देवघर का इतिहास (History of Deoghar)

In the 8th century A.D., the last Gupta Emperor Adityasena Gupta ruled this region. The Babadham temple has been famous since then.

When Mugals began to rule India, the temple of Babadham was under their tributory rulers. The most important literary source on the history of medieval Babadham is Aine – Akbari. During Akbar’s rule Man Singh was associated with Akbar’s court. Man Singh remained attached to the Gidhaur dynasty for a long time and had contacts with a number of rulers of Bihar. Man Singh’s brother, Bhan Singh was married to daughter of Puran Mal.

Man Singh’s interest in Babadham seems to have been determined by his love for this holy shrine because he then got a tank excavated, which is today known as Mansarovar.

The Muslim invader Bhaktiyar Khilji made Deoghar his capital in 1201 after the conquest of Bihar. The present district of Deoghar was a part of three kingly estates during English period
namely Chandel Raj Pariwar Giddhor, Laxmipur Ghatwal and Rohni Ghatwal.

There is an interesting account of the pilgrimage to Baidyanath in the Khulasati-t-twarikh written between 1695 and 1699 A.D.

In the 18th century, the Maharaja of Gidhaur faced political turmoil. He had to fight against the Nababs of Birbhum. Under the Muhammadan government, the chief priest appears to have paid a fixed rent to the Nabab of Birbhum, and the administration of the temple seems to have been left entirely in the hands of the priest. For a few years the Nabab ruled over Babadham. Subsequently, the Maharaja of Gidhaur defeated the Nabab and Babadham was brought back under his rule till the East India Company came in.

Famous traveller Megasthneze visited India in 302 B.C. In the court of Chandragupta of Patliputra (Patna) has described regarding this area in his works. Hiun Siang a famous
chinese traveller who visited in the court of Harsa 645 A.D., also has described the rocky
area of Rajmahal and human culture adjacent area of Deoghar.

The legends about the Shiva temple are various. One legend is that in the Treta Yuga the demon Ravana, king of Lanka (Ceylon), propitiated Lord Mahadeva and wanted him to come over to Lanka. Mahadeva did not agree to this prayer but told Ravana that one of the twelve emblems of His divinity, Jyotirlinga, would be quite as effective as His presence and that he might take it away on the condition that there should be no break in the journey and the lingam would not be deposited anywhere on the earth.

The condition was that if the lingam were put anywhere on the earth in the course of the journey, it would be fixed to that spot forever. The legend is that Ravana agreed to this condition and took the lingam and started his journey back to Lanka.

The gods dreaded the effect of the lingam being established at the seat of the demon king. A ruse was devised and Varuna, the god of the waters, entered the stomach of Ravana and the demon had to descend to earth to relieve him.

Later, Vishnu, in the garb of an old Brahmin, appeared before Ravana, after his descent to the earth, and began to converse with him. Ravana requested the Brahmin to kindly hold the Jyotirlinga for a few minutes so that he could relieve himself.

Lord Vishnu readily agreed to it and, as soon as Ravana turned his back to relieve himself, he left the Jyotirlinga on the spot and vanished. When Ravana came back, he found that the Jyotirlinga was firmly fixed to the earth and realized that a trick had been played on him lie even tried violence to remove the lingam and thereby broke a piece off the top of the lingam.

However, failing to remove the lingam, he made his obeisance to the lingam and daily he used to come from Lanka and worship the divinity. The spot where Ravana came down to the earth has been identified with Harlajuri, about four miles north of Deoghar and the place where the lingam was deposited is known as Deoghar.

Baidynathdham Temple
Baidynathdham Temple

The present nomenclature of the lingam is Baidyanath and there is a legend about it. According to the Padma Purana, a Brahmin in the garb of Lord Vishnu, after taking the lingam from Ravana, consecrated it in due form with water from a neighboring tank.

There was a Bhil present, who was instructed as to what should be done. The Bhil had informed Ravana as to the disappearance of the Brahmin. Ravana is supposed to have excavated a well with an arrow and brought into it the waters of all the sacred pools of the earth.

It is said that the lingam, after the death of Ravana, used to be worshipped by a hunter Baiju, and the lingam came to be known by Baiju’s name as Baidyanath. The story of Baiju giving rise to the name of Baidyanath is more prevalent as a Santhal tradition.

There is another legend to the effect that when Sati, the consort of Shiva and daughter of Daksha, committed suicide because of the discourtesy shown towards her husband by Daksha in not inviting him to a Yajna, Lord Shiva stuck the corpse of his wife on the point of his trident androamed about in a frenzy of fury.

Lest Shiva’s anger and frantic movements should destroy the world, Vishnu cut the dead body with his discus into fifty-two parts, which fell in different parts of India and became Mahapithasthans. According to the legend, the heart of Sati fell at Deoghar. It is, however, peculiar that there is no shrine at the other fifty-one places to commemorate this occurrence.

Another legend is that, in the first age of the world, Lord Shiva manifested himself as a lingam of light at twelve different places under different names, and Baidyanath was one of those twelve places. Sati worshipped the emblem in the form of a pandanus flower on the top of the lingam and dwelt for a long t1ime in a grove close by in order to worship it. This place is called Ketakivana.

Archeological sources : 
According to archeological history in the time of regional area lords of Rampal third “son of Vigrahpal ” of Pala dynasty who constructed parts of the temple.

According to archeological survey Bengal circle for 1902-1903, in later Gupta period Aditya Sen Gupta had errected many temples by several inscription (SILALEKH) in which Deoghar and Sahkund have been described.

According to one prominent historian Dr. Radha Krishna Choudhary, great Buddhistacharya of Vikramsila Acharya, Abnoy Shankar Gupta had resided at Deoghar.

In Bateshwar lekh (written material) near ancient Vikramsila University (Bhagalpur district) says about Baidyanath TirthShetra (Pilgrim spot. During this period in the vicinity of Baidyanath temple, Buddhist dominance was prevalent.

During fabulous regime of Pala dynasty enriched history of Deoghar was described in (BIHAR District Gazeteer 1938 Edition).