Baba Balak Nath Temple in Hamirpur , Himachal Pradesh
Baba Balak Nath Sidhpeeth is one of the most famous pilgrim- center of North Indian Hill State Himachal Pradesh i.e. the God’s own land. The Ancient Cave and temple architecture graces the DeotSidh in Hamirpur District. Lakhs of devotees from India and abroad visit this temple to reinforce their firm faith in the “Siddha Tradition”.
History of Siddha tradition
The historicity of the ‘Sidhpeeth’ is established from the ‘Siddha Traditions’, the Sidhpeeth itself and Srutis and Samritis .
- Sidha Tradition in Sanskrit Literature : Baba Balak Nath Sidhpeeth is a strong link in the long chain of ‘Siddha Tradition’ in Hindu Mythology. To quote a few references :
- Siddhas have been mentioned in 6th Chapter of ‘Bhagwata Purana’ and 7th Chapter of ‘Skanda Purana’ as paying obeisance to the Lord Indra in long line of deities i.e. ‘Vishwa Deva’, ‘Sandhya Gana’, ‘Ashwani Kumar’, ‘Charna’, ‘Brahmavadi’, ‘Muni Gana’, ‘Vidya Dhara’, ‘Upsara’, ‘Kinnara’, ‘Pakshi’ and ‘Naga’.
- ‘Dances of ‘Siddhas’ , ‘Yaksha’ and ‘Gandharva’ in the ‘Vadrika Ashrama’ of Maharishi Prashra.
5th Cantos of the ‘Valmiki Ramayana’ i.e. ‘Sundra Kanda’ relates to a conversation among ‘Siddhas’, ‘Charnas’ and Maharishis.
‘Patanjali’s Yog Sutra’ (Vibhuti Pada) says much about the “vision of ‘Siddhas’ by pious souls”.
‘Amar Kosha’ has many references of ‘Siddhas’ along ‘Vidyadhara’, ‘Upsara’, ‘Yaksha’, ‘Rakshasha’, ‘Pishacha’, ‘Guhiaka’ and ‘Bhuta’.
The originator of the ‘Sankhya Philosophy’ is believed to be a prominent Siddha. In ‘Srimadbhagvad Gita’ Lord Krishna comments Himself as ‘Kapil Muni’ among ‘Siddhas’.
In ‘Ashvamedha Parva’ of ‘Mahabharata’ there is a reference of the discussion about the ‘Siddhas’.In Hindu belief, the ‘Siddhas’ are known to live eternally and in invisible form. Legend has it that – ‘Baba Balak Nath’ is a contemporary of 83 ‘Siddhas’ of His times. ‘Siddha Tradition’ is based on ‘GURU SHISHYA PRAMPARA’ in Hindu Philosophy and ‘Baba Balak Nath’ is believed the disciple of ‘Rishi Dattariya’ whose lineage is traced to ‘Rishi Attri’.
The Sidhpeeth in the Historical context:”Nav Nathas” and “Chaurasi Siddhas” lived in the period 8th to 12th century A.D. In the 10th century A.D. during their routine wandering in the hills, they visited Bharmour in Chamba District of Himachal Pradesh during the reign of Shahil Varman. One of those—Charpat Nath – became “The Rajguru” of Kingdom. The 8th and 9th century A.D. Hindi Literature is enrished with the preachings of Sidhas likes Sarhapa, Sharhapa, Luipa etc. Baba’s contemporary Guru Gorakh Nath was also a prominent ascetic of those times.
Sidh Baba in Jana Srutis
Innumberable Jana Srutis sing praises to the divinity of Baba Balak Nath.
His birth references among “Chaurasi Sidhas”:
Emanation of Lord Shankra in ‘Dvapara Yuga’: According to ‘Lok Srutis’ Baba Ji reincarnates Yuga and Yuga. He was known as ‘Skanda’ in ‘Sat Yuga’, ‘Kaul’ in ‘Treta Yuga’ and ‘Mahakaul’ and ‘Dvapra Yuga’. ‘Mahakaul’ of ‘Dvapra Yuga’, while going to ‘Kailasha Parvata’, met an old woman on the way. The old lady asked the mission and destination of Baba Ji. After knowing all that the old woman advised ‘Mahakaul’ to meditate on the bank of ‘Mansarovar’ and request ‘Mother Parvati’ (who would come there for bathing on special occasions), help him in reaching ‘Lord Shiva’. ‘Mahakaul’ acted as told and became successful in his mission of reaching ‘Lord Shiva’On seeing ‘Balayogi Mahakaul’, ‘Lord Shiva’ became very happy and blessed Baba Ji to be the ‘Sidha symbol’ of worshipping for devotees in ‘Kaliyuga’ and his child like image to remain for ever.
Birth and Sanskritisation of Baba ji in Kali Yuga: Baba Ji is said to have taken birth in Gujarat, Kathiabad. The name of His mother was Laxmi and that of his father Vishno Vaish. Here Baba Ji named as ‘Dev’ became lost in ‘Bhagvad devotion’. Seeing this, his parents wanted to marry him; but Baba Ji didn’t agree and left His home in search of ‘Parma Sidhi’ and came by ‘Swami Dattaitreya’ in Junagarh on Girnar hill – a historical place. It is here Baba ji learnt the basics of ‘Sidhas’ from Swami Dattaitreya and became ‘Sidha’ and came to be known as ‘Baba Balak Nath Ji’There is mention of interaction of Swami Viveka Nanda with a ‘Pawan Hari Sidh Baba’ in Vivekananda literature published from ‘Advait Ashram, Calcutta’. As told that ‘Pawna Hari Baba’ learnt the science of ‘Sidhas’ at Girnar hills. This has similarity with ‘Baba Balak Nath Ji.
We narrate the Lord Shiva’s Amar Katha as the Jana Srutis in this context. Amar Katha is a Puranic story about the origin of Baba Ji. As told, a parrot nestling incidently heard the Amar Katha being told by “Lord Shiva” to “Parvati”. Lord Shiva’s ‘Trishul’ followed parrot nestling. Parrot nestling hid in the stomach of the wife of Rishi Vyasa and requested a promise from Lord Shiva for coming out. The promise was that when parrot nestling would come out in human form, it along with all the children born at that time might become eternal. Lord Shiva agreed for that and an extra-ordinary beautiful lad came out and vowed before Lord Shiva for blessing. This lad famed as ‘Sukdev Muni’, later on. Baba Balak Nath was one of the nine ‘Nathas’ and eighty four ‘Sidhas’ born at that time
About the Temple
The Sanctum Sanctorum of the Sidh Peeth is a natural Cave shrine called as ‘Gufa’. The architecture follows the ‘Shikhara’ style in new temple was built later alongside the Shiva temple towards the ‘Charan Paduka’. An ancient ‘Radha Krishna’ temple in dome architectural style also beautifies the surroundings nearby. “Bhartrihari and Sidh Durga Temple” are also prominent constituents of the temple complex. In addition to main Deity, the images of other Hindu Gods and Goddesses also grace these temples. A mound, below the ‘Gufa’ called as ‘Thara’ – is the main worshiping site of the ‘Sidhpeeth’. Thus, the architectural design of the buildings in the temple complex is of ‘Shikhara’ and ‘Dome’ style. Other archeologically important places in the temple complex include ‘Langar Bhawan’ alongside Bhartrihari temple and the ‘Matha’- about one kilometer from the ‘Gufa’. The Samadhis of the ‘Mahantas’ of ‘Giri Sect’ – the lineage of the ‘Gurus’ of Baba Balak Nath ji can be located in the ‘Matha’. Two of these Samadhis had been laid near Bhartrihari temple. A visit to above mentioned places concludes the pilgrimage of a devotee to the ‘Sidhpeeth’.
Puja in Temple
Everyday prayers are held in the morning and the evening. The process of worship starts from the ‘Thara’ after the bath of images by holy water supplied from ‘Baba ki Bauli’. The worship and prayer in other temples follows the sequence. ‘Rot’ (a bread made of raw sugar mixed with wheat flour and cooked in ghee or vegitable-oil) is offered as oblation to Baba ji. On ‘Sankranti’ day only ‘halva’ is offered. Food becomes available for public at about 11 a.m. after oblations in ‘Bhartrihari Temple’. Food in ‘Langar’ can also be had in evening after the prayer. Festive gathering can be seen on every Sunday when ‘Havan Yajna’ is performed beside the ‘Dhuna’. People offer ‘Rot’, cash and kinds to Baba ji. A notable rite of tributing he-goats to Baba ji carries a very interesting legend. It is told- Baba ji had made the provision of food to a ‘demon’ who, wished to remain at the feet of Baba ji after displacement from the ancient cave- ‘Gufa’. The worship and adoration of Baba ji is performed in local traditions by igniting ‘Dhoop’ and perfume-sticks. Nothing is chanted in higher tone.
Do’s and Dont’s
Maintain discipline , always be in queue.
Ladies are not allowed to go near Gufa (Cave).So please do darshan from ladies platform for darshan.
Use only the donation boxes provided at various places by Baba Ji Management Board. In case of donations at the donation counters of Langar Bhawan and various parts of the Temple obtain a formal receipt.
Luggage and belongings should not be deposited with unauthorized persons or left unguarded .
Avoid leather items such as purse, belt inside the temple.
Beware of suspicious people. They may dupe you.
To maintain the sanctity of the place, do not indulge in gambling, playing cards, smoking or chewing betel (Paan) at Temple Bhawan or enroute.
Avoid painting, sticking posters or disfiguring signboards as well as littering in the area.
Containers have been provided for throwing rubbish and other waste.
Fellow pilgrims are bound to you by their faith in the Baba Ji . Avoid things like playing transistors/tape recorders too loudly or creating blockages or hindrances in movement or passages meant for circulation.
Clothing -Woolens are required during winter season.
Don’t play with Monkeys in temple.
Prior to the take-over on 16th Jan. 1987 under ‘Himachal Pradesh Hindu Public Institution and Charitable Endowment Act, 1974’, a nominated Temple Committee headed by the Mahant of main temple ‘Gurugadi’ had been managing the temple complex. Now a duly constituted Trust under the Chairmanship of Sub-Divisional Officer (civil), Barsar is controlling and regulating these affairs. Deputy Commissioner, Hamirpur is the Commission of the Trust. There is a temple officer for management under the key-control of the Department of Language and Culture, Himachal Pradesh.
There has been an extra-ordinary improvement in the management after the take-over raising the annual offerings- income to Millions of Rupees. A good facility of ‘Sarai’ (resting place), bath-rooms and toilets is available for the pilgrims. There is provision of food- both times a day in the ‘Langar’. A canteen is also being run on ‘no profit no loss’ basis by the trust. Calls and announcements from Information Centre can also be made as per need. The women folk can have the glimpses of the ‘Gufa’ in front of the ‘Thara’ from a plateform. Provision of separate lanes for men and women has also been made for use in the event of heavy rush of pilgrims. Street-lights have been provided upto Shahtalai and Baba ki Bauli.
In the field of education, the efforts made by the Trust are commendable. A Degree College, a Sanskrit College, a High School and a modern School are being run by the Trust. Services of a Charitable Hospital can also be availed. A Satsang Bhawan has been constructed for religious discourses and devotional songs. The catalog of the library, in the temple complex, has a good number of rare books. A Museum near Bhartrihari temple speaks of rare and special articles offer to the Baba ji in the temple.
They have been exhibited in a systematic manners. Visioning the future development needs of the trust, a Master-plan for 20 years has been prepared which includes a multi-storeyed Sarai, a big Bus Stand. A hospital, with modern facilities, is being constructed at Chakmoh (few KMs from Deoth Sidh). Amenities like urinals, bath-rooms and irrigation-cum-sewerage will be expanded sufficiently under the above quoted master-plan.Staying facility is also available in ‘Dharamshalas’ being managed by private institutions. Essential services- like Bank, Post-Office, Telephone etc. are also easily accessible here. Every consumable article of common use can be had from a small adjoining market.
Location of Temple
The Baba Balak Nath Sidhpeeth is located at a distance of 50 Kilometers from the District Headquarter Hamirpur Himachal Pradesh India on a hill known as ‘Deoth Sidh’. Hamirpur is thickly populated bustling township having highest population density in North India (H.P.). Temple complex has the maximum spread of not less than 2 sq. Kilometers which can be easily covered in a time frame of about 4 hours. The pilgrims throng the ‘Sidhpeeth’ round the year, but unusual congregations and gatherings can be seen on ‘Sankrantis’ and Sundays. The place displays a festive mood from mid-March to mid-July. As an occasional rituals, local deities from the villages are taken to the ‘Sidhpeeth’ in highly decorated palanquins.
Getting there and around
By Air –
Nearest airport – Chandigarh (120 Km From DeotSidh) Daily Flights are available from Delhi and Bombay
By Rail –
Nearest Railway Station – Una(50 Km from DeotSidh) Daily trains are available from Delhi to Una.
By Road –
DeotSidh is the Connected from district Headquarter Hamirpur,Una,Bilaspur by Road. Inter State Bus Services is also available up ShahTalai.
Himachal Pradesh Tourism Hotel Hamir and various other private hotels, the room rent ranging from Rs.300/- per day to Rs.2500/- per day (Hotel Partap Hira Nagar, Hotel Gautam Near Bus Stand, Hotel Kamal Taj main bazaar etc.) Sarais, managed by the Shrine Board offer free accomodation at DeotSidth, run by various organisations offer reasonable accommodation to the pilgrims.
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