Located in Sarahan District of Himachal Pradesh, Bhimakali Temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peeths. The town Sarahan, then Sontipur as mentioned in Puranas, is known as the Gateway of Kinnaur district and situated about 180 Km from Shimla.
History of the Bhimakali Temple
Positioned at an altitude of 2150 mtrs, The Bhimakali Temple is devoted to goddess Bhimakali or Durga who was the presiding divinity of the rulers of former Bushahr State. Kamroo was the capital of the state, which was later on shifted to Sontipur and then to Rampur. This Sontipur is presently known as Sarahan.
Architecture of Bhimakali Temple
The architecture of this at least 8oo years old temple is the best part. With its unusual architecture and wealth of wood carvings, Bhimakali Temple is the monument, duplicated nowhere else. An interesting combination of Hindu and Buddhist Temple style can be seen in the structural design of the temple. The temple complex is having another four temples dedicated to Shri Raghunathji , Shri Narsigh, Shri Lankravir and Shri Hanumanji. The lush green surrounding and varieties of flora and fauna adds on in making this place a point of attraction for tourists.
Myths and Legends about Bhimakali Temple
Like each and every temple of India, this one is also attached with some interesting and mystical believes. The legend goes that as a consequence of Usha-Anirudh affair, Lord Krishna had a fight here with him where Lord Shiva stood against the former. It is said that the head of the defeated king Banasur was buried in front of the entry gate now marked as a raised platform to the first courtyard. After Banasur, Pradyuman the incarnation of cupid and the son of Lord Krishna became the Ruler of this Kingdom. In the State capital this ruling family constructed a splendid temple palace complex and recognised Bhimakali as the presiding deity of the ruling house.
The goddess according to another legend was consecrated earlier in the wooden stick of a sage Bhimgiri. Another hearsay about the manifestation of the goddess is reported to the Daksha-Yajna incident when the ear of the Sati fell at this place and became a place of worship as a Pitha – Sthan.
An interesting story of the Bhimakali Temple is that during the earthquake of 1905 the temple structure had got a bit slanted. However, with another following tremor, the temple got straitened on its own. It has also been believed that there exist a secret tunnel that used to lead the priests to Ranwin village.
Rules and Rituals at Bhimakali Temple
Four aartis are done at a regular interval on a daily basis. Long distance special pujas can also be offered with due permission of the authorities. Udyapan Jag, celebrated at intervals of hundred years or more, is the primary religious festival. Navratra (auspicious 9 days) is held twice a year. Also Krishnan Janamashtami and Budhi Dewali are celebrated in temple premises.
Accommodation Facilities at Bhimakali Temple
The temple offers chip accommodation facilities with a a panoramic view of distant mountains. Accommodation is available with six VIP double bed rooms, six regular double bed rooms and two dormitories having 14 beds. Booking can be done from the Manager, Temple trust (Ph: 01782 – 274248). Food is easily available in the temple trust canteen situated inside the temple complex. During Navaratra, free langars are also available.