Bhimashankar Temple is in the village of Shiradhon 50 km northwest of Khed, near Pune, in Maharashtra state India. It is located 127 km from Shivaji Nagar (Pune) in the Ghat region of the Sahyadri hills. Bhimashankar is also the source of the river Bhima, which flows southeast and merges with the Krishna river near Raichur. This is the Jyotirlinga from 12 Jyotirlingas in india and 5 from Maharashtra the other 4 are Trimbakeshwara near Nashik , Grishneshwar near Ellora around Aurangabad , Vaidyanath in Parali,and Nageswara jyotirling in Darukavanam (Aundha near Parbhani).
Legend behind Bhimashankar Temple
According to the legends, demon Bhima lived with his mother Karkati in the dense forests of Dakini, in the lofty ranges of the Sahaydris. The Bhima was so cruel that every one was scared of him. Butthe Bhima was a curiosity regarding his own existence. One day, Bhima urged his mother to tell him who his father was and why he had abandoned them in the wilderness of the forest. His mother revealed him ,he is the son of Kumbhakarna, the younger brother of the mighty King of Lanka Ravana . Bhima’s mother Kartaki explained him that,Lord Vishnu in his incarnation as Lord Rama annihilated Kumbhakarna. This infuriated Bhima and he vowed to revenge Lord Vishnu.
Bhima performed severe penance to please Lord Brahma. The compassionate creator was pleased by the dedicated devotee and granted him immense prowess. With so much power, Bhima began to cause havoc in the three worlds. He defeated King Indra and conquered the heavens. He also defeated a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva – Kamrupeshwar and put him in the dungeons. All this angered the Gods and they along with Lord Brahma beseeched Lord Shiva to come for their rescue to which Lord Shiva agreed.Tyrant Bhima asked Kamrupeshwar to worship him instead of Lord Shiva. When Kamrupeshwar refused, Bhima raised his sword to strike the Shiva Linga. But as soon as he raised his sword, Lord Shiva appeared before him in full magnificence. Then the terrible war began. Holy sage Narad appeared and requested Lord Shiva to put an end to this war. It was then that Lord Shiva reduced the evil demon to ashes and thus concluded the saga of tyranny. All the Gods and the holy sages present there requested Lord Shiva to make this place his abode. Lord Shiva thus manifested himself in the form of the Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga. It is believed that the sweat that poured forth from Lord Shiva’s body after the battle formed the Bhimarathi River.
It is believed that the ancient shrine was erected over a Swayambhu Lingam (that is the self emanated Shiva Lingam). It can be seen in the temple that the Lingam is exactly at the centre of the floor of the Garbagriham (the Sanctum Sanctorum).
The temple of Bhima Shankara is built in Hemadpanthi style. It is decorated with the Dashavatar statues. These are very beautiful to look at. The Nandi temple is close to the main temple. A huge bell weighing 5 mans(1 man=10kgs) is located close to the temple. It has 1721 AD inscribed on it. When this bell is rung, the entire echoes with its sound.
The worship of BhimaShankar is done, with Rudrabhishek, Panchamrit snan, everyday. The Lord is praised in rich words. On Mondays as well as other days, lot of devotees flock here for Darshan. A big fete (mela) takes place on Maha Shivaratri festival. The natural scenic is very beautiful and looks this place wonderful .