Located in Sarahan district in Himachal Pradesh, Bhimkali temple is dedicated to Goddess Bhimkali, the sovereign deity of ruler of the earlier Bushahr State. The temple is also one of the 51 Shaktipeeths of Hindus. Well-known for its picturesque natural beauty, Saharan is a magnificent hill station of Himachal Pradesh. Besides the God’s gift of scenic beauty, Sarahan is also renowned for its cultural and historical affluence.
Legend and Histroy of Bhimkali Temple
Lord Shiva disguised himself as Kirat in the former pricely state of Shonitpur which is now known as Sarahan, and Bushahr was the capital of this state. One of the avid devotees of Lord Shiva was Banasur, who was the king of Shonitpur in Puranic ages and also the eldest of the hundred sons of demon King Bali and the great grandson of Prahlad, one of the adherents of Lord Vishnu.
Due to the Usha-Anirudh affairs, Lord Krishna fought with Banasur in this place, while Lord Shiva stood against Banasur. According to the legends, the head of defeated king Banasur is buried in front of the entrance under a raised platform to the first courtyard. After Banasur, the ruler of this kingdom was Pradyuman, the son of Lord Krishna and incarnation of cupid. Till the end of princely states with independence of India, this state was governed by kings of this dynasty. It was at that time that the ruling family got this holy shrine constructed and dedicated it to Goddess Bhimkali, their family deity.
Another mythological story associates its connection with the incidence of Devi Sati burning herself in his father’s Yagna after he had insulted Lord Shiva, her husband. Furious at this incidence, Lord Shiva lifted Devi Sati’s body on his shoulders and started the Tandava Nritya. To prevent the widespread devastation that could take place, Lord Vishnu released his Sudarshan Chakra which cut Devi Sati’s body in 51 parts that fell on different areas of Indian subcontinent. Bhimkali Temple is the place where her ears are believed to have fallen. This is the reason that Bhimkali Temple is also one of the 51 Shaktipeeths of Hindus in India.
There is another amusing story about Bhimkali temple that it got slightly tilted in the earthquake of 1905. But it got corrected on its own with another tremor.
The architecture of the temple is its most prominent feature. Built up all with wood, it presents a beautiful combination of Hindu and Buddhist temple style. Made of wooden carvings, the temple has a supremely unique. The icon of Devi Sati is sanctified on the top storey of the new building. On the floor just below it is enshrined Devi Parvati, the ensemble of Lord Shiva.
Besides the Bhimkali temple, there are three more temples in this complex, one each dedicated to Lord Raghunathji, Narsinghji and Patal Bhairva Ji – the guardian deity.
Temple timings and best time to visit
The temple opens at 6 am in summers and 7:30 am in winters for devotees. The time of first aarti is also the same in summers and winters respectively. Votaries can also choose to get a special pooja done on their behalf with a nominal payment to the trust. The pooja will be performed in accordance with their order after which the Prasad of Devi Ji will be sent to the devotee.
Bhimkali is an all the year round destination for pilgrims and tourists but since it is a hilly area, the weather here is most suitable from March to November.
Festivals and Fair
The prime festival is Udyapan Jag which is held at an interval of more than a hundred years, the last one being held in 1904. Besides that, Navratras are celebrated here twice a year with great incitement.
• Location → Sarahan district → Himachal Pradesh
• Dedicated to → Devi Shri Bhimkali
• Main Attraction → Beauty of Wooden Architecture, natural hilly surroundings
• Main Festival and Fair → Udyapan Jag and navratras
• How to reach by Air → the nearest airport – Kullu airport, 61 km from Sarahan
• How to reach by Rail – Nearest railway station → Shimla (180km)
• How to reach by Road → Sarahan is 180 kms from Shimla and 550 Kms from Delhi. One needs to hire taxis which are easily available from Shimla and Rampur to reach this holy shrine.