Chamba district in Himachal Pradesh is an important Hindu pilgrimage destination. It is home to a number of ancient temples of both historical and religious importance. Temples here mostly house the deities, Lord Shiva and Vishnu and depict the shikhara style of architecture. They figure among the prominent tourist attractions. Chaurasi Temples is nestled in the scenic valley of Bharmaur, around 65 km from Chamba town.
Background of Chaurasi Temples
This 9th century temple is located amidst a picturesque landscape. 'Chaurasi' means 84 and this temple enshrines 84 shivalingams (symbolic representation of Lord Shiva). These shivalingams here make the temple a revered place for the Hindu pilgrims coming to Himachal Pradesh. Bharmaur is also popular as 'Shiv Bhumi'.
Architecture of Chaurasi Temples
A collection of ancient wooden temples is known as Chaurasi. Among them, the Manimahesh Temple dominates the square. A huge shivalingam is enshrined in its 'garbha griha' or sanctum. Facing this temple is the brass image of Nandi (the bull). Most of the other temples here are dedicated to Lord Ganesha, Goddess Lakshmi and Narasimha (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu).
Legend about Chaurasi Temples
There are few legends associated with the Chaurasi Temples. According to one, 84 saints visited Bharmaur and King Sahil Varma greeted them. With the blessing of these saints, he became a father of ten sons and a daughter. To commemorate the presence of the saints in Bharmaur, he built a number of shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva and they are now popular as Chaurasi Temples of Bharmaur.
How to Reach the Chaurasi Temples
This temple complex is around 65 km from Chamba and is well connected by buses. There are regular buses plying from Chamba to this pilgrimage site. Bharmaur is also accessible from Shimla, Manali and Chowgan. It is 107 km from the hill station of Dalhousie.