Mahabhairav Temple, Tezpur, Assam

The extraordinary myths and beliefs give uniqueness to the Indian culture. The diverse traditions and customs of different religions followed in India have its ethnicity even in its diverse forms. Hinduism is the dominant religion in India, and several Hindu religious traditions prevail in many states with variations though the cardinal principles followed are the same everywhere. The state of Assam is enriched with different Hindu religious traditions. Assamese temples are famous for its architectural beauty and customs observed from the emancipation of these temples. The Government and the people of Assam are quite concerned about the preservation of nature and architectural monuments. Department of Archeology of Assam provides immense knowledge regarding the details of ancient temples and architecture.

MahaBhairav Temple is one of the ancient temple in Assam situates in Tezpur. It is located on the hillock in the northern part of Tezpur. According to the archeological evidence the origin of the temple is traced back to the pre historical era. The indefinite time of the temple’s origin gives it an inevitable significance as favorite tourist and pilgrim centre in the world. MahaBhairav temple is an important pilgrim centre of Lord Shiva’s devotees. MahaBhairav is a powerful form of Lord Shiva. According to the mythological belief Lord Shiva is worshiped in the form of Shiva linga or the cylindrical single stone structure. It is believed that Lord Shiva took the form of MahaBhairav for killing evil in the form of Asuras. The remains of temple in stones affirm the belief that it was constructed in the prehistoric era. According to the archeologists, the origin of the temple was in the early 8th and 10th century AD constructed by the kings of Salasthamba Dynasty. It is believed that Banasura worshiped lord Shiva in this temple. The Shiva linga worshiped here is referred as living stone as it grows slowly through the years. The original construction of the temple had to subject to several natural disasters during the centuries. Later during the reign of several kings of Assam measures were taken to restore the temple. During the period of Ahom kings, Tungkhungiya dynasty rulers expanded the extent of the temple by contributing large vast areas of land. Pujaris or Hindu religious scholars were given administrative power of the temple and the Borthakur was given the management power. Currently the administration of the temple is done through a managing committee presided over by the Deputy Commissioner and the religious rituals are performed by the Pujaris.

The present structures of the temple were built by during the early period of this century by a monk known as Naga baba. Sri Mahadeo Bharti built the Nat Mandir close to the temple known for its architectural beauty.

The offerings of the temple are famous particularly the Bhang Ladoo that is believed to be the favorite delicacy of Lord Shiva. It is given to the devotees as a sign of lord Shiva’s blessing. The biggest festival of the temple is the Shivaratri festival.  The Shivaratri mela or the festive gathering of devotees is the remembrance of Lord Shiva’s sacrifice of consuming poison for protecting the world from its disastrous effects. Sacred chantings and bhajans praising lord Shiva are done by the devotees during Shivaratri as offering. Another major offering in the temple is a unique one where pigeons are freed and offered to the temple. These pigeons do not leave the temple and their presence is always in the temple premises. Marriages are also conducted here in auspicious occasions.

Accessibility to the temple can be done through air, rail and road transport. The Accommodation is available in the near by lodges that ranges from affordable budget rates to luxurious suits. The main local market, the Chowk Bazar is near to the temple that has native products of Tezpur from handicrafts to ethnic food items. The visit to MahaBhairav Temple is worth as it serves the purpose of pilgrim and spending time in a place enriched with scenic beauty.