June 2012
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Baijnath – a town in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh

Baijnath is a town in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. It is roughly fourteen kilometres from the town of Palampur. It is very famous all over the world. This is because it is one of twelve jyotirlingas according to popular legends.
Baijnath is located at an average elevation of 1,314 metres (4,311 feet). It is a small township in the Dhauladhar range of western Himalayas. Baijnath is famous for its 13th century temple dedicated to Siva as Vaidyanath, ‘the Lord of physicians’.This place was originally known as Kiragrama.
The town lies on Pathankot-Chakki-Manali highway (National Highway No. 20) almost midway between Kangra and Mandi. The present name Baijnath became popular after the name of the temple. The town is located on the left bank of the river Binwa.
This is a corrupt form of ancient Binduka, a tributary of river Beas. The Baijnath temple has been continuously under worship ever since its construction in 1204 A.D.

This temple was built by two local merchants named Ahuka and Manyuka. The present temple is a beautiful example of the early medieval north Indian temple architecture known as Nagara style of temples.
The Svayambhu form of Sivalinga is enshrined in the sanctum of the temple. It has five projections on each side. It is surmounted with a tall curvilinear Shikhara.
The entrance to sanctum is through a vestibule that has a large square Mandapa. The whole temple is enclosed by a high wall with entrances in the south and north. The outer walls of the temple have several niches with images of gods and goddesses. Numerous images are also fixed or carved in the walls.
The inner and outer doorway leading to the sanctum of the temple are also studded with a large number of images. These images are of great beauty and iconographic importance. Some of them are very rare to be found elsewhere.
The temple attracts a large number of tourists and pilgrims from all over India and abroad. Special prayers are offered in the morning and evening every day besides on special occasions and during festive seasons.

The festivals of importance are:
• Makara Sankranti
• Maha Shivaratri
• Vaisakha Sankranti
• Shravana Mondays

Temples & Springs of Bajinath

1. Shiva Temple
• The main attraction of Baijnath is an ancient temple of Shiva.
• Neighbouring towns are Palampur and Kangra.
• In the town of Baijnath, Dussehra festival is not celebrated as a mark of respect to the devotion of Ravana towards Lord Shiva.
• The town of Baijnath has no shop of goldsmiths.
• The two long inscriptions fixed in the walls of the mandapa of the temple gives us account of the temple.
• The temple was built in Saka 1126 (CE 1204)by two brothers Manyuka and Ahuka in devolution to Lord Vaidyanatha.
• The inscriptions tell us that a Sivalinga known as Vaidyanatha already existed on the spot.
• An inscription on the wooden doors of the sanctum of the temple provides the date as samvat 1840 (AD 1783) that is very near to Cunningham’s date.
• The temple is a protected monument under the Archaeological Survey of India.
• The performance of worship and rituals are under a local board at Baijnath with SDM as its chairman.

2. Mukutnath Temple
• This ancient temple of lord Shiva is at a distance of 8 Km from Baijnath.
• The first ever plant of tulsi is believed to be located in the premises of this temple.

3. Mahankaal Temple
• This is another ancient temple dedicated to lord Shiva.
• It is situated 5 Km away from Baijnath.
• The main temple was constructed sometimes in medieval period.
• Temples dedicated to Shani and Hanumaan have been added in February, 2006.
• The temple is visited by numerous devotees especially during the Saturdays of Bhadrapada.
• This period is from August-September.

4. Khir Ganga Ghats
• The perennial holy water springs are situated at the basis of Shiv Temple Baijnath which is along the left river of the river Binwa.
• The devotees take a bath here before paying obeisance to lord Shiva.
• The place is also known as Chotta Haridwar.
• This is because many people consign ashes here after the cremation.

5. Tatwani (Hot water Springs)
• Perennial hot water springs at Tatwani can be approached from Sansal or Fatahar villages.
• They are at a distance of 13 Km through coniferous forests.
• A fair is held here on 13th April.

6. Sherab Ling Monastery
• This monastery is situated at a distance of 8 Km.
• This is the seat of 12th Tai Situpa.
• The Monastery offers a radiating beauty amidst the forest of pines.
• The idol of Lord Maiterya-Boddhsatva of compassion is gorgeous.
• There are many monasteries in the Bir area also.

Fairs and Festivals of Bajinath

1. Makar Sakranti
• In this festival a gritmandal (column of butter) is placed on the Shiv Ling for 8 days.
• The butter for the gritmandal is prepared by washing desi ghee with water.
• On removal of gritmandal, the butter which is believed to have medicinal importance is distributed among the devotees.

2. Shivratri Mahotsav
• A five days state level festival is celebrated on the occasion of Shivratri.
• It is celebrated with traditional gaiety and fervor.
• The towns of Baijnath and Paprola are illuminated.
• The Shiv Temple is decorated with flowers and colourful lights.
• Cultural Functions are held in the Indira Gandhi Stadium for five days.
• A mela goes for several days near Shiv Temple.
• Havan is performed in the temple for the welfare of universe.

3. Khor Maar
On the occasion of Panch Bhikham Chaturathi, which is held during October-November, walnuts are showered on the temple by the devotees.

4. Sawan Melas
• Thousands of devotees pay a visit to the temple especially on Mondays during the Sawan Month.
• This month is from July-August.
• Devotees pay obeisance to Shiva by offering jal on the Shivling.

Activities in Baijnath

1. Trekking
• Baijnath subdivision has many trekking routes.
• They vary from low to very high altitude.
The most prominent ones are:
• Bir-Billing (7,500 ft)-Rajgundha-Baragran (Chotabhangal) trekking route, Length- 35 Km
• Bir-Billing-Rajgundha-Palachak-Paniartoo-Thumsar Pass (18,500 ft)-Barabhangal-Holi (Chamba) trekking route, Length- 120 Km.
• Uttrala-Jalsu Pass (13,000 ft)-Holi (Chamba) trekking route, Length- 60 Km
• Fatahar-Karnarthu-Tatwani (7,200 ft)- Sansal trekking route, Length-25 Km.

2. Paragliding
• Billing an International site for paragliding is situated at a distance of 25 Km from Baijnath.

Other places of interest in Himachal Pradesh

• Dharamshala Cricket Stadium (DCS)
• Masrur (or Masroor)
• Bhagsu Waterfall
• Bhagsunag Temple
• Naam Art Gallery
• Kangra Museum
• Kunal Pathri Temple
• Chamunda Temple
• Dal Lake
• Triund
• Naddi
• Tsuglagkhang Complex
• Tibet Museum
• Tibetan Library
• Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA)
• Bhagsunag Fall
• Kunal Pathari
• Dharamkot
• Peak Art Gallery
• Adi Shakti Temple, Naddi
• Aghanjar Mahadev
• Bhagsu waterfall
• Bhagsunath
• Bir – Popular destination for ecotourism, meditation studies, volunteering, and paragliding at Billing.
• Brajeshwari Temple
• Chamunda Mandir
• Chinmaya Tapovan
• Chime Gyatsarling Monastery, just behind of Norbulingka Institute, upper Sidhpur. 6 km from Dharmshala and 14 km from Gagal airport.
• Dal Lake
• Dari
• Dehra Gopipur
• Dharamkot (2100 m)
• Guna Devi Mandir amidst dense forest
• Haripur Village (near Guler)
• Pong Dam Lake
• Indru Nag Temple
• Kareri Lake
• Khaniyara
• Kunal Pathri
• Lam Dal Lake
• Library of Tibetan Works and Archives
• Masrur (rock temple)
• Namgyal Monastery
• Narghota
• Norbulingka Institute
• Nurpur
• Sidhbari
• Church of St. John in the Wilderness
• Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts
• Tatwani and Machhrial
• Trilokpur

Best time to visit / climate

The best time to visit the place is from December to March.

Location on Google Maps

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How to get there?

• Baijnath lies on the Pathankot-Chakki-Manali National Highway No. 20, half way between Kangra and Mandi.
• It is about 130 Km from Pathankot.
• The nearest broad gauge rail head and airport is Kangra airport at Gaggal near Dharamshala.
• This is from where small aircraft flies on alternate days to Delhi is 60 Km from Baijnath.
• There is also available a toy train from Pathankot to Paprola-Baijnath which runs on narrow gauge from Pathankot to Jogidernagar.
• Baijnath is very well connected by all weather roads to Delhi via Chandigarh and to Manali via Mandi.

1. Distance By Bus (Bus Stand Baijnath 01894-263053)
• Delhi – Baijnath – 550Km
• Chandigarh – Baijnath – 300Km
• Jalandhar – Baijnath – 200Km
• Pathankot – Baijnath – 130Km
• Ludhiana – Baijnath – 260Km
• Amritsar – Baijnath – 260Km
• Jammu – Baijnath – 260Km
• Shimla – Baijnath – 250Km
• Manali – Baijnath – 200km
• Una – Baijnath – 190Km
• Palampur – Baijnath – 16Km
• Dharamshala – Baijnath – 55Km

2. Distance by Train
• The nearest railway station is at Kangra which is 17 KMs from Dharamshala connected to Pathankot through narrow gauge line.
• The nearest broad gauge railway station is Pathankot which about 88 Km from Dharamshala.
• The narrow gauge line from Pathankot passes through Kangra, Maranda(Palampur), Baijnath and reaches Joginder Nagar.

3. By Air
• The nearest Airport is at Gaggal, 50 Kms from Baijnath and 8 Kms from Kangra Town.
• The schedule of Jagson Airlines flights are on every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday & Sunday by route Gaggal-Bhunter-Delhi.

Some travel books from Amazon about Baijnath

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: India Lonely Planet Indian Himalaya Lonely Planet Trekking in the Indian Himalaya

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers)

href=”http://hotelhatu.tripod.com/” target=”_blank”> Hotels at hotelhatu.tripod.com
Hotels at yatra.com
Hotels at tripadvisor.in

Blogs/Sites about Baijnath

Blogs and reviews at baijnathtemple.com
Blogs at himachalhotels.in
Blogs and reviews at travel-himalayas.com

Images and photos of Baijnath

Images at google.com
Images at oktatabyebye.com
Images at baijnathtemple.com

Videos of Baijnath

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