Baba Basukinath Dham is one of the many ancient temples in India. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and holds a high religious significance to the Hindus. The temple is located in Dumka district of Jharkhand. It is about 25 kilometers north-west from the district headquarters of Dumka. The temple lies amidst the Deoghar-Dumka state highway. There are many myths and legends associated with the construction of this temple. However, the exact time of its establishment is not known.
Religious importance to Hindus
The temple is an eminent place of pilgrimage for Hindus. According to Hindu religious scholars, baba basukinath is an incarnation of Lord Shiva. The temple has an even higher religious and spiritual value among the Shaivite sect of Hinduism. Thousands of pilgrims visit the temple every day. However, during the Hindu calendar month of shravana, which lies between July and August, the influx of pilgrims reaches up to millions. Many devotees have a belief that shravana is the most auspicious time to visit the temple. As per myths, it is the place where Lord Shiva meets his consort Goddess Parvati. Hence, the shrine is considered a sanctum sanctorum by the devotees.
The worshipped deity
The presiding deity in basukinath dham is Baba Basukinath, who is worshipped in the form of a Shiva Lingam. According to Hinduism, Shiva Lingam is a symbol of divine generative energy. The Godhead of Basukinath temple is also worshipped as Baba Bholenath. In is believed that Baba Bholenath is very easy to please and hence, innumerable devotees throng the temple with aspirations that the presiding deity would answer their prayer soon. Devotees of Lord Shiva visit this shrine to worship him in the form of Basukinath, the lord of serpents.
Idol of Worship
The main presiding deity, basukinath is not worshipped in the form of an idol. The Shiva Lingam is worshipped as the deity, which represents a phallus as a symbol of Lord Shiva. However, a thick and broad ring of solid silver encircles the Lingam. It is believed that a thunderbolt had broken the Lingam as a curse on Lord Basukinath. After that, the Lingam was restored by encircling it with silver. However, Goddess Parvati is worshipped in idol form.
Other minor deities
There are numerous shrines of other deities in the basukinath temple complex. Among others, the most significant deities are the Hindu monkey god Hanuman, Goddess Parvati, the Hindu elephant god Ganesh, Lord Ram, Sun God, Lord Krishna and different incarnations of goddess Kali. The shrine of Goddess Durga is one of the most prominent parts in the temple premises.
Different procedures of worship
Lord Basukinath is offered obeisance in several ways in the temple. The Shiva Lingam is smeared with vermilion and worshipped as the divine source of energy. Worship of the divine mother, Parvati, consort of Lord Shiva takes place alongside the worship of Lord Shiva. The Lingam is set atop a circular stone that represents the yoni, symbol of divine procreative energy. The Yoni symbolizes Parvati, the Divine Mother. Thus, the worshipping involves both the male and female aspects of energy. Flowers are offered to all the deities in the temple premises. However, particularly white and red flowers are offered in the worship of Siva Lingam and yoni.
Important religious events
Alongside daily worship of the deities, several significant occasions are celebrated in the Basukinath Temple. Mahashivaratri is perhaps the most important religious occasion in the temple. According to myths, Lord Shiva was married to his consort Parvati on this day. The event signifies the union of Shiva and Shakti, male and female aspects of the universe. Mahashivaratri is celebrated on a moonless night in the Hindu calendar month of Phalguna, which falls between February and March. The significant and sacred Lingodbhava Puja is performed on this day. The Shiva Lingam is bathed with water, milk and honey.
Another important celebration is the Shravan Mela, which is held in the month of shravana (July-August). It stretches across the month of shravana. The temple is famous for this event. It involves carrying of water from the sacred river Ganges and offering it to Lord Basukinath. Many devotees from every part of India come to this holy shrine to offer obeisance to the presiding deity. The water is collected from the Bhagalpur stretch of the river. The devotees clad in saffron attire travel the entire distance on foot chanting hymns in praise of Lord Shiva.
Revered Hindu pilgrimage
Among the many shrines dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva, the basukinath temple jharkhand is one the most visited pilgrimage sites. It has an extremely high significance among ardent devotees of Lord Shiva. Hordes of Indians staying outside the country come to visit this shrine, especially during Mahashivaratri and Shravan Mela.