Basheshwar Mahadev Temple Kullu

Basheshwar Mahadev Temple Kullu
Vital Information for Visitors
Address:

Basheshwar Mahadev Temple, Bhuntar, Kullu, Himachal Pradesh

Open & Close:

Open on all days
06:00 AM to 07:00 PM

Entry Fees:

Free

Duration:

Approx 45 minutes

Famous For:

Largest stone-built temple in Kullu Valley

Deicated To :

Lord Shiva & Goddess Parvati

Basheshwar Mahadev Temple or Vishveshwar Mahadev Temple, on the bank of the River Beas, is located 15 Km away from Kullu. The temple is considered as the biggest stone temple in Kullu. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is also known as Visweshvara Mahadev Temple. It is constructed in the shape of a pyramid and contains "Yoni-Lingam" idol which represents Lord Shiva as well as his wife Goddess Parvati. The temple is popular because of its stone carving which is really beautiful to see. Idols of Vishnu, Durga, Laxmi and Ganesha are also housed in the temple. People gather here in large numbers to seek blessings from the Almighty. It is said that the temple was constructed by Pandavas in just one day during their Exile period. The architecture of the temple is so strong that it withstood the severe earthquake of 1905 AD. And that is why the temple is declared as a protected monument. It is believed that the temple was rebuilt in the 8th century. Basheshwar Mahadev Temple of Himachal Pradesh is the largest stone temple in Kullu valley and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Tourists get attracted towards the temple because of the surrounding beauty of the temple, the creative stone carving on inner and outer walls of the temple, the eye-catching sculpted figures and layered ‘shikhara’. Basheshwar Mahadev Temple, located in Bajaura, is merely 4 kms away from Bhuntar airport.

Architecture of Basheshwar Mahadeva Temple : The tenth century Basheshwar Mahadeva Temple of Bajaura, 15 km from Kullu town, is famous for its ornate carvings and the figures portrayed on the outer walls and entrance. This pyramidal stone temple may be considered “one of the finest monuments of the western Himalayas and a unique instance of the later Gupta tradition”. This structure is in the form of an ‘elongated bee-hive”, with a great deal carved stonework, and three recesses containing figures on the north, south and west fronts, the doorway being to the east. The interior, some 13 feet square, has been constructed of large layers of stone well cut, but not cemented with plaster. The uprights of the side stones form the massive doorway. There is no arch in the building; the roof being made up of layers of stone over lapping each other. The sanctum, which measures 8' 6" by 7’2” and outwardly 13’ on each side, houses a Shiva-lingam. On the top, there is the ‘amalaka’. The porch on the east, in front of the doorway, comprises the river figures of Ganga and Yamuna; on the south, west and north there are statues of Ganesha, Vishnu and Durga. The figures are some five feet and a quarter in heights. The goddess Durga is displayed slaying Mahishasura and the two Asura kings.

The whole of Basheshwar Mahadeva Temple is richly carved in a floriated pattern. The summit or ‘shikhara’ is crowned with an enormous circular stone with ribbed radiating protuberances, presenting something of the appearance of a “compressed melon pumpkin”. Over each front is an oval hollow, comprising one full-face and a half-face on either flank; the faces in the oval to the west side having a most Grecian aspect, and not being at all the Hindu style of art, the eyes of the central figure being large and full. On the southern side of the temple there is a mutilated figure of Ganesha, with an elephant’s head and conspicuous with four arms. The pose of Ganesha’s image is quite majestic. The carved figures of Ganga and Yamuna on the portals on either flank of the doorway, are crowned and with three tiers of necklets terminating in a pendant between the breasts. The right fore-arm is held up in level with the head and holding a water ‘kalash’. The left arm ornamented with armlets like the right, hangs down leaning a little from the side, holding a wreath of flowers. The figure bends to its left side, but the frame is poised on equal basis on both legs. A trouser, rather tight, and marked with transverse bands, comes up to the middle, and below this and running across the middle is a broad girdle, from which hang ornaments of a bell shape. The bare feet bear very large anklets. On the opposite portal the Yamuna is correspondingly represented with slight variations of pose.

The sculpturing on the north face of the temple, showing the ‘Mahishasurmardani’ Durga, is the least preserved of all. A halo ornamented on the outer border with some leaves, spreads round the upper portion of the state of Ashtabhuji goddess. The head is crowned and ornamented with ear-rings. The body and limbs a little out of proportion evince some knowledge of anatomy in the sculptor. The length of the arms and trunk is excessive but the proportions in other parts are good. The neck has three necklets, terminating in a pendant. The trousers, as in the figures on the portals, cover the legs to the feet. It consists of eight arms. The foremost arms on the left seize the hair of a crouching figure, into the body of which she plunges a trident. Other arms hold a censor, a bell and a bow. One of the four arms on the right holds a trident, other a dart and the third clasps a sword. The crouching figure of Mahishasura is shown in a struggle to escape. The right leg of the goddess is lifted up and the foot presses down the recumbent ‘Mahishasura’ whose right-hand is attempting to release Astitabhuji's grip in his hair, while his left arm is encircled by a long shield. The crouching figure under Ashtabhuji has his legs wide apart and rests on some animal, probably buffalo.

The figure of Vishnu on the western face of the temple, in a recess, has a triple crown and a halo on the upper ends of which are two bosses of figures. The four-armed figure has arms beautifully executed but the body and legs are portrayed badly. The two arms on the right hold flowers, one on the left is broken off, and the other grasps a sword which has an excellent pose. From the left shoulder to the right side passes the holy thread. Short trousers cover the limbs above the knee, and an ornamental girdle, in a species of coil descends from the left shoulder, falls below the knee, and ascends up the other flank. On the left of the statue is a woman with a triple crown, the only female figure in the temple, the bust of which has not been mutilated. All the figures in the temple are beautifully carved in rich details. The background of these is also marked by foliage and figurines. Every porch has at its top the triplet of miniature shrines which is surmounted by a three-faced figurine. The pot and foliage motif carved all over in abundance are exquisitely executed. One thing of particular interest about the temple is that whereas in Shiva’s shrines the softer emotions find little place, in this structure “the smaller figures in the entrance would appear to set forth the gentler sex in a pleasing form. The style and bearing of the temple invites the conjecture that it was erected about the 8th century A. D. at a time when Buddhism must have been dying away in Kullu.

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