Friday, March 31, 2023

Chaurasi Temple, Bharmour – The Temple Complex

Chaurasi Temple, Bharmour – The Temple Complex

The temple complex consists of 84 shrines. Hence, the temple complex came to be called as Chaurasi Temple (Chaurasi means eighty-four in Hindi). Most of the temples are stone built temples and follows the nagara style of architecture. There are few ponds in the temple complex.








Manimahesh Temple:

This temple is considered as the main temple in the Chaurasi Temple Complex. It is situated at the centre of the temple complex. The temple was founded in the 7th century CE and was completely rebuilt by the King Sahila Varman in 10th century CE. The temple was extensively renovated during the reign of Raja Udai Singh of Chamba State (1690 – 1720 CE). The temple stands over a raised platform and follows nagara style of architecture. This temple is facing towards north.

The temple consists of sanctum and a shallow porch. There are two octagonal pillars in the porch. These pillars support the trefoliated pediment. The bases of the pillars are square and contains miniature niches on its four sides. The octagonal shaft is topped by the brackets carved with flying ganas. The left bracket contains an inscription which is partly broken. Each pediment on four sides shows replicas of reduplicated miniature sikhara temples, the centre one shows three faces of Shiva.

The fa├žade below cornice is richly decorated with nine small sikhara temples each enshrining a small deity representing each navagrahas. The doorjamb has five bands of decoration. The base of the doorjamb has images of river goddesses Ganga and Yamuna. Image of Ganesha can be seen on the lalata bimba.  The sanctum enshrines the presiding deity, Manimahesh in the form of Shiva Linga within a rectangular yonipitha. The shikara over the sanctum is of nine tiers.

There is wooden canopy below the amalaka for protecting the shrine from snow and rainfall. The external walls has bhadra niches on the east, west and south. All the niches are empty. Lingas representing the Ekadasa Rudras can be seen on the platform of the temple. It is said that these Rudras protect the sacred premises of Chaurasi. There are also nine Lingas (Naunath) representing the nine ascetics of Nath sect can be seen on the platform of the temple.

Narsingh Temple:

The temple is situated in front of the Manimahesh Temple on the western side of the temple complex. This temple is heavily influenced by the Manimahesh Temple. The temple was built by the Queen Tribhuvan Rekha during the reign of King Yugakar Varman in 950 CE. The sikhara suffered destruction during the earthquake of 1905. The temple consists of sanctum and an entrance porch. The entrance porch has two fluted pillars with rectangular bases. The flying ganas are carved on the brackets.

The lowermost part of the facade shows nine miniature shrines in relief, each sheltering a small deity. The pediment shows three faces of Lord Shiva. The river goddesses Ganga and Yamuna can be seen at the base of the doorjambs. The hamsas are carved on left and right of their heads. An image of Ganesha can be seen on the lalata bimba. The sanctum is square on plan.

The sanctum enshrines an image of seated Narasimha. He is four armed. Two folded under the chin and two held up with extended claws. The sikhara over the sanctum is of nine tiers. The shikara is topped by an amalaka, kalasa and chhatri. The temple follows nagara style architecture. It consists of sanctum and a shallow porch. The sanctum enshrines a bronze image of Narasimha.

Lakshana Devi Temple:

For brief details, please refer below link;

https://hindutemples-india.blogspot.com/2023/03/lakshana-devi-temple-bharmour-himachal-pradesh.html

Nandi Temple:

The temple enshrines a life size image of Nandi, the sacred bull mount of Lord Shiva. Nandi is locally called as Nandigan here. The Nandi is made of metal and in standing posture. It is with broken ear and tail. The temple is in the form of modern shed in front of Manimahesh Temple.

Ganesh Temple:

This temple is situated near the entrance of the temple complex. The temple is believed to be built by the King Meru Varman in 6th century CE. The original wooden temple would have been burned down during the Kira invasion of Bharmour. The temple consists of sanctum encircled by pradakshinapatha which is crowned by a lately built pyramidal roof of slate stone. The sanctum is square on plan. The sanctum enshrines a bronze image of Ganesha. He is shown seated on a lion throne and his legs are missing. This image bears an inscription of King Meru Varman (7th century CE).

Kartikeya Temple:

The temple is situated on the right side of the entrance to the Lakshana Devi Temple at the temple complex. The temple is also called as Kelang Temple. The temple stands over a small platform with a pyramidal roof. The temple enshrines a stone representing Kartikeya. He is also called as Kelang / Kelang Wazeer / Kelanga Swamy. The temple also enshrines a small piece of wood with a carving of Kelang, a marble image of Kelang and a six-inch-tall metal idol of Kelang. This metal idol is two armed holding a danda and ring.

Rameshvar Temple:

The temple is situated on the western side of the temple complex. The temple is believed to be built by the King Meru Varman in 6th century CE. The temple enshrines Rameshvar / Trameshvar in the Linga form. The Linga is also called as Trameshvar by the locals as the pitha of the Linga is enclosed in a copper sheet inlaid with silver flower rosettes. It is also believed that this Linga is the original Surya Linga, the clan deity of the Suryavanshi Kings of Chamba. There is a small circumambulatory path around the sanctum.

Seat of Chitragupta:

There is a Shila (Stone Slab) situated in front of the Dharmeshvar Temple. The Shila is carved with a ring and paduka (foot prints). This Shila is protected by a wooden fencing. It is considered as the seat of Chitragupta, who keeps record of good and evil deeds of every living being in this world.

Dharmeshvar Mahadev Temple: 

The temple is situated next to the seat of Chitragupta on the northern corner of the temple complex. The temple is also called as Dharamraj Temple. The temple is believed to be built by the King Meru Varman in 6th century CE. The temple is believed to be the court of Dharamraj and is locally called Dhai Podi, means two and half steps. These steps were buried now. The sanctum enshrines the presiding deity, Dharmeshvar Mahadev in the form of Swayambhu Linga.

There is door situated adjacent to the temple. It is said that this door leads to a secret cave. It is believed that whomever ventured into this cave never returned back. Hence, the door is always kept locked by the temple authorities. There is a belief among the locals that each departing soul has to stand here in front of this temple and seek final permission from Dharamraj to travel through the temple and dwell in the Shiva Loka after death.

Shri 108 Shri Jai Krishan Ji Giri Temple:

The temple is famously called as Nanga Baba Temple. The temple is the Jeeva Samadhi Temple (burial shrine) of Shri 108 Shri Jai Krishan Ji Giri (Nanga Baba). It is a modern shrine with conical roof and enshrines a marble image of Nanga Baba. This temple is situated close to Narasimha Temple.

Kubera Linga Shrine:

This shrine is situated on the left side of Manimahesh Temple. This shrine looks like a miniature nagara shrine and enshrines a small Linga.

Surya Linga Shrine:

The Surya Linga is enshrined under a modern shed near Ardhaganga. This Linga is considered as the clan deity of the Suryavanshi Kings of Chamba.

Ardhgaya:

Ardhgaya is a temple tank situated on the eastern corner of the temple complex. It is also called as Ardhaganga / Guptaganga.

Deodar Tree:

Deodar Tree / Devadaru Tree is considered as the Sthala Vriksham of this temple complex. It is a huge tree situated near Manimahesh Temple. The tree is considered sacred and cutting down the branches from the tree is strictly prohibited.

Other Shrines:

There are shrines for Jyoti Linga, Mohini Linga, Gupteshwar, Narbadeshwar, Bijli Mahadev, Chamunda, Hanuman, Shitla Devi, and Trameshwar Mahadev in the temple premises. The Shitla Devi shrine is a wooden structure situated closed to the aqueduct.

Chaurasi Temple, Bharmour – Legends

Chaurasi Temple, Bharmour – Legends

Brahmaputra:

As per legend, Brahmpura was used to be the garden of goddess Brahmani. She resided here with her son. Her son was very fond of his pet chakor (birds). One day, the chakor was killed by a peasant and her son was shocked to death by this tragic loss. The goddess, Brahmani Devi also sacrificed her life by burying herself alive. The spirits of Brahmani Devi, her son and the chakor started haunting the people in the region. Locals started worshipping the Brahmani Devi and built her a temple. The place came to be called as Brahmaputra named after the Brahmani Devi.

Manimahesh Yatra:

Once, 84 Siddhas along with Lord Shiva were on their way to Manimahesh were passing through Brahmpura (Bharmour), the garden of the Goddess Brahmani Devi. They decided to stay for the night in Bharmour. When Brahmani Devi, the presiding deity of the place, noticed the smoke emanating from the fires lit by the Siddhas, she felt angry at this trespass. As she believed that now people would pray to Lord Shiva and her importance would become lower, she came down to the place and ordered Lord Shiva and the Siddhas to immediately vacate the place.

Lord Shiva politely requested Brahmani Devi to allow them to stay at this place for the night. Further, Lord Shiva said that whoever comes to Manimahesh had to take a dip in the pool of Bharmani Devi first then only the yatra will be completed. Pleased with the request of Lord Shiva, she allowed them to stay. The 84 Siddhas transformed themselves into 84 Lingas as they fell in love with the calmness of Bharmour.  As requested by Lord Shiva, Bharmani Devi gave the place to him and the Siddhas and moved to a place at about 6 Kms from Bharmour.

Chaurasi:

As per legend, 84 Yogis from Kurukshetra visited Brahmpura and performed meditation here during the reign of Sahil Varman. Sahil Varman took care of the Yogis. The Yogis were pleased with the hospitality of the King. As the King had no heir, the Yogis promised him ten sons. The Yogis were requested by the King to stay back in Brahmpura till the prediction was fulfilled. In due course of time, the king was blessed with ten sons and a daughter named Champavati. It is believed that this temple complex was built to honour these 84 Yogis and named Chaurasi after them. There are 84 big and small temples in this temple complex.

Ardhgaya Theertham:

Once Lord Shiva along his consort Parvati and their son Ganesha were camping in Bharmour. Lord Shiva told Parvati about the importance of certain holy tirthas in his leisurely moments. Parvati was moved and she expressed her desire to take a dip in Falgu river of Gaya. Lord Shiva told Parvati that he could not be able to fulfill her wish as the river is situated faraway. Parvati was upset and sad. Seeing the plight of her mother, Lord Ganesha shot an arrow in the earth and seven springs representing seven major rivers of India including the Falgu of Gaya and Ganga were formed by the shot of the arrow. Goddess Parvati realized her wish by taking bath in this spring. Thus, it is believed that a dip in the Ardhgaya pool will wash all the sins of the devotees.

Rameshwar Linga:

As per legend, Lord Rama had installed Shiva Linga here before leaving for Lanka. Hence, the Linga came to be called as Rameshwar Linga. The Rajas of Chamba state trace their ancestry to Lord Rama. The genealogy (Vanshavali) of the Rajas of Chamba lists Lord Rama as their ancestor ruled Ayodhya Kingdom and Meru Varman as the first ruler settled in the village of Kalapa and later founded Brahmapura in Budhal valley.

Surya Linga:

As per legend, the Surya Linga was installed by Raja Meru Varman belonged to the ruling family of Ayodhya. He along with his son, Jaystambh invaded the upper mountainous region of Himalayas through the Ravi valley.

Surya Linga:

When Raja Meru Varman along with his son, Jaystambh reached Khadamukh, people here requested him to settle in Brahmapura. Acceding to their request, he installed this Linga as a symbol of founding the kingdom of Suryavansha with the blessings of Lord Shiva. Thus, the Linga came to called as Surya Linga. It is an ancient custom that the Rajas of Chamba to pay obeisance at the temple of Surya Linga first and then perform their duties.

Naga Baba:

As per legend, a siddha named Naga Baba performed penance clad only in a lion cloth on snow bounded ridges of Dhancho. He finally settled in Chaurasi Bharmour. He is held in great respect by the people of Chamba. He made the surrounding of Chaurasi as Tapobhumi. He brought about many social and cultural reforms and is known for upholding the sanctity of Chaurasi (84) temples and old temples of Bharmour. He is revered as 85th siddha who lived at Chaurasi in the modern times. He was finally buried at the site of shrine in Chaurasi. It is said that the sky became cloudy and heavy winds blew as the exalted soul departed on his heavenly journey to Shiva Loka on 22nd September 1963.

Lakshana Devi Temple, Bharmour, Himachal Pradesh

Lakshana Devi Temple, Bharmour, Himachal Pradesh

Lakshana Devi Temple is a Hindu Temple dedicated to goddess Durga located in Bharmour Town in Bharmour Taluk in Chamba District in Himachal Pradesh, India. This temple is situated inside the Chaurasi Temple Complex and is considered as the oldest temple in the Chaurasi Temple Complex. The temple is considered as one the oldest surviving wooden temples in India. Bharmour is famously known as Machu Pichu of Himachal Pradesh. It is situated at an altitude of 2,100 metres in the Budhil valley. It is located between the Pir Panjal and Dhauladhar range with Ravi and Chenab rivers flowing on both sides. Bharmour is mostly inhabited by Gaddis and is popular as a base town for the Manimahesh Kailash pilgrimage.



History

The temple was built in 7th century CE by King Meru Varman, the founder of Chamba State. An inscription of King Meru Varman can be seen engraved on the pedestal of bronze image of goddess Durga in its sanctum. The inscription records Meru Varman, three of his ancestors and the sculptor Gugga. Alexander Cunningham was the first archaeologist to visit the Lakshana Devi temple in 1839, who published his comparative analysis in Archaeological Survey of India report. Jean Vogel visited the Chamba state in the 1900s and wrote about the temple in his Antiquities of Chamba State in 1911.



Bharmour was called as Bharmaur / Barmawar / Brahmor / Brahmpura during ancient times. King Meru Varman belonged to the ruling family of Ayodhya. He along with his son, Jaystambh invaded the upper mountainous region of Himalayas through the Ravi valley. He defeated the Ranas, local rulers of Bharmour region and settled in Bharmour. He made Bharmour as the capital of his newly founded Chamba state in 7th century CE. The successive rulers ruled Chamba state from Bharmour till Sahil Varman. Sahil Varman conquered the lower Ravi valley and made Chamba as its new capital in 10th century CE.

The Temple

For brief details, please refer below link;

https://hindutemples-india.blogspot.com/2023/03/lakshana-devi-temple-bharmour-temple.html

Connectivity

The temple is located at about 2 Kms from Bharmour Bus Stand, 23 Kms from Manimahesh, 60 Kms from Chamba, 103 Kms from Dalhousie, 164 Kms from Pathankot Junction Railway Station and 168 Kms from Pathankot Airport. Bharmour is situated on Chamba to Manimahesh route.

Location

Lakshana Devi Temple, Bharmour – The Temple

Lakshana Devi Temple, Bharmour – The Temple

This temple is considered as the oldest temple in the Chaurasi Temple Complex. The temple is facing towards north and shows Gupta era architecture. The temple is rectangular in plan and stands over a square wooden platform. The external wall of the temple was plastered with mud with current thickness of about 0.85 metres (2 ft 9 in). The entrance and the facade of the temple follows the late Gupta style, with three parallel panels surrounding the doorway flanked by river goddesses Ganga and Yamuna.

Each band is separated by a thin carving of a floral scroll carved on a convex wood surface. The outer wooden band consists of reliefs of single females standing in tribhanga posture and of amorous couples. The middle wooden band features Ganga standing on makara on left and Yamuna standing on tortoise on right, with their attendants. Above them are a series of Hindu deities, including Shiva with Nandi, Vishnu Vaikunthamurti, four armed Vishnu and Skanda. A goddess and god in this panel are not identifiable because their iconographic signs are too eroded.

The inner panel forms the door frame of the entrance. The inner panel is carved with natural motifs such as leaves and flowers, two peacocks with their beak joined, and a pair of amorous couples in a mithuna scene. There is a triangular pediment with carvings of Vishnu and Garuda above the temple entrance doorway. The triangular pediment includes niches containing amorous couples in a range of courtship and intimacy (kama and mithuna) scenes. The interior of the temple currently has a sandhara plan on architecture.

The temple has an ardha mandapa, a mukhya mandapa, a circumambulation path and a rectangular sanctum. The mukhya mandapa is supported by six square pillars. The roof is pitch gabled, topped with slates. The original roof extended up to the main entrance. A roof projection to act as a canopy was added by the Archaeological Survey of India to protect the Gupta era style wood carvings. The original plan of the temple might have been an open twin-tiered hansakara plan.

The snow and weather may have led the community to add structure to protect the temple, modifying it first into a nirandhara plan of Hindu temple architecture, and therefrom to the current sandhara plan. The sanctum enshrines a 7th century brass idol of Durga, locally called Lakshana Devi. She is shown with four arms, holding a trishula in one hand, a sword in another and a bell in third. Her left front hand holds the tail of the shape shifting deceptive buffalo-demon (Mahishasura). Her right foot is on the head of the buffalo-demon, as she kills the evil demon.

Chaurasi Temple, Bharmour, Himachal Pradesh

Chaurasi Temple, Bharmour, Himachal Pradesh

Chaurasi Temple is a Hindu Temple Complex dedicated to Lord Shiva located in Bharmour Town in Bharmour Taluk in Chamba District in Himachal Pradesh, India. The temple complex consists of 84 shrines. Hence, the temple complex came to be called as Chaurasi Temple (Chaurasi means eighty-four in Hindi). Bharmour is famously known as Machu Pichu of Himachal Pradesh. It is situated at an altitude of 2,100 metres in the Budhil valley. It is located between the Pir Panjal and Dhauladhar range with Ravi and Chenab rivers flowing on both sides. Bharmour is mostly inhabited by Gaddis and is popular as a base town for the Manimahesh Kailash pilgrimage.





Legends

For brief details, please refer below link;

https://hindutemples-india.blogspot.com/2023/03/chaurasi-temple-bharmour-legends.html

History

The temple complex is believed to be built by King Meru Varman in 6th century CE and was extensively renovated in the succeeding period. Bharmour was called as Bharmaur / Barmawar / Brahmor / Brahmpura during ancient times. King Meru Varman belonged to the ruling family of Ayodhya. He along with his son, Jaystambh invaded the upper mountainous region of Himalayas through the Ravi valley. He defeated the Ranas, local rulers of Bharmour region and settled in Bharmour. He made Bharmour as the capital of his newly founded Chamba state in 6th century CE. The successive rulers ruled Chamba state from Bharmour till Sahil Varman. Sahil Varman conquered the lower Ravi valley and made Chamba as its new capital in 10th century CE.





The Temple Complex

For brief details, please refer below link;

https://hindutemples-india.blogspot.com/2023/03/chaurasi-temple-bharmour-temple-complex.html

Religious Significance

It is said that the pilgrimage to Manimahesh Lake is incomplete without paying obeisance in these temples due to the Dharmeshvar Mahadev (Dharamraj) Temple as one of the most revered by Hindus, and bathing in the Bharmani Mata temple pool of Goddess Brahmani, 4 kms from Bharmour. The entire area and the temples are dedicated to the worship of God Shiva and Shakti, due to the belief of Manimahesh Kailash Peak, being their abode and the promise of Moksha.

Connectivity

The temple is located at about 2 Kms from Bharmour Bus Stand, 23 Kms from Manimahesh, 60 Kms from Chamba, 103 Kms from Dalhousie, 164 Kms from Pathankot Junction Railway Station and 168 Kms from Pathankot Airport. Bharmour is situated on Chamba to Manimahesh route.

Location

Chandrasekhar Mahadev Temple, Saho – Legends

Chandrasekhar Mahadev Temple, Saho – Legends

Incomplete form of Temple:

As per legend, a saint used to perform meditation in a cave near the Sal river. He used to take bath in the river in the early morning after completing his meditation. One day, he noticed that somebody had taken bath before him. He wanted to know the person who took bath before him. The next day, he came in the midnight and waited for the person. He saw three saints appeared like a flash in the early morning and started to take bath. After taking bath, they chanted certain mantras and vanished immediately. The saint was astonished to watch this strange occurrence.

Lord Chandrasekara appeared in the dream of the saint in the same night and said him not to worry about the strange occurrence. Further, Lord Shiva informed that he was present in the form of a stone under the water of Sal river. Lord Shiva ordered the saint to take the stone out of the water and carry it to another place, where the stone would become heavy and would make the saint to unable to carry it. Lord Shiva instructed the saint to place the stone in that place and construct a temple. The saint did accordingly. This news spread like a wild fire.

Knowing about this news, the king reached the place and started the construction of the temple. During the construction of the temple, the Shiva Linga started to expand. The structure of the temple had to be continuously altered to fit the growing Shiva Linga. But the Shiva Linga continued to grow. The king got baffled of this mysterious phenomenon. The king prayed to Lord Shiva for solution. Pleased with his prayers, Lord Shiva appeared in the dream of the king and asked him to stop the construction of the temple and leave it in the present form. It is said that the Shiva Linga stopped growing from then onwards. 

Chandrashekhar Mahadev:

As per legend, a saint used to perform meditation in a cave near the Sal river. He used to take bath in the river in the early morning after completing his meditation. One day, he noticed that somebody had taken bath before him. He wanted to know the person who took bath before him. The next day, he came in the midnight and waited for the person. He saw three children appeared like a flash in the early morning and started to take bath. The saint ran towards the children and got hold of one child while the other two managed to escape. The saint tried to extract information from the child in custody.

To his surprise, he vanished, and a Shiva Linga appeared in this place. The names of the children were Mahesh, Chandragupta and Chandrasekar. The children who escaped the saint were Mahesh and Chandragupta. Mahesh reached Bharmour and Chandragupta reached Chamba. Mahesh is worshipped as Manimahesh in Bharmour, Chandragupta is worshipped as Chandragupta Mahadev in Chamba and Chandrasekar is worshipped as Chandrashekhar Mahadev in Saho.

Pandavas built this temple during their exile:

As per legend, Pandavas came here during their exile and constructed this temple for Lord Shiva for their worship.