The Baijnath Temple gained such popularity that the name of the town where It is located changed from Kiragrama to Baijnath. The 13th
-century temple, located in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh is dedicated to the healer avatar of Lord Shiva – Vaidyanath (Lord of Physicians).
Since its construction in 1204 AD, worship has taken place at the temple. Two inscriptions at the temple reveal that before construction of the temple, a Shiva temple already existed at the spot.
The temple is a gorgeous example of the medieval north Indian nagara
style of temples. The walls of the temple have many images fixed and carved into them, as do the doorways. Tourists and devotees come daily for the morning and evening pooja
s and on festivals like Maha Shivaratri, Makara Sankranti, etc.
According to local legend, when Ravana offered his ten heads to Shiva in a havan kund, Shiva not only restored his heads but also granted him invincibility and immortality. Ravana then asked Shiva to accompany him to Lanka. Taking the shape of a shivling, Shiva asked Ravana to carry him to Lanka and not put him down at any place. However, feeling the need to answer nature’s call, Ravana handed the shivling to a shepherd, who found the shivling to heavy to carry and placed in at the spot where it stands today – in the form of Ardhnarishwar (god in equally male and female form).
The present temple was constructed by two brothers – Manyuka and Ahuka – in Saka 1126 (CE 1204). The shivling already existed but was not housed in a temple. In 1840, it was restored by King Sansara Chandra. Currently, it is a protected monument under the Archaeological Survey of India.