Jharkhand is a nest of pilgrimage centres, which have great historical importance. Deoghar is one such place in Jharkhand. It means House of Gods. It is a place of harmony and peace. It is popular for being the home of various Hindu pilgrimages. One such pilgrimage is Baba Baidyanathdham, after another name of Lord Shiva, i.e., Baba Baidyanath. The large and magnificent temple complex of Baba Baidyanath (Kamana-Linga), where one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva is enshrined, along with 21 other temples. It is considered to be the most sacred abode of Lord Shiva.
Every monsoon (in the month of Shravan) countless devotees undertake a rigorous 100 kms pilgrimage on foot from Ajgaibinath (Sultanganj) to offer holy water to Baba Baidyanath. The pilgrimage is deemed complete with homage paid at Basukinath, almost 43 kms from Deoghar.
There is an old and yet famous story connected with the origin of this temple. When Ravan, the king of Lanka, felt that his empire is in constant threat to enemies, until and unless Lord Shiva decided to stay there forever. He started constantly praying to Lord Shiva. Pleased with his prayers Lord Shiva decided to go with Ravan to Lanka and reside there forever. Shiva allowed Ravan to carry one of the Linga, i.e., Kamana-Linga to Lanka on a certain deal. The deal was that there neither should be any break in the journey nor the Linga should be transferred to any other person. If this happened Linga will be remained rooted there where it will be rested.
Knowing about this plan, all the other gods were against it. They know if Ravan successfully takes Shiva to Lanka, the whole world will get threatened by the evil deeds of Ravan. To make him fail, all the gods requested Varuna Dev, God of water, to enter into Ravan’s belly when he was on his journey to Lanka. Varuna Dev did so. While on his way to Lanka, Ravan felt a severe urge to discard water and for this, he handed over the Linga to a Brahmin. Brahmin was none other than Lord Ganesha. Brahmin rested the Linga at this place and Ravan gets failed in his mission. Since then it is known as Baidyanathdham.
Ravan tried hard to move the Linga but couldn’t do. In his frustration, he distorted the Linga in the process which bring guilt in him. Out of this guilt, he started visiting this place daily and paying holy tribute to Shiva. This continues forever and places turn out to be a pilgrimage. The place where Linga is situated is Deoghar. While the Linga is popularly known as Baba Baidyanath Jyotirlinga.
In the process of pleasing Lord Shiva, Ravan cuts his head 10 times and offered it to Shiva. Pleased with this Lord Shiva descended cure Ravan who was injured. As he acted as a doctor, he is referred to as Baidya. Baidya is a common Hindi term for Doctor. From this aspect of Shiva, the temple derives its name as Baidyanathdham.
Baba Baidyanathdham is situated in Deoghar. It is the main city of the Deoghar District in the Santhal Parganas division of the state of Jharkhand. It is the cultural capital of Jharkhand. It is also a holy city beside the Mayurakshi River in the East of the Indian state of Jharkhand.
How to reach Deoghar?
Simra Deoghar International Airport is a public airport located in the city, spread over an area of 654 acres. This is the nearest airport to Baba Temple.
Jasidih Railway Junction is about 8 kms away from the temple. It is well connected with major cities like New Delhi, Varanasi, Mumbai, Kolkata, etc. This railway station falls on the main rail line of Howrah-Patna-Delhi.
Temple is about 3 km from the Deoghar bus stand. While the city is connected directly from Ranchi, Kolkata and Patna by road. Regular buses are available from Bokaro, Dhanbad, Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Bhagalpur, Patna, etc.
When to visit Deoghar?
The best time to visit the Baba Baidyanath Temple is in the month of winter from October to March. This time Shravan mela ends and the majority of the devotees leave. So, if you enjoy less crowd this is the apt time to visit.
The official languages of the city of Deoghar are Hindi and Khortha, while other native languages like Angika and Santhali are also spoken.
Summer is not the right time to visit. This season from March to June experience a 20-39°C temperature. Summer brings hot and humidity blows heat waves which can be quite intense.
While July to September experience low footfall because it is the rainy season. Monsoon temperatures are relatively cooler. Weather can go from 25-31°C, bringing moderate rains which give relief from the scorching heat of summer. But little humidity and heavy rainfall in some parts of Jharkhand can upset your travel plans.
If you love the winter seasons, October to March is the perfect time for you to visit. During this time state experiences weather from lows of even 2°C to highs of 27°C. Pack your bag with woollen clothes and go to Jharkhand. The weather is perfect and the slight chill in the air makes the winter sun toastier.
Fairs & Festivals in Deoghar
The major and most celebrated fairs and festivals include Dipawali, Holi, Chhath, Dussehra or Durga Puja, Ramnavmi, Karma, Sarhul, Tusu, Eid, Saraswati Puja, Makar Sankranti, Jitiya etc. Vishwakarma Puja is also one of the important festivals due to the presence of industries and mining activities. Makar Sankranti fair also attracts lots of people.
Transportation/Stay to prefer
Transportation and stay facilities are easily available in the city. You can book any room or lodge online as per your need. To travel around the city, you can book a cab service provided by a local cab service provider. There you can get the package for a whole day travel along with the guide. Or you can just travel with the local transportation like cycle rickshaw, etc.
Places to visit in Deoghar
When you visit Deoghar, apart from Baba Baidyanathdham temple, there are other places that are worth visiting. They are:
- Nandan Pahar
- Mayurakshi River
- Maa Shitala Temple
- Tapovan Caves and Hills
- Naulakha Mandir
- Baiju Temple
- Ramakrishna Mission Vidyapeeth
- Basukinath Temple
- Trikuta Parvata
- Passenger Ropeway at Trikuta
- Sri Sri Thakur Anukul Chandra Satsang Ashram
- Dev Sangha Ashram
- Harila Jori
- Rikhia Yogashram
Cuisines to taste in Deoghar
Deoghar has a variety of foods and cuisines. The most common and known cuisine that is practically prepared in every household on daily basis is Roti (Chapati) or Phulka, Rice or Bhat, Dal or lentil, Vegetables and Pickles. Dhuska and Vada are the famous local street fast food. It is made of Urad Dal and Rice. Different types of leaves and flowers are used to make vegetables. Like Bamboo Shoots Pakoras, Pumpkin flower fried pakoras, Khukri or Mushroom vegetables, etc. Khirmohan and Khoya Peda are the most common and delicious dry sweet dishes of Deoghar.
Things to do in Deoghar
When you go to Deoghar make sure that you are an early riser because this is the only way you can see the beauty of the city. Baba Temple opens for public visitors from 4.00 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. and 6.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m.
Souvenirs to buy in Deoghar
There is no such specific souvenir to buy from Deoghar except the memories and pictures you click with your camera. But you can haul around the city to take some gifts for your family and friends.