Vir Bhadreshwar Temple

Chander M. Bhat
When Daksa, the Prajapati, performed a great sacrifice, he did not invite Siva…his own son-in-law. Sati, Siva’s wife and Daksa’s youngest daughter, went to attend the sacrifice much against the advice of her husband. Daksa ignored her and also reviled her husband Siva. Unable to stand the insult, she gave up her body using her yogic powers. When Siva got this news, he was infuriated. He created an ogre from his hair and commanded him to destroy Daksa’s sacrifice. The ogre was Bhadreshwar (Virabhadra), the soldier avatar of Lord Shiva. He was a partial manifestation of Rudra/Siva.
Iconographical works show Virabhadra in different ways. He is shown with two arms, four arms or eight arms. Objects shown in his hands are; sword, shield, bow, arrow, trident, skull-cup, goad, antelope, mace and hand-drum. He wears a garland of several heads and rides on a vetala or a vampire.
Vir Bhadreshwar is a super being created by the wrath of Shiva, when he stepped in to destroy the Yagna (sacrificial fire) of Daksha, after his daughter Dakshayani (Sati)…consort of Shiva self immolated in Yagna Kund. The origin of Bhadreshwar is related to the mythological story of Daksha Yagna. Lord Shiva created him by thrashing his matted lock in his deep anger and sorrow due to the self immolation of Devi Sati.
Devi Sati was the youngest daughter of Daksha, the king of all men. When she grew up she set her heart on Shiva, worshipping him. Daksha invited all the gods in the swayamvara of Sati except Shiva. Sati cast her garland into air, calling upon Shiva to receive the garland; and behold, he stood in midst of the court with the garland around his neck. Daksha had no choice but to get Sati married with Shiva. As the legend goes on, one day Daksha made arrangements for a great sacrifice, and invited all the gods except Shiva. Sati’s urge to go to her home due to the affection towards her parents overpowered the social etiquette for not going to an uninvited ceremony. Daksha insulted her in front of others. Unable to bear further trauma she ran into the sacrificial fire. Shiva came to know about the incident and with deep sorrow and anger, plucked a lock of hair and thrashed the same on the ground. Vir Bhadreshwar and Devi Bhadarkali were born. Vir Bhadreshwar was dark as the clouds, three burning eyes, and fiery hair; he wore a garland of skulls and carried terrible weapons. To provide him power arrived Bhadarkali, a wrathful incarnation of Devi.
Lord Shiva directed Vir Bhadreshwar to lead the army against Daksha and destroy the sacrifice and on the direction of Shiva, Vir Bhadreshwar appeared in the midst of Daksha’s assembly like a storm and broke the sacrificial vessels, polluted the offerings, insulted the priests and finally cut off Daksha’s head, trampled on Indra, broke the staff of Yama, scattered the gods on every side; then returned to Mount Kailash. After the destruction of Daksha’s sacrifice, the defeated gods sought Brahma and asked his advice. Brahma advised the gods to make their peace with Shiva. Brahma himself went with them to Mount Kailash and prayed to Lord Shiva to pardon Daksha. The compassionate Lord took pity on Daksha and restored his head with that of goat’s head. The Devas and Brahma requested Lord Shiva to the Yagna.
Lam a small village in Naushara Tehsil is situated about 20 km from Balavenue some 7 km towards Rajouri connected with a link road on the left side of Jammu Rajouri road. The metallic road moves though beautiful landscape and at some places through pine forests. En-route, about 11 km from Balavenue falls a village known as Quila Darhal. There is big fort on a hillock on the left side of this road in this village. 4 km ahead to this villages falls village Lam. There is a war memorial on the right of the road in the memory of these who laid down their lives fighting in Lam area during Indo-Pak war 1971. From village Lam one has to take right hand side road to reach Vir Bhadreshwar and en-route comes three villages known as Galla Durni, Challan and Thandikasi. This steep zig-zag road does not make journey boring as the road passes through beautiful pine forests. Vir Bhadreshwar temple is about 22 km from village Lam. Prior approval of the Deputy Commissioner, Rajouri is mandatory for visiting this temple as the temple is situated some 1 km from Line of Control in Naushara sector.
Vir Bhadreshwar while returning to Mount Kailash rested for some time at the time where present Vir Bhadreshwar temple, village Lam is situated. According to legend, Vir Bhadreshwar slept here for about fifteen days and woke up by the sounds of some bells tied to some goats which were pasturing in the jungle. Vir Bhadreshwar gave a soon to the shepherd and told him that anybody who offers a bell, the wishes will be fulfilled. From that day every pilgrim to this holy temple is offering a temple bell to fulfil him wish.
Vir Bhadreshwar or Pir Bhadreshwar is acronyms of same deity. The legend of this temple goes back to the days of Lord Shiva and Dakshayani (Sati). This temple is believed to have been built by King Kanishka in Samvat 141 to commemorate the victory of Vir Bhadreshwar, over king Daksha. According to Shiv Maha Puran, Vir Bhadreshwar is always worshipped before Lord Shiva.
During 1947-48 Jammu & Kashmir operations, the temple was completely desecrated by the invaders from Pakistan who had captured the temple area in 1948. The temple is situated near the present LOC in Naushara Sector. It is from this time the temple was renamed as Pir Bhadreshwar. The ancient Shiva Lingam was put in the courtyard by the Pakistani invaders and later said Shiv Lingam was installed in an old temple by the Indian Army after recapturing the area. After the signing of instrument of accession of Jammu & Kashmir, the Indian army launched an offensive to regain areas captured by Pakistan with effect from 27th October 1947 and Vir Bhadreshwar temple was recaptured on 20th October 1948 by the gallant soldiers of Indian Army.
The temple complex is spread over an area of about 6 kanals of land. Main sanctum sanatorium is situated on an elevated portion and one has to climb 12 stairs to reach the shrine. This temple is under construction and maximum portion of it has been completed. One can see thousands and thousands of temple bells hanging all over the complex, hanging from the walls, from the trees and where not. There is a belief that anybody who offers a temple bell in the complex of this temple gets his wish fulfilled. There is a Shiv Lingam and the icon of Vir Bhadreshwar inside the main sanctum sanatorium. Swami Shivananda, founder of ‘Divine Life Society’, has said in his book, ‘All about Hinduism’: “Lingam represents the formless Shiva…Shiv Lingam speaks to you in the unmistakable language of silence, I am one without a second. I am formless….Lingam is only the outward symbol of the formless being. Lord Shiva, who is the indivisible, all pervading, eternal, auspicious, ever pure, immortal essence of His vast universe, who is the undying soul seated in the chamber of your heart, who is your in dweller, innermost Self or Atman and who is identical with the Supreme Brahman”. On the right side of the main temple there are three small temples. The Shiv Lingam of the old temple which was desecrated by the invaders in the year 1947 has been installed in one of these temples. Holy Granth Sahib also forms the part of this old temple.
After having darshan one comes down with a heavy heart, longing lingering looks behind. The smooth transition from one site to this site; creates a unique experience of soul purification as clay of this place has touched the holy feet of Vir Bhadreshwar and graced by Lord Shiva. A visit to this place is a saga of memory for anyone who descends on it.


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