Why Dussehra is not celebrated in Baijnath Town of Kangra?

The small town of Baijnath, nestled in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, is steeped in history and tradition. It is known for its 13th-century stone temple, a sacred pilgrimage site that draws devotees and tourists alike. 

But there's something unique about Baijnath that sets it apart from the rest of the country. While the whole nation celebrates Dussehra by burning effigies of Ravana, the town of Baijnath chooses to abstain from this custom. It's a fascinating and little-known fact that speaks volumes about the town's beliefs and customs. So let's delve deeper into the story of Baijnath and discover the reasons behind its intriguing customs.

How is the formation of this holy town related to its history and legend?

The town of Baijnath in Himachal Pradesh is an important pilgrimage site for Hindus. Legend has it that Ravana, the demon king of Lanka, performed deep and sincere meditation to receive the gift of invincibility and immortality from Lord Shiva. After beheading his ten heads at Lord Shiva's altar, Lord Shiva was pleased with his devotion and granted him his wishes.

The Lingam and the Journey

Despite his gift, Ravana still wanted more. He asked Lord Shiva to come with him and settle in Lanka. Much to everyone's surprise, Lord Shiva agreed and turned into a Lingam so that Ravana could carry him back to his homeland. However, there was one condition - Ravana could not set the Lingam down anywhere on the way because that would be the place where Lord Shiva would reside from then on.Ravana carried the Lingam on his journey, but when he reached the area where Baijnath stands today, he had to answer nature's call. He handed the Lingam to a shepherd in the locality and told him not to set it down. While he was gone, the shepherd found the Lingam to be extremely heavy and eventually had to set it down. In this way, the town of Baijnath became the abode of Lord Shiva. The Baijnath temple was built around the ancient Lingam in the 13th century, and today it is one of the most important places of pilgrimage for Hindus.

The Fear of Upsetting Lord Shiva

The people of Baijnath have deep reverence for Lord Shiva, and they traditionally don't celebrate Dussehra or burn the effigy of Ravana. According to legend, Ravana may have been a demon, but he was also one of the greatest devotees of Lord Shiva. Refraining from burning his effigy is a way of paying homage to him. Although Ramlila is held in the town, but no effigy of Ravana and his brothers Kumbhkaran and Meghnath is burnt.

The Wrath of Lord Shiva

In the past, people have tried to celebrate the festival by burning the effigy of Ravana, but it is said that whoever tried this brought upon himself the wrath of Lord Shiva and faced disastrous consequences. The fear of upsetting the Lord of destruction is so high in Baijnath that there are no goldsmiths in the town. The logic being that Ravana lived in Lanka, the country of gold, and wanted to take Lord Shiva with him. Although Lord Shiva considered gold as good as any other stone and wished to live where nature was at its best, he accepted to go. This disagreement between the Lord and his devotee is enough to keep the people from ever trying to open a goldsmith's shop.

These legends and stories are deeply embedded in Himachal Pradesh's culture and have made the town of Baijnath what it is today. Whether or not the legends are true, the people of Baijnath will continue to pay their respects to Lord Shiva and refrain from burning the effigy of Ravana.

Baijnath Mandir - A Masterpiece of Indian Temple Architecture

The Baijnath Mandir, as per the inscriptions on the walls of the Temple, was built by two native merchants named Ahuka and Manyuka in 1204 A.D. These inscriptions are written in Sanskrit using the Sharada script and the local Pahari language using the Tankri script. The two long inscriptions in the porch of the temple indicate that a temple of Lord Shiva existed on the spot even before the present one was constructed. 

Architectural Design

The present temple is a beautiful example of the early medieval north Indian temple architecture known as Nagara style of temples. The Svayambhu form of Shivalinga is enshrined in the sanctum of the temple(garbhagriha) that has five projections on each side and is surmounted with a tall curvilinear Shikhara. The entrance to the sanctum is through a vestibule that has a large square Mandapa. There is also a Nandi statue at the temple entrance that faces in the inner sanctum towards Lord Shiva. The overall architecture of this shrine is stunning and it is a must-visit for anyone interested in Indian temple architecture.

The Baijnath temple, which is a part of Indian Heritage, suffered from an earthquake in the early 20th century. The then Raja Sansar Chand made an effort to renovate the temple after the calamity. The temple complex now has lush green gardens which make a perfect foreground to the unique and ancient structure of this temple. Security arrangements are made here to avoid any unwanted element.


The Baijnath temple, located in Palampur, was once known as Kirangama and served as the capital of Kiratas. However, it was later renamed Baijnath after being dedicated to Lord Shiva, a Hindu deity. The temple houses various images of gods and goddesses such as Goddess Chamunda, Surya (the Sun God), Kartikeya (son of Lord Shiva), and a massive structure of Nandi (the carrier of Lord Shiva) situated in front of the temple. It is also home to one of the 12 Jyotirlingas found in the sanctum. The temple is believed to have miraculous healing powers. Lord Shiva, who is known as the "Lord of Physicians," is said to be able to cure people of all kinds of diseases and ailments. Additionally, the temple water is considered to have medicinal properties. Due to its spiritually significant reputation, the temple is still visited by many devotees every year. The 'Shivratri' festival is celebrated during the month of March, and people from different parts of the country visit the temple to seek blessings from Lord Shiva.

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