Bhimashankar Jyotirling: Abode in the forest in the clouds

Travel teaches volumes. For a curious mind each aspect from names of places, the food, the clothes and even behavior of people  is an adventure.

The write up that follows is a peek into such a world.

“Ancient pilgrim” sites in India give you a glimpse of a fabulous past. They teach you of the local  Flora and Fauna and how they  influence humanity

The locations reveal the power of nature and your senses are awestruck in wonder.

Each sense is influenced as you go through the rituals. The mantras set in motion each atom of your being and thus your thoughts and actions thereafter.

Bhimashankar Jyotirling is  one such pilgrimage.

Located amongst the clouds in a forest on the western Ghats about 130 kms from Pune. it is one the 12 Jyotirlings.

A shloka in Sanskrit details all the 12 Jyotirlings and Bhimashankar   is described as “Dakinyam Bhimashankaram”. Its placed at No.6 in the shloka.

I will touch only the aspects of nature and not mention all the mythological tales associated with this Abode of Lord Shiva.

As you enter the forest clouds envelop you.
As you enter the forest clouds envelop you.

Clouds cloak you as one approaches the Bhimashankar forests.

The Bhimashankar  forest is one of the 12 biodiversity hotspots  and  home to  the now threatened species of  giant squirrels .(Ratufa indica) .

Besides the Forests in the cloud , the Bhimashankar forests are home to over 12 sacred groves ( some over 1000 years old) and many deorias. These are treasure troves as they unravel the mysteries of the  original flora of the region. Do read my article Sacred Forests in http://www.enchantedforests.wordpress.com.

giant squirrel welcomes you at the  entry to the forest
giant squirrel welcomes you at the entry to the forest

Thats why i mention that ancient pilgrim sites are the clues left by our forefathers to unraveling the mysteries of nature.

These sacred groves and deorias are home to numerous medicinal herbs and plants which can be seen at the temple complex. Simple inexpensive  remedies to our ailments.

medicinal herbs at bhimashankar
medicinal herbs at bhimashankar
Unique Bhimashankar flora
Unique Bhimashankar flora

You have to climb up to most temples, but at Bhimashankar , you  step down to reach the main temple complex.  Its mysterious how the clouds reduce visibility  even further, to just a few feet, as you approach the temple.

the clouds also bow down to Lord Shiva
the clouds also bow down to Lord Shiva
Please ring the bell before you enter
Please ring the bell before you enter

Vehicles cannot go beyond this point. Hereafter you need to walk.

An inquisitive  buffalo beckons me to follow.Do see the the lush forest in the backdrop.

lets walk together
lets walk together

The walkway is a flight of steps lined with interesting shops.

Step down to the Jyotirling temple complex
Step down to the Jyotirling temple complex

I spotted a Panditji at the sweet shop.

The lord is offered pedas, "Shiv Prasad"
The lord is offered pedas, “Shiv Prasad”
Healthy and happy Panditji( a priest) at the sweet shop
Healthy and happy Panditji( a priest) at the sweet shop

There are several unique features at the temple complex, i share what I saw.

A crab “reading the scriptures” in Sanskrit and Bella the dog ( sana hope you are reading)  keeping a watch.

a crab reading sanskrit verses as we queue up to enter the sanctum sanctorum
a crab reading sanskrit verses as we queue up to enter the sanctum sanctorum
Bella the Dog keeps all in line
Bella the Dog keeps all in line

As I sign off i am leaving you with more images of the Bhimashankar temple complex.

They reveal the history of the Mighty Maratha Kingdom and tales of times gone by,  clothes of the region and mythological stories which todate protects the forest  and all the beings that reside in it.

I call it the “abode of Lord Shiva inside the forest in the clouds”.

unique turbans and clothes of marathwada
unique turbans and clothes of marathwada
Om Namah Shivam, Bhimashankaram.
Om Namah Shivam, Bhimashankaram.
Rare: Two Nandis ( vehicle of Lord Shiva) : whats the reason?
Rare: Two Nandis
( vehicle of Lord Shiva) : whats the reason?
Oil lamp like these are unique to the Marathas.First seen by me in Ujjain.
Oil lamp like these are unique to the Marathas.First seen by me in Ujjain.
Lord Ganesha at the point of entry.
Lord Ganesha at the point of entry.
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