Baijnath & Laxmi Narayan Temple was built in 804 A.D. and dedicated to Shiva Vaidyanatha. Its tall shikhara carved in stone is framed by the imposing snow capped peaks of Dhauladhars. The linga enshrined in its sanctum is one of the 12 jyotirlingas in the country. Every year during the Shivratri fair, thousands of pilgrims descend on Baijnath for the colourful fair and festivities. It is 16-km from Palampur and 56-km from Dharamsala.
The Baijnath & Laxmi Narayan Temple is the site for Hindu pilgrimage from the ancient days in Himachal Pradesh. This Temple in Himachal Pradesh is also magnificent works of architecture. The temples are the centers of attraction for the visitors and tourists. They are also associated with ancient legends.
The Baijnath temple is located in the Bias valley of Himachal Pradesh. It is a temple that had been dedicated to Siva Vaidyanatha meaning the Lord of the physicians. The architecture of the temple of Baijnath is fascinating. It stands out from all the other temples in the locality.
The Laxmi Narayan Temple is one of the oldest temples and also the largest one, situated in the Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh. There are six temples that are situated in the complex of the Laxmi Narayan Temple. These six temples are situated from north to south. They are dedicated to Lord Shiva or Lord Vishnu. Some of the temples located in the complex are the Shiva temple, Gauri Shankar temple and Radha Krishna.
The Laxmi Narayan Temple was constructed in the tenth century. The Shikhara style of architecture is evident from the temples situated in the complex. The rulers of Chamba took care to maintain these temples. Each of the rulers also contributed to the construction of the different parts of the temples. The ancient legends presume that Raja Sahil Verma built the temple of Laxmi Narayan Temple. The temple is kept for the tourists and the devotees from 6 am to 12.30 pm and from 2.30 to 8.30 pm.
The Baijnath & Laxmi Narayan Temple in Himachal Pradesh is the recognized Religious Place of India.
The Baijnath temple has been continuously under worship ever since its construction in 1204 A.D. by two local merchants named Ahuka and Manyuka. The two long inscriptions in the porch of the temple indicate that a temple of Siva existed on the spot even before the present one was constructed. The present temple is a beautiful example of the early medieval north Indian temple architecture known as Nagara style of temples. The Svayambhu form of Sivalinga is enshrined in the sanctum of the temple that has five projections on each side and is surmounted with a tall curvilinear Shikhara. The entrance to sanctum is through a vestibule that has a large square Mandapa in front with two massive balconies one each in north and south. There is a small porch in front of the mandapa hall that rests on four pillars in the front preceded by an idol of Nandi, the bull, in a small pillared shrine. The whole temple is enclosed by a high wall with entrances in the south and north. The outer walls of the temple have several niches with images of gods and goddesses. Numerous images are also fixed or carved in the walls. The outer doorway in the porch as also the inner doorway leading to the sanctum of the temple are also studded with a large number of images of great beauty and iconographic importance. Some of them are very rare to be found elsewhere.
The temple attracts a large number of tourists and pilgrims from allover India and abroad through out the year. Special prayers are offered in the morning and evening every day besides on special occasions and during festive seasons. Makara Sankranti, Maha Shivaratri, Vaisakha Sankranti, Shravana Mondays, etc. are celebrated with great zeal and splendor. A five day state level function is held here on Maha Shivratri every year.
Besides this temple there are other ancient shrines in and around the place such as Mahakala temple complex that has recently been renovated, the Sidhanath temple, Mukutanath temple etc. Besides the serene surroundings and salubrious climate of middle range hills of Baijnath, tourists interested in adventure can also enjoy paragliding at nearby (about 10 km) Bir and go for trekking in the region.