-3 hours driving and further 25 Km to Rewalsar was out of question.

 

Sunset in Joginder Nagar

Sunset @ Joginder Nagar

 

A little worried we continued our journey and 20 Kms before Mandi, it was completely dark.

(continued…in next part)

51 Comments

  • Wow Sirji, very nice post. Maza aa gaya.
    Temple is so great and also the surrounding are also great.

  • Gita AM says:

    Enjoyed this Baijnath chapter and the pics as well.

    You got a clearer view of the Dhauladhars from Baijnath than we did, though it was snow clad when we were there.

    You must go to Barot whenever you get a chance, that was one of the best places I have been to in HP.

    Waiting for further chapters in this series.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Gita ji thanks for your encouraging comments. Yes you saw Dhauladhar with snow, but not clear view and I saw Dhauladhar clear view without snow… cest la vie

      Why dont you post about your visit to these places.. this will give another viewpoint of this beautiful place.

  • vinaymusafir says:

    Its a beautiful temple.
    Well clicked pics.
    Waiting for next part.

  • ??? ???? ?? ??? ???, ?????? ????? ?? ????? ???? ???? ?? ??, ???? ??????, ?? ?????? ????? ??? ?? ???? ???? ?? ?????? ????? ?????? ??? ???????, ??????????…

  • Nandan Jha says:

    This is a FOG, I think. I do not remember anyone writing about ‘Baijnath’ (at least in this detail). I am not sure though.

    Thank you SS for highlight the good-upkeep part. We need to celebrate and share these practices so that they see bigger adoption. I also heard that ‘Barot’ is very beautiful. Long time back, we had lot of short holidays in Kasauli/Chail and Subathu. It is a shame that last I went this side was 3 years back. UK should now see less of me and HP should happen more :-). Thank you SS. If I am able to make a visit, I would cite you as the reason. Thank you.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Let me tell you Nandan that Baijnath did not impress me devotional(ly) but it impressed me more with its ancient Nagara art, its cleanliness and natural beauty all around. Barot was in the list…but you know my driver (LOL he is a millionaire owning a skoda laura.. thatz Lakshman), was more keen on reaching Rewalsar, so I had to drop the idea… otherwise my planning was to stay at Barot for a night and then go to Rewalsar.

      But always we should leave something, so that we have a reason to go there again.. and this time it was Barot and Jalori Jot.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    And I think there something is not right with the aspect ratio of the some of the bigger photos. Dont know.

    • SilentSoul says:

      I do not see any distorted ratio.. but if you feel so try some other combinations… I always like to post fotos of natural scenes in a panoramic ratio to make it look better…

      tks for your continued support

      • Hahahahaha. Try to stretch a photo of Aishwarya Rai in “panoramic ratio to make it look better” and Abhishek Bachchan would reach even Iceland to take you to good task ! Yeah, I had also felt that some pics were appearing stretched but thought that may be you look like that only! The girls standing on green mattress are looking dwarfs and stockily built. (Again, hahahaha). Now I know that it is you who should be sued for distorting your own pics.

        Inspite of what you have done to your otherwise excellent pictures of heavenly Baijnath temple, I liked the post very very very much and may never be able to thank ghumakkar.com enough for showcasing my beautiful country for people like me who do not travel as much as they wish you. What I actually need is a job that would necessitate ‘continuous travel to new destinations of my choice’. May be a travel website would sponsor my tours so that I would be writing back for them on continuous basis! I would leave my bank job and would start wandering for the remainder of my life.

        • SilentSoul says:

          If I keep the aspect ratio intact than 840x 630 photo is required which will not come fully on monitors…

          I have posted same picture with original ratio… tell me do you see huge difference ??

          ???? ???? ????? ?? ???????? ?????? ?? ? ?? ??????? ??

          Bhaiyya mein apki tarah trained fotugrapher to hun nahin… so majak udana chhodo aur theek salah do

          • Sir Ji, my laptop monitor has resolution of 1280 x 768 so it would show 840 x 580 size pics correctly. Most of modern generation computers are having monitors of 1024 pixel width or more so absolutely no problem.

            Yes, the correct aspect ratio of 2nd picture has made huge difference. It is not a matter of showing beauty of the girls. Even the building was distorted. Since I had no means to compare the building as seen in photograph with the original temple, I couldn’t know that it was distorted. Since human beings are familiar subject, we can guess by looking at them that there is something wrong with the photo.

          • Dear SS,

            If you do not know how to reduce your pics to 640 x 480 size (i.e. the actual column width available for a post), I am sending to you a small tutorial via e-mail. By following these steps you can have all of your pictures in ideal size required on ghumakkar. Please give me half an hour for that.

        • SilentSoul says:

          Tks.. for the valuable advice SS…I have changed the aspect ratio of all fotos to 4×3.

          I know how to change sizes in Ghumakkar and I have been learning new things about my camera too. As I told prior to coming to Ghumakkar, my photography skills were putting our faces before any scene and click.

          Rest I will know after your insights on photography comes. :)

  • Abheeruchi says:

    Hello SS ji,

    Thank you for the post. Temple is really very beautiful . In Chennai also,there are many old temples full of stone construction with beautiful pillars and carvings.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Yes Abhiruchiji.. South India is the focal point for stone carved temples…but North lacks them That is why I selected this temple and earlier Jageshwar too to show the heritage of such temples in North too. There might have been many other temples, but since North faced the first force of invaders, who destroyed most of our heritage temples, presence of such pieces of arts must be adored.

      Tks for your comments

  • chicobello says:

    highly and exclusivly focused narrative on the temple only! I have been there once only two years back and the feeling is altogether different inside the temple premises….i agree with your prashad observations….but this temple lacks the so called human intervention of the chamunda and kangra ji….marble floor, boats.. artificial lakes etc… all the pics are nice..the nagaaras were not there? the view of binwa behind the temple boundary was not clicked….good one indeed….

    • SilentSoul says:

      Tks Thakurji. I saw this more as an ancient piece of art, than a temple. I agree with you that the temple has very high energies inside and a pious atmosphere more than mere devotion.

      It is good that there is no human intervention (except beautifully kept garden outside and the cleanliness).

      pls go through next part too

  • kavita Bhalse says:

    ??????? ??? ??,
    ???? ????? ?? ??? ?? ???????? ?? ?????? ?? ??? ???? ?? ??? ?? ?? ?? ?? ?? ???? ????? ????? ??? ????? ????? ??? ???? ???? ?????? ???? ?? ??? ???? ???, ???? ?? ????? ????? ?? ?? ???? ?????? ???? ????? ?? ??????? ????

    ????????

    • SilentSoul says:

      ??????? ?? ??? ????… ????? ????? ???? ??????..

      ?? ???? ?????? ???? ??? ?? ?? ???? ????? ??? ?? ??? ???????? ?? ??? ? ???? ????? ?? ????? ????..

      ??????? ?? ?? ???? ?? ???? ?? …LOL

      • ???? ??? ! ???? ?? ????? ?? ?? ??????? ??? ???? ???? ??? ??? ?? ???? ????? ?? ???? ?? ??????, ??????? ?? ??? ?? ?????? ????????? ???? ?? ???? ?? ??? ???? ????? ???? ???? ?? ?? ???? ???? ?????? ?? ?? ? ????? ????? ???? ???????? ?? ????? ?? ???? ! :)

  • D.L.Narayan says:

    Excellent post, SS. The performance of the GF3 is great and the visuals look very attractive.

    The sthal-puraan of the Baijnath mandir has striking similarities to the mythologies associated with the Gokarn and Trichy temples too (Ravan/Vibhishan being tricked by Narad/Ganesh into relinquishing their hold on the Lingam). This temple also is a contestant for being one of the 12 Jyotirlingas along with the Vaidyanatha temples in Jharkhand and Maharashtra. Anyway, God is manifest everywhere and there is little point in quibbling about which is the original and which isn’t. It is heartening to see that the ASI is taking good care of the temple. In some places, they are indeed performing well. Maybe it is a paucity of funds for them which makes them neglect several heritage sites entrusted to their care.

    The information of the hydroelectric power generating plant at Joginder Nagar was interesting. The winch-on-rails was interesting too. I wonder why they did not go in for a cable car instead. Maybe the gradient was not sufficiently high and the cost of erecting pylons would have probably made it unviable. However, because of its unique nature, there is a case for operating the toy train on these rails from Jogindernagar to Barot. It will boost tourism in the area which will be good for the local economy.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Before anybody misunderstand let me clarify that GF here means Lumix GF3 camera… not the 3rd girl friend…. LOL

      Sthal Puran is mainly to attach people to a place… and it may not be really true.. or may be having some latent meaning… whatever it is, the vibrations of a place do tell us about the Positive energies present there.

      Your idea of using the line for tourism is fabulous …but it is a pity that there are so many possibilities to boost tourism, but authorities are just happy with the status-quo.

      The train was used to carry heavy machinery and pipes upwards, so a cable car may not be that useful… more over did they have any idea of cable cars during 1920s…? i am afraid they had even heard of cable cars then.

      But if this trolley is used to ferry tourists, joginder nagar will become a hot cake among the tourists.

      Tks for your valuable inputs and comments

      (PS: I wanted your help in removing the grids from last two photos… the barbed wire in sunset foto was done by me, by clone stamp and I dont think any S/w can remove the grids before the track ? any input ?
      I think Nandan must gift me Adobe photoshop for being GOY, so that I can play with photos (its a joke Nandan so dont jumpt out of your seat)…now a days knowing photoshop is more important than being good photographer)

      • D.L.Narayan says:

        It is possible but will be rather difficult to remove the grid from the photograph as it is on the focal plane of the image. The rest of the image will be blurred. The best way to shoot such an image is to poke the camera into the opening of the fence.

      • Dear SS,

        Was it possible for you to go nearer to the barbed wire? Putting your camera as near to the wires as possible would have obviated them completely. It seems the camera focused the wires and not the rail track. By focusing the rail track you would have thrown the foreground out of focus anyway. This is known as selective focusing.

        Even if you buy Photoshop, removing all those wires from the background is neck and back breaking job. Although I can do it in Photoshop , I wouldn’t do it unless made to do it by aiming AK47 Kalashnikov at the center of my forehead. Perhaps no one would !

  • AUROJIT says:

    Hi SS,

    Very compelling pics. Nice to hear about temples which are different from the stereotype (and not very favourable) image that we have. Actually, I would agree because our experience in temples (in terms of accessibility/cleanliness issues and that becalming effect, etc) has been very good in hill temples. Is it because what the people in plains here say – hills being closer to God are more Godly ?

    Baijnath – I was only aware of the one near Gwaldam (of Bhimshila fame). Thanks for sharing such valuable info about this significant place….

    Auro.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Thanks Auro. I too heard about Baijnath around Almora but have never visited there. Ritesh is going to write about that Baijnath soon.

      Tks for your comments

  • How to focus selectively ? There are three ways to do so. You can use any of them or all of them simultaneously.

    1) Zoom in your lens as much as possible. (i.e. increase the focal length to achieve max. tele setting)
    2) Come nearer to your subject as much as possible. (Reducing camera to subject distance)
    3) Open up lens aperture as far as possible.

    (Aperture settings are generally shown as 1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22, 32 on digital camera screen or on the ring of manual lenses. Your lens may not be having full range e.g. it may start at 4 and may end at 16. In this case, 4 would be max. aperture made available by your lens. However, if a lens offers 1.4 then 1.4 is the max. aperture.)

    For this particular picture, you could have made the wires invisible by seeing through the barbed wires. If it was not possible to move any further towards the wires, manually focusing the rail track would have improved the picture a lot. In case your camera doesn’t permit manual focus, there must be a landscape mode in it. When set the camera in landscape mode, it can focus at infinity only. Since the wires were not at infinity, they would have been rendered out of focus and nearly invisible.

    • Stone says:

      Sushant Sir, Ghumakkar deserves a ‘photography 101’ post from you. Your tips are phenomenal but are scattered through out the site , it would be nice if all can be compiled into a post or series of posts.
      Regards!

  • Stone says:

    Another beautifully written post sir; This temple looks completely different from the rest we’ve seen this series.
    I guess, may its’ due to it’s location which is slightly out of way from the usual route people take, and hence less tourists, less commercialization, and all resulting in a clean, serene temple.
    Waiting for your take on Rewalsar.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Where ever crowd of tourist-cum-pilgrims went, that temple has been spoilt. I have seen the untouched beauty of Vaishno Devi in 1973, and despite the Jagmohan factor, it has lost its original beauty.

      Same with Jwalaji temple… when we first went there in 70s, we stayed in Kuthiala Dharamshala, had bath in cold little stream coming down from temple and temple was seen from bus stop… and now stream is lost, shops came up and it became concrete jungle too.

      Luckily Baijnath is still not haunted by routine pilgrims-cum-tourists, hence has retained its original beauty…tks to ASI too, who do not allow commercial activities and construction around temple premises

      Tks for your comments

  • Vipin says:

    Wow, what a nice blog…thanks for taking us to Baijnath, SS Ji! I am sure the charm of the temple must be multifold against the backdrop of the majestic snow clad Dhauladhar…am dying to witness it that way…maybe during the end of this year…

    We stopped at Baijnath on our wondering towards Bir & it was such a pleasant surprise…though it’s a small complex, but truly amazing & appealing especially for the silent souls…:)…away from crowd…

    • SilentSoul says:

      Tks Vipin ji..It is small complex amidst a vivid beauty of Nature… and if the soul is not silent…it becomes silent afterwards.

      tks for your valuable comments.

  • Once upon a time I walked from Kullu to Jogindernagar, it was 3 days walk in those days and I think now more roads are there so now it may be done in 2 days.

    At Saturday you may see my new series on Himalayas, gradually that series will turn into Yamuna Odyssey.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Thanks Praveen Wadhwaji. Will anxiously wait for your post, as it is always a learning experience, when we read them.

      Wow that must be quite enjoying… 3 days walks.. where did you stay ? no fear of animals as this area is still full with cheetahs.

  • Ritesh Gupta says:

    S.S. Ji….
    ???? ?????? ?????? ?? ?????? ????? ?? ?????? ???? ? ?????? ????????? ????? ?? ??????? ?? ???…???? ?? ????? ????? ???? ??? ????….!
    ???? ?????? (??????) ?? ?????? (?????????) ??? ???? ???????? ???….| ???? ???? ?????? ?? ?????? ????? ?? ???? ????? ??? |
    ???? ?? ????? ???? ?????? ?? ?????? ??? ?? ??? ???? ?? ???? ???? ????? ????? ???? ????? ?? ??? ??? ??….| ?? ??? ??????? ?? ????????? ??? ….
    ???????

    • SilentSoul says:

      ??????? ???????. ???? ?? ????????? ?? ?????? ???? ??? ?? ???? ????? ??? ?? ??? ?? ??? ??????, ????????.

      ?? ?? ??? ???? ??????? ??????? ???? ?? ?? ?? ???? ???? ?? ?? ?? ???????? ??? ???? 1925 ??? ??? ?? ? ????? ?????? ?? ????? ???? ??, ??: ??? ??

  • Mukesh Bhalse says:

    ??. ??. ?? ??? ????
    ???? ?????? ?? ?? ??? ???? ??? ?? ?????? ?? ?? ????? ?? ????? ??? ???????? ?????? ???? ?? ??? ???? ???? ?? ???? ?????? ?? ?????? ?? ?? ????? ???? ???? ?? ? ?? ?????? ?? ????? ??? ?? ?? ???? ??? ?? ???? ?????? ?? ????? ???? ??? ………???? ?????? (?????????? ???).

    • SilentSoul says:

      ??????? ????????.. ???? ????? ?? ???? ????? ???? ??… ?? ?? ?? ????????? ? ?????? ?? ???-????? ????? ?? ????????? ??? ?? ????

      ?????? ???? ?? ?? ??? ??????? ?? ???? ???????

  • SS jee

    Thanks for the darshan of baijnath . The description is wonderful as usual But some of the photographs are half cut , not showing the full image , specially temple ones.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Vishal ji tks… long time no see ? I gave one full foto of temple and others were to show the stone carvings on that hence the foto was taken at close up.

      tks for your comments

  • rajesh priya says:

    BAIDNATH TEMPLE IS LITTLE BIT SIMILAR TO BAIDNATH TEMPLE UTTARAKHAND.THIS TEMPLE IS ALSO BEATIFUL

    • SilentSoul says:

      Bihari Babu… bade dinon ke baad darshan huye…hope all is well

      tks for your comments… hope you are reading prev/next parts of the series too

      tks for your time to read and comment

  • As you are aware that HP is a long pending, so we are aware of what needs to be done…i.e. taking few days leave! Very nice post as always, liked the temple for it’s cleanliness too as mentioned by you and we are all rich by knowing few tips on photography courtesy your post…Tx to all of you and surely there will be a lot on 22nd…on my way (to read) Rewalsar (I think I read about this place through Vipin’s post, not sure)

  • Neelam Dhir says:

    Thank you sir for a beautiful post.

    I had gone to Jwalaji, Chintpurni, Kangra many times but not visited Baijnath. Now, when decided to fo there, I was looking for the information and your post is perfect for this.

    One question, how much time will it take to reach from baijnath to naina devi?

    Thanks for the wonderful post. Pl keep posting more.

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