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Location : Mandi, Himachal Pradesh
Worshipped Deities : Lord Shiva
Batuk Bhairav Temple is a sacred temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The word "Bhairav" is described in Sanskrit inscriptions as someone who is frightful or ferocious. The temple is the manifestation of the fierce form of Shiva. The Shiavaties and other worshippers of this deity have particular significance for this temple. Shiva as a Bhairon is highly revered by the devotees.
Significance of Bhiarava :
There are several synonyms of the word Bhairava. These include Bhairo, Bhairadya, and Bhairon. All these terms symbolize the frightful form of Shiva. Bhairava is considered an important deity in Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, and Nepal. The Lord is worshipped equally by Buddhists as well as Hindus.
Batuk Bhairav Temple depicts Shiva as Bhairava; wearing twisted serpents around his neck; a tiger skin and apron made up of skull bones. The deity is also decorated with ornaments like anklets, bracelets, sacred thread and earrings. Dog is his divine vehicle.
There are several manifestations of Shiva in the form of Bhairiva. These include Asitanga Bhairava, Krodha Bhairava, Kala Bhaiarava, Rudra Bhairava, Ruru Bhairava, Samhara Bhiarava etc. Bhairon is also popular in Tamil Nadu, Sri Lanka. In Tamil, Bhairon is known by the name of Vairavar and is popular among masses as a folk deity. This deity is considered a savior that protects them from all the eight directions. In Sri Lanka's Sinhalese language, this ferocious form of Shiva is called as Bahirawa who is supposed to safeguard the treasures. Aghora sect, which is cannibalistic idealises Shiva.
Legends Associated with the Temple :
There are a number of legends that are associated with Batuk Bhairav Temple. It is said that while in a conversation between Lord Vishnu and Brahma, a question arose as who is the supreme creator in the whole world. Brahma told Vishnu that he himself is the creator of the world. Upon knowing about this, Shiva got very angry and beheaded one of the heads of Brahma. This is the reason why Brahma has four heads. In the image of Kal Bhaiarava, Shiva is shown to be holding Brahma's decapitated head. After beheading, Shiva felt guilty of his action and as a punishment was forced to carry this head for many years until his sins were washed away.
According to yet another legend, Parvati, the wife of Shiva, wanted to marry him against the wish of his father, Daksha Prajaptai. Daksha did not approve her choice as he considered Shiva as a wanderer who spent most of the time in forests among animals. He performed a grand Yajna in which all other gods were invited except Shiva. This enraged Sati (Parvati). At Yajna, Daksha ridiculed Shiva; Sati could not tolerate this insult and threw herself in fire of Yajna. As Shiva came to know about this, he got so furious that he reached the place and beheaded Daksha. Out of remorse, he carried the dead body of Parvati on his shoulders and started wandering here and there. In order to control his rage, Lord Vishnu cut the corpse into many pieces. The places where these pieces fell, Peeths were formed. Shiva is known to safeguard these Peeths, and a Bhairava Temple is constructed at each Shakti Peeth.
Batuk Bhairav Temple is a place of worship by million of devotees around the world. At the temple, Shiva is shown with angry eyes, flaming hair, and wearing snake over his partially nude body. It is believed that worshipping Bhairava can bless a person with success, victory over enemies, and immense wealth. It is also believed that those who worship him daily can please him very easily. The deity is known to remove all hurdles of one's life. It is considered sacred to offer a garland of cashew nuts to the Lord and light an oil-lamp.
Batuk Bhairav Temple is a mark of veneration and respect shown by the devotees to their revered deity.