BHOOTHNATH TEMPLE MANDI, HIMACHAL PRADESH
Bhoothnath as the title suggests “The Lord of Ghosts” refers to Lord Shiva. The temple’s origin dates back to the medieval period. It is an old and popular temple preserved in the heart of Mandi, Himachal Pradesh. It is renowned for its ancient old stone Shaivite temples and their enormous range of fine carvings. The name Mandi has its root from great Sage Risi ‘MADHAV’ who has prayed in this area for ages in ancient times and it has been said as a legend that the rocks turned black due to the severity of his penance.
Alternatively, there is another theory as to how the name was derived. Mandi is well known for its market and it could have also derived from this common term Mandi which can be translated to market. Mandi is surrounded by the high hill ranges of Gandhar Hills, Motipur Dhar, Rehra Dhar, and Tarna Hill.
FAMOUS FOR (AS A LEGEND GOES BY)
History Mandi Himachal Pradesh
The temple is famous for the grand celebration of the festival MAHASHIVRATRI for one week. We all know that Lord Shiva is also known as Bhoothnath. There is a legend talked about the origin of the temple.
According to it, the then-contemporary king RAJA AJBER SEN got the information that there is a place in the deeply secluded forest in Mandi where a cow offers milk on her own volition to a particular stone. The news spread to the common people like fire and while all of this was happening the King dreamt of Lord Shiva and Lord Shiva directed him that the place has a Shiva Linga buried and guided him to extricate the same. The Shiva Linga was found at the same site and thereafter the raja ordered the erection of a temple at that place and shifted his capital from Bhiuli to Mandi. In 1527, the temple was built in Shikhara style which is also known as Nagar style. From then onwards the temple is known for the devotees of Lord Shiva coming from worldwide to offer prayers to the Bhoothnath.
It is the center of attraction among the tourists which includes not only Indians but also foreigners. The temple witnesses a huge amount of people gatherings during the celebration of Shivaratri especially which lasts for at least a week. The celebration, therefore, is not only of importance at the national but also international level.
Now let’s talk about Mandi district, in Mandi district one will find a thousand old temples and new ones too. Mandi is also known as “KASHI OF THE HILLS” or “CHHOTI KASHI”.
Let me answer this for you. The people here take pride in mentioning the fact that while Banares (KASHI) has 80 temples in total, Mandi alone has 81 temples. Mandi is well known for its 81 old stone temples and is often called the “VARANASI OF HIMACHAL”. The town has remains of old temples and notable examples of ‘colonial’ architecture for temples.
The temples of BHOOTHNATH, Trilokinath, Panchvaktra, and Shayamkali are among the more famous ones. The week-long INTERNATIONAL SHIVRATRI FAIR AKA CELEBRATION in Mandi is the major attraction of the place every year.
According to yet another legend, Raj Madhav, the deity who ruled the state of Mandi, along with other hill deities, visits the temple and offers prayers before beginning with a procession during the festival of Shivaratri. It was constructed when the state capital was being shifted from Bhiuli to its current place.
IS IT MANDI SAFE?
I have yet another legend for you, once when the 10th Guru of Sikhs was on a visit to Mandi, the King invited him to stay at the royal palace. The Guru rejected the offer to stay at the palace but agreed to stay in Mandi. He put up outside the town in a secluded place, which had once been the hermitage of a sage.
The king devoted his time to the Guru and therefore he was touched by the king’s devotion and prophesized that Mandi would ever remain safe and if any enemy tries to harm it, bolts from thunder would crush the invader. He considered the place as the safest place on the planet earth.
One would possibly think what might get wrong in this city which is full of temples and devotees but if look at the place geologically the city is located in seismic zone number IV near a fault line. Yeah, I know the geological talk is out of our league but long story short due to its geological features the area is prone to EARTHQUAKES. The place has witnessed it several times even before.
THINGS TO DO AT MANDI
Adventure tourism in Mandi has gained huge importance in recent years due to its thick forest cover, picturesque hills and endlessly flowing river Beas. Mandi offers a location for kind of adventure sports.
The climate is a bit colder and the tree covers make it a perfect spot for adventure lovers to go and explore nature at its best. You can luckily witness the number of bird species and walk through the trees in the dense forest and becomes more challenging as you rappel down the rocking cliff. It also includes hiking, trekking, mountaineering, and skiing.
Apart from the number of temples, the place also comprises of famous site trekking and angling. Barot Kullu Trek is one of the beautiful and scenic treks located near this religious city of Himachal Pradesh. JANJHELI offers a trek up to 3000 meters.
Another trek from Janjheli would take you to Shikari Devi Temple through these forests. The temple has devoted to the goddess and is said to have been built at the time of Pandavas. What is even more interesting is the fact that it is roofless.
what about you visit a place and it performs its folk dance in the form of theatrical art shows. Well yeah, Mandi is such a place you will enjoy BANTHRA which is the main folk dance and official dance of the district.
If you are planning to go there in of March or during the festival of Shivaratri you can actually be a part of this grandeur “THE INTERNATIONAL BHOOTHNATH FAIR” which is celebrated every year. It has said to be started in the year 1526 to commemorate the foundation of present-day Mandi. Before this, the capital was on the bank of the river Beas, which is now known as Purani Mandi (Old Mandi).
the Himalayan Trout House takes about five hours from Mandi, located in the Tirthan valley. There is a good trout fishing option here in the river bed. The brown trout fish is one of the most demanded species here.
HIMACHAL DARSHAN PHOTO GALLERY
what if I tell you that you can view all the exotic locations of the entire state in just one place. Yeah, this art gallery contains such a collection of photographs and reflects the social and cultural heritage of the people of Himachal Pradesh. The gallery is situated at about 4 km away from Mandi near Sauli Khad on the Chandigarh Manali National Highway.
if you are a book lover and want to read a book in between your tour then you must try a visit to the district library which is located in Emerson House (District Court). The collection of books is something you are going to fall in love with.
the favorite hobby of homo sapiens is to go shopping wherever they can get the best of prices. Well, shopping at Mandi is such a place where you can give it a try. It is popular for its ethnic handicrafts, silver jewelry, and stone carvings.
As you know the temple is famous worldwide owing to its celebration of the sacred festival of Shivaratri in a pomp way it welcomes the visitors on a huge scale. Mondays are thronged on a huge scale as it is tending to be an auspicious day for the followers and devotees of Lord Shiva Hinduism.
The whole temple is bedecked exquisitely and is flooded by the devotees from the early hours. The aarti is done twice a day of Shivalinga and devotees do the abhisheka of it with Panchamrita. Thus, make sure that you are present on this sacred, holy, and auspicious day in Bhoothnath Temple.
FACTS ABOUT MANDI
- Mandi is also known as the cultural capital of the state of Himachal Pradesh.
- A farmer gets around rupees 200 per kg of catching of brown trout fish.
- Mandeali language is generally used at the local level for communication.
- The temple is exquisitely carved in a serpentine manner and also houses the idol of Nandi Bull in the courtyard.
- The other Hindu religious can also be seen inside such as Lord Vishnu, Goddess Durga, Lord Hanuman, etc.
NIGHTLIFE At Mandi :
the place is full of temples and therefore, the nightlife of the place must be full of aartis and bhajans where you can get a glimpse of religious life while listening to the bells ringing in the temples. But if you are not that into the night to be spend religiously you can go for the night safari of the place.
HOW TO REACH THERE
Well, due to the well-established connection to the highways, airways, and railways, visitors can easily reach Mandi by the state-run buses, flights, or trains. The traveling in local Mandi is usually done via local buses, taxis, autos, and private vehicles.
The taxi station is located right in front of Seri Stage. Tourist taxis are also a good option. Auto-rickshaws are the main means of transport in Mandi and you will be delighted to know that the services are available almost for 24 hours.
- Air- Mandi does not have an airport. The nearest airport is Bhuntar Airport which is 31 km away from Mandi.
- Rail- there is currently no direct railway route to Mandi. The nearest railway station is the Jogindernagar railway station which is almost 50 km away from the main city. Summer Hill Shimla, Himachal Pradesh is also an option that is 71 km away from the main city.
- Road- Mandi is well connected by road network to major cities of India.
FROM DELHI the distance to Mandi is 475 km which can be covered in 12 hours by bus. The alternative route by train is up to Kiratpur Sahib by Delhi-Una Himachal express. From Kirtarpur you need to catch a bus. All the buses from Delhi and Chandigarh must pass through Kirtarpur which allows easy access to Mandi.
FROM CHANDIGARH the distance is 200 km which may take around 6 hours by bus.
FAMOUS FOOD OF MANDI
Sepu Wadi (Split Urad Dal Dumplings in Spinach Gravy) is the official and main cuisine of mandi, a specialty from Himachal Pradesh. DHAM- a local term for lunch traditional feast prepared in Himachali style which is served during auspicious and traditional ceremonies especially marriages.
- Kotli- a tourist destination which is also well known for its number of temples. The place is located at a distance of 22 km from Mandi.
- Rewalsar Lake- the lake is located at an altitude of 1350 m above sea level.
- Rani Amritsar Park- it is nestled on Tarna Hills situated at a distance of 5 km from Mandi.
There are a lot of nearby attractions which you can enjoy.
Have fun Travelling.