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Vaidyanath at Deogarh
Temples of the Gangetic Plains
Abodes of Shiva >> Jyotirlinga Shrines

This shrine represents one of the 12 Jyotirlingams of Shiva held in reverence throughout the country. Vaidyanath is located at Deogarh in the Santal Parganas region of Bihar.

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The twelve Jyotirlingas of Shiva are Somnath in Gujarat, Bhimeshwar, Grushneshwar, Nageshwar and Triyambakeshwar in Maharashtra, Vaidyanath in Deogarh (or in Parali in Andhra Pradesh), Sree Sailam in Andhra Pradesh, Rameswaram in Tamilnadu, Benares in Uttar Pradesh, Ujjain and Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh and Kedarnath in the Himalayas.

Deogarh is also known as Vaidyanath, Haritaki Vana, Ketaki Vana, Ravana Vana, Chitabhoomi and Hardapeetha. Some schools of thought believe Vaidyanath near Parali in Andhra Pradesh to be the Vaidyanatha Jyotirlingam. Other schools of thought claim that Kiragram in Punjab and Dabhoi in Gujarat are the Vaidyanatha Jyotirlinga temples. The Vaideeswaran Koyil temple in Tamilnadu (which is not a Jyotirlingam temple) enshrines Vaidyanathar.

Legend has it that Ravana meditated upon Shiva, and requested him to come over to Sri Lanka, in order that his capital may become invincible. It is said that he attempted to lift Mount Kailash and take it with him to his capital; however Shiva crushed him with his finger, and Ravana prayed to him and sought his mercy, after which Shiva gave him one of the twelve Jyotirlingams with the condition that if it was placed on the ground it would take root immediately.

Ravana carried the Jyotirlingam and began his trek back to his capital. Varuna the God of water, entered his belly, and caused him to feel the need to relieve himself. Vishnu then came down in the form of a lad and volunteered to hold the Jyotirlingam as he relieved himself. Before Ravana returned, Vishnu placed the Jyotirlingam on the ground, and it became rooted to the spot. A disappointed Ravana offered severe penances to Shiva here, and cut off nine of his heads. Shiva revived him and joined the heads to the body, as if by the work of a Vaidya or a physician, hence this Jyotirlingam goes by the name Vaidyanath. The same legend holds at Gokarnam in Karnataka.

Another legend has it that this temple was re-discovered by a cowherd Baiju, and hence the name Baijnath.

Vaidyanath is also considered to be one of the 52 Shakti Pitha shrines of Sati. It is believed that the heart of Sati fell here, when her half burnt body being carried by Shiva at the end of Daksha's yagna, was chopped to pieces by Vishnu's discus.

The temple: The temple is situated in a spacious courtyard bounded by stone walls. In the temple complex are twenty two other temples. The Baijnath or Vaidyanath temple faces east. The top of the Shiva Lingam is slightly broken, keeping with the legend that it chipped away when Ravana tried to uproot it. Near the temple is the Sivaganga lake. The Chandrakoopa well, near the main entrance is said to have been built and consecrated with water from several thirthams by Ravana.

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See Also:
Abodes of Shiva
The Jyotirlingas of Shiva
Daksha Yagna