The Bhimashankar Temple is located 127 km from Shjivai Nagar of Pune in Maharashtra in the Ghat Region of Sahyadri Hills. It is a hill fort and a hard trekking spot. It is located 3500 feet above the sea level. There is a belief among people that sweat fallen from Lord Shiva made the river Bhimarathi.
Temple of Bhimashankar was built according to Hemad Panthi style. The temple is around 1000 to 1500 years old. One can find beautifully carved statues and beautiful paintings on the roof of the temple. It is said that the temple was formed during the war of Bhima and Shiva. Shiva killed Bhima and the latter was turned into ashes by the former one. On request of all the Gods, Lord Shiva transformed himself into Jyotirlinga of Bhimshankara. The Bhimashankara Temple consists of old and new structures in the Nagara style of architecture. Excellent display of skills by ancient Vishwakarma sculptors can be seen. It was a modest temple but yet a graceful one. The sabha mandap was developed in the 18th century by Nana Phadnavis. The shikhara was built him as well. It is said that the great Maratha ruler Shivaji made endowments to this temple to facilitate worship services. Saint Jnaneshwar is said to have visited Tryambakeshwar and Bhimashankar.
In front of the temple, a unique bell in Roman style can be seen. The bell has an idol of Mother Mary with her son Jesus. The large bell was presented by Chimaji Appa, who was the brother of Bajirao Peshwa I and uncle of Nanasaheb Peshwa. One can find Buddha style carvings of Amba-Ambika, Bhootling and Bhimashankar in the hills of Manmaad near Bhimashankar situated at a height of 1034 meters. Places that can be visited in this area are Hanuman Lake, Gupt Bhimashankar, origin of river Bhima, Bombay Point, Nag Phani, Sakshi Vinayak and a lot more.
Bhimashankar is a reserved forest which comprises of area of 130.78 square km. The forest was declared as wildlife sanctuary in the year 1985. This sanctuary is a part of Western Ghat, so it is very much rich in floral and faunal diversity. A variety of birds, animals, insects, plants can be seen in this zone. A rare animal Malabar Giant squirrel which is locally called as “Shekaru” can be found in the deep jungle. Bhimashankar is worth visiting tourist spot for jungle lovers and trekkers as well as for pilgrims. This temple is very popular in Pune and people from all around the world come to visit this temple. The Bhorgiri Fort is situated close to Bhimashankar. There is a shrine called Kalmaja near the Bhimashankar temple. Kalmaja is a goddess who is dedicated to a tree named Kalamb. It is a local tribal goddess and many other stories were formed after the influence of Hinduism religion to this region. The Mokshakund thirtha is located behind the Bhimashankara temple, and it is associated with the rishi named Kaushika. There are also the Sarvathirtha, the Kusharanya thirtha where the Bhima river begins to flow towards the east, and the Jyanakund.
There is so much to discuss the beautiful Bhimashankar Temple of Maharashtra. It takes pages after pages to explain the artistic features of the architecture and its surroundings. This is a must visit spot for a trekker or a photographer. Please do visit the temple and enjoy the aura of it.