Bhootnath Temple – A divine trip to an ancient temple in Himachal Pradesh
The Mandi town includes a lot of ancient temples and it is rightly known as the Varanasi of Himachal Pradesh. Bhootnath temple is the holy shrine of Lord Shiva and this temple is also referred as Bhuili temple by the local. It attracts thousands of devotees from all over the world. It is one of the sacred place for Hindus and they perform various Pujas and offerings to the shiva Linga for various purposes.
A brief history of the temple
The famous abode of Lord Shiva was built by Raja Ajber Sen in the year 1527. The king was a big devotee of Lord Shiva, and the temple was given the name Bhootnath as Lord Shiva is popular as the deity of the spirits or say Bhoots. Lord Shiva spends time in the crematories and also rubs ash on his body completely which reveals his fearsome avatar. However, this avatar also symbolizes bravery and power.
The temple was primarily built in the State Capital and was shifted later from Bhuili to Mandi besides the pious River Beas. Along with an auspicious Shiva Linga, the temple also includes an idol of the sacred bull of Lord Shiva, Nandi, which is placed in the temple facing the Shiva Linga. The architecture of the temple reveals ancient art and architecture decorated with ornamented arched figures of elephants and other designs. With a framework of the Shikhara style, the temple is now given a touch of the modern shrines with colorful paints.
Ancient stories of the temple
According to the local people, the temple also comes with an interesting story of its establishment. The story begins with a cow who would stand nearby a stone and milk the stone. The owner of the cow was much frightened by this behavior of the cow and the story of the cow doing such activities got spread wide. Raja Ajbar Sen came to know about the story. The same day, the Raja saw a dream in which he was told by Lord Shiva to dig beside the stone. The king immediately went to the stone and did so, after which he found the idol of Lord Shiva. The king then built the temple and the idol were established inside there and were declared as the abode of Lord Shiva or say Bhootnath Mahadev. The temple was then declared as the Bhootnath temple by the king.
Festivals and Rituals
Looking for the best period to visit Bhootnath Temple? No doubt, the pilgrims visit this temple around the year, however, it remains crowded in the month of March, during the festival of Mahashivratri. The festival celebration was started in the year 1526 by the Raja Ajbar Sen, who built the temple. It is considered to be the biggest festival in Himachal Pradesh and celebrated with utmost pleasure as it is the birthday of Lord Shiva. On the day, a rath yatra is observed, when the idol of Lord Shiva is placed in the chariot which is pulled by the devotees around Mandi. The day also observes a huge fair along with bhajans and hymns of Lord Shiva recited in the surrounding.
The locals dress up themselves traditionally on that day, which turns the fair colorful and full of enthusiasm. Other main attractions of the place include Bhang a traditional liquor made from herbs, sweets, music, dance, markets, hymns, and much more to enjoy.
Devotees visiting the temple also perform special rituals that are carried in routine also, like shringar, aarti, getting water from Ganga for the Abhishek of Shiva Linga, Abhishek of Shiva Linga with milk, rubbing and touching the Shiva Linga, offering garlands, etc.
Other places to visit
As Mandi is popular by the name Choti Kashi and Kashi of the hills, there are various temples here that have their own existing story and importance. Here are some of the places you must include in your list.
This is another temple of Lord Shiva, that is designed with traditional architecture, while the design of the structure is quite antic. The temple has been the center of attraction for various Archaeological Departments whose main aim is to protect the Indian monuments.
Located in the center of Mandi, Mahunag Temple is the only temple in India, that is devoted to Karna, the great warrior from the epic Mahabharat. The structure of the temple comes with medieval design infrastructure, which reveals the architecture skills of the popular King Shyama Sen who was also a great devotee of Lord Shiva.
Parashar Dev Temple
Another monumental temple, Parashar Dev Temple, was built by King Ban Sen, who ruled over Mandi. The temple is built with an architectural style of the pagoda. Dedicated to the grandson of Sage Vashishtha, Sage Parashar, the temple is designed with a minute carving of serpents and other animals.
Some of the other places that can be gone through while visiting the place include Mata Kuan Rani Temple, Tauni Devi Temple, Bijli Mahadev Temple, Dhyunsar Shiva Temple, Raghunath Temple, Baba Balak Rupi Temple, and many more.
Other attractions of the place
Apart from a religious place, Mandi comes up with captivating natural beauty hidden in the arms of high mountains, green velvety hills, valleys, lakes, forests, and what not. If you are still in Mandi and haven’t visited these places, your trip would surely remain incomplete. The places to visit in Mandi include Rewalsar Lake, Pandoh Dam, Prashar Lake, Sunken Garden, Rang Mahal, and many more.
Mandi also serves to be an adventurous destination for the people who love activities like snow trekking, cycling, river trekking, fishing, hiking, adventure camping, river rafting, star gazing, mountain camping, angling, etc.
So, want to explore your dreams to this destination where adventure combines with spirituality? Pack your bags and chase your dreams today.