Bhagsunag Temple: A Hidden Gem in Dharamshala, H.P

There are many beautiful and lesser-known places in the stunning Himachal Pradesh region that tourists love. Today, we'll be discussing a famous temple located in the area that many people may not know about. The Bhagsunag Temple in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, is a popular destination that is difficult to describe in words. The temple's name is just the beginning of its fascinating history, and today we'll share some special facts about it.

Bhagsunag Temple

The Bhagsunag Temple is situated in the beautiful village of Bhagsunag, near McLeodganj, in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. The temple is dedicated to Bhagsu Nag, the snake god, and Lord Shiva. The village was once a traditional Gaddi tribal village where people relied on farming and herding for their livelihood. However, in recent years, it has become a popular tourist center, with many locals now engaged in tourism-related businesses. The village has numerous restaurants and guesthouses, making it a convenient place for tourists to stay.

The Bhagsunag Temple is over 5000 years old and has a fascinating history that the locals speak highly of. The temple has a freshwater spring where pilgrims take a holy dip, and a beautiful waterfall is located just a 20-minute walk from the temple that is worth visiting.

The town of Bhagsu, located 2 km from Dharamsala, has become a hub for young Israeli travelers fresh from military service. The large groups of Israelis who visit the town have transformed it into a familiar land where everything is written in Hebrew, and there is no culture shock. The town offers excellent hikes, cheap food and drink, and no parental supervision. 

Why was the temple named Bhagsu?

According to the legend, there was a demon named Bhagsu who had obtained a boon from the serpent god. The boon was that devotees should take his name first before taking the serpent's name. As a result, the place where this happened was named Bhagsunag. In other words, the demon's name comes first and then that of the serpent.

History of Bhagsu Temple

In the middle of Dvarpa Yug, the king of fiends, known as "King Bhagsu", had his capital in Ajmer. His country was facing a severe drought, which caused great suffering among the people. The village chiefs urged the king to do something about the water scarcity, or they would leave the country. King Bhagsu promised to find a solution and set out on his quest. Being a fiend, he was skilled in sorcery and tricks.

After two days of searching, he arrived at Nag Dal, which is situated at 18000 feet. Nag Dal is a bottomless lake that spans around two miles. King Bhagsu used his sorcery to capture the water of the lake in his pot and started heading back. On his way, he stopped at a place to rest for the night.

During his rest, Nag Devta, the deity of the lake, arrived for his evening stroll and found the lake empty. He followed the footsteps and arrived at the spot where King Bhagsu was sleeping. Nag Devta killed King Bhagsu, and in the battle, the water fell off from the pot, filling Nag Dal with water. Before dying, King Bhagsu expressed his utmost respect for the deity, which pleased Nag Devta.

Nag Devta asked King Bhagsu for his death wish, and he expressed his desire to be world-famous like Nag Devta and provide water for his country. Nag Devta granted his wish and said that King Bhagsu's name would come before his at this place. Hence, the place got its name Bhagsu Nag, and it has been 8084 years since this incident.

In Kalyug, King Dharma Chand ruled the place. Lord Shiva appeared in his dreams and instructed him to make a temple at this place as he had come here after the foundation of a holy water spring. The temple was built, and it has been 5080 years since its foundation. 

The Bhagsunath temple complex consists of a main temple, a pool, and a gorgeous waterfall. The main temple is a stunning architectural masterpiece, adorned with intricate carvings and sculptures. It is built in the traditional Himachali style of architecture and has a beautiful wooden roof. Surrounded by lush green forests, the temple offers breathtaking views of the mountains.The temple pool is believed to have healing properties and is a popular spot for devotees to take a dip. It is surrounded by several small shops and stalls selling souvenirs and religious items.One of the main attractions of Bhagsunath is a beautiful waterfall located near the temple.

Bhagsu Waterfall

Bhagsu Waterfall is situated at Bhagsu, 2 km from McLeodganj. It lies behind the Bhagsunag Temple. During Monsoon, the fall turns into a 30 feet cascade beside a mountain that looks like an art piece made out of slate. This occurrence is due to the rich deposits of slate in the surroundings. Tourists can enjoy swimming, but the water is cold. It is a place where one can enjoy and relax in the soothing environment of the miraculous Himalayas.

Gorkhali community and its significance

The temple holds special significance for the Gorkhali community, and it has been a part of their culture. The Bhagsunag Temple and Dal Lake nearby were the anchors around which the Gorkhas settled and integrated with their new country as peaceful, law-abiding citizens. They built two magnificent water tanks with Nepali-style tiger-head water spouts, a beautiful double-storied wooden community rest house, or Sarai, for pilgrims to congregate for religious and social gatherings. They also built a smaller temple of Pashupatinath above the second water tank and a towering gate at the entrance.

Generation after generation of the First Gorkhas continue to live in HP, still maintaining their traditions and regular patronage of the Bhagsunath temple, whose blessings they seek for every occasion. After the Dalai Lama and the Tibetans moved to Mcleodganj in Upper Dharamshala in 1959, the locality developed as a busy tourist and Tibetan habitat.

One of the best times to visit the holy shrine is during its annual festival, the Bhagsu Nag festival, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This vibrant festival is held in September and features colorful processions, music, dance, and feasting. The Dal Lake, Kotwali Bazaar, and Bhagsu Falls are the main attractions around the temple during this time. People celebrate the festival with great enthusiasm and devotion.

ALSO READ ABOUT: Triund Jewel of Dharamshala

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