The ancient Bhairavnath Temple is situated in the central part of the Saswad town and is very popular with the locals. One reason for its popularity is its antiquity and yet, its exact age is not known. The other reason why people flock to this temple is its guardian deity - Kal Bhairav or the Lord of Time – the fierce and terrifying looking deity in the Hindu Texts, a demeanor He reserves for the evil hearted and the wicked.
For the devout and the noble, Kal Bhairava is a protector, a care taker who bestows blessings by keeping all the ill influences away. Being a manifestation of Lord Shiva, it is pretty common to see Kal Bhairava following the trail of His Master. This is the reason why you can commonly find Him in many Shiva temples across India guarding His Master. (See: Kal Bhairava temple in Varanasi and Kal Bhairava temples in Jyotirlings).
The same thing applies to Saswad. Here, Lord Kal Bhairav, sits in the Bhairavnath temple and keeps an eye on the various ancient medieval temples of Shiva spread all around the town like Sangameshwar, Changavateshwar, Nageshwar, etc. some dating back to the 8th century.
If you are planning to visit the ancient Shiva temples in Saswad, this magnificent Bhairavnath Temple is definitely a good place to start.
|The imposing citadel - the entrance of the Bhairavanth Temple.|
The entrance to the Bhairavnath temple resembles a fort with imposing fortified walls and a flag fluttering high on the central arched canopy. Perhaps, the citadel is a signal for the enemies to keep at bay! The huge square area in front of the daunting temple walls is where we parked our cars and a flight of stairs led us to the temple gate. The well painted gleaming exteriors suggested to me that the temple had been newly renovated. The temple walls are made in black bricks and stone, the color of a Shivling, except for the upper part which is coated in yellow.
|The yellow colored spire of the temple against the rustic backdrop of stone.|
Small metallic gates at the entrance open into a wide spacious pillared courtyard. As soon as I stepped inside, drawings of 2 serpents, one on each side of the pillared canopy above caught my attention.
Walk straight and through the courtyard and you reach the main temple hall.
The temple room, a fine blend of stunning glass and stone work, looks pretty impressive at first sight. The beauty is further accentuated by colorful motifs of auspicious signs and symbols like Aum and Swastika adorning the glass ceilings and the door framing the garbhagriha.
|The temple hall in stunning glass work.|
Above the doorframe, Lord Ganesha looks on, smaller in size than the one gazing through the sanctum. Incised just above Him is the sacred mantra, Shree Bhairavnath Prasann, which I silently concentrated on for a few minutes even as I prepared myself to offer my prayers.
|The toran and the mantra at the door frame of the sanctum sanctorum.|
The sanctum or the garbhagriha is a stony enclosure housing deities of Kal Bahirava, Lord Ganesha and Lord Hanuman. I closed my eyes and inwardly praised Lord Bhairava for His ferocious courage and steadfast love for Lord Shiva…
|Deities of Kal Bhairava, Lord Ganesh and Lord Hanuman in the sanctum sanctorum.|
Cupping my hands over the diya gleaming outside, I flushed my face with the warmth of its radiance. The diya imparted a lifelike glow to the garlanded metallic deity of Kal Bhairav, installed specifically for the visitors who wish to perform ritualistic Pooja with flowers, rice and vermillion kumkum.
|The metallic deity of Kal Bhairava where devouts offer their prayers.|
|The Pradakshina Marg: The various deities in while circumnavigating the temple.|
There are also large deepmalas flanking the entrance door which are probably used during festivals and important events.
|Deepmalas: Which lights up during festivals.|
The outer courtyard has huge Banyan trees which do a very good job of providing shade to weary pilgrims and there also exist two smaller deepmalas in front of the entrance.
|Banyan trees and the tortoise in the courtyard of the temple.|
|The tortoise: A messenger of good luck and fortune.|
How to get there?
The Bhairavnath Temple is situated near the Sangameshwar Temple and the Purandare Wada which was once the majestic residence of Sardar Ambaji Purandare, a close aide and dewan to Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath and his son Bajirao I but which now lies in a dilapidated state. The Temple lies in the small town of Saswad and is easy to reach - you can just ask the locals about its whereabouts after you enter Saswad and you will be duly guided by the helpful people.
Bhairavnath Temple Timings:
Opening and Closing: Monday - Sunday: 6.00 AM - 8.00 PM
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