Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bhimashankar temple : A Photo Feature  

Bhimashankar temple is located around 125 kms from Pune, off Pune-Nasik highway. One takes a left from Manchar village, crossing the Dimbhe dam and a spiraling road through the ghats of Nagphani mountains of Sahyadris that overlook the source of the Bhima river.      

One crosses the thick vegetation of the Bhimashankar wildlife sanctuary (famous for a rare animal named Shekru, which is infact a giant squirrel. There are also tigers,leopards,monkeys and a variety of flora fauna) before reaching Bhorgiri village. The Bhimashankar temple is located in this Bhorgiri village and is named after the Bhima river.

There is a story associated with the Bhima river as well. It is said that this river emanated from the sweat of the asura Bhima (son of Kubhakarna and nephew of Lankadheesh Ravana) who was slain here by Lord Shiva.

Bhimashankar holds place amongst the twelve jagrut jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. It was initially a small and virtually unknown temple (dated back to the thirteenth century) until the Peshwas started taking active interest in its affairs. During the time of Nanasaheb Peshwa, this area was declared a protected wildlife sanctuary.

A rich moneylender from Pune named Chimnaji Antaji Bhide Sawkaar constructed a sabhamandap (assembly hall)  around the temple. Later,Nana Phadanvis did the jeernoddhhaar of the temple and reconstructed the Shikharas (spires) and the sabhamandap.

The Shikharas and the temple are built in the Nagara Bhumija style so popular in the Deccan. The entire temple is built in chiseled black stone.

The gabhara (sanctum) is located in a lower lever and can be accessed by climbing down stairs, leading through a beautifully engraved doorway seen right after crossing the sabhamandap. There one comes across a ‘Ardhanareshwar Swayambhu Shivalinga’. The Ardhanareshwara was the half man half woman form of Lord Shiva, a synthesis of man and woman energies, whereby Godess Parvati entered the body of Lord Shiva as a Mahashakti and helped slay the demon Tripurasura. A swyambhu linga is the natural formation of the linga i.e one not carved by man but by nature. The ‘linga’ being the phallic representation of Lord Shiva. Shiva was also assisted in his duel with the asura by his Ganas viz. Shaakini and Daakini. The Bhimashankar temple holds shrines for these ganas as well.
There are also two idols of the holy cows Kamadhenu and Nandini in the courtyard along with a Shani temple and a Tulsi vrindavan.

There is also a ‘Pancha dhaatu (5 metal alloy) bell of Portuguese make which was donated by the Peshwas. It is said this bell was amongst the war trophies of Chimaji Appa, the younger brother of Bajirao Peshwa. He had collected the same from a church, after the famous conquest of Bassein (Vasai).
Alongside is a tall deepasthambha / deepamala ( a stone post to hold festival lamps). 
In the vicinity are also several minor temples dedicated to the pantheon of Hindu deities.

The Bhimashankar temple being located in a lower level, it has to be accessed by climbing down several stone stairs. There are also palanquins used to carry the aged and the handicapped. There is also a caveat for all travelers. There is no petrol pump available between Dimbe to Bhimashankar. Hence its necessary to maintain adequate fuel levels in the vehicle.
Another interesting spot to visit after the Bhimashankar temple is a Kunda (water tank) where Lord Shiva was said to have bathed after the duel with Bhimasura. Furthermore there is a place called Gupta Bhimashankar, located in the forest which has smaller Swayambhu Lingas. It is located near the source of Bhima river.Also in the vicinity is the Bhorgiri fort and caves.

The Bhimashankar temple is one of the favourite spots for tourists and pilgrims and one of the easily accessible one day destinations for Punekars.
Text and photographs : Abhijit Rajadhyaksha


  1. There are also two idols of the holy cows Kamadhenu and Nandini in the courtyard along with a Shani temple and a Tulsi vrindavan....where is the two idols of the holy cows the entrance of the temple or on which side are they kept...and where is the Pancha dhaatu (5 metal alloy) bell positioned...appreciate your favorable reply....Sir.

  2. Good post. . Bhimashankar is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of India, a pilgrimage place approximately 3500 feet high up in the hills. There are many places to visit in Bhimashankar that attracts tourist because of its own beauty.

  3. Lovely pictures. Supposedly home to one of the 12 highly sacred Jyotirlinghas in India, Bhimashankar Temple is a revered religious site near Pune. According to Shiv Mahapuran, once Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma had a heated argument related to superiority of creation of the universe. To test them, Lord Shiva divided the 3 worlds into pillars of light and named them jyotirlinga. Both of them started downwards and upwards to find the end of this light. Explore all about Bhimashankar temple.

  4. hi, pls help to know if there are any homestays or budget hotels or dormitories in bhimashankar near temple for night stay for female
    I am planning to go on 20/5/16 after 6pm

  5. Bhimashankar is a wonderful place to visit near Pune. Well written about unknown facts. Thanks for sharing this post, this is one of the best temples to visit in Pune. If anyone wants to explore this place, book your bus tickets in Patel Travels .