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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Experiencing Shiva in the midst of Nature

Guwahati is home to some very holy sites of Hinduism. Everyone is familiar with Kamakhya Temple. And now more and more people are visiting the other temples of Guwahati such as Umananda and Navagraha. But one temple that is still not many people’s knowledge is the Bhimashankar Templee that is situated at Pamohi on the outskirts of Guwahati.



Nestled within the surroundings of trees and flowing streams, the Bhimashankar Temple is perhaps the most unique spot that devotees will find to worship Lord Shiva. This temple is situated on the Dakini hill at Pamohi and situated near to the famed Deepor Beel birds sanctuary. You can take the Pamohi road from Garchuk on NH 37 to reach the temple.

The unique thing about this site is there is no proper temple structure. It is basically an open air temple surrounded by trees and the Jyotirlinga resides among the rocks that has a stream flowing around it that comes up from the nearby hills. Devotees consider this to be the 6th Dwadash Jyotirlinga and is one of the twelve Jyotirlinga temples situated all over India. References to this temple can be found in religious texts like Shiva Purana and Koti Rudra Samhita, where it is stated that the Bhimashankar Jyotirlingam is situated in Dakini.



Legend has it that this temple is situated on the spot where Lord Shiva killed a demon named Bhimasura to save his devotee Kamrupeshwara, the then king of Kamrup. Bhimasura has been refered to as the son of Kumbhakarna, Ravana’s brother from Ramayana, and Karkati, the daughter of the king of the underworld. At the requests of the gods, Shiva transformed himself into a Jyotirlinga at that very spot and made that place his abode. It is said that sweat from Shiva’s body that fell down to the ground formed the Bhimarathi river that flows down through the Jyotirlinga and the surrounding rocks today in the form of the stream.

Apart from the main Jyotirlinga, there are sites for the worship of other gods and goddesses in the area as well. Before you reach the temple site, you reach a Ganesh temple on the hilly road. At the temple site, there are also monolithic manifestations of various gods and goddesses such as Parvati, Ganesh, Durga and others. The river stream which flows from among the Jyotirlinga and its surrounding rocks flows in five different directions and is known as Panchadhara.



It is advisable to visit the temple during the winter months and avoid going there during the rainy season as continuous landslides make it unsafe. Most of the people living around the area of the temple belong to the Karbi and Bodo tribes. Even the main priest is a Karbi and other members of the temple trust are Karbis and Bodos and not strictly Brahmins as is seen mostly with other Hindu temples.


It is a most unique temple that any devotee of Shiva will visit as it makes a beautiful site of religious surrounded by the radiance of nature. The flowing stream and the sounds of its gushing waters make the experience surreal as you sit in front of the Jyotirlinga and pray. Even people who are not very religious will find this place interesting because of its beautiful natural setting. This place is worth paying a visit for anybody who wants to experience peace of mind while sitting on a road amid gushing waters of a stream. 
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