Khatu Shyamji Temple is an important pilgrim centre of Rajasthan. And we visit it almost every time we travel here. Be it the hot summers or the chilly winters, the temple witnesses a steady stream of devotees the year round, but their number almost doubles up during the annual 3 day Khatu fair starting from Phalgun Sudi Dashmi till Dwadashi (in the month of February/March).
[ The Khatu Shyam Temple ]
By walking through the markets of Khatu, I reached the Temple. A sense of peace and calm enfolds the main temple which is built in pure white marble. Photography is prohibited inside the temple.
[ Entrance to the Khatu Shyam Temple ]
History attached to the place dates back thousands of years ago to the times of the Mahabharat war…
Barbarik was the grandson of the great Pandava, Bhima and Nag Kanya – Ahilawati. The epic Mahabharat battle between the Pandavas and the Kauravas was about to begin. Barbarik, true to the nature of a brave warrior (Kshatriya), wanted to be a part of this big battle.
The possession of 3 divine arrows, which could finish the war in a moment, had made him invincible. Thus, the victory of the side which he would choose to support was certain. With a vow to his mother that he would support the weaker side in the battle, not the righteous one, Barbarik set out to take part in the war.
On the other hand, Lord Krishna knew that the defeat of the Kauravas (adharma) was inevitable. He realized that if this brave boy joins their side, the result would then tilt in their favour, which will end the war with a doubt on correct justice.
In order to prevent this, Lord Krishna, assuming the guise of a Brahmin, stopped Barbarik in his path. The Brahmin (Krishna) asked him to sacrifice his head as ‘daan’ (charity). He happily obliged and cut off his head (that’s the reason he is also famously known as ‘Sheeshdani’). But he sensed that something was amiss and humbly requested the Brahmin to disclose his true identity. Thereafter, not only did Lord Krishna show him his divine form, but also blessed him with two boons.
Firstly, as per his wish, his head was positioned on top of a small hill from where he could witness the entire battle. And as for the second one, Lord Krishna told him, “You will be remembered on earth forever; and in the age of Kaliyuga (current era), your head will be worshipped by humans in my name (Shyam). Just mere pronunciation of your name from the bottom of the heart will rid people of all their sorrows and bless them with immense joy.”
After the battle ended, his head was buried here in Khatu.
…Many years later, a head was found at Khatu which was worshipped by a Brahmin for many days. Shortly, the King of Khatu had a dream inspiring him to build a temple here and place this head of the courageous Barbarik, today worshipped as Khatu Shyam Baba.
[ The deity of the Temple - Khatu Shyam Baba ]
Inside the temple, the idol is enshrined in the form of only a head which makes the temple one of its kind in the country. The remaining part below the head is covered with garlands and flowers. It is believed to be a wish granting temple.