TEMPLES IN BAIJNATH, HIMACHAL PRADESH

August 29,2019

BAIJNATH

The original name of the place, as we get from various records was Kiragrama, located on the bank of river called Binduka, which is known in modern period as Binwa, a tributary of the river Beas. The name Kiragrama, known up to the present day, seems to indicate that the village owed its origin to settlement of kiras, a tribe located in the neighbourhood of Kashmir and mentioned both in the Rajatarangini and Chamba history as a warlike tribe employed by the Dogra Raja, against Sahil Verman the founder of Chamba town. The village Baijnath is situated twenty three miles east of Nagarkot (Kangra fort) as the crow flies, close to the border of the petty hill state of Mandi and on the main road which leads from the Punjab plains through Kangra, Kullu, Lahaul and Ladakh to Centra Asia. The mention of a custom house (Sanskrit mandapika) in one of the Baijnath prasastis world indicates that as far back as the beginning of the 13th century the place was a frontier station. The place is famous for Shiva temple popularly known as “Vaidyanath” (lord of physicians).

This much is certain, that at the time of the Baijnath inscriptions Kiragrama had for eight generations been the seat of a feudal chief who owed allegiance to the kings of Trigarta or Jallandhara. The site of the castle in which the barons of Baijnath resided, is known as Jhakhpur, where during the British period a Dak Bungalow was built. A large number of copper coins have been found in the area. The title rajanaka found in the inscription is a sanskritized vernacular term corresponding with modern rana. There is a tradition that once the whole of the Punjab hills were ruled by ranas. The ranas ruled this territory and were powerful till 11th and 12th centuries. But it is evident that they acknowledged the Raja of Chamba as their overlord.

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