Bhimashankar is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, and it is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines. The temple is built in Khed taluka near Pune, Maharashtra. It is 127 km from Shivajinagar in Pune; the specific location is the Ghat region of the Sahyadri Mountains. Other than Bhimashakar, there are other two Jyotirlinga shrines in Maharashtra, which are Trimbakeshwar and Grishneshwar.
The Bhimashankar temple is built in Nagara architecture, including both modern and traditional approaches. The Vishwakarma sculptors are notable aspects of the architecture; the building of the temple dates back to the 13th century, whereas the sabha mandap was made in the 18th century by Nana Phadnavis.
Every legacy made its contribution to the advancement of the temple, such as Shivaji Maharaj made several endowments to this temple to start the worship services without any interruption.
As built during the 18th century, this temple has some modern aspects except the shrine Bhimashankaram, which dates back to the 13th century. A roman style bell is one of the aesthetics of the temple, which looks like the same bell as the idol of Mother Mary with Jesus.
It is said that Chimaji Appa got five large bells after winning against the Portuguese from the Vasai Fort. He donated one of the bells in the temple Bhimashankar while donating the rest in other Shiva’s temples such as at Menavali on the banks of the Krishna river, Banshanker temple (Pune), Omkareshwar Temple (Pune), and Ramalinga temple (Shirur).
Around the Temple
There are several other places to visit nearby as Hanuman Lake, Gupt Bhimashankar, Origin of River Bhima, Nag Phani, Bombay Point, and Sākshi Vinayak. Devotees can take a note of the Buddha style carvings of Amba-Ambika, Bhootling, and Bhimashankar. All of these are situated in the hills of Manmaad near Bhimashankar, having a height of about 1034 meters.
The giant bell built by Nana Phadanavis is also the most notable feature of the temple. Since the Bhimashankar is considered a reserved forest area, it includes a significant floral and faunal beauty. There are plants, birds, insects, and animals here in the 130.78 km2 of area. There is a fort called “Bhorgiri” near Bhimashankar, a worth visit place.
The Beauty of the Place
Bhimashankar is not just one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Shiva; it also features a peaceful and serene aura that exists far away from everyday clutter. The temple’s location gives a paradise-like feel to the visitors who enjoy the surroundings and the flora and fauna.
The devotees can witness the local rivers flowing by and having a hill station-like experience by visiting the place. From here, the Bhima river flows, which merges with the Krishna river in the Southeast. Here the forests, the peaks, and the height of the temple peeping through the clouds, everything seems so attractive and true heaven of God.
The ranges of Sahyadris are majestic to witness, where the devotees can feel the existence of Shiva. This is a true delight of nature where every morning is filled with the fresh breeze, the chirping of birds, and the fresh rays of the sun; other than devotees, this is a heavenly place for travelers as well who want to have a treat of nature and purity.
From Pune, there are two ways to reach Bhimashankar; one is via Manchar, and another one is via Wada.
As the temple is 127 km from Pune, one has to take cabs or taxis from Pune to Khed and then to Manchar to Taaleghar, and then to the Bhimashankar temple. For more cost-effective traveling, one can choose the state buses as they go from Pune daily to the temple; these buses take around five hours to reach.
During Maha shivatri, the temple witnesses a huge crowd of devotees from all the corners. This is the time when several buses drop at the temple; the buses may be overcrowded too because of the festivity.
There is another road of Karjat that leads to Bhimashankar; however, there are no transportation facilities on this route. Only those who desire to go to the temple on foot choose this route.