After they escaped the Lakshagraha through a cave
in what is now Lakhamandal, the Pandavas decided to make the place their home for a short period. And thus came up an ancient temple complex that has stood the test of time. Lakhamandal is located around 75 kms to the north of Mussoorie in Uttarakhand. Close to the village of Lakhamandal flows the River Yamuna. If you go 71 kms north of the village you’d reach Yamunotri – the source of River Yamuna.
It is said that the name ‘Lakhamandal’ is a portmanteau of the words lakh
(hundred thousand) and mandal
(temple), but locals also say that the village was so named by the Pandavas after the Lakshagraha incident.
Whatever may be the origin of the name, Lakhamandal is a stellar example of the richness of India’s ancient history and Hinduism.
At Lakhamandal stands a temple complex dedicated to Lord Shiva.
The Lakhamandal temple complex. Wikipedia Commons
The entire temple complex is dedicated to Shiva. There are many small and big Shiva lingams in the complex but it is just one of those lingams that is truly attention grabbing.
This Shiva lingam is as ancient as the temple complex, perhaps dating back to the Gupta period.
What sets this lingam apart from others is that it is so shiny that one can see their reflection in the lingam.
A devotee offering water to the lingam. Digvijaya Singh
Made of graphite, the lingam is worshipped as the main deity of the temple, though it is not located in the garbhagriha
(main prayer room) of the temple itself.
Locals say that the lingam was built during the Dwapara era – the period in which the Mahabharata is set. In fact, they claim that the foundation of this temple was laid by Yudhisthira himself.
A man takes a photo of his reflection on the lingam.
The temple complex is truly old. According to ASI, it was built between 12th and 13th centuries AD in Nagara style architecture common to the region.
The Nagara-style temple architecture is common in the region. Wikipedia Commons
Yet the ASI also mentions that various artefacts found in the temple complex date back to the Gupta period – 5th
There are other interesting things in the temple complex. Near the main shrine are two statues. Known as Danav and Manav, the locals see them as the gatekeepers of the temple complex.
The statues stand as guardians at the complex. Digvijaya Singh
A local legend says that anyone who has just died will resurrect for a few moments if brought before two statues at the complex. Though rich in history and significant to Hinduism, the temple complex is not very well-maintained. Not an unusual thing in a country where history is written by Leftists who hate Hinduism and ancient archaeological structures get less attention than the medieval tombs.