Jyotirlinga Bhimashankar temple is located near Pune, Maharashtra in the Ghat (Western Ghats) region of the Sahyadri Hills. The place is also the source of origin of the river Bhima that flows south-east and merges with the Krishna river. The origin of this modest and graceful temple can be dated back to the 18th century.
The place Bhimashankar has attained much strategic importance as it has recently been declared as a wild life sanctuary.
It is said that ages ago there lived a demon named Bhima in the forests of Dakini in the dense forests of Sahaydri. He was the son of mighty Kumbhakarna whom Lord Shri Ram had killed. Enraged by the same fact Bhima decided to avenge his father's death and started worshipping Lord Brahma for boons.
Lord Brahma, pleased by his penance blessed him with immense powers which turned out to be a great mistake. He wrecked havoc in all the three worlds (underworld, earth and heaven) with his powers and even conquered Lord Indra' s throne.
Lord Shiva came down to earth upon the earnest request of all Gods and after a terrible fight turned him to ashes. Lord Shiva made this place his holy abode after slaying teh mighty demon. Ancient Hindu mythology says that the sweat that fell out of Lord Shiva's forehead formed the Bhima river.
Festivals And Festivities:
Mahashivratri ia an occasion of great festivity at the Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga. People from all round the country flock together in groups to visit this place. Shravan Somvar and Somavati Amavasya are the other occasions for festivity here. Starting from 4.30 am in the morning there are several rounds of offerings in the temple. But the temple closes down at 9.30pm and hence, you have to make sure that you offer your prayers to the Jyotirlinga before that.
Sahyadri Wild Life Sanctuary is another place that demands at visit if go to Jyotirlinga Bhimashankar for a pilgimage.
Carvings of divinities and human figures can be found over the walls, pillars and doors of the temple. It is a popular myth that the Jyotirlingam was erected upon the self emanated Shiva Lingam. Inside the temple there is also a small shrine dedicated to lord Shani Dev. There is also a Portuguese bell to be found at the center of the two pillars outside the Shani Temple. Beauty unveils itself in many forms in this beautiful temple amongst the hill sides.
By Air: The nearest airport to Jyotirlinga Bhimashankar is Pune (95kms) which is in turn well linked to other major cities in India.
By Rail: The nearest railhead to Jyotirlinga Bhimashankar is also Pune (95kms). It is well connected to all other important towns and cities in India.
By Road: Bus services connect Bhimashankar to various parts of the state like Mumbai (681kms) and Pune (95kms).
A visit to this temple which is beautifully situated in the lap of nature would ensure the experience of a lifetime.