The abode of Gods and Goddesses, as its name goes, Deoghar is famously known as ‘Baidyanath Dhaam’. Part of the Santhal Pargana division, this district is a major Hindu pilgrimage centre. It is one of the most secret destinations in India, surrounded by ruins of many Buddhist monasteries. The nearest railway station is Baidyanathdham. About 229kms away from Patna (Bihar), Deoghar has an average elevation of 833 feet. The town is famous for the Baidyanath temple, among other attractions that tourists are usually drawn to. During the month of Shravan, Deoghar harbors an estimated 7 to 8 million devotees who come to pay their respects to the shrine of Lord Shiva’s Jyotirlinga. Since it is a pilgrimage destination, following are a few of the interesting spots in Deoghar.
1. Baba Baidyanath Temple
Shrine of one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the Baba Baidyanath temple houses twenty-one other temples of different Gods and Goddesses. It is said that Ravana worshipped Lord Shiva and offered his ten heads as sacrifice; impressed with which, Lord Shiva came to cure him as a ‘Vaidya’—doctor. That is how the temple derives its name ‘Baidyanath’. The temple is also one of the Shakti peeths, with the two temples — of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva — linked together to show the sacred bond of Shiva and Shakti. In the month of Shravan (August), the devotees bring sacred water from the Ganges to wash the Jyotirlinga with.
2. Ram-Krishna Mission Vidyapeeth
Located in the heart of Deoghar, and established in 1922, Ram-Krishna Mission Vidyapeeth is the oldest educational institution of the Ram-Krishna Mission. It is now a senior secondary school for boys, and used to be visited by the brother disciples of Swami Vivekananda. Monks and Brahmacharins run the institution, which includes teachers from all over India, along with those from foreign countries. There is a greenhouse and a small medicinal orchard aside from an established museum showing the ancient and tribal heritage of India. The most attractive feature is the temple of Shri Ram Krishna where religious festivals are carried out.
3. Mandar Hill
One of the well-known pilgrimage destinations, Mandar Hill is located in the Bounsi block, at a height of 700ft. According to mythological legends, the place is described as ‘Sumeru Parvat’, which was used as the churning hill during Amrit Manthan (Churning of the seas). A temple is built on top of this hill in memory of, and to pay respect to the 12th Jain Tirthankar Vasupujya. Surrounded by a vast lake, amid which is the Vishnu-Lakshmi temple, Mandar Hill is one of the most sought after pilgrimage location.
4. Dev Sangh Ashram
Also known as the Nav Durga Mandir, Dev Sangh Ashram is a temple dedicated to the nine avatars of Goddess Durga. The temple also houses other deities such as Lord Shiva, Goddess Saraswati, Annapurna etc. The temple conducts annual Durga Pooja, which attracts devotees in a large number from West Bengal, Odissa among other regions in and around Jharkhand. There is also a samadhi of Acharya Narendranath Brahmachari in the temple premises.
5. Noulakha Temple
Located about 2km away from the Baba Baidyanath Temple, the Noulakha temple is a shrine of the idols of Radha and Krishna; also a major Hindu pilgrimage centre. A calm and peaceful temple, it stretches to about 146ft in height. Built in 1948, the Noulakha temple was the creation of a saint known as Shree Balananda Brahmachari. A queen of the Pathuria Ghat royal family, Rani Charushila, is said to have donated the money for this temple to be built. It is believed that she had lost her son and husband, which led to her approaching the saint in her sorrowful state. He then advised her to have said temple constructed. It is about 8km away from Tapovan— another area that consists of a number of caves, where the saint Balananda used to meditate.
Jharkhand has a lot of interesting places one can visit, and Deoghar is one of the few that captures the attention of tourists and pilgrims alike. The religious heritage of the town attracts devotees every year, and even tourists find themselves in this spot to explore its religious importance.
Other Major Tourist Destinations In Jharkhand: