Lord Shiva’s black coloured Aapshambhu statue: The temple at Sudhmahadev has natural bluish black marble lingum of Lord Shiva inside. The lingum has three faces believed to be of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh mounted on mnandi with Parvati maa and Ganesh ji. It is believed that this statue was found from below the earth by a farmer while he was tilling his fields in the vicinity of the temple. He informed the king of the same. The king ordered to shift it to Chennai to erect a temple over it. But the statue got fixed at the present place and could not be removed. Finally temple was constructed over it at Sudhmahadev. Earlier temple had only one gate. But keeping in view the heavy rush of the pilgrims during the mela, a second opening has been made recently in the temple.
Lord Shiva’s holy trident: In front of the temple of Suhdmahadev, the tall holy trident of Lord Shiva is erected. The trident has three distinct broken parts; upper portion, middle portion outside and lower portion inside the earth. It is believed that Lord Shiva had hurled this trident on Devil Sudhanth and this killed him. The trident got broken and so it was left by lord Shiva there. People generally tie red cloth to this trident as it is believed that it fulfills all their wishes. Many legends are locally popular which explain the origin of the trident (trishul) at this place. A well relied legend explains that Sudhanth was stern devotee of Lord Shiva. One day he saw Mata Parvati who was meditating hard for Lord Shiva. He approached her to pay obeisance but his demonic look frightened Mata which led to her shriek hearing which lord Shiva thought her in trouble and threw his trident hardly aiming at the place from where sound came. Thereafter, Lord heard the sound of om namah shivaey. He realizsed that he might have killed his own devotee. He appeared at the place where he saw dying Sudhanth. He offered to revive his life but later refused and preferred to die at the hands of Lord Shiva. He was however blessed by Shiva that his name will be prefixed with the name of Mahadev and the place will be called Sudhanth Mahadev which later on came to known as Sudhmahadev. Another legend however says that Sudhanth devil approached meditating Mata Parvati with bad intention which led to his death by Lord Shiva. He begged pardon for his sin. Lord Shiva not only forgave and offered salvation to him; but also blessed with the prefixing of his name before Mahadev’s own name.
Guru Gourakh Nath’s Ji Temple: Just opposite to the Lord Shiva’s temple in the premises of Sudhmahadev, there is temple of Guru Gorkh Nath ji believed to be constricted after the construction of the main temple. It has white colored marble idol of Guru Gorkh Nath Ji. Towards its left side there is statue of Nandi Ganji below which there is “Garbhjoon”. It is believed that passing below the idol of Nandi Ganji relieves one of the sins and paves the way to attain salvation.
Live Samadhi of Baba Roop Nath Ji: In the temple premises there is live smadhi of Baba Roop Nath Ji who had attained smadhi here. Besides, there is a continuous Dhooni (Eternal flame) which has been constantly burning ever since Baba Roop Nath Ji is said to be living in the temple. The Dhooni explains the spiritual attainments of Baba and is still kept constantly burning. Devotees take sacred ash from the dhooni as prashad (Bhiuti).
Mortal remains of Sudhanth Devil: The mortal remains of Sudhanth Devil who was believed to be killed by Lord Shiva by his giant trident have been placed towards the left side of the main temple. Those who pour water over the Devotees pour water over the mortal remains of Sudhanth devil after pouring water over Shiv lingum.
Statue of Kaal Bhairab Nath: Opposite to the divine trident there is a tall black coloured statue of Kaal Bhairavh believed to be excavated from below the earth who is also worshipped by the devotees.
Paap Nashini bhowli: Sudhmahadev has spring by the name of Paap Nashini bowli. It is called so because taking a bath in it relieves the devotees of all their sins and inculcates the spirit of devotion for Lord Shiva. Devotees take bath in the bhowli so as to purify them before entering the temples premises. On the occasion of mela, people establish friendship bond at this pious place by exchanging their turbans and take pledge to help each other throughout life.
Gauri Koond: Lies at about 2.5 Km before Sudhmahadev village on Chennani- Mantalai road. Goauri Kund bus stop has 4-6 shops. The temple lies at about 500 meter distance at steep high elevation from the road. The hilly path leading towards the temple is 5 feet wide and is cemented with stairs at many places. The passage is full of natural beauty and wild vegetation, natural sweet water streams flowing from within the hills. The legend associated with Gauri Koond is that Mata Parvati, the daughter of King Himanchal of Chennai worshipped and meditated hard at this place for a very long time to get Lord Shiva as her husband. The top hill is also considered as the origin of the Devak stream which flows a few kilometers downstream and disappears mysteriously. It is also believed that Mata Parvati used to take bath in the waters of the spring before worshipping Lord Shiva. As such the spring is highly scared to the Shiva’s devotees.
Maantalai: situated at a distance of 8 Km from Sudhmahadev on Sudhmahadev-Latti road. It is quite enchanting hilly resort situated on the top of the hill. Numerous tall deodar trees add to its natural beauty with the surroundings full of cool and fresh air. It is believed that Lord Shiva and Mata Parvati got married at this place. On the bank of the pond there is Arpaneshwar Mahadev Temple devoted to Lord Shiva. It also has ashram of Yog Guru Late Swami Dharendra Brahamchari which is now in ruins.
A three days annual fair is held at Sudhmahadev on the full moon night of “Sawan” (During the month of June) to worship the trident and lord Shiva. On the occasion, several langars are organized by the voluntary organizations. Besides, governmental agencies also make full arrangements for the pilgrims. There remains a heavy rush at the place during mela.
(The author is Agriculture Extension officer)